The Dos and Don’ts of Being A Freelance Barber
Being a freelance barber might mean you have more freedom to choose who you work with, but if you’re thinking about taking the step towards a freelance career or are already operating as such, here are some helpful do’s and don’ts to consider.
DO be flexible. The great joy of being freelance is you are in charge of your own time. However, this can be a blessing and a curse. Some days you might be working 12 hours straight, other days you might have just one single appointment. You have to learn to be flexible.
DON’T always say ‘yes’. It can be tempting to say ‘yes’ to everything (especially if you are at the beginning of your career) but learning how to say ‘no’ is a valuable lesson. Think about whether the job is right for you and whether you are being paid fairly for your time and skills. If the answer is ‘no’ learn to politely decline or negotiate.
DO market yourself. Like any freelance job you have to market your skills and showcase your work in order to get more clients. Do this through your social media channels or if you are finding it difficult to keep on top of them or want more of a relationship with the media consider getting a PR. You could also consider getting an agent that will help you book jobs and take care of invoicing.
DON’T undervalue yourself. Setting your rate might be the single most important and difficult thing to do as a freelancer. Setting a high rate might attract a higher end client but it might put other more regular clients off. You could always introduce an introductory lower rate to attract clients, telling them you are cutting them a deal. But remember to know your worth and tell them your normal rate. You can choose to charge per hour or per day. But be warned if charging per day, some jobs can go on much longer than expected!
DO network. Stay in the loop of your fellow barbers and the wider hair industry at events, shows and awards. You never know when an opportunity might come up or you might hear about a new project you can be part of.
DON’T neglect your education. Keep up with latest trends, book onto the hot new courses and continually refresh your skills and techniques that you are using. Even though it might be harder when you are freelance as you will almost certainly be footing the bill yourself you should be constantly learning.
DO download the British Barbers Association Code of Practice. It is a definitive guide for the sector and covers the key knowledge that every professional – whether freelance or not – needs to know. Put together with input from some of the barbering industry’s leading figures, the Code covers hygiene and safe working practice, client consultation, wet shaving, facial massage and chemical barbering services, with authoritative advice throughout on personal protective equipment (PPE), waste disposal, skin conditions and infections, sterilisation of equipment and contra-indications. The Code is available as a free download from the BBA website britishbarbers.com, but can also be purchased as a printed booklet.
HJ’s Freelance Week is sponsored by Wella Professionals