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Medical Spa Business Forum > Fair esthetician pay

I read the posting re: employee pay below but I'm in a different situation and would like some advice. I hired an new esthetician fresh out of training but with other great talents such as airbrush makeup & airbrush tanning at $15/hr & 15% commission on all services, 50% for off-site wknd work for wedding makeup, and 15% commission on gross product sales. The hourly was to help her with not having an established client base and for her to use that time to do whatever marketing she needed to do to build her client list. I don't feel she has made good use of that time and we agreed to switch to no hourly, 30% commission on services, and 18% on products. Now she feels she's not making any money because she doesn't have the clientele and is reluctant to come in unless she has patients scheduled for her. She is losing the few walk-ins and phone calls she could be promoting her services. She's a nice person but I don't want to pay her hourly again because I'd continue to lose money since she isn't using her time effectively to grow her clientele. Am I being fair?

And at this time, if I hired a new esthetician without her own client base starting out, what would be a fair percentage on pdts and services she does without an hourly base?

01.24 | Unregistered Commenterjmd

Now is it her business or your business?
I have been clinical estatician at the same
clinic for over 12.
It is their business and they realize it is there job to get me busy.
If I was responsible to getting my own clients and they were paying 30%
that would be a sweet deal for me but for you as a business person I would
really stick with an hourly rate of 20 an hour hire someone with 3 years or more experience that can covert and keep the clients that come through your door.Experience technician will bring you the money. I would suggest paying a bonus percent after a certain amount she brings in say $15,000 %5 above her wage. Market for yourself. Net work and leave the technician to do what she does best her clinical work.

02.7 | Unregistered Commenterpax

I've been through five estheticians in 18 months. Three of them lasted 2 weeks each. I've tried both straight commission and hourly/commission. My first esthetician, I paid hourly plus a comm and bonus to help her build her business. And once she was done building it at my expense, she then demanded 50% commission.

I've just hired an experienced esthetician at $20 an hour plus 10% on anything she sells, service or product. I told her that the hourly was to perform the service and the commission was for sales. I no longer pay commission on service- it doesnt build the business, only sales do.

Hope this helps.

I'm confused, it seems you're paying 10% if she sells a service?

02.17 | Unregistered CommenterDERMAROGUE

I employ estheticians in a day spa setting and prefer a hourly salary + smaller service and retail commission tied to productivity goals and performance reviews.

I will be moving into a fee per service versus a commission % to avoid giving a average performing esthy a raise by upselling. 50% is not realistic in a spa setting and you are getting ripped off.

An esthy can be a very valuable asset to a practice. A smart esthy who wants to have clinical experience will value paid continuing education, benefits, a fair wage and clear guidelines.

Furthermore, you can not expect anyone to work for free and wait for a walkin-you legally need to pay a wage, and be sure to understand 1099 versus w2 employee rules.

02.18 | Unregistered Commenterskingurl

I have been an esthetician for 14 years and when I first started off I made $10.00 an hour then if my commisson(at 50%) exceeded the salary I would than receive the additional. This is wages in southern Fl. I now just rent a room

02.18 | Unregistered Commentermissy

Regarding Estheticians fair pay, an hourly wage with small % on sales is fine, 19-24/hr depending on experience.

Please remember that good leadership, meetings, open door policy communication, and an effort to strengthen a team atmosphere AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY will go much further in retaining your valued estheticians. It will build a reputation among the industry that you are a fair and supportive employer, attracting the professionals you desire.

In this service industry, many of the estheticians are creative types and not necessarily as money motivated as the average entrepeneur/ spa owner. I speak from experience working as a nurse/esthetician in a spa outside of Phila, Pa with EXTREMELY high turnover. Be kind to your staff and they will stay.

02.18 | Unregistered Commenterglowmakr

I am a former med clinic owner and 18 yrs med esthetician recently I became an employee for the first time in my esthetics career!- what an eye-opener Not only am I abused verbally by my employer I have never worked so hard or long hours in my life!!! thank God - the Patients love ME!
the good news is I was smart enough and experienced enough to build a very profitable business for these doctors and negotiate a commission that my split was the larger and WE all made a lot of money I brought in many clients and word of mouth took care of the rest- not amount of advertising can do this
They do not understand skin and patient loyalty and the main reason i write is to let the readers know that you cannot underpay for value -take care of your employees ;they are the "Gold Mine " you seek!!!

