How to Compensate Your In-Salon Educator

“How do I compensate my in-salon educator?” That’s one of the trending questions at TrainU, Beauty Backbone’s program that helps salons create a solid educational program by training the trainers.

Prior to moving into pay, let’s look at a few factors to consider and work on before pay is formulated.

Job Description: Create a job description for this position. Clear expectations are important for a successful execution. Focus on the description of each item so you can talk about it up front, and refer back to it when needing to manage expectations. Also talk about your level of involvement and support.

PNL:  What does your profit and loss statement indicate? What can you afford? Maybe start with a smaller investment and as you start seeing your ROI (return on investment) your education department can grow. The important part here is to be realistic with affordability.

Time investment: Consider the frequency and length of your salon’s education. Is education a weekly practice? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? The more often education is held, the more preparation and engagement it requires from the educator. Compensation should reflect the educator’s time investment.

Exclusive perks!: The role of an educator can be time consuming and requires a lot of work. Creating extra value, with added benefits and perks, can go a long way and add to compensation as a whole. Some of these can be: outside education support, flexibility within the day to work on the education, hair shows, one-on-one time with you for additional development, and a title of Educational Director which creates value to guests…just to name a few!

Now let’s talk about compensation! Here we have some of the most popular ways to pay an educator. These methods can also be used as a stepping-stone as your Educators progress into more advanced teachers.

Barter: This could be appropriate if your educator will be teaching on monthly or quarterly bases, in which his/her time and energy is a minimal investment. You could create an education fund that earns value after every class is completed. The educator can then choose to redeem it and apply it towards other education events, tools or products.

Minimum Wage: This payment type is great for an educator-in-training, or a new educator that is teaching but needs the support of a senior Educator, or can not yet teach their own classes. This is a great method for the newer educators. Because we offer pre-made classes, this helps this level of educator get comfortable with teaching, without having to create their own classes. After teaching pre-made classes and increasing their skill set, they can be promoted and earn a different level of pay.

Average Hourly Rate: Determine the technicians’ behind the chair revenues, select their last three-month time frame, and find an average hourly rate (excluding gratuities). That average would now be their hourly pay as an educator. This can be re-assessed every three to six months. Re-assessing gives him/her an incentive to continue to increase their stylist production behind the chair, so the average hourly rate can also increase. Win-Win!

Salary: This is mostly recommended for a salon that has multiple educators and needs an Educational Director (Lead Educator). The Educational Director will be teaching regularly and continually developing the education team and your program. One of the benefits of salary is that it is an all inclusive method to compensate for when educators are working on education beyond education days.

Our Formula: Experience + Time Investment = Compensation

My recommendation is to consider your specific scenario, look over the factors, and choose a compensation model that feels like the best fit for you and the educator. As a salon owner, understanding the value and added benefits to compensation will provide your team with the motivation to have a kick-ass education program!

Quick disclaimer, it’s important to remember that each state has different employment law practices. Before you implement any of our suggestions please triple check with your legal counsel.

About Along with Gila Rut’s Keri Davis-Duffy and Jon Rizo, Karla Lopez-Martinez is one of the founders of, a company that is bridging the gap between a struggling business and a successful company by offering educational programs, cultural systems and financial coaching to provide business success and sustainability. Visit and use code ST2018 for $50 off any Beauty Backbone program.

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