What you need to know when choosing a barbershop
Crusty: That which is undesirable or below your standards.
The shop you work at is the environment that you spend much of your daily life in, thus it is important the place is desirable and up to your standards. If you feel that the place is crusty, not working for you, and you feel that you can do better, then be confident and move on. Leave that crustiness in the past. Life is too short to live in crustiness.
After almost eight years of working in a barbershop in the hood, the decline was evident. Crack heads visiting frequently, hustling men in and out consistently, the writing was clearly on the wall. As a side note, whatever that is loitering around you is the direct reflection of what is going on in your shop.
If you see Eskimos there is probably an igloo somewhere around. If there are a bunch of crack heads coming into the shop, it means somewhere someone has some crack for them. If you ever come to that realization, leave that shop immediately. Because when the cops come in everyone is going down.
When the beef in the streets makes its way into your shop, you may end on the news as a witness or victim of a barbershop shooting. It happens. I advise you to always get contact info from all your clients (cell numbers, e-mail address) just in case you ever need to move shop, this way you can keep most of your clients. Know that when you leave a shop – do not – I repeat, do not expect your past co-workers to tell your clientele where you moved to. You are responsible for keeping contact with your clientele.
It’s commonplace that when things are about to start sliding down hill, you will over hear shop owners complain about bills and utilities. Keep your ears open to this, owners ranting about electric and water bills, it may mean that they are about to increase your booth rent.
In some cases, the owner may even stop paying the bills, meaning that lights get turned off during the work hours. When this happens, make up your next move and start packing because owners can get very funny acting.
Use the Grandma Test
If your grandmother was to come visit the shop at any time; Would she feel safe? Would she say that it was clean? Would she feel comfortable? If the answer is ‘No’ then you should not be there either.
Make sure facilities such as bathrooms, sink and overall cleanliness is kept up.
For weeks I was working at a shop that had terrible standards of cleanliness. The toilet was constantly overflowing and even though we were located next to a known plumber shop, the owner did not want to invest in a professional solution. One day, we noticed a lot of little fruit flies flying around the shop. These aggressive little gnats were landing on clients’ faces and being an annoyance.
After around three or so weeks, I made an observation, I thought they were young flies and had to have a source somewhere in the bathroom. Turns out that the garbage had not been emptied in months, the trash can was full of maggots and larva whose eggs were hatching into the little flies infesting the shop.
Never speak badly about other barbers or clients
The barbering industry is a very small circle, and as the years go on it is getting smaller and smaller. Clients will step into the shop and share their traumatic experiences and tragedies at other barber shops. They will engage you in conversation in attempt to get you to bite on the negativity. DO NOT BITE.
Word will spread that you were talking negative, and at some point those words you put out there will come back. Clients will go back and forth between barbershops and give you a reputation for insulting and disrespecting others.
You never want to encourage or welcome drama as a barber.
You are easy to reach. People know all about you; your name, your car, where you work etc. You work in a public space and almost always have clients present. A person who wants to harm you can call and schedule an appointment with you, knowing that you will be there. Not a good situation to be in.
Remember to always practice safety.
When closing the shop, make sure that some friend or co-worker is there with you. Robbers see tired barbers as easy targets, because their pockets are full of cash after each day.
Never speak badly or share intimate details of clients
It is insulting or degrading to other clients. First, it reflects poor character. Second, it dissolves any trust that the next client may have on, what guarantee do they have that you will not share their details? Down talking is the perfect way to lose clients.
Exhibit your Work to others
Now remember when you are in the shop, every client in the shop is observing everything you do. You have the opportunity to get cut in front of an audience show off your work.
Start with detailing the beard first by providing a great shave or trim, the face is what people observe most. By having him with a clean face first, you quickly get him looking very sharp and people get to see your work the entire cut time rather than doing the beard last.
Once you get a particular side blended well turn that side to the waiting area and work on the other side. Keep checking your work in the mirror.
Remember this cut is your advertisement as well.