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Finding The Right Salon Or Barbershop
Hattori Hanzo Shears

Worried about Finding Out Your First Barbershop Or Salon Might Not Be The Right Fit? Then What You NEED Is A Guide To Finding The Right Fit For Your First Barbershop Or Salon!

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Trying to figure out which barbershop or salon you want to work at can seem like an overwhelming task. When choosing your first place to work, it is important to find a salon that will fit your personality, lifestyle, and skill. This is not only important for you, but also important for the salon or barbershop you are going to work for. The salon you go to work for will be investing in you–they will want to guarantee that you are successful and love where you work! Taking time to research the compensation , salon education and most of all culture will help you choose the right fit. These are all keys to your career success!

First Step: Do Your Best Salon RESEARCH

A Guide to Finding the Right Fit

Look up some of the best salons or barbershops that grab your attention and do some research. See how long they have been open! Ask former employees how the work environment was. Find out as much information as possible about each location you are interested in so that you can narrow down your top choices. You may be surprised that a salon you love initially will not be “all it was cracked up to be” and may not be your best fit.

Why Your First Salon Location Matters


How far are you willing to drive to work everyday? And will that commute be sustainable? The right fit for you may be a 30 minute drive to another town. Are you willing to make that sacrifice?

Check to see where the salon is located and its surrounding areas. Of course, we would all love to have our work location be right near our home! That would be the best. Although in the opinion of many other top barbers and stylists, your success is worth a drive. The appearance of a salon and its location may factor into your salon walk-in traffic and getting people in your chair. A salon in a shopping plaza could significantly increase your walk-ins, therefore making it easier to build your book of business quicker. If a salon is on a busy street, this could also increase your traffic, too!

A Guide for Salon Training Programs

Going to school and obtaining your licence is the first big hurdle in conquering your career start! Taking time to act as an assistant or salon apprentice will give you the opportunity to learn and gain skills that will further your career. Investing in your career is not a small or effortless task. Great things take time and energy! When you first start your career, you should expect to work as an assistant for a while. This will greatly benefit you in the long run. This will help guide you to learn the “ins and outs” of your new salon or barbershop. You’ll have time to learn about the culture of the salon as well as their techniques and product lines they use and carry.  Most times your performance will be monitored and watched by the owners or managers of the salon. They will be able to determine when you are ready to hit the floor. These positions are usually paid as hourly employees, so you wouldn’t be taking any clients at the time.  It is important to ask yourself some questions like:

“Can I see myself working here in a year and a half long apprenticeship program?”

“Can I afford to do this?”

There are long-term benefits to working these programs, but they come with a short-term reduction in pay. This is something that you will have to decide on your own! You will be rewarded by doing an apprenticeship program because you will learn an abundance of skills and knowledge that will help you succeed in your career! Some people think of programs like this as “paying their dues” but it’s actually a huge investment into your career and the best thing you can do for yourself. Every salon or barbershop is going to have a different process for a new hire. They might just put you right to work. If that is the case, find a mentor in the salon or barbershop that can guide you. Someone you can learn from. You can also help them when you’re not busy.

Finding Your Right Fit For Salon Pay Structure And Benefits


There are a few different ways a salon or barbershop may pay their employees. This is a crucial part of your research because it is your livelihood. The most common method of payment is through commission, but that isn’t always the case–so make sure you are asking the right questions. When looking for your new “work home” knowing the compensation and benefits is a must. Here are some important questions you should ask:

  • Is the salon compensation based on commission or salary?
  • If it is commission based, what does the commission structure look like?
  • How will the salon grow your book of business?
  • Will the salon or barbershop host continuing education?
  • Are they flexible with scheduling?
  • Is there opportunity for advancement?
  • Will they offer good health insurance?
  • Do they offer disability insurance in case you are injured?
  • Is there a quota you have to meet as far as retail sales, pre-booking clients, and client retention?
  • Do they offer time off?

Good Salon Culture Compatibility Guide


After you have researched information about pay and training you will need to figure out if the salon is a good fit with your lifestyle, skills, and personality. Finding a salon or barbershop that fits your personality and values will ensure your happiness and longevity at that location. The culture of a salon or barbershop is going to tell you exactly how your experience will be working there. You will be spending a lot of time at work, so feeling comfortable is very important. Just because a salon or barbershop looks “high-end” and fancy doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best fit for you. Take the time to look around at different locations and perhaps go in to get a haircut to get a better feel for the atmosphere and culture. Here are some questions to ask when making these decisions:

  • Will there be a dress code?
  • How often does the staff get together for team building?
  • Do the managers hold staff meetings weekly?
  • Will you be able to shadow a mentor?
  • Is the salon involved in the community?
  • Which charities or local events are they involved in?

A Guide For Your Resume

Having a sophisticated resume is the first step in your interview process. It is also important to bring your resume with you to your interview. Having a resume will not only show that you are professional and prepared, but it can also showcase your other work experience and life skills that you’ve obtained. Beef up your resume with any community service you’ve participated in as well as any other jobs you have worked in the past.

You’re probably wondering if your past jobs really have anything to do with hair?  Working at a retail store or as a server will show that you have great customer service skills. Working a retail job will also show that you have sales experience. Even if you don’t think something in your past has anything to do with hair, the skills you learned in that job will most likely tie into your new job in some way.

Your resume is the place for you to really boast about yourself. There are even a lot of free templates online that you can work from. Having a stylish resume will help your application stand out! Even if you have to pay $5 for a resume template that will make you stand out–it will be worth it. Once you have added all of your skills and experience to your resume it’s time to shift your focus towards making a great first impression!

How To Successfully Navigate Your Salon Interview


Review some questions you might be asked in an interview. Take some time to lay out some outfits that are stylish and professional. And most importantly–make sure you’re ON TIME! Picking the perfect outfit might seem hard, so do some research. Go to the salon you are interested in working at and see how the other stylists dress to get a good idea of what to wear. Your style should align with the current staff. Keep in mind that you will be interviewing for the position, so if the stylists are dressed extremely casual you will want to dress slightly more professional for your interview instead of matching the casual attire. The most important thing you can wear is your confidence! Here are some tips for your interview:

  • Make sure you have a clean and stylish outfit.
  • Your nails should be clean and–if you prefer–polished.
  • Your hair should be clean and styled.
  • Your makeup should reflect your own personality and style.
  • Take the time to learn what color line and products the salon uses.
  • Prepare for basic interview questions like “why are you the best fit for our salon?” and “why should we bring you on our team?”
  • You may also be asked “what qualifies you to work here?”
  • Have your friends and family ask you some questions to prepare you for your interview. You’ll be more comfortable and have a good idea of how to answer the questions.
  • You can’t prepare enough! Do research on interviews and what to expect! Know your goals and plan for your life so you are prepared and know how to answer any questions thrown your way.
  • The last and most important tip: BE YOU! Don’t try to be something you’re not. Don’t stay from your values and personality. Your happiness and success is far too important to jeopardize. Do your best give it your all and if it is meant to be–it will be.

Finding your first salon or barbershop might seem like a daunting task. Have fun with it and don’t sell yourself short. It can be very similar to house hunting. Use this guide to find the perfect salon and nail your interview! Make a list of amenities and your “must haves.” When you narrow down places, start to check all the boxes that match your list. Don’t settle for something that isn’t perfect for you! A lot of times people will compromise too much and end up wasting time, energy, and money. Your dream location is out there! And if it isn’t…you always have the option to make your dream come true by opening your own salon one day!

Article by Catie Delahanty

Edited by Torrey Loomis

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