Barber Spotlight: Eric Cheeks

How to build clientele in the barbershop

I get a lot of emails about how to build clientele. I just relocated so I’m going to call myself an expert on this and because of my background: 18 shops, owned 3, worked in 3 states.
Here is a short list for those trying to build clientele. It works for new or experienced barbers.
1.Patience- if you are impatient you are in the wrong field
2.Promotion- Have some PROFESSIONAL business cards AND fliers made. Full color, glossy, double-sided; trust me, people hold on to these.
3. If you are at a new shop, you must spend at least 1.5 hours a day passing out fliers and business cards. I know that this gets old and sometimes you get disrespected; however, it works. For every 10 people that throw away a flyer, you got 1 client. Check the percentage on that; 100 fliers equal 10 clients. If you have been at a shop for a while and you just want to increase your existing clientele, try 30 minutes a day; every day. Do this for 3 months. By the end of those 3 months you should have at the very least 35-50 new clients.
4. 150 V.I.P. rule. As a Master Barber, you should have at least 150 regular clients. I don’t mean clients that come to you when their barber is busy. I mean every week or bi-weekly clients. These are loyal clients that will follow you to any shop. You should have this information on these 150 V.I.P. clients: cell, email, and possibly their home number. NO ONE changes their cell, email, and home number unless they’re being stalked. You should always be able to connect with these clients at any given time. Here is a test for you; on a slow day (we all have them; the money just varies. A slow day for you could be $100 or $300) text 20 of your clients and tell them that your chair is open. In 1 hour or less, you should have at least 15 of those clients setting appointments with you either that day or sometime that week. If less than 10 call you back to setup an appointment, you need to build your clientele. Also, 150 V.I.P. gives you the flexibility to know that if you moved unexpectedly, your clients would follow. If you are a part-time barber, you should have 75 V.I.P. or more.
5. TAKE YOUR TIME! I can do a fade in 6 minutes, 38 seconds. This doesn’t mean that I do this all the time. Many times, young barbers see that line in the shop growing and they go faster. Remember this, I don’t care how long you take; if your cuts are quality, people will wait. They may complain, call you a slow barber; but they will sit their butt right in your chair. Of course every one’s speed varies.
6. Offer extra services. I do this all the time and I usually get a dub. ( haircuts in Atl are only $12) I may have a request for a even cut. I may give him the cut, give him a razor line, hot towel, massage chair, and a facial. Dude is getting a bargain. They always ask, “How much?” I say $12 and they give me $20; works every time. If they give you the exact amount; guess what? You know what to give him next time; straight basic cut. However, in 18 years in cutting, that has never happened. Even if they did not have it that day, they came back later to bless me. Besides, extra services will not HURT, they can only HELP.
That’s just a few tips. Let me know what you think….

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