It’s not hard to build clientele as a barber if you come up with the right business plan and work to build strong relationships with clients. We’ll show you some strategies to help gain clients and keep them coming back.
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15 Ways to Build Clientele as a Barber Fast
If you’re an experienced barber shop owner, or you’re wondering how to build clientele as a barber just starting out, we’ll give you some simple tips to attract more customers and keep them coming back.
Before you do anything else, though, it’s important to conduct some audience research. You’ll need to know who your potential clients are and what barber shop services they’re looking for.
This will help you with your marketing strategy and is critical when it comes to building relationships with new clients. After all, it’s one thing to get clients in the door. Getting them to book a second appointment (and bring a friend) is a different ballgame.
You’ll need an audience engagement plan that takes your shop’s geographic location, existing clients and any special treatments or techniques you offer into account. Let’s start with your barber clientele…
1. Define Your Client Base
When you’re thinking about how to gain more clients as a new barber, you’re probably not thinking about customers who only visit once. Your focus is on gaining repeat clients.
To get more clients like this, you’ll need to research your target market, including their demographic group, where they live/work, and any needs they have or services they’re likely to be interested in. It helps to understand your competition, too.
Then, you can focus on how your barbershop can meet these needs and what sets you apart from the others in your area (we’ll talk about this more, later). If you’re wondering how to build clientele as a hairstylist or a barber (or just about anyone in the beauty industry) your first step will always be getting to know your client base.
Take a look at local businesses for inspiration. If you’re in a trendy metropolitan suburb with a lot of nice businesses for example, you can advertise eco friendly hair treatments or have business hours that are convenient for young professionals and students.
Speaking of which…
To learn more please check out our post on How to Make Barber Shops Profitable.
2. Find Your Niche
Do you offer any treatments, techniques or products that most barbers in your area don’t?
If you want to attract potential customers to your business, try offering clients something outside of the standard barbershop services. This might include neck services like a hot lather shave and massage or facial treatments.
Remember to keep your clients’ demographics in mind, here. If you’re looking to serve mostly older gentlemen, you might consider offering something like hairpiece fittings.
Whatever you choose, don’t just rely on word of mouth marketing- advertise it to attract customers. Also, make sure to do some google searches and see what your competitors offer. You don’t want to be too similar.
3. Take Walk-Ins
In some situations, this might even serve as the “niche” that sets your own barbershop apart. It’s a great strategy in an area with high foot-traffic. Offering to take walk-in client appointments can quickly build your customer base, especially if you offer them great service.
In order to build a clientele this way, focus on the barber client relationship and make extra effort to have each person feel welcome. Make sure that they leave with your business card, ask about booking a follow-up appointment and offer to add them to your client database.
4. Make the Experience Great
This doesn’t just apply to walk-ins and first-time clients. Keeping your shop in good shape and always being professional will quickly build your business reputation.
Train your staff to treat each person that comes through the door as someone special, greet current clients by name if possible, and keep the barbershop’s interior clean at all times. Keeping detailed client notes will help with providing excellent service.
This will go a long way towards encouraging positive reviews.
5. Invest in the Interior
This doesn’t mean that you have to overhaul the decor of your shop (we know how expensive that can be). But, if you want to wow every single client and make a great first impression, you’ll need to keep everything looking fresh.
If the walls are scuffed or faded, invest in a new coat of paint. Repair any damage to the furniture and replace old equipment regularly. Finally, train your barbers and assistants to always keep their areas clean. Clients coming in will notice all of these things, and you want to make a great first impression.
6. Use Social Media
If your barber shop business doesn’t already have a Facebook page or an Instagram, then you need to get one. Using a social media platform (or multiple ones) is one of the easiest ways to advertise and build enthusiasm for your services, products and seasonal promotions.
If you already have social media pages, then make sure to post regularly. It’s easy to create business profiles and add your contact info on Facebook. Just be sure to keep the page up to date.
You should include photos (before and after shots are great) and reach out to customers to add them to your online contacts. Make your content “share worthy” and interesting so that they’ll be tempted to share it with friends.
