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Salary, Wages, Pay: Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers




Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers receive income from a variety of sources. They may receive commissions based on the price of the service or a salary based on number of hours worked. All receive tips, and many receive commissions on the products they sell. In addition, some salons pay bonuses to employees who bring in new business.

Median annual earnings in 2002 for salaried hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, including tips and commission, were $18,960. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,010 and $25,600. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,240.

Median annual earnings in 2002 for salaried barbers, including tips, were $19,550. The middle 50 percent earned between $14,540 and $27,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,370.

Among skin care specialists, median annual earnings, including tips, were $22,450; for manicurists and pedicurists, $17,330; and $14,360 for shampooers.

A number of factors determine the total income of barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers, including the size and location of the salon, the number of hours worked, clients’ tipping habits, and competition from other barber shops and salons. Cosmetologists or barber’s initiative and ability to attract and hold regular clients also are key factors in determining his or her earnings. Earnings for entry-level workers are usually low; however, for those who stay in the profession, earnings can be considerably higher.

Although some salons offer paid vacations and medical benefits, many self-employed and part-time workers in this occupation do not enjoy such common benefits.