How Mark-Jason Solofa Saves 10 Hours Every Week

Summary: As a shop owner and single dad, Mark-Jason Solofa turned to SQUIRE to cut down on the manual number-crunching he did every night. Features like Auto Payout gave him back up to 10 hours each week to spend with his daughter and building his business.

     –Castro Valley, CA

For Mark-Jason Solofa, owner of Mark-Jason Solofa Men’s Grooming, the move from the banking and insurance industry to barbering centered around spending more time as a single dad to his daughter. On the verge of being laid off during the financial market crash in 2008, he took the chance to pursue his passion for barbering–attending Paul Mitchell The School and Hinton Barber College for training. 

Fifteen years later, Solofa has created a premium men’s grooming lifestyle brand that has two locations in the Bay Area and employs twelve barbers. He’s able to run it efficiently and has the freedom to spend his time how he wants. 

It wasn’t always that way, though. In the early days of being a business owner, when he was trying to keep costs down every way he could, Solofa took on a lot of the behind-the-scenes work on top of cutting hair. 

“When you start any small business, you're trying to keep your costs down right?” Solofa said. “So I kept saying ‘I don't need a bookkeeper to do this,’ and ‘I know I don't need a web designer to do that,’ but soon you literally are wearing all the hats.”

When it was just him and another barber, Solofa could get by just using a booking app and manually crunching the numbers for commission, tips, and sales each night on his own. 

But as his business grew, the hours started to add up. It was taking one, or even two, hours in the evening to keep on top of commission payouts and tracking the business’ performance. Those two extra hours on top of a full day at the shop cut into his time with his daughter.

“There's no way I can keep doing this,” Solofa remembered telling himself. “I don't have the time to be able to do this every day.”

Solofa wanted those 5-10 hours each week back, but he also wanted to make sure his barbers got paid their commissions fast. That’s when he turned to SQUIRE–trading out his old booking app for a true barbershop business management system. 

Cashing in on Auto Payout for Commissions

As a business owner, knowing how much money is coming in and going out of the business is one of the most important things to track. Prior to SQUIRE, Solofa relied on an “honor system” with his barbers. No matter how trustworthy the barbers were, it became impossible to manage.

“With one barber, it was fine cashing out at the end of the day through Venmo,” Solofa said. “Once I got to five barbers, I’m like, I can’t go back every day and make sure these guys are paying me out correctly. So I really was just operating blindly. If someone shorted me a couple of bucks here and there, who would know?”

SQUIRE solved this problem for him, however, by tracking and automatically paying out commissions. The stressful work that once took him hours each week became a report he could run in seconds. 

All Solofa had to do was plug in the commission rates and educate the barbers on how the new system works.

Auto Payout wasn’t the only feature saving him and his barbers time. The barbers are able to manage their own schedules and their relationships with their clients through SQUIRE. 

“It’s given me so much more time back and peace of mind knowing barbers can manage more themselves,” Solofa said.

Barbers at work at Mark-Jason Solofa Men's Grooming.

How Grit Becomes Greatness at ​​Mark-Jason Solofa Men’s Grooming

As a dad and a business owner, there’s nothing more precious than time. With more time in his week thanks to SQUIRE, Solofa isn’t wasting the opportunities it provides.

“SQUIRE has allowed me to not only manage my business, but allowed me to grow the business because I don’t have to worry about all the details of back-end reporting, accounting, and paperwork,” Solofa said.

Solofa shared some of the ways he’s been able to spend that time over the years working with SQUIRE.

  • Spending more time on himself and his family
  • Growing his brand’s social media presence on Instagram and Facebook
  • Investing more time mentoring the barbers in his shop
  • Explore growth and expansion opportunities for his brand

Having the freedom to invest his time into his personal life or his business is critical for Solofa. Looking back at his past self that wore all the hats in the business, he doesn’t sweat the costs of a barbershop business management system compared to his old booking app.

“What would you trade your time for?” he asked. “In the long run, it’s pennies on the dollar because the time you get back adds more value to everything you do otherwise.”

Solofa has built a successful brand that supports his family and his barbers while keeping his word to himself to be more available to his kids. 

But, as he looks at the generation that mentored him, he still sees many of the guys working into their 70s, in part because they never had the time to invest in themselves or money to invest in their retirement. For Solofa, choosing SQUIRE as a partner for his business is a way to break that cycle in the industry.

“I’m not trying to work until I die,” Solofa said. “What SQUIRE is doing is really helping a generation of barbers set themselves up better for success.”

Solofa is still building and improving his brand–and with SQUIRE, he’s got the time to make it happen.

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