I love my job. Why, because every day it’s so different. Talking to my clients is the key. Finding out what works and what didn’t if anything is most important. But if they think you fear change then they will too. Change happens all around us, don’t be the stylist that can’t accept change and provides ‘Just A Trim’. I’m saying this now because; I was asked why I love my job so much, by a student at a school.
I was lucky to learn from some great people that gave me the tools to be as successful as I am. You can only be as good as you are to your clients. To be a good hairdresser, you need only to be nice to people. To be a great one you must go the extra mile. Be the hairdresser you would want to go to. Never stop learning and always try something new. I replied.
After the class the student approached me and she started telling me how much she loved hair but her family was giving her a hard time and pressuring her to give up hair school for college where she would get a job that made real money. I asked if I could meet her parents.
When I arrived at the student’s parent’s house, we talked in length about the benefits of college and their misconceptions about hairstylists. The parents were convinced that most hairdressers were either dumb bubblegum chewing Sally grab and snip gossiper types who couldn’t cut worth a damn or flamboyant pretentious fue-fueish types that were ego driven and changed people beyond acceptance for the sake of change.
When you really think about it only about 20% of hairdressers earn a high income yet over 80% of doctors do just that, I reasoned. Why, is it because they went to school for so long? Are they that much smarter than us? No. Doctors are just highly trained in what they do that gives them confidence and professionalism. They also still learn more after they get through with school. The good ones sit down with us and ask us how we are, how we feel, and then they are supposed to make us feel better. They write out the prescriptions that will make us better. This is mainly the difference, not enough higher education for stylists and not enough stylists that understand, or worse care, to get it. Don’t get me wrong but if someone had told me if high school I could make the money I know is possible in the beauty industry, I would have skipped college entirely. Heck I would have gone to a vocational high school.
College was simply not for me and I was looking for a way for me to ditch out for a while, so I could figure out a way to make ‘real money’. I was explaining my plight to my hairdresser and he asked if I was still waiting tables in a nearby restaurant. When I told him yes he asked how much an average night brought in for me. I explained $50 to $75 in tips and $2.50 an hour so, close to $300 a week.
If I could teach you how to quadruple that would you care to know? He laughed. I didn’t need to answer I just nodded my head as he started asking then answering he own questions. How many tables do you service a night he asked? 10 to 15. What’s the average check amount? 30 bucks. What’s your average tip? 5 maybe 6 bucks. Ok so if you serve 10 to 15 tables and each one pays $30 then that brings in $300 to $450 into the restaurant. You make about $60 in tips plus they pay you $20 for that 8-hour shift. He laughed again. My girls’ average 10 to 15 clients a day, they each charge about $30 a client and I pay them 45% commission on their totals. So if they generate $450 in sales for the day they get over $200 for the day plus there $50 to $75 in tips. That means your making like $1000 a week or better than $50,000 a year.
This sounded too good to be true. It was one subject, no homework work and ninety-five percent women. For me, a young singe guy looking for a place to goof off, it seemed like a dream come true. But something happened; somehow I realized that I really liked doing hair. No I fell in love with doing hair and I’ve been trying to share my passion with the world to this day. It seems to me if you get trained the right way you can make serious money in the time it would take to complete college. Let me explain.
Cosmetology School lasts 1000 hours in MA that’s nine months or your freshman year. Employment in a salon as an assistant to start an apprenticeship is the best way to go as long as you’re getting on going continuing education. It should start with customer service training, then the chemistry of hair, for the first 3 months in the salon, as you learn all about hair types at the sink analyzing hair as you wash it. This should also include hair care product knowledge.
By your 4th month in the salon or the beginning of your sophomore year in your career, you should be entering cutting classes along consultation training. Within 6 months you should be on the floor cutting, honing your new craft practicing retail prescribing, rebooking, and referral techniques. During this time you should start basic color theory and chemical analysis training, this should take your knowledge of hair chemistry and help you determine what services are appropriate for which hair types.
By the end of year two you should be working on building a clientele and still practicing customer service, retail prescribing, rebooking, and referral techniques. You should be taking color, highlite and lowlite classes. And be starting to apply some of these techniques on some of your clientele with the supervision of a master stylist. They should also be teaching you different techniques for permanent waving and permanent straightenings,
Year three is all on the job training putting all the pieces together. By this time you should be bringing in over $200 to $300 into the salon a day. By asking your clients what they want or what they like and dislike about their hair you can make suggestions about what services they may want to get done to their hair to get the desired result.
Year four you’ve been in the salon 2 years and 3 months you’ll get your class one type license from the state. You’ve now been on the floor for about a year and a half. By the end of this year if you continue to practice customer service, retail prescribing, rebooking, and referral techniques you’ll become a mentor in the salon.
Four years and you can be on top, making great cash, and be a true professional. Or you can wait tables and go to college. You decide.