Although some pursue the aforementioned options, the majority of new cosmetology school graduates are eager to begin their craft by securing employment “behind the chair” as a cosmetologist in a full-service salon, where they can begin practicing the many skills they learned in school.
Recent cosmetology graduates who start working in a salon all have one common goal: to build their clientele. There is no easy way to do this, other than put in their time by keeping regular hours in the salon so that they are available for walk-ins or to take a client that an experienced co-worker cannot fit into her schedule. Most cosmetologists will tell you that it takes approximately one year to build a steady clientele and that the best way to do this is to make every client count. Stay on time, give them your best work, and at the end of the service, ask the client if they would like to book their next appointment with you. This not only gives them the opportunity to pick the day and time that works best for them, but also puts appointments on your book and minimizes your time spent on the phone scheduling.
New graduates often take longer to perform services on clients than more experienced cosmetologists, and because “time is money,” they often need to develop ways to be more efficient with their time, and to stay on schedule so that they do not keep clients waiting.
Perfecting these skills comes with experience.
The first year of working in the salon is very much a learning experience. New stylists are learning the basics about working with clients and co-workers, mastering their skills, and determining what direction they want to go in their cosmetology career. Many will work as licensed cosmetologists in salons for their entire career, while others will seek positions in salon management or work toward owning their own salons.
Cosmetologists usually enjoy a varied and diverse clientele from all walks of life, ranging from young children to senior citizens. While many choose to focus on hair-related services, some cosmetologists will follow their interests in nails and skincare, and others will take in-depth training in specialty areas such as nail extensions, wigs, or electrolysis. Some cosmetologists will accept positions in salons and be compensated on a commission basis, while about 48% of all cosmetologists are self-employed independent contractors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what’s the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?