06.14 | Unregistered CommenterSereneiam

That's a serious plug greatplugmn. If you want to retain any good employee, treat them like people whatever their position. Be polite, respectful, do not talk down to them, be fair and understand that they may have other purposes in life other than to serve you. Pay them market value plus 10%. This will save you money in the long run and buy you loyalty. If you use this approach there is no need for a "certified life coach".

I know, I have been on both sides of the coin.

08.12 | Unregistered CommenterFlorida PA

I am the Supervisor of a medical spa in Iowa, due to our non-profit status we cannot allow our therapists to accept tips.
Currently we pay hourly $15-$18 and 26% on services + 25% on retail sales. We are losing our shorts paying this much, but the structure was set up years before me and I don't know how to adjust it without losing good employees.
What is a fair hourly + commission when there is no tips??

Iowa Medi Spa: I have seen a number of operations that started small and used a fee + commission structure similar to the one you are using. Many med spas -- including mine --have found that once the illusory profits from selling packages disappear the profit margin is actually razor thin and simply cannot afford to pay these excessive commissions. Sometimes it requires a mind set of "restructuring" much like the big airlines have to do when they discover that they are losing lots of money. The employees don't like it -- but the alternative may be losing their jobs altogether.

08.26 | Unregistered Commentermedspa guy

Iowa Medi Spa,

Are you paying aestheticians $15-$18 per hour of these RN's. If you are paying aestheticians this hourly rate no wonder you are losing your shorts. Aestheticians should be paid $10-$12 per hour and $14-$16 if the can do laser procedures.

First drop the 25% on retail down to 10%, this is industry standard. You don't make a high hourly rate and a high commission rate in any industry, period.

Drop the 26% on services to zero and change this to a payout on packages sold not single treatments. Depending on the price of the package this could range between $50-$100. Or you could leave the retail @ 10% and have a monthly incentive based on clinic volume. If the clinic doesn't hit a profitable number why should the employees get paid extra.

08.26 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

Iowa MediSpa

How is it you have a non-profit status? I know this wasn't your question but I would think you could get great advertising rates as a non-profit. I imagine that could be very helpful.

I do think that when you make changes you discuss the situation very honestly for your employees. It would be best if you could devise some kind of structure so they could see the same or very similar revenue with a new plan if they perform well. You don't want to lose good people and you don't want former employees speading the word that you change compensation for no reason

I feel like it is the responsibility of the spa owner (me) and the estheticians to keep the spa busy.
Please let us know how it goes. Staff issues are one of the biggest challenges we face. Good luck to you

08.26 | Unregistered Commentercurious

OK, I have an 23 yo aesthetician who I hired right out of school (my mistake). I trained her and continue to pay hourly plus commission in hopes she would build a strong clientele. Many factors may contribute but she still has a slim clientele and she is a terrible time waster. She spends every waking moment on her cell phone or her myspace page and I have told her repeatedly to shape up. She acts like the clients are in the way of her day! This is new behavior for her and has manifested in the last 3 months. Now, I'm going to fire her, finally. My point is, you can treat someone with respect and pay them well but if they don't have an inherent desire to be successful, you lose. I've been told - Do not try to teach a pig how to sing, you'll get frustrated and only annoy the pig.

09.2 | Unregistered CommenterCA NP

CA NP,

I do feel your pain as far as trying to find good aestheticians. They go to school to get into the skin business, but then you find out with a lot of them they are not interested in the skin at all.

I have been in the same boat and have had to fire my share as well, but remember with most employees they quit you long before you quit them. I think a lot has to do with the generation as far as some of the younger ones (under 29), they are lazy, very lazy.

In my clinic as far as cell phones and my space time that is only aloud during breaks and lunch. If the aestheticians abuse this policy I just dock their hours and that seems to work very well.

Also make out a To Do List for the aestheticians. They can always clean the clinic during slower periods and then you will not need to pay a cleaning crew. There is always something for them to do, but you will have to make out a list and check it off as they complete the task. This is sad but true, you can't just tell them what to do you have to have the list and check it off. You have to treat them like school children or they will just sit and do nothing.

