Have you ever felt like you’ve not been tipping your barber just enough for those exceptional cuts? Do you think those extra bucks you parted with for that recent wicked fader shouldn’t have happened?
If you’ve ever had trouble deciding whether to tip at all and how much to, you’re just in the right place.
In this complete guide, I will show you exactly when and how much to tip your barber.
You will also understand things like…
- Why tipping is important
- Whom you should tip when you visit the barber
- When to and when not to tip
- How to tip during a holiday vs a regular visit
- How to tip a new barber vs your regular barber
- How much you should tip for a child vs adult
Well, let’s get started.
First thing first…
So Someone Asked, “Why Does Tipping Really Matter, Mike?”
Clearly, tipping a barber is not merely a way of saying “thanks for not making a mess of my hair.”
But, think about it:
A fine barber isn’t born in a day.
Similarly, staying relevant in the industry is no doddle. For instance, in the US, you need a certain amount of schooling to be a barber.
Plus, a long list of expensive barber tests to pass to get licensed. Especially the gruesome infection control and safety test.
As if that’s not enough:
Barbers bear recurring equipment maintenance costs; without forgetting the continuously rising barbershop rents among other overheads. Then add this to fixed operational costs and tax deductions.
Even with all that, barbers understand the need to keep prices low for customers. And are also constantly investing in skills improvement to serve you better.
But, bear in mind:
Tipping isn’t compulsory. So, you should never be obliged to do it.
Yet, each time you tip your barber, know that you’re…
- Getting access to some perks
- Making his/her day better (even you appreciate kindness)
- Appreciating their dedication, passion, and talent
- Lifting some of the expenses off your barber’s shoulders
- Investing in them to serve you even better
- Building a good relationship between you two
- Encouraging him/her to do his/her best during your next visit
Now look here:
One thing you should note is that …”tipping changes with the economy.” And below is how far the barbering world has gone in regards to this.
The Old School Tipping vs Modern Day Tipping
Looking at the Old School Way;
Back in the early days of the great legend Antonio Mancinelli, the customary tip was 10%.
If you were getting a $50 haircut, you would give a $5 tip.
Get it? Great.
Anything above that was a way of saying “you’re one hell of a barber and you’ve given me a reason to keep coming back.”
On the contrary, anything below 10% signaled dissatisfaction and a cold “goodbye”.
Do these norms still hold water in 2021?
The Nitty Gritties of Modern Day Tipping:
Today, the new baseline ranges between 15%, 20%, and 25%. The idea is to choose a number based on where you’re getting your haircut.
But does this mean tipping a high-end saloon more than a streetside barber?
Quite the contrary. This is what I mean.
The cost of running a barbershop in Manhattan is higher than a salon in the main street of a small town in the US.
Besides, salons in the boroughs of NY have more competition and so offer lower haircut prices.
It only makes sense that most customers in these communities are willing to go as high as 20%-25%.
Meanwhile, they tip 15%-20% in a less competitive area where the bill is likely to be higher.
Nowadays, tipping below 15% anywhere in the USA means you’re not satisfied with the services rendered to you.
Now, the next big question is…
Whom To Tip?
Who you decide to tip depends on two factors; the people present in the salon and how far you’re willing to go. Let’s take a closer look.
Do you Tip The Hair Salon Shop Landlord?
If you’ve been visiting a barber for over a long time, you’re likely to know whether it’s a rented shop or not.
More likely, you probably know who the barbershop landlord is.
In this case, tipping the landlord every once in a while (if present) is a good idea because;
- It can buy your barber a rental reduction
- It’s a relationship booster between your barber and the landlord
- It’s one of the things landlords consider during a delayed rental payment
Bear in mind:
Tipping the barbershop landlord is not really a thing – just a few people “do it”.
Do You Tip The Hair Salon Owner?
The commonly held belief among customers is to not tip the salon owner for haircuts.
And here’s the point;
Salon owners already get tipped out for almost every sale of hair products in the shop. The only time the barber gets a gratuity is after a haircut.
Seeing as the owner is usually responsible for the furnishing and styling of the shop, plus, overall service delivery, you can tip them too; if you want.
After all, if you’re satisfied with the services rendered, it’s because the owner made sure their shop has quality barbers and equipment.
Do You Tip The Barber?
Of course, YES.
The person who did the job of grooming you should be your top priority.
In fact, if you had the choice to tip just one person in a barbershop…?
… Let it be that guy who did their best to make sure you walk out of the shop with a killer cut.
What About The Salon Apprentice?
The popular opinion is to tip apprentices only during holidays and festive periods. In fact, some customers say not to tip apprentices at all.
