When and How Much to Tip A Barber?

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    Like massage therapists, a personal trainer, or your best friend, barbers are essential in helping us feel our best. They are experts at their craft, and tipping them compliments their work. Let’s talk about how much to tip a barber and different scenarios that might affect the amount.

    How much to Tip for a Regular Haircut?

    Whether your haircut is $20, $30, or $40+, you should always give a 20 – 25 percent tip of the total bill. 

    Here’s a break down of a customary tip for several price points:

    Cost of Haircut or ServicesAmount of Tip
    $20 haircut$4 – $5
    $30 haircut$6 – $7.50
    $40 hair cut$8 – $10
    $100 haircut$20 – $25

    Tipping isn’t required, but you’re letting your barber know how much you appreciate their work. They went to school and continued to build their level of service and education through practice and hard work. Plus, they have equipment expenses to think about as well. 

    You’re also building a good relationship with them, and it’s overall just a nice gesture. Whether it’s your usual barber or a new stylist, you want to thank them for their work, help them feel appreciated, and brighten their day. It’s important to invest in your relationship so that next time they remember you.

    Also, your barber doesn’t get 100% of the fee you pay for your services at the barbershop. Some of that fee goes to pay for the salon’s overhead or keep the business running. A good tip is part of their income, and they rely on them.

    image of barber shop tools, including scissors, comb, etc.

    When to Tip More

    There are several scenarios where it might make sense to give a more generous tip. Let’s review them and how much to tip a good barber during these situations:

    They did a fantastic job and went above and beyond.

    If you’re particularly impressed with your service, it’s OK to tip more. If your barber went the extra mile and provided additional free services, was friendly, engaged in small talk, understood the type of haircut you wanted, and just did an overall fantastic job, definitely tip them more. It’s a good way to tell them you appreciate everything they do to make you feel good.

    Recommended tip: 30%+

    You’re getting services that take a long time.

    You can tip more if the services rendered were very time-consuming, such as getting your hair dyed. If you’ve spent more than an hour getting good service, the barber or hairdresser can see fewer clients that day. Consider tipping more in this situation since you’re eating up more appointment time that they could be servicing on another client.

    Recommended tip: 30%+

    You’re running late.

    If you’re running late, you’re pushing the rest of their appointments for the day later and later. No one likes running behind, especially when they have fifteen or more clients to work on that day. 

    Show them some love (and your apologies) by tipping more to make up for the snafu. Sure, it might not be your fault that you’re late, but a little humility goes a long way in showing that you value their time.

    Recommended tip: 50%+

    They’re cutting your kid’s hair.

    Have you ever tried to cut a kid’s hair? For the love of Pete, they do not sit still, and trying to get even bangs is a fool’s errand. If the barber specializes in kid’s haircuts, they know all the tricks to help them sit still and avoid meltdowns. 

    They deserve a little extra for the patience and kindness their show towards kids, who can often be tired, cranky, scared, or shy, especially in new situations like going to hair salons. 

    Recommended tip: 30%+

    They’re coming to you to cut your hair.

    If the hairdresser or barber sees you outside the salon, you should tip more. It’s a hassle to drag all of their supplies around, not to mention the cost of gas and extra travel time.

    Recommended tip: 40%+

    Tipping During the Holiday Season

    What should you do about a holiday tip? It’s really up to you. This year might feel different than before, thanks to COVID, and it could affect how much you want to tip for their great service. Let’s talk about what’s an acceptable tip:

    You can tip your usual amount.

    It’s entirely acceptable to tip your usual amount during the holidays. Barbers and hairdressers don’t expect a bonus, so your average tip is more than enough.

    Recommended tip: 20 – 25%

    You can tip more. 

    Some people opt to give a service provider like massage therapists, servers, mailpeople, and others an extra tip. It’s OK to double it as an end-of-year thank you and let them know how much you appreciated them this year. 

    With the introduction of COVID, the service industry has been rocked as far as earnings and workload go. While a bonus won’t make up for the lost work hours, it can be a great way to tell them you care and that you support them.

    Recommended tip: 50 – 100%+

    You can give a small gift.

    Lastly, it’s OK to give your average tip plus a little gift. It’s really up to you what you’re comfortable with and what your budget allows. Consider giving your barber a gift card to their favorite restaurant or bringing a coffee (if you know what they like to drink). 

    At the holidays, you don’t always have to tip extra money. Do what your budget allows, and think outside the box if you feel the need to give extra.

    Recommended tip: A gift card, coffee, lotion, buy them a pedicure/manicure

    Should You Tip Less?

    There are times when it’s tempting to tip less, especially if you’ve had a really bad experience. Ultimately, it’s up to you. If the barber didn’t listen well, was rushed, talked on the phone during your cut, or gave you a bad haircut, that is grounds for tipping less.

    More importantly, you need to speak up and communicate as well so that you (and other customers) get better service. If the haircut isn’t what you want, feel free to (kindly!) stop the barber and talk about it. It’s better to be open and communicative than passive-aggressively hate their work.

    Recommended tip: 0 – 15%

    Who else should you tip in the barbershop or salon?

    There are others in the salon or barber shop you should consider tipping besides your great barber.

    If a salon apprentice shampoos your hair or helps out in any way, it’s customary to tip them as well. They do most of the grunt work around the salon, including cleaning up, stocking supplies, and more. Even worse? They often get paid minimum wage or not at all! Tipping them $3 – $5 can be a great pick-me-up to say thank you.

    You should not tip the salon owner unless they cut your hair. They take their payment from the salon’s earnings, so there’s no need to tip them directly.

    The Best Way to Tip Your Barber

    Now that we know how much to tip let’s talk about the best ways to tip your barber for their excellent service. Not all tip-giving methods are equal, and some go further than others.

    Give them cash.

    Once the appointment is done, you can choose to give them cash directly or ask the receptionist for a small cash envelope to hold the money. You can write your barber’s name on it, as well as yours, and give it to the receptionist or directly to your barber.  

    Cash is the preferred option since your barber receives it and can use it immediately.

    Tip them with an app.

    Another great option is to tip your barber through Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App. Using one of these payment apps is the same as handing them cash, but without having to stop at the ATM or worry about COVID germs.

    Charge it on your card.

    Putting the tip on a card is acceptable but isn’t the favorite option. With credit card tips, the barber has to wait for the tip to show up in their paycheck, and a percentage is taken out due to taxes. True, they do have to pay taxes on tips either way. However, waiting to pay that tax until they file their taxes can be more helpful financially, especially if income is less than usual due to COVID.

    Bonus idea: Tip them with word of mouth

    Another good idea to should your appreciation for your barber’s great job is to give referrals. If someone compliments you on your hair, give them your barber’s info.

    If you publish a before and after shot of your new great haircut, tag your hair stylist in the post. Mention their salon, name, and how to get a hold of them so that you can help them get new customers.

    The bottom line is, if you ever have questions on tipping and aren’t sure what to do, talk to the receptionist. They’re able to make sure your tip gets to the right person and is more than happy to answer any questions you have.

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    A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More

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