Good Luck with the next one, but this time don't wait the 3 months if they start to get lazy, just find another one. One thing I have done in the past is hire 2 part time and let them know the one that performs the best will get most of the hours and when you start working the slacker only 4 hours a week you will not have to fire them they will just not show up.

09.3 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

I had an anesthitician and paid her an hourly wage plus commission. She was essentially making $10.48/hour. I bumped that up by $3.00/hour and increased her commission rate, but she said that wasn't enough and is leaving soon. I didn't feel she added much to my business as I did not get many clients coming over to do my procedures of which make me more money. She was the only anesthitician in the area, period. Next time, I will hire a sales person, because that is really what I need..

Reading the comments from CA NP and Pacific Med Doc certainly brough back memories for me. I had similar diffficulties with my estheticians. Perhaps our expectations of what these young ladies are capable of doing are simply not realistic in this day and age. I think a lot of the women that pursue esthetics or cosmetology as a career believe they will be immune from having to "sell" themselves and their services like the rest of us do. Most of them seem to have difficulty understanding that simply performing good treatments is not enough. It is hard to get many of them to uinderstand that THEY have to -- in essence -- build their own practices. We can get them started, but once they become their "clients" they will need to take it from there. It never happened at my med spa. That is one of the many reasons I folded up my tent two years ago....

Med Spa Guy, What do you mean you folded up your tent? What are you doing now?

Pacificmeddoc: I am not a physician so I re-entered the job market after "selling" my medspa for about $2.00 (literally). I am also doing some consulting as I have a pretty unusual background (attorney with extensive background in lasers, aesthetic business operations, marketing, regulatory matters, etc. Thanks for asking. Unfortunately it got very frustrating working harder and harder and finding I was unable to make a profit with the med spa!

I think a lot of the employers pay their estheticians peanuts and then want in return a lot of clientele. That is not going to happen. As an esthetician I feel that a lot of employers don't treat us with respect. The hourly they want to pay is a slap in the face. So the next time you wonder why you can't keep an esthetician for a long time, look at the pay.

09.4 | Unregistered Commentervalerie

Valerie,

Whay pay scale or pay plan do you feel is fair for aestheticians in a Medical Spa environment.

09.4 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

I don't know-I pay big money:$18-20 per hour, and I've been really burned by aestheticians. I have a couple of really fabulous ones now, but it's been hit or miss, in hiring them.
I agree with medspa guy that there is a culture clash, but I've seen that with the MedSpa nurses too. It seems like these are just altruistic women that go into this to take care of people and when they are asked to actually help to build a business and to sell their services they freeze up, just like a deer in the headlights.
the only way I've been able to make this work for the business is to respect the differences in our psychological makeup. i know I will go for the kill in a sale as that is what motivates me to get out of bed every morning.
My aestheticians have other motivations, and i try and tap into that to build up our medspa-not an easy task-but it can be done

Valerie, I am willing to pay an aesthetician more, but she has to earn the money for the biz and inturn, I am happy to reward them, too. However, it is a generational thing that this generation (most of them) doesn't know that you expected to produce/work to get paid. That is what has been discovered in all fields of the job force, not just the spa business.

I think you need to hire more mature estheticians that have gone back to school after their children have gotten older. We value our clients they are our life. I have only been in the field for 5 years I am 48 years old and I love it. My children are all older and so this is what I live for. When you have an Esthetician with this attitude she is worth $20/hr. Your clients will keep coming back.

She is only worth $20/hour if she can generate sales of the other clinic services i.e. laser procedures, botox and dermal fillers. If only sales in the aesthetic room it is not worth $20/hour because that room does not generate enough dollars for a higher hourly pay.

09.11 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

I really think it all comes down to the interview process. I'm an esthetician that has many years of experience and have been hired on as a consultant for many new spas. What I find is that employers don't know what they're looking for, don't ask the right questions and don't call references. YOU have to do the homework in order to get someone in your space that is reliable and capable.

Start setting goals and rewarding therapists--both parties will feel like a "job well done."

Regarding pay, it should be fair. To be honest most places pay between 50-60% commission. Hourly + a lesser commission w/ sales goals, in my opinion, is the best way to make a buck and keep therapists happy. Therapists will not feel like they need to stay for an entire day if only making commission--and who can blame they?! Plus what happens when someone walks in the door and you don't have anyone to service them; they go next door.

