Did you know we spend a third of our life at work? Choosing the right lash job is so important because we spend so much time there. The reputation, aesthetics, and energy of a potential role are essential but don’t forget one of the biggest, most important things: employment type.

Talking about types of employment sounds boring so no wonder our industry doesn’t speak or write about it. But girl, it is such a big deal, and it should be on your radar. Finding the best lash job can be tricky, but knowing the ins and outs will help you avoid being “tricked” into working for someone who is misguided or sneaky.

“You’re hired! We’re going to pay you this super high commission, but we’re going to classify you as an independent contractor. It will be way better for you because taxes won’t come out of your check every month and you can write off all your expenses at the end of the year.”

Or so says the owner of the cutest lash salon in your city where you’ve been dying to work!

Uh, wait, what. What is she talking about? What is an independent contractor? Won’t I have to pay taxes? What can I write off? All of a sudden your dream lash job is sounding too good to be true. You’re crazy confused and don’t know what you should do.

I’m going to break this down for you so you can say YES to the best lash job and a big NO to the one that is trying to fool you and all your lash sisters!

Employed vs. Self-Employed Lash Artists

According to the IRS, a lash artist is either employed or self-employed. Yep, it’s that simple to the IRS; one or the other. There is no gray area when it comes to the IRS. So, what exactly is the difference between being an employed lash artist and a self-employed lash artist? And where does an independent contractor fit into the mix?

Employed Lash Artist

  • W-2
  • Employer handles taxes
  • Scheduled by management
  • Approval for time off
  • Dress code
  • Set services and pricing
  • Provided lash supplies
  • Protocols and rules
  • Mandatory training
  • Mandatory meetings

Self-Employed Lash Artist

  • Form 1040
  • Handles own taxes
  • Sets own schedule
  • No approval for time off
  • No dress code
  • Own services and pricing
  • Provides lash supplies
  • Owns their own business
  • Business expense write-offs

Self-Employed vs. Independent Contractor

There is a common misconception in the lash industry that an independent contractor is a type of employee that has more freedom than a regular employee, but not as many freedoms as a lash artist who is self-employed. Don’t fall for this. There is no difference between an independent contracted lash artist and a self-employed lash artist. They are the same.

If you are responsible for paying all of your employment taxes, you are self-employed. It doesn’t matter if the lash salon owner calls it “independent” or a “contracted employee” – if you are working for a salon but not employed by the salon, you’re self-employed. When a lash salon owner classifies you as an independent contractor, thus self-employed, they are passing off their employment responsibilities to you. They are releasing their obligations, including:

  • Employment taxes
  • Protection through discrimination laws
  • Coverage under worker’s compensation
  • Paying minimum wage or overtime
  • Complying with to sick time pay laws

Typically, lash salon owners choose to utilize the “independent contractor” classification to free them of responsibility and additional financial expenses at the lash artist’s expense. Unless you are truly self-employed and possess all the freedoms that come with self-employment, this structure only serves the lash salon owner’s best interests.

Educate Yourself on Your Tax Obligations

Take a look at a few of the self-employment obligations that independent contractors should be aware of on the IRS website.

Now that you’re educated on employment and self-employment, go out there and find your dream lash job! And, one that isn’t being tricky.

If this post has motivated you to open your own lash salon so you can do things right, then Become a Brand Ambassador and let us help you along your journey!

XO, VANESSA MOLICA