Do not miss our post Unique Barber Shop Business Card Ideas.
7. Set Up a Website
Having a website for your business makes it much easier to find online, which is one of the main ways to build barber clientele. A website is also the perfect place to announce new services and promotions. Just be sure to give your clients the site’s link!
You can add a staff profile page to showcase their experience and skills, and even set up your website so that it links directly with your salon software and lets clients book appointments online.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to link your website to your shop’s social media pages, especially Facebook and Instagram to make it easy to find (and share) your details.
8. Run Special Events
Speaking of promotions and building customers’ enthusiasm, running seasonal events at your barbershop is another awesome way to get people excited, in the door, and talking to their friends about it.
This works especially well if you’re new in the community and want to put your business on the map.
You might run a VIP evening for example, asking clients to RSVP and offering free samples of new products, exclusive service packages that include a beard trim and neck massage with a hot shave, or sharing skincare tips. Don’t forget to advertise on your social media pages.
9. Work With Local Businesses
Another strategy to gain clients in your area is to cross-promote with other businesses in your area. You can keep each other’s business cards, refer each client to them in exchange for them doing the same, or even run promotions for mutual customers.
This is an awesome way to both boost your visibility and develop ties with others in the community- it’s especially handy in a metro area where things are within walking distance.
To learn more please check out our post on How to Write a Barber Shop Business Plan.
10. Encourage Referrals
Starting a referral program is the perfect way to give loyal clients the opportunity to bring in friends and family.
Make sure that you give everyone your business card, and tell them about the great discount or rewards they can get by referring new clients. You can encourage referrals by sharing links to your barbershop’s website and social media pages, even creating a referral button or form.
11. Encourage Reviews
If your customers are happy with their haircut or shave, ask them to give you a positive review online. Those five-star reviews on Google My Business really do help inspire new bookings. Any barbershop campaign to reach new clients should involve building your shop’s great reputation.
One way to do this is by using hair salon software to send people reminders after their appointments. Then, you can even see and respond to the review before making it public. Everybody wins!
12. Be Data-Savvy
This means looking at more than just your product sales or net profits. You’ll want to take a long look at how your barbershop is performing overall, which days are busier than others, and which products or barber add-on services are a hit. Salon software can help with this, too.
Once you know these things, you can create a marketing plan that’s more effective and even optimize your ordering and scheduling process to be ready for those busy days.
13. Advertise Locally
Maybe you’re wondering how to gain more clients as a barber in a new area, or maybe you’re established and looking to expand.
Either way, be sure you don’t overlook local resources like the community newspaper, radio or your town’s website. In some cases, a newspaper ad can cost as little as $50 to run. You can do this for special events or last-minute promotions, or run regular weekly/monthly ads.
14. Always Try to Rebook First-Timers
When you have a new client, the most important thing you can do (aside from giving great service) is to rebook at the end of the appointment.
Whether they’re in for just a trim or a full haircut plus facial and neck services, they have the potential to become a repeat and loyal customer if you can secure that all-important second booking.
Ask if you can send them a reminder for their next appointment, add them to your client contacts list and perhaps offer a free service (like a beard trim in a few weeks’ time) to start building a relationship.
15. Invest in Salon Software
Software for your barbershop will help with marketing, making it easy to send out automatic follow-ups and booking reminders. You can provide fast and easy online booking, and put together a speedy, well-optimized website in just ten minutes.
You’ll also be able to view busy and slow times to make scheduling easier and take the guesswork out of when you’ll need more or less staff. You’ll also be able to get the most out of clients’ reviews by seeing them ahead of time and responding quickly.
We recommend you to check out our post How To Manage a Barber Shop.
If you’re wondering how to succeed in barber shop business, the best place to start is by clearly defining your goals- this means getting to know your clients and their needs. Of course, having a great team of staff and communicating with them regularly helps, too.
In order to build clientele as a barber, you’ll need to look at the big picture: this means considering everything from what to sell in a barbershop to which services are most needed in your area. Then, you can focus your efforts on several different key strategies for success.
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