Again, if you are constantly ending up with bad therapists you have to take a look at how you're interviewing and make sure it's nothing your doing wrong.

09.12 | Unregistered CommenterSkin

When you mention 50-60% commission you are referring to a Day Spa. In my clinic (Med Spa) it is 95% appts. You just don't have the walk-ins like a Day Spa. I am in a medical/business type space and not a retail space.

I think most of the clinic owners are haveing a problem w/ the aestheticians coming from the Day Spa environment. The medical environment is a lot different and most of the aestheticians I come across are just just professional enough to make it in the medical environment.

Granted they are out there, but it is very hard to find the professional ones that really have a passion for the skin and are interested in getting real results.

09.12 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

I'm aware of the differences between a day spa and a med spa. and it shouldn't really matter if your location is a retail space or if you have walk-ins. the name of the game should be the same (yes, you're right, commission may vary):

-reevaluate your interview process--are you checking references, are you asking them to preform a service, are you making sure their certificates are valid? do they have additional outside, on-the-job training?

-fair pay with sales goals, consider hourly + commission especially if you don't have retail and walk-in clients--you should want the esthetician there all day.

Honestly, when helping hire staff members, I have found a lot of hidden gem estheticians working in day spas.

If you're still having trouble finding the right person think about a probationary period. Let them know you want to make sure they are the right person for the job and after proving themselves the commission or hourly goes up.... Just a thought. I would not put two part-time estheticians in competition with one another = DRAMA.

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterSkin

P.S. Do you offer training in your medical space? It may be wise to ask your equipment distributors to come in for a refresher. This should be a free service. You can also let clients know you do this. I would love to know that my skin is being treating by an up-to-date and thoroughly trained staff.

Hopefully this info. helps, finding a good esthetician is not easy!

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterSkin

I cannot imagine that ANY med spa could possibly be charging enough for the services being performed by their estheticians to justify paying even a twenty percent commission. Fifty percent would be guaranteed financial suicide. Every single med spa I have looked closely at in terms of a comprehensive financial analysis had a razor thin profit margin -- if not an actual negative cash flow when package sales were properly accounted for. These basic services such as microdermabrasion are simply too competitive in the marketplace today to justify paying these types of commissions.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on how to handle this situation? We opened a medical spa approx. 3 years ago. At that time we hired an esthetician to be our director. The salary was $20.00/hr/45% commision on services and 15% on sales. Our staff is small (2 estheticians, 2 nurses). Because of the amount of money we have oblagated to pay her we are having a hard time making ends meet. The economy is our area is failrly stable but this person is going to make 6 figures by the end of the year. How unfair is it to cut either her commission or hourly rate or both? Our two nurses are both more educated, bring in more money but their paychecks are less. Something doesn't seem right.

Spa Owner: As I said in my earlier post, a 45% commission is absolutely nuts. Provided you have a fairly reasonable sales volume, the norm I usually see would not exceed a 10% commission. Anything higher than that would make it impossible for the owner to ever make a profit. believe me, the margins are nowhere near sufficient on these aesthetic services to try to do what you are doing. You need to have a "restructuring" like the financial world is going through right now to avoid an inevitable business failure. The sooner the better.

Spa Owner in SC,

Who in the world would recommend a 45% commission? That is just nuts. No one can survive on that. Did you include the 45% on laser services and injectibles or just on her aesthetic services?

You have likely built a lot of animosity into your clinic as well. It is a miracle if you can keep your RN's.


10.13 | Unregistered CommenterLH

The answer to your question is no. Our nurses get a flat fee $25.00/hr plus 10% commision. What do we do to correct the situation? Our second esthetician recieves straight commision which is 35%. I was the second person to come into the position (as owner) and these payment fees were in place when I arrived. Besides being an owner (25%) our medical director is a plastic surgeon and owns 75% of the business, I am the second nurse that does all laser treatments. We pay our bills but are still in the black after 3 years. Do I ever think we will make a profit? No. My partner feels that if we are still making money off our director of esthetic services we should leave well enough alone. My skin crawls every pay period when her paycheck is $500-700 larger than mine when all the risk of the business succeeding or failing is my resposilbilty. There is a lot of animosity in our facility but yet I am getting little support in changing the pay structure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Also, do most med spas charge a back bar fee? We currently do not. Our staff have full access to any supplies in our product closet.

