How to Build Clientele as a Barber

There are dozens of reasons why customers may become loyal to their barbers—from knowing every one of their haircut preferences by heart to providing reliably excellent service every time.

But behind your honed barber skills is a constant balancing act. It takes entrepreneurialism, craftsmanship, and social skills to build a barber business. Tasks like overseeing schedules and managing your marketing efforts can make it tough to focus on the foundation of your business: growing your customer base.

Fortunately, combining tried-and-true methods and digital marketing tools can help you create a business you’re proud of. Whether you’re already a business owner or just starting out, these 6 tips for how to build clientele will help you become a barber clients can’t wait to return to.

#1 Tap Into Your Vocational Network

Finding clients as a brand-new barber can be a tough task. But if you enrolled in a vocational training program to learn how to become a barber, there may be work placements available where you can meet potential clients. Some vocational programs also guarantee you job placement upon graduating, which means you swiftly earn back tuition.

Finding clients and a chair through a vocational placement also offers several advantages:

  • Vetted shops – Quality vocational programs typically reach out to local businesses to ask about seat availability and recommend graduates. They also collect information about shops and pass them along so students can decide where to apply. This is a great way to keep you from pouring undue time and energy into researching potential employers.1
  • Foot in the door – The beginning of a career can be the most difficult time to gain clients. You’re unestablished, unproven, unknown—even if you’re fantastic at what you do. Getting placed in a shop that already has a steady stream of clients can net you your first loyal customers.
How to Build Clientele as a Barber

#2 Do Your Research On Shops Near You

If you can’t get a placement through a vocational program, it’s time to do some exploring in your neighborhood. While physically knocking on doors might seem a bit old-school, seeing local barbershops in action can make it easier to find out about their:

  • Existing client base
  • Chair rental rates and facilities
  • Shop culture

That said, if you’re scouting online, you can prioritize finding businesses that tout a solid online reputation. You can usually gain more insight about a business by:

  • Reading online reviews – If a place has many ratings on Google and a generally positive reputation, it’s likely a popular spot in real life as well.
  • Speaking with barbers who work there – Actually asking the others who work in a shop about their experiences is the best way to get a sense of how it operates.
  • Sussing out their social media – Seeing a shop’s online presence can give you a sense of its clientele and style. If they’re tagged in a lot of posts on their social media platform and beloved by their followers, they likely have a loyal clientele base for you to work with.

Before you can build your client base, you need a chair to work from. And that seat should be in a shop that attracts the kind of clients (and fellow barbers) you want to work with. Getting into the right shop and keeping your spot there is conducive to maintaining a loyal group of clientele.

#3 Show Off Work You’re Proud Of Online

Social media is a vital tool for customers to evaluate barbers and businesses before deciding to patronize them.

Use these venues to share information about your services and rates—but don’t be afraid to use your profile to speak about your business’ personality.2 You can give your posts and photos your own flair by:

  • Writing captions that show your unique sense of humor
  • Using a signature background for pictures of your work
  • Posting styles in which you’re particularly skilled

A recognizable and consistent face and attitude are important aspects of any business’s branding. Plus, presenting yourself and your business in a personable manner at the forefront signals trustworthiness to customers.

How to Build Clientele as a Barber

#4 Engage with Clientele and Followers Online

Using social media to spotlight your portfolio is one thing. But it’s also an effective way to build client relationships.

When you engage with your followers online, you can connect with clients on a personal level and show that you value them as customers. If you want to use your social media platform to build clientele as a barber, try:

  • Interacting in online communities – Answering questions and participating in discussions in barber-related social media groups gets your name out into the community and boosts client retention. Being kind and helpful online forms positive associations with your personal brand.3
  • Fostering relationships with clients – Following your customers and asking them to post pictures of their cuts makes them feel more like a friend than a client. If they’re going to share their new style with the world, request that they tag you as well. Comment, like, and interact just as you would with any of your other friends.
  • Posting about events and others – Your page is for your business, but you don’t exclusively have to share things about yourself. If your shop is having an event or a fellow entrepreneur is hosting something in your local area, share that information. It shows you have character and care for more than just clients and profits.3

#5 Create Business Consistency and Efficiency

Customers want a reliable experience when going for a haircut. They usually want the same style, from the same barber, at the same time intervals.

For many, that barbershop experience is part of a larger routine that makes them feel secure and included in a community.4 You can contribute to that and bring consistency to your business by:

  • Offering online booking – When someone is viewing your photos on social media, they might be so enamored with your style that they want to book a cut right away. Integrating a booking platform into your page immediately enables that social media onlooker to become a future client who’s seated in your chair.
  • Eliminating wait times – People are busy, and while building a clientele community is one of the best parts of being a barber, not everyone has time to hang out each time they get a touch-up. Make it easier to squeeze in appointments by telling customers exactly when they can drop into your chair. Automated platforms that notify clients when it’s their turn can help you reduce wait times and work more efficiently.

Looking for an app to help manage your customers? SQUIRE provides an all-in-one platform to organize the clientele barbershop owners rely on to stay in business—without taking up the time you need to style and run your shop.

Go beyond just booking. Grow your revenue and streamline your shop operations. Get started!

#6 Build Rapport with Your Clients

On top of being personable and likable on social media, maintaining those qualities in real life will have your clients returning as regulars. Regardless of the barbershop pricing, people like to obtain services from businesses they view as kind. Happy clients are more likely to make repeat visits to places when they feel the service and staff are friendly.5

When a customer sits in your chair, you are the staff, and you provide the service. To keep them smiling, try to:

  • Listen and respond sympathetically – As mentioned, the barbershop can be a space of community and belonging. Some can also treat it like a therapist’s office or the stage of a debate.4 Whatever your client is saying while they sit in your chair, do your best to give them your attention while staying focused on also giving them the best cut possible.
  • Be attentive to their specific needs – People are highly selective when it comes to their hair. Show them their trust is safely placed in you by taking the time to customize their cut to their exact liking. Everyone’s had a bad haircut at some point, so they know when a barber is going above and beyond to meet their needs.

Once you’ve developed a solid relationship with your current client, it should feel a lot more comfortable for you to ask them to recommend you. By the time you’ve given them a few excellent haircuts, they’ll probably already be doing it without you asking.

How to Build Clientele as a Barber

Give Your Client Base an Easy Way to Book Haircuts with SQUIRE

As a barber, one of the most fundamental steps you can take when growing your client base is to make your services as accessible as possible. You can achieve this by using barbershop management software with user-friendly customer service. With SQUIRE, embed booking capabilities right into your social pages so past clients or new customers can schedule their next session without even opening a new tab.

Building out your business with SQUIRE streamlines every element of your business, whether you’re starting fresh as a freelance barber or managing multiple business locations in your area. Manage maintenance costs, automate your loyalty programs, and make client experience as seamless as possible by streamlining your operations all in one place.

Whatever your goals are as an entrepreneur, you can go further with SQUIRE.


  1. American Barber Institute. Job Placement.
  2. BUFT Journal of Business and Economics. Impact of Social Media on Consumer Buying Behaviour through Online Value Proposition: A Study on E-Commerce Business in Bangladesh Impact of Facebook Marketing on Brand Awareness.
  3. Government of Victoria. Use Social Media for Business.
  4. Psychology Today. A Mental Health Focus at the Barbershop.
  5. Government of Queensland. Improving Your Customer Service.
  6. Business Insider. It’s all about you: The founder who’s the face of their brand is more likely to succeed in 2023.
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