Making a Living as a Freelance Men’s Barber
When you think of a barber, you might think of the man working down the street providing hot shaves and clean cuts to the guys who probably wouldn’t set foot in a beauty salon. However, there’s a new breed of barber out there: a men’s freelance barber. Working as a freelance barber has great benefits. You’re able to do what you love for a living, get paid to make people feel and look their best, have the opportunity for high-paying gig now and then. You might even land a famous client. As a freelance barber, you will most likely not work all day in a barbershop but need to be mobile or flexible in your schedule.
Just like any other freelance job, you’ll need to market yourself. Freelance barbers need to provide consistently great work that could help lead to getting more clients. The quality of your work and customer services skills may help determine how often your clients refer people to you. Building this book of business and networking is key to any freelancing barber. Continuously applying your craft, keeping up with new trends, and studying new and modern hair techniques are good ways to stay at the top of your game. As with most other professions, the more you put into your craft as a licensed cosmetologist or barber, the more you’ll get out of it.
Getting Paid More as a Freelance Barber
One great way to entice people is to provide potential clients with an introductory rate. When you’re just starting out, a freelance barber can get new clients to try their skills at discounted rates. As you earn more more business, you can let repeat customers know that their cost will match your regular rates over time. These rates can be adjusted again as you take on higher-profile clients who may either re-hire or refer you, building your network and getting your name out in the industry. This approach can help to set you apart from the competition, but also set the expectations of future prices. It also lets them know that you’re worth a lot more but that you’re willing to cut them a deal in order to start a successful partnership. This is just one creative way to get your foot in the door and begin gaining a higher level of clientele that could also refer you to others at their level.
Some barbers choose to return to their cosmetology school to continue their learning. To keep their name out there, they’ll still work within the beauty industry and work on their cosmetology education. Some barbers work to become licensed instructors and teach classes at the beauty school that they attended along with other beauty colleges. As a freelance barber, this mentoring perspective is a good trade-off if full-time teaching is not for you. You can also be a guest lecturer at a barber school complete with in-person demonstrations.
Staying active within the men’s barbering school education system is also a great way to get and keep your name out there. Students that value your beauty industry insider-knowledge tend to share your name or quote you when working with their clients, effectively keeping your reputation active in the hair and beauty industry for quite some time. They may reach out to you later in their careers for advice, too. 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?
How much barbers make can depend on a variety of factors. While there are barbers that maintain higher rates from the get-go for their daily and hourly hair gigs, your experience and price points may vary. While sometimes setting your rates really high will attract a certain clientele looking for an experienced and high-end freelance barber, it can also scare away clients that might otherwise have been able to book. It’s important to match your experience and reputation with your service 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. Some other experienced freelance barbers refuse to accept a flat rate for a day because hours for special events or productions can go much longer than expected.
Other ways to increase your income is by passing along the cost of your supplies to your clients. Consider charging a kit fee for the hair and 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!), on-the-spot shaving services, and other customized work. Since they are using their own colors, chemicals, and equipment, these prices are justified even if they are higher than barber shop or salon prices. Convenience costs money. Also, as a freelance barber, you’re often putting together specific looks for your clients, meaning that there is a lot of customized processes that were thought through, specifically for this job, and your clients should know this about your work.
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 you, rehire you, or refer you to new clients 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 else, be nice. Kindness can always go a long way. 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 earn 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, the way you carry yourself, and how you market your brand.
Your reputation as a freelance barber will follow you throughout the years. How well you work as a cosmetologist or freelance barber depends on the entire experience of working with you – the way you actually conduct yourself on a personal level while on site or on a production set. If you’re kind to people, always showcasing your strongest skills, best hair styles, are well-put-together, as well as as a good listener, your clients will remember to refer your name along to their contacts. 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 or not you’re a freelancing barber worth working with in the future.
Freelance Barbers Working in Media, Film, and Advertising
As a professional freelance barber for TV and film, you’ll work with on-set directors that may challenge your execution with switching up the artistic vision or look of a character midway through a film or TV appearance. You’ll need to remain completely flexible and roll with the punches in order to get re-hired by them. This may improve your reputation as a barber that’s very easy to work with in 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. Your ability to adapt and deliver matters. Filmmakers or on-set decision-makers may want you to apply a hairpiece or mix color and chemicals on the spot. Versatile freelance barbers are comfortable putting together standard or regular looks for print as well as high-fashion events. Taking direction from photographers for fashion shoots or runway event is important to this type of career. Being prepared to mix up looks with a completely stocked kit can prove that you’re ready to take on anything thrown your way as a freelancer.
Going out of your way and leaving your comfort zone to create styles that are not your favorites can be good for your freelancing skills. Pleasing the client is rule number one. Pushing yourself will lead to getting rehired and referred for other paying hair gigs in the future.
Your Barbering Education Comes First
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 in order for you to work on your own as a freelance barber, you’ll want to have a solid foundation. Knowing the fundamentals of cosmetology, barbering, or both can help you have success out in the freelancing field.
You should attend a well-known cosmetology school, like Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy in Orange County, CA. 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!