I'm an esthetician in NYC. My commission is 36%, no hourly base pay and my retail commission is 7%. I have only been there a few months but I am already the 2nd most requested therapist at the spa and I am the single largest retail seller they have. Not bad for two months, eh?

I'm actually really proud of myself and interested in furthering myself as well as the spa I work for. But,I'm not thrilled with this pay structure for a few reasons.
*There are days when I sit in my room for six hours and no clients show up. Although I have a pretty good return rate already, if they don't get me a client in the first place, how am I to impress them into coming back? *With a 7% retail commission, if I sell $300 in product durring my shift, I've only made about $20 extra. Where is my real insentive to sell? *Finally, I want to do all the things that will help my spa to run more smoothly (product inventory, refill backbar, laundry when needed, stock products) but if I'm not going to be paid hourly, why would I volunteer my time? If I'm not paid hourly, how can anyone expect me to work outside of the treatments for which I am paid?

I guess my point is that some employees are really faithful, hardworking and want to help you succeed. Yet we start to feel resentful when our paycheck doesn't reflect how much effort we put into our job. I know my boss will be really upset when I leave, she actually says that I've been the answer to her prayers. It's just that I have a mortgage to pay and other spas will give me the same treatment commission, a higher retail commission and a small hourly rate to make the slow days easier to digest.

Start your employees lower and let them earn their comission raises. Raise the ones you see are working well and weed out those who dont. However, don't be surprised if you loose some great people by not recognizing their worth quickly enough.

11.1 | Unregistered CommenterMM BKLYN

I am 31 and currently a Pharmacy Tech. and have been for 9 years. I am burnt out by the insurance issues and looking to move on to skin care as esthetician. as a Pharmacy Tech I currently make $17. I am very excited to meet people who are actual happy to be in my presence, but a little discuranged on what kind of wage i may be looking at in Spokane Wa, Can anyone answer if this will be a good career change for me. I am very outgoing and a real people person! I look forward to hearing from anyone out there!! thanks for reading nicole

11.2 | Unregistered Commenternicole

SBJ-Your attitude is a stellar example of success ruined by egomaniacalism run rampant...see I speak "reel good inglish" for an esthetician, eh?! But you were worth a chuckle - "...have to treat them like school children..." - very amuzing! I do hope the other medspa directors & doctors on this board are able to see the humor in your comments too. Following your basic business practices would lead any medspa into it an early grave.

What's fair pay? Do your research - it varies by area, job descriptions/expectations, schedules, and a whole lotta factors...so one answer isn't going to be right for every medspa. If your payscale isn't working for you - then call around to other medspas in your area & find out what they are doing/how they are doing.

And please don't turn your estheticians into "salesperson" for the benefit of your patients. Straight commission jobs are IMHO unethical in a med environment. It's not about "sales" it should be about "patient education."

And having an esthetician on board means more traffic in the medspa on a daily basis...which is the best/cheapest form of advertising (word of mouth)...so when 58 year old mom starts talking about wanting to do something about her forehead lines....28 year old daughter points her to the fabulous medspa she's been visiting for facials & Botox.

Keep smiling!

11.3 | Unregistered CommenterCAC

CAC,

Keep smiling sister. My pay scale is working fine for me. I was replying to others that were having problems with their pay scale. Paying a high hourly rate and a high commissions on products and procedures will lead to problems with cash flow.

Reread sister, I would never pay straight commission in a Medical Clinic.

11.4 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

I'm curious why more estheticians don't open a home based business, take a loan for the machines they need, and keep 100% of all revenue on services and products. Seems like the perfect setup for a working mom.

11.15 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

because the laser manufacturers won 't sell to you unless you can provide a dr's # and even a DEA #. The banks won't lend you the $$$ unless you are an MD or have a proven track record of selling success. That's tough if you're doing all the treatments and not the selling.

Wendy,

Reason # 2 - BECAUSE MOST ESTHETICIANS ARE TO LAZY TO PUT IN THE HARD WORK TO DO IT ON THEIR OWN

Just take CAC as a perfect example!!!

