How to Become a Successful Barber

Every barber starts out with the same dream

– getting a consistently full barbershop, loyal customers that just can’t get enough of you, and juicy retainers all over the city.

But as is often the case in every industry, including barbering, it’s not everyone that eventually gets there. For various reasons, some stop just short of achieving the viral success they dream of, while others never really get out of the small shop phase.
If you’re like most professionals in this industry, chances are that you also started out gunning for the top. But how do you avoid the pitfalls that snare so many others and ensure you make it to the apex of the barbering industry?

Here are seven tips that can get you on your way.

#1: Provide top notch customer service

You’ll see we’re starting with your customers. There’s a simple reason why – it’s all about them. The best barbers only rise to the position of success they enjoy because they have found out how to provide service that people want and keep coming back for. If you want to become a successful barber, you also need to figure this out. Thankfully, that’s what you’ll learn next.

The first step is to identify what kind of service you can provide that sets you apart. When customers enter into your shop or come across your services, what do you want to jump right out for them? Is it compelling enough that people would be interested in trying you out? That’s a good place to start.

Although barbering seems like a general enough skill, it can be pretty niche-focused. For some, that niche would be providing the craziest designs. For others, it could be a focus on cool, clean cuts.

Find out what works for you, then finesse it with service delivery that makes your customers feel special. Greet them with a smile when they walk in the door, keep your barbershop and tools nice and clean, maintain current subscriptions for trendy magazines that’ll keep your customers engaged while they wait. These seem like little things, but they set your barbershop as a cool place to come, and that’s where it starts.

#2: Improve on your craft

Once you figure out what makes you stand out don’t just stand still with it. Your craft is at the core of the quality you provide and you don’t want it getting stale. Get out there, invest in new certifications, add to your skills, polish your services so they elevate the standards you provide to customers.

Although much of the trust between barbers and customers is built on being able to provide consistent, reliable cuts, that’s no excuse to be static. Constantly elevate your services by adding to the experience. This could be by offering extra services like shoulder rubs, warm towel cleanses, or even a complementary snack. Or it could be by procuring the latest and safest tools so your customers know you’re literally on the cutting edge of the industry.

How much people are willing to pay for a service depends on how much value they perceive they are getting. As you constantly take your craft higher, you subtly affect their perception of the value you provide, and this can be key to earning more from your customers.

#3: Maintain high standards

Trying out new things can be exhilarating and when you see your innovations take off with customers, it will certainly feel rewarding. But a mistake we often see barbers make is failing to keep standards at a high level.

You can’t afford to start out at a high level and then let things fall off along the way. Your customers won’t reward you for that. Instead, you should begin as you mean to go on. Establish the standards you want your customers to enjoy, and keep your service delivery at that level or higher.

Keeping high standards does not necessarily mean that you must procure the best tools, a shop in the trendiest location, or employ Victoria’s Secret models as your shop assistants. You can keep high standards even with a modest budget. Ensuring your shop is clean at all times, cleaning all your tools in-between uses, making sure every single customer feels well-attended to even while waiting are all great standards to implement.

Never mind that you’re just starting out or have a budget smaller than most. You can still do things with a focus on quality, set the bar and keep it high.

#4: Be right on time

No one likes a tardy barber, no matter how good they are. If you’re in the habit of keeping your customers waiting, they’ll eventually find someone else who is interested in delivering the services they need on time.

Stick to your advertised opening and closing times. While unexpected events can certainly happen that make you late or a no show, you shouldn’t make this a habit. And if a customer has informed you ahead of time that they’ll be at your shop but you won’t make it on time, be sure to let them know early. Being on time shows your customers how much you respect their time and this helps create loyalty.

Respect for your customers’ time also includes working quickly when you have people waiting for a cut. Don’t take all day on one person’s hair when you have others on queue. And if it’s a cut that simply cannot be rushed, inform those waiting and let them have a fair estimate of how much time they can expect to wait.

#5: Dress presentably

Dressing is a bit of fluid topic when it comes to barbering. There’s really no right or wrong way to dress. What matters the most is how your dressing tallies with the perception you want your customers to have of you; the type of customers that you want to attract; and the associations you want people to make with your brand.

Want to establish a reputation as a trendy barbershop for young people that know what’s in vogue? Then you should dress like it. Are you more interested in setting your shop up as the spot for the hardest dudes in the neighborhood? Then you should look like it.

The bottom line is your dressing should never be at odds with what you want to portray as the standards in your barbershop. And if you’re in doubt as to how to dress, you’ll never go wrong with a simple, professional look.

Final thoughts

Barbering is a large industry, larger than most think. And as is often the case, the larger a space is, the harder it can be to succeed there. But with these tips, you have what you need to get started on the road to success.

Don’t forget that it’s all about your customers. And when you find something they love, never stop growing. Personal and professional development is important, demonstrate your commitment to success by pursuing greater levels of excellence in your skills and service delivery.

Finally, don’t be afraid to do things differently. Whether that’s by taking advantage of Tik Tok, selling retail products in your shop, doing online barbering tutorials, or starting your own physical beauty academy, difference can often be the catalyst for great success.