Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Can I Pay You Later...

   If you have been in the barbering industry for any length of time, you have undoubtably come across a situation similar to this: a customer walks in and sits down for a haircut. You take the next 30 minutes fading, trimming, and shaving. You talk about work, family, upcoming plans, and maybe he'll even brag a little about his latest and greatest toys. But when the customer gets up, you hear those dreaded words—"oh, sorry bro. I left my wallet at home. Can I get you next time?" 

   You can't take back that haircut you did! You already performed your service, and now Joe Shmo can't pay you. What do you do? Sure, if the bloke is a regular customer and you can trust him to remember, then there's no issue. That relationship is established, and you know he'll be back within a week (and with an even bigger tip for your patience), but what about the guy who's in your shop for the first time? Or what about the guy who has a track record of always coming up short? Here are a few ideas to get the gears turning: 

1) "Go grab it. I'm here till 5."

It is completely acceptable to change the offer. He offers to pay you next time he's in, which could be a week or two down the road. Encourage him to make his next visit before the end of the working day. If it's later in the afternoon, make sure he knows what time you open the following day, and that you will be waiting. Assertiveness CAN be your friend! 

2) "I'll put your name up."

This "pay you next time" gimmick is more common in certain areas than others. Some of you may have only had this once or twice, and it was with a friend. Others may experience this guy on a weekly basis. If your shop has the misfortune of entertaining a few of these no-pay-guys, perhaps you may consider a visible white board. 

Every time this gent "forgets" his wallet, or simply doesn't have the funds to pay you, grab his name (and perhaps his number?) and slap it up on the white board for everyone to see. The "Board of Shame," if you will. Restaurants do this same thing, but with pictures of those who have "dined and dashed," which if you think about it is the exact same thing happening with you. You provide a service, you spend a half hour at your trade doing the best work you can, then this guy takes your lunch, eats it right in front of you, then leaves without paying the tab. A "Board of Shame" might seem a little extreme, but at the expense of your trade, budget, and bills? It might be what you need to get paid in a timely manner, IF this is something you experience often. And let's face it, nobody want to be on a Board of Shame.

3) "What can you trade?"

This is something to consider when the customer doesn't have any funds. It can be an honest mistake: the bloke goes to pay you, then realizes that unexpected bills came out, and he has no funds in his checking account. We have all been there. No need to throw his name up on the Board of Shame, he's already ashamed enough, and you can tell. Perhaps there's something he can trade you? I'm not going to begin to elaborate on what this trade might look like, as everyone is different, but personally I wouldn't mind a tin of pipe tobacco (just saying!). Bartering can be a smart tool to use in situations like this, and it offers the ability to get creative with payment methods! 

4) "No." 

For some of you, this situation might be a little different: instead of forgetting his wallet, or not having funds AFTER the cut, this bloke will ask if he can pay you another time BEFORE he gets a cut. The conversation usually goes something like, "Hey bro, I have a job interview tomorrow morning, and I need a trim, so can I pay you when I get my first pay check?" 

Ok, there's a few ways to go about this. First, if he's a friend or a regular customer, discretion is king. If you can trust him, then maybe you help a brother out and he'll return the favor. However, if you don't know this guy, then saying "NO!" Is a completely acceptable answer! Setting and establishing boundaries is important in relationships, and if this guy wants to start a relationship between himself and his barber, then asking for a "free cut" probably isn't a good way to start off on the right foot. Do not feel guilt-tripped into providing a service that you may or may not get paid for, unless you feel a wave of generosity overtake you, then do what ever you want—give free cuts all day, first come first serve. But something tells me you probably won't do that. 

5) "There's plenty of shops in town—see you later." 

If this is a reoccurring instance with a gent who seems to always be losing his wallet, or is always low on cash or bank funds, the perhaps you might consider tell him to go to another shop. You're already not making any money off him, so why continue to waste your time hoping he'll return with cash? The first time something like this happens, get creative in getting your payment, but if wallet-man always comes in looking for a cut with no cash or card, then suggesting a rival shop in the area might be good? Ok, maybe not a "rival" shop—we're all friends here, right? 

At the end of the day, your judgement and discernment is key. Do you know the person? Will they return the favor to you later? Does this person need to find a new barber? There's always going to be an individual who will seek to undermine or abuse the system, so it's up to you to develop the reasoning skills to conclude if this customer simply had a bad day and left his wallet at home, or if you need to apply the "Ban-Hammer" and bar an individual from coming back. Keep in mind, the individual who made an honest mistake can be a customer for life, while the individual who abuses the system will only steal time from you, and time is money, is it not?

If you are looking for some new razors or other barber gear please take a moment to download our app "MD Barber Supply" or check us out online at!



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