3 Mistakes That Kill Barbershops

3 Mistakes That Kill Barbershops

September 25, 2019

Hi, I’m Robert, the Owner and Founder of The Mailroom Barber Co.

I’ve spent years growing barbershops and watching others fail. I want everyone in our industry to have the success they deserve so we can revolutionize the barbering industry together.

These 3 common mistakes will kill your shop and keep you from being at the top of the market in your area. My hope is that you will use this as a tool to spot issues in your business before it’s too late.


1. Forgetting to re-book clients 

We’ve all had slow days where you don’t know where your next client will come from. It feels like you’re completely invisible because other shops are busy and you’re sitting in your chair where a customer should be.

If you are a walk-in only shop, this problem will be your way of life. When you don’t accept appointments, you are guaranteeing slow days in the future mixed with slammed Fridays and Saturdays where you have to stay at work late to make up for your slow week.

When I was first getting started, I didn’t want to ask my clients to rebook for a number of reasons.

It felt too forward, I didn’t want to overbook myself in the future, and overall I didn’t have enough confidence in myself and my work to think people would want to come back in a month.

Let’s think about another industry that rebooks your appointments. If the dentist didn’t ask you to book your next cleaning or follow-up appointment, how often do you think you would spontaneously go to the dentist?

How often would you change dentists to go try another office out?

The truth is, every client you’ve earned left their barber/stylist to come to you.

When you don’t book their next appointment for them, you are leaving that relationship up to chance.

If you have a strong relationship, sure, they’ll come back. But how many of your clients do you have that close of a relationship with? 25%? 30%? Maybe even 50%?

You’re letting that other 50%,70%, 80% of your clients decide what barbershop they go to EACH time they need a haircut. That means you are actively increasing the odds that your competition will beat you and you won’t be able to predict your income or schedule for the week.

You’ll keep being a slave to the long hours of walk-ins-only and you’ll watch your competitors rise to the top of their industry.


2. Having a “barber hustle” mindset

I see this all the time and I bet you do too; barbers who use #barberlyfe and #barberhustle everywhere on their social media like they’re trying to prove something about their work ethic.

I get it, you’re on your grind, stacking up “that bread,” but do you actually have to post about that on Instagram?

Having a strong work ethic is great, don’t get me wrong, but do you think your customers care AT ALL that you keep 2k in cash in your pocket?

All this says to your customers is that you care a lot about yourself and your own success, not theirs.

Consider this:

If you sat down at a 5-star restaurant and the chef came to your table and started showing you his new shoes while holding a stack of cash and proceeded to tell you about how he was #blessed and all about hischef hustle, would you respond by saying,

“boy, I can’t wait to eat!”?

No! You would leave the restaurant and find a chef that cared about food, not his image.

If you polled your customers and asked them whether they come to your barbershop to give you money or get a haircut, what do you think they would say?

When all is said and done, our clients come to us because we solve a problem for them, and we must start positioning ourselves in person and on social media that way.

If we don’t, we will completely turn away our customers. They’re the people who are putting the cash in your pocket in the first place.


3. Settling for the Glass ceiling

There is a very real glass ceiling in the barbering industry. If all of your chairs are full and your barbers are completely booked, you have officially reached that ceiling.

Your retail products are collecting dust and your numbers stay the same from month to month. The only ways you see out are either to work more or raise prices if you want your shop to grow.

This can be tricky because you can only raise your prices so much to remain competitive and your barbers are already working 40+ hours.

You don’t want to take more time away from your personal life and from your family just to make more money but if you want growth, is that the only option?

The reality is that your glass ceiling isn’t a trap. It’s a platform if you know how to open the door at the top.

The only way to break through this glass ceiling is by selling the right retail products.

If you’re already selling retail, answer this honestly: Do the products on your shelves collect dust? Do your customers have a product in their hair that they didn’t buy from you? Are your retail sells less than 10% of your revenue?

If you said yes, you have the wrong products.

This should be pretty obvious but if you don’t sell products people want, those people won’t buy them. But if they aren’t buying their grooming products from you, they’re buying them at a store nearby or online from a company that sells products that get the job done.

Also, if you’re selling cheap products, people can tell. People are more aware of what’s in their products and how they’re made nowadays, so if you are selling the same cheap stuff they can buy at a big box store or every other barbershop/salon in town, they will bypass your retail selection.


Bad products can ruin your reputation as a barbershop because people are looking to you to be an expert in the industry. If you aren’t delivering a high-end product, they’ll assume you deliver a low-end haircut and that you don’t take your job seriously.

Once again, the only way you can break through the glass ceiling in our industry is to sell the right retail products.

- -


Sign up for 5 Keys to Growing a Successful Barbershop and I’ll give you actionable steps to take so you can stop making these 3 mistakes along with 2 other key pieces of advice every barber should hear.

This knowledge will only help you if implement it, so make sure you take immediate action on the paradigm shifts I’ll be teaching you so you can keep your barbershop from failing and start experiencing real growth.

After you implement these tips, your client base will skyrocket, your sales will start climbing, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your shop is secure for the long haul.

- Robert Watkins, Owner + Founder
The Mailroom Barber Co