Everything Makeup Artists Need to Know about Renting Space in a Spa or Salon



Renting a room, space, or booth in an existing spa provides great opportunities for many makeup artists. This can be a great step if you want to work independently and have more control over what you do as a makeup artist.

A prime example is the Skin Sutra Medspa and Cosmetic Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The owner is a certified medical assistant and rents space to a makeup artist and an eyebrow specialist – and the business is expanding to provide clients with even more services. Together the trio sets their own hours and prices and sees their own clients while offering combined services that include bridal packages, a full range of facials, laser hair removal, and chemical peels. By offering combined services in a one-stop-shop, they are able to attract a wider range of clients while still allowing each professional to maintain a high level of autonomy.

Salons and beauty spas in virtually every city offer opportunities for booth renters – except those in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where laws prohibit the chair rental business model.

It is up to you to decide if this model is right for you and your professional goals.

The Perks of Renting Space in an Established Spa or Salon

If you rent space as a makeup artist then you are considered to be an independent contractor, not an employee. There are several advantages of renting space in a salon or spa compared with other business models:

  • Greater independence – you set your own hours, see your own clients, set your own prices, and do you own marketing and promotions
  • Greater margin for profits – you pay a weekly or monthly rental fee to the owner and keep the rest
  • Easier to transition to owning your own salon or spa

When mentioning perks, it’s also worth noting the potential drawbacks of booth renting:

  • With more independence comes more responsibility – you must take care of providing your own tools and supplies, your own advertising, and other business activities like taxes
  • There is never guaranteed income when you are renting – if you have a bad week you can potentially go into the red
  • If you aren’t serving walk-ins then you’ll also have to cope with less exposure to new potential clients

Finding Success as a Makeup Artist Renting Space

You can logically see that if space renting was for everyone then everyone would be doing it. But they’re not. So how do you know if renting a place in a salon or spa is right for you?

For starters, you need to be more independently minded. But that alone won’t guarantee your success. Here are a few other indicators that booth renting is right for you:

  • You should have at least a basic level of business know-how
  • You should have excellent skills as a makeup artist that attract and retain clients
  • Many makeup artists will tell you that you should first build up a strong foundation of regular clients before taking the leap to booth renting; a fairly safe rule-of-thumb is that you can consider renting once you could pay off your weekly lease in about two days

It is most common for makeup artists to start out by working as employees. Once you have enough clients, experience, and skills built up, it would be more natural to transition to the booth rental model.

Many makeup artists also spend years working independently doing things like:

  • Working from home
  • Traveling to sets, shoots, and other productions
  • Traveling to clients’ homes or businesses

Even if you’re offering your services on a mobile basis, you may also eventually want to establish a more permanent headquarters for your business in an existing salon, spa, or other beauty establishment.

Examples of How Some Famous Makeup Artists Started Out

Makeup artists find a variety of paths to successful careers. Here are a few examples of some makeup artists that made the big time:

Peter King – Best known for his 2003 Oscar win for his makeup work in one of the Lord of the Rings movies, King got his start in the industry in the 1970s working with small theatre companies. By 1980 he secured a place designing period costumes for the original Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera, and from there his career continued to expand.

Vadim Andreev – Today a makeup workshop and master class teacher in countries like the US, France, and Russia, Andreev became well known as L’Oreal Paris’ lead makeup artist and presently boasts clients who include leading celebrities in Russia and Ukraine. He got his start doing makeup as a teenager for models at amateur photo shoots, and went on to serve as the chief makeup artist at de luxe beauty Rasputin House in Saint Petersburg.

Pat McGrathCreator of a cosmetics line for Giorgio Armani and the makeup concepts for Miu Miu as well as Prada, McGrath did not always count high profile clients among the likes of American Vogue, Louis Vuitton, and Calvin Klein. She identifies her mother as getting her started in makeup, and as she grew up she decided to pursue fashion in college. However she soon dropped out after being invited to work on the set of the popular reality television show The Face. From there she developed contacts in the entertainment industry and the rest of her career is history.

Examples of Booth Rental Facilities

These are some examples of beauty facilities throughout the nation that operate on the booth rental model:

  • Norine’s Salon and Blowdry Bar in New Hartford, New York offers makeup artist and hairstylist booth renters a chair and station, the use of a backbar, wax table, reception desk, coffee station, storage room, towels, makeup mirror, and tablet, as well as some social media marketing resources
  • Endless Extensions in Dallas, a salon with a team environment offering services that include haircuts, shampoos, coloring, balayage, extensions, and bridal services that focus on makeup and hair styling
  • Luxe Beauty Escape in Memphis, maintained by a team of four that includes a makeup artist, esthetician, hairstylist, and director, this establishment offers services such as hair cutting, styling, texturing, and coloring, makeovers, facials, nail services, skin care, and more
  • Moda Milano Salon in Clearwater, Florida offers clients a team of 12 specialists whose expertise includes makeup, skin, hair, and nail services; serving the greater Tampa Bay area with a full range of European beauty services
  • tucá Massage & Health in Wilmington, Ohio offers a range of massage therapies combined with services provided by makeup artists and estheticians, making good on its motto, “therapies for the mind, body, and spirit”

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