How do I tip my Associate?


Bringing on an Associate is one of the most exciting ways that service providers can continue to grow their income. The true masters of this can earn $10,000-12,000 more per year! And while that’s great for them – we need to have an honest conversation about the Associate and the Guest in this process. Specifically when it comes to tipping.

In a lot of salon companies, it is actually the guest that is directly tipping the Associate.

We’re not saying that’s wrong, we’re saying there’s a better way to enhance the guest experience.

We recommend for the educator to be the one to tip the associate out every day. Even more than that, we recommend having a performance based method for tipping that the Associate understands. We don’t want to have fuzzy agreements when it comes to money. If you don’t tie performance to the tip activity, unfortunately we slip into two types of behaviors. Either we are just throwing money at the Associate, essentially over tipping them – OR we are under tipping them and they start to feel underappreciated.

How the Associate and Stylist Benefit

Every day the Associate has the opportunity to increase their earning by $3/hour. They do this by striving to hit their daily goals within the Associate Program, which are tied to service sales and retail sales. Here’s the breakdown:

  • As a team we hit BOTH the service goal and the retail goal, the Associate earns $3/hour
  • As a team we hit ONE of the goals, the Associate earns $2/hour
  • As a team we hear a lot of “No, thank you’s!” and hit ZERO goals, the Associate earns $1/hour

All of this is in addition to their base pay.

Verbiage matters.
It might not sound exciting to say, “Here is your $18 from today, good job!” But what about, “You earned an extra $3/hour today! Good job!”

How the Guest Benefits

I want you to correlate this to a restaurant experience. If you’re going to a restaurant you certainly don’t feel the need to tip the host, the person who bussed the table AND your server. But you know that everyone will be taken care of at the end of the shift.


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If I have a high demand on my time and have two associates. My guest is tipping me, tipping an associate and tipping the other associate. To her, it can feel like they have to tip everyone who says hello to her.

If the guest knows that the stylist takes care of her associates, then the guest knows that it is already taken care of.

Scripts for your guest to avoid confusion:

  • If it’s your first associate, you can just say to your guest – “Just so you know, I take care of my Associates gratuities.”
  • If you’re transitioning into this system, you can simply let your guests know, “I am now doing something different in my Associate program and I am going to be taking care of all of the gratuities.”

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What do you think? How do YOU tip your Associates?



The Associate Program

Learn the secrets to increasing your salon sales by $10,000 to $12,000 by becoming an educator!

  • “Grow Your Own” salon service providers.
  • Solve your salon recruitment and hiring issues once and for all.
  • Create opportunities for top stylists to become salon leaders and educators in your business.
  • Implement a step-by-step program that takes a brand new stylist to top performance in weeks!

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