Grungy fingernails, rancid breath, rumpled clothes, offensive body odor and more—overlooking any of these no-no’s of personal hygiene can determine whether or not a potential client will sit down in your chair, come back for a second cut or head straight for your competition. The first impression you make counts big-time when building up and keeping a barbering clientele. Take a personal inventory! Can you rank yourself as “Professional” in all of these make-or-break-a-relationship areas?
- I took a shower this morning. Avoid the risk of offensive body odor by showering daily and using deodorant. A little not-too-strong aftershave or cologne might be a plus as long as it’s not used as a cover-up. Don’t forget your hair! Remember, you’re supposed to be the expert on well-groomed hair.
- My clothes are clean and pressed. It definitely can’t hurt to look better at work than you do when you’re lounging in front of the TV or working in the yard. Launder your clothes frequently—spots or not—and press them, unless they are made of a wonder-fabric that doesn’t need ironing. No rips or tears either, even if you bought something off-the-rack that way! Exceed the dress code in your shop.
- My nails are clean and manicured. Your nails are going to be very close to your client’s face, or easily visible in the mirror. Dirt or grease under your nails and nails that haven’t been recently trimmed and filed can be a big turn-off. Would you want Your hands touching your hair and scalp? If the answer is “No,” better spring for a professional manicure every couple of weeks and clean under your nails daily.
- My breath smells clean and fresh. What did you eat or drink last night, this morning or for lunch? Did you brush your teeth after eating and use a mouthwash or a mint to ensure that your breath won’t be offensive to those who don’t want to experience your meal second-hand? If you have any doubts, ask a co-worker whether your breath passes the “It’s safe to be near you” test!
- My shoes are comfortable AND presentable. Anyone who works on their feet all day has to wear comfortable shoes or risk getting very cranky. But those shoes shouldn’t be the same worn out athletic shoes you wear to jog or mow the lawn. It’s a fact that some people will look at your shoes first and pass judgment based solely on them! Invest in a pair of conservative, comfortable shoes that you save for work.
- My hair has been professionally cut. Why would anyone trust someone to cut their hair whose own hair looks like they haven’t had a good cut recently? Consider your clientele—sex, age, ethnicity, economic status, etc.—and make your hair an example of the kind of cut you think they can at least admire, or even want to try on themselves.
Do you pass every test? Will you leave a first and lasting impression that is professional in every way? A “Yes” answer will be the start of a great day and of building relationships with clients who will be back to your chair again and again.