Being a Better Client

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Or How to Make Your Barber Not Hate You


Being a Better Client


It always surprises me that clients sometimes show such disregard for the person who is cutting their hair. They can often run late, be rude or disrespectful, and not fully appreciate the role the barber plays in their lives. Your hair is an important part of your look and self-image, so finding the right person and treating that person well, helps you get the most out of your barbershop visits and get the best haircut possible. The following are tips on how to become your barber’s favorite client.

Be Nice

Even if you are not the best tipper or if you have difficult hair, if you are nice to the person cutting it, that goes a long way. Being behind the chair for eight (or more) hours a day is hard work – it’s difficult on the back, feet, and wrists. You are covered in other people’s hair all day. It can be a pretty tough career, but sometimes that smiling face that walks through the door can make it completely worthwhile.

Know What You Want

It’s important to know what you want before you sit down. Of course, a good barber will help guide you to choose the perfect haircut, but if you’re not sure what you are after in the first place, that can lead to frustration. Once your barber has finished the cut, leave it alone (unless there are obvious errors). It is incredibly frustrating to complete a haircut and have a client say, “Can you take the sides a bit shorter?” Making this kind of adjustment sounds simple, but to take more off the sides or the top often requires more blending and finishing and can almost result in a complete second haircut. Barbers often run a tight appointment book and what they earn is directly tied into how many clients they serve. If you ask for “a little more off,” this adjustment will likely be rushed and the end result will probably not look as polished. Instead of asking for an adjustment, why not say, “this looks great, but next time I think I want to go a little shorter on the sides.”

Put Your Phone Down

Few things are more distracting than having a client talking or texting during a service. Communication with the person who is cutting your hair is critical and you can’t do that effectively if you are on the phone. It is also difficult to cut someone’s hair when they are juggling a mobile phone from ear to ear or looking down trying to send a text. Not only that, but it is disrespectful. Make sure to schedule your appointments at a time when you can relax and give your barber your undivided attention.

Be On Time

As mentioned above, barbers often work on a tight appointment schedule and nothing is more frustrating than waiting on a client who is running late. When a client is late, they often have to rush the haircut in order to run on time for the clients who come after. No barber wants to rush through a haircut (and you probably don’t want them doing that either). Plan your visit to allow enough time to arrive before your appointment begins. Of course, they realize things are often out of your control, so if you are running behind, call and let your barber know. Quite often, they can arrange things on the schedule so they can still accommodate you without upsetting the rest of the schedule.

Tip Well

This goes without saying, but tips are a big part of a barber’s income, so knowing how to tip is important. Like you would tip a waiter, the rule is that you tip more for outstanding service – 15% would be the minimum, but 25% would be the standard if you have received great service. Very few barbers would admit this, but they do give better service to clients they know tip very well.

Most great barbers will give you good service whether you are their favorite client or not, but if you really want that extra time and attention, treating your barber right, knowing what you want, and rewarding them for outstanding service is important.

Adopted from “How to Be Your Barber or Stylists’ Favorite Client” by David Alexander, a Men’s Hair Expert for Style.