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Tips for Finding a Barber

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Whenever I go to the barbers, there are always a couple of guys with empty chairs. They look up hopefully when I enter and ask if I need a haircut. I point to Dane, my barber, and say, “I already got a guy”.

It’s from Dane that I learned the secrets to a good hair cut. Here they go..

1. Go local.

I like going to the neighborhood barbershop. While Supercuts is good in a pinch, it helps to find someone who is a Barber, and treats it as his or her craft (not just as a side gig). Also, while there are certainly some very good high-end barbers, watch out for salon settings. There are very talented people there, but going to the barbershop has been for me at least a very male experience, where anything and everything is discussed, and salons do not to translate that experience very well. Also neighborhood barbers tend to be significantly cheaper than salon barbers.

2. Always go to the same person.

Your hair has a personality, and it usually takes a barber a couple of times before he or she can get it right. Once you find a haircut that suits you, your barber won’t even need to ask you what you want. Also, it feels good to “have a barber”, a person whose job is to make sure you are well groomed.

3. Tip.

Always tip your barber. This is a service. Most neighborhood barbers rent their chair and have to pay weekly, the number of “heads” they cut does not factor into the price they have to pay. If you like your barber, tip him or her. It’ll get them to their rent faster, compensate for slow days, and more likely that they will stick around.

4. Tip Well.

This is the secret to VIP service. I have my barber’s cell phone number. I call him when I’m about 45 to 60 minutes out from coming, by the time I get there, my seat is waiting for me. That enables me to be in and out. He let’s me know when he’s going out of town so we can adjust our schedule accordingly. It almost feels like a strategic partnership. For this I tip him 25 to 50 percent of the price of the hair cut (which really isn’t much because the neighborhood barbers tend to be cheaper). Come the holiday, I’ll probably slip him a bit extra. Although it pays to be special, it still feels special.

This Post Have 29 Responses

  • Clifton Park Dan October 8, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    Great advice.  Stay with the same person, and tip generously!  I’ve stayed with Angela for years, and regret the few times I’ve had to see someone else!!

  • DangerDan October 9, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

    Great advice here Jack.

  • Dan Cononico October 13, 2007 @ 9:02 am

    i’m an Ohio barber myself…i treat my people like gold..this was great advice BUT you still didnt tell everybody how to FIND a good barber……

  • David October 13, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    10/13/07

    Q.  How do I find a good men’s barber who will also dye hair, shampoo and style it well for business and social life- unisex salons, local men’s barbershops, franchised shops, or ??

    Thanks.

    Dave.

    A. (your turn)

  • Lynn October 13, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    As a hairdresser/barber I couldn’t have expressed my feelings better…BTW I always give my best hair cut to the customer, however, the person that always gives me a tip …  I will be sure to go out of my way to service for their convenience

  • George October 13, 2007 @ 10:23 am

    Nice to see I’m not the only one with this concern.  There are three professionals in my life that I dread having to replace, my doctor, my attorney and my barber.

  • matt October 13, 2007 @ 10:48 am

    tip #5:  dont go to a woman to cut your hair.

    tip #6:  dont leave the chair until your satisfied with your haircut.  if its not short enough on the sides, tell him to make it a little shorter.  if you tip well, the barber wont have a problem accomodating you.

  • FadersWife October 13, 2007 @ 11:38 am

    What a great article.  My husband is a barber and people just don’t understand that if he’s not cutting, he doesn’t make any money.  If you walk into the shop and your barber is busy, go ahead and wait on him or her, that shows that you are loyal.  My husband doesn’t cut your hair fast so he can take the next customer in line, he takes his time and does it right.  If you walk into a shop and someone else asks if you are ready and you really want to wait on someone else, don’t feel pressured to sit in the other chair, you may regret it later.  Tipping is great, but of course is not required, he will still give you the same service but if you do tip, he knows that you are happy with the service and cut you got.

  • Ed October 13, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

    Any barber recommendations for the North Houston, Spring area?

  • jim October 13, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

    I agree completely. Supercuts or something similar is good in a pinch, but it’s like getting a haircut at McDonald’s.

    You don’t need a haircut when you leave, but you know it wasn’t really good for you.

    Local places have a rep to preserve.

  • Cindy October 13, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

    I am a female Barber/Stylist. It is great to call when you want to come so you won’t have to wait. If your name is put on the book, you get top priority. It’s like reserving the seat. I will go out of my way to accommodate my customers. Deaths, weddings, etc., I will work late, weekends, or whatever they need. My job. my customers, are my life. I love them. They buy my groceries.

