Not every one can be a hairdresser (although, I think lots of people dream that they can..."but it looks so easy when you do it!") but mostly everyone except fundamentalist polygamist wives will eventually be a client. Here's how to do it right:
1. Be on time. This is a hairdresser's number one pet peeve, clients who are perpetually late, it throws of the rest of my day horribly. And believe me, you do not want the haircut I can give you in 15 minutes.
2. Tip the shampoo girl. She makes minimum wage, with the deal being that she is learning her craft and will eventually make a decent living. But for right now? she's not making much money, and believe me, she will remember you forever.
3. Don’t bitch about the price. Most hairdressers work on a straight commision only basis. When a client complains about the price we charge, I want to ask them how much less of a living would they like me to make, especially when they say they like the work that I do. Like restaurants, there are many different kinds of hair salons with many different pricing structures. Don't expect to eat fois gras when you are paying for Taco Bell.
4. Know what you want, or don’t want. When a client says "I don't know" I just want to smack them. Did you give this any thought at all on the way to the salon?? Or was it a complete surprise when you sat in the chair that you might be asked your opinion on how you wanted to look? Even if you have an idea of what you don't want, it's a place to start.
5. Be realistic. You are born with the hair you are born with. Deal with it. As I have said to many a client "this is a comb, not a wand".
6. Tip for extras. If I come in two hours ahead of my regular shift to fit you in, or take the time to slip your kid in for a bang trim or you get the shampoo girl to run out and get you something to eat, it is nice to have that extra effort acknowledged. Once I came in on my day off to do a client who was coming in from out of town for the day, and not only did she not bother to tip me, her cheque bounced.
7. Stinky hair is gross. In order to do colour, we have to work on unwashed hair. Most of the time that's no problem, in fact, working on hair that hasn't been freshly washed is a bit easier anyway. But you are fooling yourself if you think that cigarette you had in the car on the way in doesn't smell something fierce.
8. Don’t talk on your cell phone. When you have your phone up to your ear? it's up to your ear. I can't work around that. (I had one young woman who asked me if I had to blow dry right then, as she couldn't hear the person on the other end of the phone she had just answered.) Texting is no problem, it's akin to reading a magazine.
9. Don’t bring your small children when you are getting your hair done. Hair salons are full of hot, sharp, toxic objects; not a place for a 3 year old to wander around unsupervised. You'd be amazed at how much trouble a small child can get in when they know you are trapped in the chair for the duration.
10. Booking appointments. When you call, know when you can come in. Please. It can be like nailing jello to a wall to get some clients to commit to a day and a time. And if you are making the appointment for someone else who is in the same room as you, just let me talk to them. A ten minute conversation of "how about 10 on Tuesday?", "Just a sec.....she says how about ten on Tuesday", "No, I'm busy on Tuesday", "No, he's busy on Tuesday", "Okay, how about Wednesday then?", "Just a sec...she says how about Wednesday?" makes me want to reach through the phone and slap you both.
11. Don’t tell me how to do my job. I've been at this for a good twenty years now, and as much as I appreciate your input, I'm pretty sure I know how to cut bangs. Here's the deal: you give me the destination, I'll drive the bus. I might take a different route than your last hairdresser, but we will get there all the same.
Follow these rules and you will be an Uber-Client, the favorite of hairdressers the world over. And in exchange? We won't talk about you in the staff room.