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The Cordial Customer: 10 Practical Tips for Making Your Barbershop Visit a Success

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Going to the barbershop is a pretty commonplace affair. And while there's nothing too complicated about taking a seat in a comfy tufted chair while your barber takes a little off the top and runs the number two guard on your back and sides, there are some things your barber would like you to know to make your visit to the barbershop an even more pleasant experience.

  1. Arrive on Time: While being punctual is always a welcomed courtesy, I have found that the best time to arrive for an appointment is as close to the start time as possible. If the barber is finishing up with the previous customer, simply hang up your jacket and have a seat. In my case, I book back-to-back appointments and 95% of the time, the transition is seamless, as one customer leaves as the next one is coming in the door. Sure, there are those times when your barber gets backed up for whatever reason, but it's rare to have to wait for more than five minutes before being invited to the chair.

  2. Smoking: I always advise my customers not to smoke before coming into the shop. Tobacco residue on the clothes, hair and breath don't make for a cordial greeting and the combination of smells interacts unfavorably with the tonics and other products that are used by your barber.

  3. Hoodies: Hoodies are not a friend of the barber and if you've come to the shop wearing one, you've most certainly heard me say that. The problem with hoodies is, simply put, the hood, which is bulky and difficult to tuck into the cutting cape. If you wear a hoodie to the shop, please be sure to have a t-shirt on underneath and leave your hoodie with your other belongings.

  4. Clean Hair?: While there's really no need to come to the shop with hair that has been recently washed, it is advisable to rinse any hair products, especially heavy pomades, waxes and gels, beforehand. Most water-based products will break down easily with the water and tonic blend in the spray bottle, but if you do come in with an excess build up of product, I will simply rinse your hair under the sink. Easy peasy.

  5. I Have a Photo: While it happens infrequently, occasionally customers will pull out their phones to show their barber a haircut or style they fancy. That's fine except when a guy with fine blond hair shows me a photo of George Clooney! I'm all for guys wanting to try new hairstyles and up their image, but the best way to do that is to talk about what you want with your barber. Better yet, show a photograph of yourself taken from a few years earlier from that trip to Ibiza or your first date with that special someone who couldn't get their hands out of your hair!

  6. Speak Your Mind: Your relationship with your barber is a 50/50 affair. Moreover, you're paying for a service and are entitled to getting your money's worth. For those who know me, I always tell it like it is and I'm not afraid of giving my opinion about what I think a good and practical hair style is for my customers. By the same token, I expect my customers to be clear about what they want (even if they don't know what they want!). In the barber chair, communication is king...and so are you, so speak your mind!

  7. And Speaking of Speaking: I take special pride in offering a unique service, providing an after-hours schedule that is convenient for my customers who work a traditional 9-to-5 workday. But I'm equally as proud to offer my customers a one-on-one experience whereby we're the only ones in the shop. This provides an environment conducive to having conversations that perhaps you wouldn't have in a barbershop packed with other customers. In the four and a half years I have been a professional barber, I have had the privilege of customers who confide in me enough to talk about things that, well, need to be talked about. I've had customers going through break-ups and experiencing a number of mental health issues, not to mention moments of loss and grief. And I've also been delighted to share in the joys of marriages and births, job promotions, blind dates and all the amazing adventures my customers have experienced all over the world. My barber's chair is a safe place where all of my customers know they count on a caring ear to listen to whatever needs to be said and where what is said in the barbershop, stays in the barbershop.

  8. Re-Book: I'm pretty low-key when it comes to the business aspect of running a barbershop, which means I'm not as aggressive as perhaps I should be when it comes to selling products, asking for reviews or suggesting a re-booking after your service. And while I love reading your feedback and enjoy the extra income of selling hair products, my priority is, and always will be, giving you the best service possible. But as I draw close to the 300 customer milestone⏤many who return regularly every four to six weeks⏤keeping current with re-bookings guarantees you get your next appointment when you want it as well as helping me manage the flow of my three-night-a-week schedule. Having said that, remember that you can always book your next appointment before you leave the shop. And for extra convenience, feel free to text me via WhatsApp at 06 284 00 808 and I'd be glad to sort out your next booking for you and send you the confirmation via email.

  9. Leave it Alone!: While I tend to focus more on the haircut instead of the hairstyle, they do go hand in hand, one complementing the other. I always tell customers that the final look, or styling, they leave the shop with is one I design from the point of view of practicality. To be clear, I tend to stay away from fancy, artistic coiffures and focus on a practical, easy to manage style that can be easily replicated by the customer the next day in the comfort of their own bathroom. Nothing is more frustrating than loving your hair when you leave the barbershop only to not be able to reproduce it at home. For the most part, I simply look to the hair to see its natural fall, growth patterns and cowlicks and use those indicators to style the hair. Once I've determined those, I apply a modest amount of water-based pomade (the Reuzel™ Fiber Pomade in the dark blue tin is my go-to product) to give a subtly firm and textured finish to the haircut. Having made those points, I would suggest it's an added courtesy to your barber to allow them the last word on the finish (it's also a matter of professional pride and sense of accomplishemnt). As long as you're happy with the cut, that's the most important thing. Once you leave the shop, you're free to muss it up, part it down the middle (heaven forbid!) or put your favorite cap on it.

  10. The Rule of 3: Finally, I consider the barber-customer relationship to be a most unique one. For the majority of men, it represents a bond and camaraderie that is shared typically with only family members and lifelong friends and acquaintances. In fact, the mere undertaking of a man touching another man is most often experienced exclusively through relationships with only four people: one's father, doctor, tailor and barber! When looking for a new barber, I always recommend giving them three chances to earn your business...and your trust. Three visits should be enough to gauge whether the fit is right, the communication is fluid, the vibe is positive and the end result is to your satisfaction.

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