  • Martha Ellerkamp October 13, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

    One of the best places to go in North Dakota for a hair cut is Big Sky Barbers in Dickinson, North Dakota!

  • MACK EASLEY October 13, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

    M E N NEVER GO TO A BARBER WITH A FEMALE NAME ! ! ! !  NEVER GO TO A BARBER UNDER THE AGE OF 55 ! ! ! !  NEVER GO TO A BARBER THAT USES A GUIDE ON THER CLIPPERS.  A TRAINED MONKEY CAN CUT HAIR LIKE THAT.  DUH !  I AM 70 YEARS OLD AND I KNOW BARBERS.  NEVER PAY OVER $13 FOR A HAIR CUT.  PLUS $2 TIP.

  • Frank October 13, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

    I have the same Barber for 30 years, he is the owner and I never Tip the boss.I am also tired of

    paying $15 for a haircut that take 5 minutes and is drawn out to 15 to justify the price. By my calculation that $3 dollars a minute, much to much even at todays standards.Iam now leting my hair grow long and will in tome sport a short pony tail. So much for Barbers and people who can’t afford to get hiarcuts on a regular basis,

  • Cynthia October 13, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

    I am a 41 year old female Barber who loves her job, why shouldn’t men go to a Female barber?  I cut every mans hair as though it were my family and wouldn’t want them to look bad.  I don’t believe the sex of the barber has anything to do with the cut.  I work in Davis Square, Somerville Mass.  (Dentes) Never be afraid to request your favorite Barber.  I always go to the same person myself and we would prefer you request to make you happy

  • Joe October 13, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    As someone just mentioned, you still aren’t telling us how to find a good barber. My problem has been the same for years no matter who cuts my hair. Supercuts, local barber etc. THEY DO WHAT THEY WANT NOT WHAT YOU WANT. “Take very little off all around”, “just clean it up”, “I don’t want to look like I just got a haircut”….clear instructions ….right? …nope, wrong

    they don’t care and just cut the way they want. As for sitting in the chair until they do it right….LOL… if they start by taking too much off your already scr$�. I don’t care if the haircut takes all of 3 minutes as long as I get the look I want which is just neat and clean and not shorn. Where do the TV personalities get their hair cut…they always look the same as if the hair never grows.P.S. I’m 67 and have only found 1 good barber who left NY 20 years ago.

  • Mike October 13, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

    Great advice! I’ve been going to my guy for 15 years. About 4 years ago he shaved my head. I still go (and pay him about $35) every six weeks and he shaves my head and face (I shave them both every day too; but going to Tim is a treat–well worth the price!). It’s not local–I drive about 50 miles to him, and it’s sort of a cross between a salon and a barbershop, but I don’t care! He trims my ear hair, my nose hair, my eyebrows–he makes me look GOOD! Kistlers in Orange, Ca. (trained in Ohio) simply the best!

  • cleancut October 13, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    having a great barber is hard to find. growing up, i had the same barber until i left highschool. after that, i have moved from coast to coast, with a few years in chicago. once you find a good barber, that person becomes like family, not only does he know your her but he will know all about you, your family, and vice versa. all the great barbers i had become close as friends, and to thos who put heir all into their work like that, i commend you, even when you slip up sometimes and ruined my day cause you got a little too much, the love is still there! thanks!

  • Craig October 13, 2007 @ 3:38 pm

    I went to the same person for 26 years… I received a job offer in another state, and my biggest fear of moving was having to find another person who I can stay with for another 26 years.  I was very lucky in finding a barbershop that I liked on my first visit.  I have been going there for 2 years now.  Tips on finding a good barber – someone that washes their hands before he/she starts cutting your hair is very important.  Other perks they give also help like shaving the back of the neck, choices of aftershave and hair tonic.  And especially tip well… they will remember you and give you great service.

  • Stephen October 13, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

    I cut my own hair, it was hard to find someone who would cut it the way I wanted and not the way he wanted so I said screw it and bought myself a set of shears!  I now also cut other peoples hair for them, men and woman!

  • Bill Brigham October 13, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

    Mark Twain once said: “When you go into a new barber shop and are wondering which barber to choose, look for the one with the worst hair cut.  The chances are he didn’t give it to himself.”

