There are Enough Clients for Everyone
How to Build Your Barber Business and Clientele
If you haven't figured it out already, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no secret sauce that helps you build a clientele after barber school. Sometimes you get lucky. I had a friend who worked in a studio suite neighboring a Starbucks. His window was right next to the parking lot facing the driveway. When building his clientele, he would open at 5 am and catch all of the people getting their morning coffees on their way to work. Doing this was an excellent strategy for two reasons: first, they were literally on their way to work; they had money and were willing to pay for convenience. Second, they were local — they were getting coffee in their hood, most likely close to home, and were familiar with the area. Not everyone will have such an ideal situation. Being a successful barber mostly boils down to hard work and consistency, and these five pointers to help get you started:
Get Business Cards
I fancy the old-school tradition of always having a stack of business cards and handing them out to everyone you meet. Why? Because it works! A business card is your first contact with a potential client with all the possible info they need — name, number, IG, address, what you do, and location. To step it up and give yourself an edge, create a QR code for your more savvy clientele. I like clients who are not married to social media. Often, they are more established and in a higher income bracket and are likely to respect your business more.
Pick a Shop That Will Help Solidify Your Success
Your barbershop is the place you go to every single day. It's your home away from home. It's your office, your lab, your studio where you make greatness happen. Make sure you're in a place where you feel supported and already has a loyal clientele. Busy barbers aren't always available to take all the new walk-ins. That's where you come in! Be humble, check the front desk, and sweep up after everyone. Clients will automatically gravitate toward someone who is busy and not with their face in their phone. I've had clients come in and ask me to cut their hair when their barber is sitting in the next station because I've done them the simple courtesy of greeting them.
Follow Your Clients on Social Media and Have Them Follow You
People buy people not products. Social media is a great place to build your personal brand and have your clients get to know you, the brand. And unfortunately, this includes them wanting to see what you had for breakfast, but you can control that based on what you post. The purpose is to have access to them and create organic engagement. Show off your work. Take your best pics and create dope transformation videos or find out who in your shop does it best and ask them to help you. Like and comment on clients' posts. Similar to a business card you can broadcast your contact and booking information. If you're on theCut you can link your booking page in your bio which allows them to book and pay in advance via Mobile Pay. If you already have a website, you can even use our widget for your booking page. Do more than flex on The Gram or not fully show off your skills because you believe doing so means you're showing off. Please, leverage social media to your advantage.
Create Predictable Schedules & Income - Learn About Your Clients
Hopefully, you're not weird, and you engage with your clients. Where do they work? How many kids do they have? Do they travel or have a job or lifestyle that has them out of town a lot? Are there any special events like a wedding? A wedding is a win because that could be a ten-haircut session! Find out who they are to learn how to meet their grooming needs and when to suggest to them when to schedule their next appointment (pre-booking) or set them up with a standing appointment, so you know when and who the money is coming from consistently.
Ask for Referrals
Asking for a referral might be uncomfortable for some at first, but if you want to guarantee and grow your income, there is no way around it as a new barber. After completing your amazing service, your client is looking mad crispy. ASK FOR REFERRALS. Let me say that again ASK FOR REFERRALS. They're happy they came to us. We're not dentists. People actually want to come and see us. Of course, they'll want all their people to have the same experience. One more time: ASK FOR REFERRALS
Once again, there is no actual "secret" to building a clientele, but hard work and consistency pay off, for sure! There are enough clients for everyone, I promise you. Go out, create your niche and get the clients you want in your chair. We'll call these your heavyweight clients. We'll discuss this type of client in depth the next time.
Be successful and praise Jah.
Undaunted. Outspoken. Trailblazers. Trendsetters. Khane Kutzwell, Kiah Lyles, Oyinlola Isiaka, and Onyinye Obasi are just some of the women in barbering who are blazing trails as barbers and busting down toxic ideologies that have had a hold on barbering for entirely too long.