11.18 | Unregistered CommenterJoker

First of all, I think the yelling (all caps) should swiftly come to an end.

I have an esthetician who has been with me since before she went to school (as front office).
I pay her $25 per hour because we live in a very high cost of living area and she is a single mom.
She has been through the same laser training as the RN's and I have and can and does sell laser and injectables both from her room and to anyone who calls or walks through the door.
She loves our product line and maintains and sells the inventory.
I can rely on her to keep the business running when I am not present.

She is worth every penny.

Havenritchie:
Good job that's definitely a gold Aesthetician you are going to continue been very suscesful in your bussines, after all you will always received what you give.

Awesome for you and Happy New Year!

Hi, I work for a reconstructive facial surgeon and am currently in the process of getting my license in esthetics. I will be working here with the doctor and on my own once I finish school. We are in the process of trying to figure out exactly what I will be doing and how my pay will differ. I currently run the front desk and do all of the surgical coordinating in the office. I am planning on continuing to do both my current job and also offer facial and peel services for acne, hyper pigmentation and anti-aging. I’m thinking we will have set days for my services when he is in surgery and then when he is here we will work together (we do both medical and cosmetic). My question to you all is…have you worked in an office before…did you have a part office position as well? or is having 2 roles too much for one person? We are torn between having me go hourly (which I am already…) and he is not sure how he feels about offering me commission on products because there are other staff in the office which do sell.... (Which I am already selling and not getting commission) I know I will not be receiving tips on services nor doing facials/peels full time. Any advice? Or…can you point me to someone who can help ...let me know if I should be giving more information...

I am an Esthetician that is going into a dental office to work and I am trying figure out what the commission split should be.
I will be supplying all my own products back bar and supplies to work with . Linens ect.

I have heard 70/30 or is 60/40 right.


02.1 | Unregistered CommenterNOELLE

I'm an MD and own a medspa in a 50/50 partnership with another MD. I prefer not to do the client services (laser, dermabrasion, botox, Restylane, etc., my partner does them all. He charges our business $100.00 per hour for every hour he performs client services, regardless of the procedure. I'm wondering if the $100 salary is too high and the reason for our lack of profit. Any opinions would be appreciated.

02.11 | Unregistered CommenterAVJ/MD

I'm an MD and own a medspa in a 50/50 partnership with another MD. I prefer not to do the client services (laser, dermabrasion, botox, Restylane, etc., my partner does them all. He charges our business $100.00 per hour for every hour he performs client services, regardless of the procedure. I'm wondering if the $100 salary is too high and the reason for our lack of profit. Any opinions would be appreciated.