  • local barber October 13, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

    I am a barber holding a cosmotologist liscense. 37 years old and have been barbering for approx. 15 years. 1st and formost tips ARE appreciated they helped me pay for my childs diapers and other expenses that the $9.00 (for seniors) or $10.00 regular haircut didn’t cover. The haircuts that I give are consistent and I use guards because they give a neater more uniform cut, I can give a cut with clippers over comb but that is for a more textured cut. Also remember that we have to pay our taxes out of all that we bring in. If you have had a bad experience at a particular shop don’t write that shop off try the other barbers too until you find one thats right for you. Common intrestes and personality, good day bad day factor it all in and then decide.  thank you for your patronage.

  • Suzie Crudo October 14, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

    I was a Salon owner of 2 salon in NY for over 25 years.

    The true profit on the $15.00 haircut that takes 5 minutes breaks down to:

    cost of overhead

    cost of electric

    cost of water

    cost of supplies

    cost of liscensing

    cost of insurance

    cost of taxes

    cost of laundry

    cost of payroll

    cost of Accountant

    cost of bank charges

    cost of advertising

    and everything else that is part of the cost of just doing business.

    I expect the true profit of that $15.00

    haircut was $6.50!

  • LISA October 18, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

    I HAVE NOT READ ANY REALLY GOOD TIPS HERE ON FINDING A BARBER,STYIST,ETC…I HAVE BEEN A LICENSED COSMETOLOGIST FOR 24 YEARS,FULL SERVICE,WHEN YOU FIRST WALK INTO A SALON OR BARBER SHOP,WHAT IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION?,IF YOUR GUT FEELING IS TO LEAVE,THEN I WOULD GO WITH THAT FEELING,HOW CLEAN IS THE SALON?HOW WELL GROOMED ARE THE STYLIST THAT WORK THERE?DO THEY CUT HAIR IN 3-15 MINUTES?LOOK FOR ONE THAT IS WELL GROOMED,TAKES AT LEAST 30 MINUTES TO GET TO KNOW YOU AND THE STYLE YOU WANT,NOT WHAT THEY WANT TO CUT,THEY SHOULD BE ASKING YOU,HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT CUT OFF HERE AND THERE,WHAT STYLE ARE YOU WANTING TO ACCOMPLISH WHEN IT IS DRY,HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU WANTING TO SPEND ON YOUR HAIR TO GET THAT STYLE WHEN YOU ARE AT HOME,MAKING SURE IT IS SOMETHING THEY CAN DO AT HOME AND NOT WHAT A STYLIST CAN DO FOR YOU WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR SERVICE,DO THEY KEEP THEIR STATION CLEAN?DO THEY SEEM TO BE ORGANIZED?ARE THEY IN A BAD OR GOOD MOOD?IF THEY ARE IN A BAD MOOD,THEN YOU DONT WANT THEM TO TAKE IT OUT ON YOUR HEAD,I HAVE ALSO OWNED MY OWN SALON AND TOOK ALOT OF PRIDE IN IT AND IT SHOWED,I NEVER HAD A CUSTOMER NOT RETURN TO ME,AND ALSO WHEN I OPENED MY OWN SALON IN A NEW AREA PRETTY FAR FROM MY PREVIOUS JOB,I KNEW ALOT OF MY CLIENTEL WOULD NOT FOLLOW,AS MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO STAY PRETY CLOSE TO HOME,AND IN 6 MONTHS I WAS TOTALLY BOOKED AND COULD NOT TAKE ANOTHER CUSTOMER,ALTHOUGH IF SOMEONE WAS REFERRED TO ME ,I WOULD WORK LATE TO TAKE THAT CLIENT,I ALWAYS TREATED MY CUSTOMERS AS THEY WERE FAMILY,AND WHEN THEY WALKED OUT OF MY SALON,THEIR HAIRCUT HAD MY NAME ON IT,IN WHICH I WANTED THAT TO BE A GOOD NAME OF COURSE,MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT COMPLAIN,THEY JUST WONT COME BACK!!!AND BAD NEWS SPREAD FASTER THAN GOOD NEWS ABOUT YOU!!I WOULD EVEN CALL CLIENTS BACK IF I SAW SOMETHING WRONG WITH A HAIRCUT,COLOR,ETC..THAT ONE OF THE OTHER STYLIST HAD DONE,AND WOULD FIX THEIR HAIR BEFORE THEY LEFT ON MY TIME WITH NO CHARGE,A GOOD STYLIST WILL ASK YOU AT LEAST 2 TIMES,IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DONT LIKE OR WANT ME TO CHANGE ABOUT YOUR STYLE BEFORE YOU LEAVE?AND TO MAKE SURE THAT CLIENT IS TOTALLY SATISFIED WHEN THEY LEAVE,EVEN IF IT TAKES LONGER THAN EXPECTED AND YOU HAVE CLIENTS WAITING,THEY WILL ALSO SEE YOUR INTEREST IN THEM AND WONT MIND WAITING,I STILL HAVE CLIENTS ASK ME WHEN I AM GOING TO OPEN ANOTHER SALON,SOME I HAVE NOT SEEN IN YEARS,AS I SOLD MY SALON TO STAY HOME AND RAISE MY 2 CHILDREN,NOW THAT THEY ARE OLDER,IN THIER TEENAGE YEARS,I AM CONSIDERING OPENING ANOTHER SALON,I HOPE THIS INFORMATION HELPS SOME OF YOU,I TO HAVE ALSO HAD A BAD HAIRCUT AND I DO KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GROW OUT TO BE ABLE TO FIX IT,SOME STYLIST’S ARE FOR SHOW,FLIPPING THEIR TOOLS AROUND,BUT THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THAT HAIRCUT THAT IS EVEN,I AM VERY MUCH A STICKLER ON MAKING SURE THAT THE HAIRCUT IS EVEN,I HAVE HAD MANY CLIENTS TELL ME,WHEN I CUT HAIR,THEN GO BACK THROUGH AND CHECK IT,THAT THEY HAVE NEVER HAD A HAIRCUT WHERE THE STYLIST CUT THEIR HAIR AND THEN CHECKED IT.ONE LAST WORD OF ADVICE IS TO LOOK AROUND WHEREVER YOU ARE AT,WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE WITH A GOOD HAIRCUT,ASK THEN WHERE THEY HAVE THEIR HAIR DONE,AND ABOUT THE STYLIST THAT SERVICES THEM.ALSO I HAVE READ ALOT OF COMMENTS HERE FROM STYLIST PUSHING TIPS,ALTHOUGH IT IS A NICE JESTER,BUT NOT REQUIRED!!!!THE STYLIST’S NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON GETTING NEW CLIENTEL TO HAVE MORE BUSINESS THAN RELYING ON TIPS,NO MATTER HOW GREAT OF A SERVICE YOU GIVE,SOME PEOPLE DONT BELIEVE IN TIPPING AND THATS OK,AS LONG AS THE CUSTOMER IS HAPPY WITH YOUR SERVICE AND RETURNS BACK TO YOU,THAT LETS YOU KNOW YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB WHEN THEY COME BACK AND ASK FOR YOU,THAT ALSO GOES FOR WAITER’,BARTENDER’S ETC…

