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Should You Tip Your Barber? | General Guidelines

If you find yourself getting a fresh cut every few weeks, you may see some clients tipping the barber and others not. So, how do you know when to tip the barber? Should you be tipping the barber to receive better services?

You should tip your barber as a sign of respect, even though it’s not mandatory. On average, a 20% tip is acceptable, no matter if a barber owns the shop or not. The practice gives barbers a decent earning, encourages them to offer a better service, and keeps you in their mind for your next visit.

As someone who has worked for tips, I understand how it can make or break the day of a person who relies on tips for a living. Therefore, I always tip at least $5 for my typical $15 haircut. However, there is nothing wrong with sticking to the 20% minimum guideline.

Haircut Tipping Chart

Haircut CostRecommending Tipping Range

The rest of the article will provide more information about barber’s tipping, including the guidelines and the amount. It also tells you what factors influence the tipping, such as the area or the service.

Barber Tipping Guidelines

The act of tipping and its guidelines were introduced in medieval England when people called it “Vails to the servants.” It’s a common, polite act, making up a part of the tip receiver’s income. Although in some rare cases, tipping may be insulting to some professionals to receive a tip. This is usually a regional thing, so if unsure, you can simply ask them about tipping as an act of respect.

But the amount you give to a barber may vary depending on the service you receive, location, cut, and barber. A busy, downtown barbershop may expect more tips than side street shops in cheaper areas. That’s because the cost of running a shop is higher in these areas and there’s more competition.

In any case, you can usually expect to receive better service if you offer the barbers tips.

Your average tip should reflect a well-done message to service providers. Sometimes, working on your hair gets more challenging, for instance removing gum stuck in your hair first or fixing an uneven haircut. In that case, your barber deserves a big fat tip.

Is It Bad Not to Tip Your Barber?

It can be bad not to tip your barber because he expects you to appreciate his services by leaving a gratuity. Even if you receive a discounted service, you should tip the full amount without including the discounted rate.

The barbers will get about half of the cost of a cut or even less unless they’re the shop owners, in which case they keep all the money. So, you may want to tip more to the non-owners so they can make an income.

Besides, if you had someone else wash your hair, you can tip the person, too.

In general, if you’re not tipping, you shouldn’t come back expecting another haircut from that same barber. But, of course, sometimes the service you get isn’t satisfying, so you may express the problem by shorting the tip. Keep in mind that you can use other ways to express the dissatisfaction, including a civilized discussion. 

Pro Advice: Tipping your barber is a relationship you develop over time. You may like to tip for the service you’re getting and the service you want to get in the future. If you don’t want to spend an extra $10 on top of a $50 haircut, choose a barbershop that fits your budget so you can factor in the tips better.

How Much Do You Tip for a $15, $20, $25, or $30 Haircut?

The average tip for barbers is 15 to 20% of the entire cost, but this can increase with busier times or barbershop locations. The general rule of thumb for a $15, $20, $25, or $30 haircut would be 20% of each. For instance, a $25 haircut would cost you a $5 tip.

The tip amount also depends on the time you have your haircut. For instance, during the holiday season, more tips are appreciated. Besides, if you don’t like your haircut or something in the barbershop, you can tip less or politely express your dissatisfaction.

If you always have difficulty calculating the tip amount, a tip calculator can help. It asks you to enter the cost of your haircut and the tip percentage you like to leave. For instance, if you choose a 25% tip for a $30 haircut, the tip amount will be $7.50.

Based on the calculated amount, you can decide whether to leave a tip or buy them a gift such as a gift card. 

What Is Considered a Really Good Tip for a Men’s Haircut?

Anything exceeding the standard 20% of the total amount is considered a really good tip for a men’s haircut. Therefore, tipping 30-35% can be seen as a really good tip. However, almost all barbers will be happy if you tip them $5, regardless of haircut cost.

If you think your barber did an excellent job during busy times, like holidays, you can tip double to show your appreciation. Similarly, when you’re late, it’s a nice gesture to tip more, so the barber keeps the quality of the service and works quicker.

A good tip can also be an invitation from a client to a football game or bringing the barber home-cooked goods to hook him up. You can give some of your job’s free services to them; for instance, offer them a free oil change if you’re working in an auto repair shop.

Do You Tip a Barber If He Owns the Shop?

You may not tip the salon owners because you think they already ask for higher prices than commissioned regular stylists. Although they may charge you slightly more, the amount is mostly in line with their skill. So, you should tip your barber regardless of whether he’s the owner or not.

Like any other stylists and barbers, the owner would appreciate a 15% to 20% tip. Some owners don’t expect tips but notice that they’re still providing you service. Sometimes, they even offer their product or try them on your hair.

FAQs on Barber Tipping

Do You Tip Barbers in Canada?

You tip barbers in Canada generally the same as you do in the U.S. A barber expects you to give an extra bit of money, including 15% to 20% of the total amount. But besides the tip percentage, you should include the tax between 5 to 15 percent depending on the province you live in. 

Some tipping calculators that ask about the total bill, tip percentage, and taxation can give you the exact tip amount. 

Why Are Barbers Cash-Only?

Most barbers are cash-only because running a barbershop is far more different than other businesses. Barbershop employees aren’t like full-time workers. They’re either commissioned staff or self-employed ones who rent a chair for each month.

So, they ask clients to pay in cash to avoid processing fees charged by using credit cards. This includes the tips that you may add to the total amount. When a barber receives payment in cash, he’s able to have immediate access to his tips as well. 

Using a credit card machine requires waiting and processing times, so the funds aren’t instantly available. 

Bottom Line

Tipping is a standard practice in society and a way to show your appreciation for any service you receive. Barbershop service providers expect a decent tip since it makes up a large part of their income. This polite act can help you build a friendly relationship with your barber and affects the service quality.

On average, the tip amount is about 20%. But if you just make it a rule to always tip $5 regardless of cost, you can’t go wrong. It may differ depending on the factors like barbershop location, its popularity, and the service. It doesn’t matter if a barber owns the shop or not; they expect a decent tip.

For more, check out Can I Use a Beard Trimmer to Cut My Hair? | It Depends.