The reason behind this is that the free training apprentices get is enough as payment. But it’s a no-brainer that you should tip these guys too when you consider the following:
- The majority of barber assistants make the least wage
- They do most of the work; laundry, tools sanitation, and cleaning the entire salon
- Some apprentice don’t get paid by their bosses at all
Here is another controversial topic in almost all barber tipping discussions.
“Do you tip the same on a regular visit vs on holidays?”
Let’s get down to it;
How Much To Tip Barber During A Regular Visit?
Remember when I said tipping ranges between 15% and 25% of your haircut price?
On a regular visit, it’s the kind of cut you get that decides which of these percentages is ideal.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
How Much To Tip For A Trim & Quick-fixes?
“Trims and quick fixes are no big deal, you shouldn’t be giving gratuity for them”.
In Reality, “fixing a bad DIY cut or trimming a fading style back in shape takes time and expertise”.
Even if it takes your barber just 10 minutes to repair a poor DIY cut, it’s still 10 minutes off their schedule.
But again, how much you tip is totally up to you; it will depend on how big the fix was.
A quick-fix should earn your barber between a 10% and a 15% tip. Basically, the same goes for trims.
How Much To Tip For A Complete Cut?
On a regular visit, you should tip your barber between 15% and 20% for a standard cut. Consider 15% when you’re satisfied with the cut and 20% when you’re blown away. Lol.
And if you’ve been wondering…
How Much To Tip For Hair Coloring?
Basically, when it comes to hair dying, one thing you should bear in mind is the number of hours spent on your hair.
If your barber spends up to 2-3hours highlighting, bleaching, and dying your hair, consider tipping them off starting from 20%.
And if you’re ecstatic about the results, 22% to 25% is great.
How Much Do You Tip When The Haircut Is Bad?
Remember the good old cliche “you don’t always get what you want”?
So, imagine this scenario…
Suppose it’s your barber’s bad day and you end up with a cut you don’t like.
You aren’t comfortable all through the process because the salon is dirty; the seat is worn out and uncomfortable; the clipper keeps pulling your hair; or you just feel they did your hairstyle in a rush.
How do you deal with that without kicking chairs or throwing capes and clippers?
The point is to make your dissatisfaction known in the most gentle way possible. And tipping off an old barber less than you used to or a new barber less than 10% is the best way to do this.
On the flipside…
How Much To Tip When The Haircut Is Too Good?
If your barber manages to get you groomed with perfection, i.e. without pissing you off, that’s one good reason to tip more than usual.
Haircut outcomes tend to determine your mood; so, if you’re happy with the service, go beyond 20%.
But, have you ever wondered:
How Much Should I Tip During Holiday Seasons?
The best way to tip a barber during a holiday/festive period is by gifting grooming accessories like;
- Hair clippers
- Professional barber capes
- Shaving creams
- And others
If you’d rather tip with money during a visit for your holiday/festive cut, tip them more than 25% of the bill.
Holidays only come once a year, so even a 50% tip can be ideal.
Though I received a 100% tip from many clients last Christmas; it just depends on how high you are willing to go to make your barber’s holiday memorable.
Okay, Mike, what about…
Tipping A Regular Barber Versus Tipping A New Barber?
Here’s one good rule of thumb:
“Tip your regular guy more than the man you’re visiting for the first time”. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
If you’re an advocate for equality, tip both equally.
Here’s my take though:
Regardless of who you’re tipping, remember the general tipping etiquette always. They are some factors you must always consider when tipping a barber; for example:
- The time it takes and the quality of the service you get
- Your budget
- The kind of relationship you have with the barber
- The salon location and convenience
- The barber’s years of experience
Now, how about…
Tipping Based On Age (Specifically, Kids)?
If you’ve been wondering:
How much should I tip for my kid’s haircut?
For some parents, tipping for kids’ haircuts that only take 5-10minutes is ridiculous.
But here’s the reality:
Kid-friendly salons are hard to come by. Most barbers find it challenging to do proper haircuts on stubborn, anxious kids.
So, that’s why:
Barbers who specialize in grooming children are uniquely trained to handle the hassles that come with grooming youngsters.
Also, they usually have a place and tools specially designed for kids.
These barbers invest more to be able to facilitate comfortable, stress-free, and professional haircuts for your child.
Children’s haircuts are generally billed at $8 – $25.
So, when you consider the extra investment, and the low haircut price, tipping for a kid is a great idea. But how much you tip depends on:
- If the place is specially created for kids
- How great the barber is with children
- The precision of the haircut
- How long the styling takes
Still, most mums and dads who tip, often go as far as 15% and 30%.
And that’s a wrap.
One thing though. Other than tipping based on the location of a salon, the baseline may vary between states.
How much to tip a barber in Canada is different from how much to tip in Ukraine.
Do you have any questions? Have I missed something? Or would you like to add to the topic?
If so, don’t hesitate to say something in the comments below.