Making a Living as a Freelance Men’s Barber

When you think of a barber, you often think of the guy working down the street – providing hot shaves and clean cuts to the town’s male population, ones that probably wouldn’t set foot into a “salon.” But there’s a new breed of barber out there, especially here in Southern California, and that’s a men’s freelance barber.

Working as a freelance Barber has great benefits. You’re able to do what you love for a living, you get paid to make people feel and look their best, and of course there’s always the opportunity to earn a high-paying gig or the chance to land a big hair client. As a freelance Barber (or Barber that doesn’t work all day in a barber shop), you will learn that consistently doing great work will lead to you getting more clients – you’ll need to market yourself, just like any other freelance job, but at the same time if you are consistently turning out great hair work, it will show and hair clientele will often refer you or at the very least help you network your hair skills and services.

If you’re looking for the high-paying gigs as a Freelance Barber, you’ll need to make sure that you are always out in the field applying your craft, but that you’re also continually learning and studying new and modern hair techniques that will keep you in touch with other Barbers, hairdressers and beauticians within the ever-evolving cosmetics industry. As with most other professions, the more you put into your craft as a licensed cosmetologist and Freelance Barber, the more you’ll get out of it.

Freelance Barbers Working in Media, Film and Advertising

As a professional Freelance Barber for TV and film, you’ll run into on-set directors that may often challenge you as a Barber by switching the entire artistic direction midway through a film or TV appearance and you’ve got to stay completely flexible and roll with the punches in order to get re-hired by them as well as earn a reputation that you’re a Barber that’s very easy to work with within the TV & film industry. Directors may want to add more grit to a male character or go in a completely different direction and look using wigs and hairpieces or beards.

Filmmakers or on-set decision makers may want you to apply a hairpiece or mix color and chemicals on the spot, and as a well-trained Barber, you have got to be completely flexible. You’ve also got to be just as comfortable putting together standard or regular looks for print as well as the high-fashion and print looks for men’s runway or male model photographers, and making sure you’ve brought everything you’re going to need in your kit to give your clients that look while out in the field.

There are many ways to go out of your way in order to get rehired as a freelance Barber, including leaving your comfort zone in order to do apply a look on a client that you’re not necessarily comfortable with in order to please them. Often times you’ll see that simply going out of your way for a client, even when it comes to pushing yourself will lead to getting rehired and referred to other paying hair gigs in the future.

Getting Paid More as a Freelance Barber

One great way to hook people is to provide all of your clientele with a starting or discounted introductory rate. Like in many professions as you’re starting out, many male freelance Barbers got their start doing reduced-rate hair gigs early on in their careers. For instance, you can take on higher-profile clients who you know will either re-hire you or help you network (getting your name out in the industry) and start off by telling them you’re going to give them a great introductory rate in order to earn their business. This will not only set you apart from the competition, but you can also let them know that you’re worth a lot more – that your real rate is actually substantially higher, but that you’re willing to cut them a deal in order to start a successful partnership that will thrive in the future. Needless to say, this is a great way to get your foot in the door and begin gaining a higher level of male clientele that will also refer you to others at their level.

Some barbers choose to return to their cosmetology school to continue their lineage and keep their name out there is to stay working within the industry and cosmetology education. You can teach classes at the hair & beauty school that you went to, or at regional occupation schools and cosmetics and beauty colleges. You can approach these from a mentor perspective if you’re unable to teach full-time or you can always be a guest lecturer at a barber school in Orange County.

Staying active within the men’s barbering school education system is also a great way to get and keep your name out there – these students that take ‘looks’ and beauty industry insider knowledge away from the sessions you teach will always reach out to you later or quote you when working with their clients, effectively keeping you alive in the hair and beauty industry for quite some time. You may also find yourself working with or alongside these students one day out in the field, which can lend to more networking opportunities in the future as well.

How Much Do Freelance Barbers Make?

This is a tricky question. You see, while there are Barbers that swear by setting rates very high from the get-go for their daily and hourly hair gigs, your experience and mileage may vary. While sometimes setting your rates really high will attract a certain clientele that is looking for an experienced and high-end Freelance Barber, it can also scare away clients that you could have grown with as well as be dangerous to your reputation if your experience doesn’t stack up against your hourly rates. Some Freelance Barbers in Orange County charge a flat fee for their work, while others swear by charging hourly with a minimum number of hours per gig. Other experienced Freelance Barbers say that they wouldn’t accept a flat rate for a day because hours on-set can go long and deep into the night – something running 12-16+ hours and making you work for a flat fee doing way more than you bargained for.

Other things to consider are charging a kit fee for the hair & men’s grooming products your clients consume during any of your freelance hair gigs. For instance, some freelance Barbers charge upwards of $65-120 for standard on-site cuts as well as $150-$550 for special chemicals (yes, men get highlights and color too!), hot shaves and other customized work. Since they are using their own colors, chemicals and equipment, these prices (while much higher than barber shop or salon prices) are often justified. Also, as a freelance Barber, you’re often putting together specific looks for your client, meaning that there is a lot of customized processes that were thought through, specifically for this job, and your clients should know that.

This could lead to you getting hired by higher-end hair clients who you’ve never worked for before. Reassuring your new clients by telling them you that you won’t let them down and living up to their expectations and working hard for them will not only show them you’re worth your fee as a freelancer, but also that you’re a Barber that they’ll want to rehire. Many inexperienced freelance Barbers won’t make them feel this level of comfort or give them the reassurance, so be sure to go out of your way to prove yourself to your new clients – they’ll remember and rehire or refer you throughout the years.

Freelance Barbers Can Attract and Earn the Bigger Clientele

There’s a lot of paths you can take after getting out of cosmetology school if you’re looking to become a successful Freelance Barber, but above all the things you can do out in the field as a Barber is, be nice. Freelance Barbers are expected to be honest and work exceptionally hard in their profession. Not a lot of people get to work in their dream career and be out of the office earning a steady paycheck, so it’s important to work hard and take time to be grateful. Whether you like it or not, it’s important to remember that these clients will judge you and the way you carry yourself and market your brand.

Your reputation as a Freelance Barber in Orange County will follow you throughout the years. Not only how well you work as a cosmetologist and freelance Barber, but also for the entire experience of working with you – the way you actually conduct yourself on a personal level while on set. If you’re kind to people and smell great, are showcasing your best hair looks and are well-put-together, as well as sympathetic and good to every client you work with, you’ll almost always be suggested in the future every time they have an opening or need a great experienced freelance Barber. Remember that it’s not only the person that hired you, but every single person that you come across while out in the field that will tell others whether you’re a great freelancer or awesome to deal with on a day-to-day, and that usually gets around.

The cosmetology school you attend is probably the most important factor in what you do to become a successful Freelance Barber in Orange County, California. If you are truly serious about becoming a licensed Barber in Southern California so that you can become a freelance barber and work on your own, you’ll want to have a solid foundation and know the fundamentals for cosmetology so that you’re never left stuck while out in the field.

You should attend a well-known cosmetology school, like Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy in Orange County, CA. Our world-class modern beauty school facility in Santa Ana, CA is one of the best hair schools in California. We’d love to give you a free tour of the campus and show you why we’ve been one of the longest running cosmetology schools in California. For more information on beauty school and how Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy can help you become a Barber in California, please call us at 833-841-4201 or click the button below. We are excited to help you start your career as a licensed Barber or freelance Barber!

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