02.11 | Unregistered CommenterAVJ/MD

Hi all. I thought I'd weigh in on this. It's hard to determine an hourly rate not knowing from what areas of the country, city, suburbs, etc that the posts are coming from. In my area in the Northeast, it's relatively affluent, and rather expensive to live, so some of the hourly rate suggestions would just be impossible. Many of the recipes cited for compensation here are profitable for one side or the other, but few are fair to both. If you have to train someone, that's an investment. If they need benefits, 401K, etc, that's another issue. Generally, double the minimum wage would be the rock bottom to offer a completely new esthetician to the field. An experienced esthetician should start more around triple the minimum wage. All should be offered 10% of retail sales from the first dollar. Depending upon the benefits offered, that can be altered somewhat. There should be a contract limiting their ability to work in competing practices within a certain radius. . . say 10 miles, for a period of 2-4 years, since you don't want to train them to go off and work for a competitor. Within that contract should be a very clear understanding that they are never, if they should leave, take your patient records or contact the patients they met through you. To do so would be grounds for a lawsuit.
That out of the way, you have 2 kinds of experienced estheticians. . . those with clients to bring to the practice, and those without. The estheticians coming without a clientele can be utilized during pre op consults and post op visits for camouflage makeup, and mini facials to clean up the patient after sutures are removed, etc. This can all be offered through the office as a complimentary gesture, and it's the estheticians job then to book the patients for ongoing care, peels, microdermabrasion, permanent makeup, lasers, retail, etc.
Fast forward a few months. Your esthetician is busy, retail sales and services are increasing, and her service figure is about double her salary. You are making money. . . be happy. She also knows you are making money, and that she is working pretty hard for it by now. Now it's time to put some incentive into place.
At the end of the quarter, figure out how much you paid the esthetician in gross salary. Double that figure. That's a quota. If she's gone over the quota, pay a commission on the overage. Start at 25% and increase incrementally to 40% as her business increases. Write a check for retail commission and a separate check for service commission at the end of the quarter. If you are increasingly writing big checks, consider raising the base salary, which will raise the quota, and also the guarantee/salary. As to the supply/back bar question, pay for the supplies through the practice. Tips are usually dismal or non-existant in a med spa. Nothing like the consistent 18%+ one receives in a salon or day spa. Paying for supplies offsets that, because though the tips are much higher, they would likely be charged for supplies in a salon/spa job.
If, like many of the postings here, you find yourself with an esthetician hanging around with nothing to do (I NEVER have nothing to do. . . there's always something, writing/sending promotions, checking up on patients, calling waitlisted patients, inventory, ordering, checking in orders, spiffing up the room, writing reports) first consider if you are introducing her to your patients and letting her have a few moments with them. My docs excuse themselves for a couple of minutes, and leave me alone for some patient face time. Then consider if you are making the pre and post op care important to the patients (provide a complimentary facial with each surgical procedure to get her going) Look at what she's done with the people she's been given. Are they buying facials, series of peels and microderms? Retail? If not, there's something wrong. It's all about patient retention, and bringing them back into the practice more often. That's what an esthetician does, and if there is no retention, you need to ask what is holding her back, or perhaps you need a new esthetician. Some things that hold them back are a shabby or cramped room, lack of supplies, lack of training, low or backordered inventory, and often it's simply unskilled booking practices from the front desk.
Some people simply don't inspire patients to return. I took over for someone like that. Lovely girl. . . dismal retention. She sat around, answered the phone, did clerical work to keep busy. I've only been there for 4 months, and I'm working far away from my home, so I only came with about 10 clients. I'm booked 3 weeks solid ahead of time and have a waiting list. I'm just starting to go over my quota, and my retail sales are at 28% of my service figure. I'm shooting for 50% by years end. That's a realistic healthy growth pattern, and as it continues to grow, we will all be happily making money and keeping patients happy and within the practice.
So good luck to you all, docs and estheticians. Remember to give each other respect for what you each do, and you will grow together.

Ok- So im a student who just graduated from esthy school. I just got my first "spa" job and they want to pay me 30% service commission and 10% for retail... no hourly...does this seem right or a rip off... i mean, i know im a "new-bee" and all but it just doesnt seem like the math would be right for someone to make any money, who has just gotten out of school and needs to establish a clientle. There is one other full time esthy with me, and one part time.. are they paying enough for me to make any money???????????????????????? ugh!!!... how frustrating!!

04.20 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

It would seem that there are different views, so here is mine, for what is worth to you. I am an Independent Contractor (Estheician). I pay $210 per week in rent, and have my own room. I receive 10% commission on retail sales after $2,500. Not enough incentive to be honest with you for me to promote the spa lines. I am not lazy, I just would rather spend my time promoting my services, where I get 100% of what I make, as opposed to 10% of sales... Make sense? I do only the esthetic stuff within the scope of my esthetic licensure although I did take the dermaplaning certification class through our med-spa. The doc is a "ghost" and the RN is in charge of all medical procedures... But that is another subject altogether. Business training is sorely lacking in this field, unfortunately. Since I am older, I have an understanding of cross-promotion with our massage therapists and the RN, but understand the only thing I get out of it is references from the MT's. The RN is a complete Bozo, and does not promote our services at all. Cross-promotion is a one-way street, thus a one-way-only promotion of her services... The receptionists are poorly hired, and poorly trained in customer service. Why pay $78,000 a year in advertising, and hire a snarky gal who answers the phone? Okay, I realize I am venting here, but pay is only one aspect of the business. I will never forget being in a med-spa conference where one class was devoted to "creatively cutting pay" for personnel. One doc had the audacity to stand up (can you say Schmuck?), and say that his esthetician built his business, and was making 70K per year, and he thought that was too much...wanted to keep her, yet cut her pay...?

05.8 | Unregistered CommenterUSP

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