THE OVERALL PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
Cleanliness is one of the top factors men look for when choosing a barbershop.
Maintaining a clean and tidy shop and having a high level of personal hygiene will mean clients subconsciously build trust in you.
Personal hygiene refers to cleaning and caring for your body. Maintaining good personal hygiene is necessary for personal, social and health reasons, however it is particularly important in the barbershop as you come into regular close contact with clients. Ensuring that you maintain a high level of personal hygiene will reduce risk of cross-infection and cross-contamination.
Many businesses will have a clear set of guidelines for staff to follow – this avoids confusion and ensures everyone maintains the same high standard.
As barbers, we work in close contact with several clients every day. Body odour can therefore be a major issue, especially on a hot, sunny day when the hairdryers are going full blast! Bathing or showering daily, wearing clean clothes and the use of anti perspirants will reduce the risk of body odour.
Fresh breath is vital! Brush your teeth at least twice a day and avoid eating strong smelling foods such as garlic or onions for lunch. And all you smokers out there – a quick wash of the hands and a mint does not make the smell disappear, so timing is crucial. If you are about to do a facial massage with a shave, try not to smoke beforehand so that you don’t offend your client – after all, a client will not return for a bad smelling treatment.
Some services require you to be in your client’s personal space – especially when shaving or cutting facial hair. Hands should be washed regularly throughout the day to keep them clean and remove dirt and product, and nails should be kept neat, clean and tidy.
As a barber you MUST look after your hair. After all, if you cannot look after your own hair why should clients trust you with theirs? Keep your hair clean, grease-free and in style. In this industry, people will judge a book by its cover.
Some barbershops have a uniform requirement – they may provide you with branded tops, or you may be asked to wear a certain colour scheme - and some barbershops let you wear what you want. It is part of the job to get your clothes covered in hair, so it is a good idea to separate your work clothes from your other clothes. Many barbers wear aprons, which will protect you to a certain extent.
Comfort is key when is comes to choosing work shoes. Barbers are on their feet for long periods of time and you do not want to be uncomfortable or in pain for the best part of the day. For safety reasons, most salons and barbershops will not allow open-toed sandals – this is a prevention of hair splinters and in case you drop anything sharp or heavy which could cause major injury. Also avoid wearing dirty or scuffed shoes as this will not make a good impression with clients.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is protective clothing designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. In barbering, common PPE includes gowns, towels, aprons and gloves. It is also good practice in a barbershop to use neck strips or tissues before putting on a gown to avoid cross-contamination with the gown. Also, when cutting facial hair it is important to make sure the client’s eyes are protected with eye protectors, such as cotton pads.
As barbers we are part of the fashion industry and the image we portray should reflect this. How we look is a big part of our individual personality. Clothes, shoes, tattoos, jewellery and most importantly hair all change with the fashion. Barbers and hairdressers therefore need to stay up to date to ensure they stay relevant to their clients.
YOUR SHOP IMAGE
With so many barbershops on the high street it is important to make sure your business stands out from the crowd.
Promote your high standards and skill in allures of barbering. Always display your qualifications, awards and certificates
A professional appearance is essential to success – no one wants to walk into any business with staff that look a mess! Uniform in the barbershop can vary drastically from shop to shop – a shirt and a bow tie is often seen in high end barbershops; some barbers prefer branded t-shirts, or smart uniform aprons. Whether you opt in or out of having a uniform, the important thing is that the staff’s image compliments the shop’s image.
Taking time out to ensure that you have a good social media presence allows you to keep in touch with your followers. This is a good way to keep both regular clients and new clients up to date on any special offers, business updates, upcoming styles and last-minute appointments. How you conduct yourself on social media can affect your business. keep your private life and ranting off your professional pages.
Your website should clearly reflect the image of the barbershop - if your shop has a vintage feel for example then your website should reflect this. Make sure that it has a clear layout and is easy to navigate – not everyone is comfortable with technology or being online, so keeping things simple ensures your website is accessible to everyone. Make sure that you include essential information such as contact number, location, opening times, and prices.
Traditionally barbershops only offer walk in appointments, but a growing number of men now prefer to pre-book, over the phone or through an app or website. Few barbershops currently offer appointments, so this could be a good way to offer something your competitors do not.
Music in the barbershop is all part of the client experience, so choose wisely. Music is important in creating the right atmosphere and therefore should match the brand image you are trying to build. It also needs to suit the environment! If you use, play or listen to recorded music in your shop, the chances are you will need a music licence. The Music Licence allows you to legally play music for your staff or customers in your business through the radio, TV and other digital devices. PPL PRS Ltd is a new company, equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music. It has been created to provide customers with a streamlined music licensing service – TheMusicLicence – with a single point of contact to make it easier to legally play and perform music in public. Previously, businesses and organisations would have had to purchase two separate licences from PPL and PRS for Music instead.
It is a growing trend in the industry for salons and barbershops to offer a free beer, or a glass of wine or champagne with the haircut. However, you need an appropriate licence to be able to include alcoholic drinks as part of the service. If the supply of alcohol is linked to a sale – even if the client is not specifically being charged for the drink - then a licence is needed. So, if you’re not giving anyone who walks past the shop a free drink then, strictly speaking, the cost of the drink is included in the service and they are paying for it.
The British Master Barbers recommend that before providing any alcohol within your barbershop that you contact your local authorities to make sure you fall within the legalities required as rules differ between.