  • Mark October 18, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

    I’m a Barber/Stylist and i find to give the best cut,examine the hair i.e. ( wavy straight curly )If wavy and they want a clipper cut, a cut with your shears or razor will give a better cut and the hair will lay better.

  • LOCAL BARBER October 21, 2007 @ 1:19 am

    SAY YOU ARE IN A TOWN WITH ONLY TWO BARBERS AND THEY EACH OWN A SHOP ACROSS THE STREET FROM EACHOTHER, YOU GO IN TO THE FIRST ONE AND HIS OWN HAIR IS CUT BAD, BIG GAPS, HAIRLINE ALL CROOKED JUST ALL JACKED UP. YOU LEAVE AND GO TO THE OTHER ONE, HIS OWN HAIRCUT IS CUT PERFECT AND WELL GROOMED LAYS JUST RIGHT AND LOOKS GREAT. WHAT BARBER ARE YOU GOING TO GO TO? THE ONE ALL JACKED UP, CAUSE HE OBVIOUSLY CUT THE OTHER BARBERS HAIR. THERE IS YOUR HINT! (NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER)

  • DangerDan October 23, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

    Here’s a tip: learn to use your CAPSLOCK button.

  • capslock October 25, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

    Sweet Jesus, what is with the capslock

  • Linda Docy October 29, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

    Mack I’m sorry to hear that you are so far in the old school that you don’t think women make good barbers, OR could it be you prefer men running their fingers through your hair. Seen alot of women barbers that are excellent must be the latter reason. Emerge from your closet!

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