In an HMRC government survey barbers were listed 453rd in the top 500 annual salaries below jobs such as window cleaner and shelf filler. Is there a strong enough connection between your skill and the returns they bring?
Pete Cranfield has just opened his shop ‘Cutthroat Pete’s Barber Store’ in Liverpool and says “I looked at what city centre shops were charging for a man’s cut and the running costs. I also took into account the service that I provide and the time I spend with each customer. Not one of my clients has given me any negative feedback regarding the price increase. I think if you eat, breathe and sleep barbering, not only as a skilled trade but as a lifestyle, you should put a good value on what you do.”
Ian Harrold owns two Attitude Men’s Hair salons and a neighbourhood barber shop. He says “It’s about the type of business and the type of work you do. I have a ‘sit and wait’ barber shop and an appointments based business and both work very well. It’s a different clientele with different expectations.” Ian uses Shortcuts Software and offers online booking, a service used by 250 clients a month. The Valet Barber and Shop in Croyden has an appointments system through iSalon. Co-Director David Maseyk says “We don’t want anyone to feel rushed so we work a ‘buffer’ into hourly appointments so that everyone is relaxed and ready for their service. No one ever comments on price and we have a regular and growing client base.” Murray McCrae who has just opened Stag Barber Co in Edinburgh and appointments have been an early success. Murray says “I chose to offer appointments as a lot of guys these days like to plan their schedule.” As a barber’s, walk-ins are always valuable so Murray chooses to run a blackboard appointment system. He says “In the morning I write in all my bookings, so anyone walking in can see my availability, write their name down at a time of their choice and come back.”
Gareth Clark in Oxfordshire is a purist when it comes to his ‘sit and wait’ policy and wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that it’s retained as part of the experience. “We’ve always operated a waiting system and the clients really like it. We’ve got a great inclusive family atmosphere and people are quite happy to hang out and chat,” explains Gareth. While Gareth has a core price on a cut of £12, the flexibility of serving one customer at a time means that he can build on services that can add up to a bill of £36 and customers leave happy in their own good time!