You should tip your barber between 15 and 25 percent of your bill. Whether you tip more or less depends on your relationship with your barber and how well your cut went.
It’s important to leave a tip since it makes up a large part of a barber’s income. The shop may take a portion of their sales or your barber may only get paid an hourly wage.
Tipping also helps you build a better relationship with your barber, supports their work, and shows them how grateful you are for their service. It’s also good barbershop etiquette to leave a fair tip.
Now that you understand the importance of tipping, it’s time to learn how much you should tip your barber. We’ll go over times you should tip your barber more or less, who else you should tip, and everything else you should know before booking your next haircut.
When should I tip more?
You should tip more if you enjoyed your time at the shop, they made you comfortable, listened to you, took their time, and gave you a great haircut. A bigger tip is also appreciated if you arrived late, showed up with really dirty hair, or did anything else that might have inconvenienced them.
Special services like house calls or more intricate cuts and styles may also warrant a bigger tip. It takes a lot more effort and time to do these special services than a regular cut.
Location should also play a part in your tip. It generally costs more to run a barbershop in a big city than a small town. If you’re getting a haircut in an area with a higher cost of living and lots of other barbershops, consider bumping up your tip.
When should I tip less?
You can tip less if your barber didn’t do a great job, they unnecessarily rushed the appointment, or if their workspace was dirty or uncomfortable.
Speak up right away if you notice your cut isn’t going the way you expected. You should give your barber a chance to correct it instead of staying silent and then giving them a small tip. Oftentimes, your barber can help you achieve a style that looks great as long as you communicate with them. They also may not know that you’re unhappy unless you speak up.
If they flat out reject your request or otherwise aren’t accommodating, then that’s a signal for a lower tip. Just know the difference between a barber suggesting what they think is best for your hair versus someone being downright rude or uncooperative.
To avoid this situation entirely, do your research on barbers before you step foot in anyone’s shop. Read reviews, look at past photos, and ask your friends and family for recommendations. Doing a little digging can save yourself stress and a potentially bad haircut in the long run. Our community of barbers is a great place to start.
Sometimes, your regular barber may just be having a bad day. This doesn’t mean you should completely accept poor service — you should still feel confident to speak up if something is off. That may be all you need to get the cut you want.
However, keep in mind that they’re human, too. You can leave a smaller tip if your service wasn’t as great as normal. However, one so-so haircut shouldn’t be enough for you to find a new barber. Give them the benefit of the doubt for that day, but consider finding someone else if poor service becomes a consistent problem.
Should I tip the owner?
It’s not expected to tip the owner of the shop. They’ll appreciate the tip, but there’s no need to go out of your way to tip them. You can tip the owner if they helped with a part of your appointment, for example.
Should I tip others in the shop?
You should tip others if they helped with your appointment. For example, you can tip the person who washed your hair around $3 to $5.
Should I tip differently during the holidays?
You can tip more than normal during the holidays if you’ve had great experiences with your barber throughout the year and you’re feeling generous. Some people leave a 25 percent tip while others tip double the cost of the service.
If you know your barber, you can give small gifts or do thoughtful gestures in lieu of a big tip. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with giving them. However, there’s no obligation to give big tips or do any grand gestures during the holidays.
Should I tip a new barber differently than my regular barber?
It’s best to tip based on how well the new barber cut your hair, rather than how long you’ve known them. Some will advise you not to tip a new barber more than your regular barber, but at the end of the day, that decision is up to you.
If you want to tip differently, you may also consider tipping them a little more than standard if you liked your cut and want to start building a relationship with them.
Should I tip a kid’s barber differently than an adult barber?
Just like a new barber, you should tip a kid’s barber based on their service and how well they worked with the kid. Children’s cuts normally run on the cheaper end and don’t take as long as adult cuts.
Although that might seem like a green light for a lower tip, keep in mind that this barber has specialized expertise to work with kids. That includes the knowledge needed for styling and cutting a child’s hair, along with knowing how to make kids comfortable.
How should I give my tip?
Many barbers prefer to get tipped in cash. It helps them avoid any fees they or the salon have to pay with credit card transactions. Cash also means they get their tip right away. When tipping on a card, it can take a day or so for the transaction to process.
Although cash is normally king, preferences vary from barber to barber. Some may not like to handle cash and prefer a tip on your card or through a cash sharing app. Ask your barber what they prefer ahead of time so you can have your tip money ready to go.
Can I tip with services or other things?
Tipping with services may work if you talk to your barber beforehand and don’t rely on it as a permanent alternative.
Swapping services is a potential option if you’re specially trained in that area. For example, if you’re a plumber by trade, you can offer to fix up the pipes at their shop or at their home. It’s not a great idea to offer plumbing services if you’re the family handyman.
At the end of the day, a barber can’t pay the bills with a service swap. We recommend only asking about this alternative if you have a good relationship with your barber and you’re confident you can deliver quality service.
You should also be prepared for them to reject your offer. Although you’re not required to tip, it’s best to at least tip what you can rather than to skip the tip completely or to continuously ask about tipping alternatives.
Tipping is the best way to show your gratitude for your barber and a direct way to support their business. Now that you’ve got your tipping etiquette down, you should also brush up on common barber terms before your next haircut. You’ll become your barber’s favorite customer if you can properly tip and accurately describe the type of cut you want.