Barber Numbers: To Know ‘Em Is to Grow ‘Em
The saying goes, “that which is measured is improved”. This expression tries to make the point that just by knowing the basic numbers of your business these numbers will improve. There is some truth to it. Beyond just knowing the numbers is understanding what the numbers tell you. If you know the basic numbers of your business and understand why these particular numbers are important then you can put plans in place to improve these numbers.
This week we will look at the top five numbers you MUST know about your barber business. You should know these numbers every day, cold, off the top of your head. You should write them on the back of a business card every week and carry that card with you every day. You should look at the card from time to time throughout the day. This will be a powerful reminder. Once you develop the habit of knowing these numbers you can get busy growing what you are knowing.
For the purposes of this list I am framing these numbers as individual barber numbers at a single chair. If you are an owner you should look at these numbers for each individual cutter’s and for your entire shop.
Haircuts per day/week – Some days are longer than others. Some haircuts take more time. Some weeks have holidays. While haircuts-per-day or week is not an ideal number, it is a great place to start. It is better than nothing. Count up your daily cuts. Write the number down. It is easy to see if today’s number is bigger than yesterdays or this week’s number is bigger than last week’s. A broader sampling will iron out irregularities like day of the week. Add up the days to get haircuts per week as a clearer picture.
Occupancy – A more telling and valuable statistic is occupancy rate, the % of available haircuts actually delivered. If you can deliver 2 haircuts per hour, 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, your weekly maximum chair occupancy is 80 haircuts. If you did 63 haircuts last week your occupancy is 78%. 63 divided by 80 = .78 . This weekly snapshot of your performance flattens out day to day variations and paints a clear picture of your overall business. Looking at this figure week to week will really let you compare weeks and volume.
Repeat request rate – How good are you, really? People like you, sure, but do they really like their haircuts? You are not a fair judge. Actions speak louder than words. How many people who let you cut their hair let you cut it again? This is your repeat request rate. This figure is also viewed as a percentage. Track every haircut as a new client, a repeat request client or a walk-in. Divide repeat request clients by total haircuts to get your repeat request rate. If you did 63 haircuts last week and 48 of them were repeaters your repeat request rate is 76%. Based on a client cycle of 1 month between haircuts after your 4th week on the job this number SHOULD be climbing FAST. As a benchmark, 80% or better is considered ideal occupancy. 100% is considered too much as you then have no room for new client traffic.
New request rate – Some walk-ins are shop clients who have no preference of haircutter. Some new clients came in asking for you and seeking you out to cut their hair. These are new requests. This number, also a percentage, is a measure of the effectiveness of your marketing. You might be marketing in 100 ways from online to business cards. You might be simply asking clients to send their friends. It is all marketing. You need to find what works and do that thing a LOT. Stop doing what is not working. You need to know your new request rate. Divide new request clients by total haircuts. If you did 4 new clients last week out of 63 total haircuts your repeat request rate is 6%.
Retail per haircut – You only have two hands. You can only do one haircut at a time. Your income is limited by your ability to produce haircuts. Your ability is limited by your skills and your need to balance your price against your service experience. You can cut more heads faster (more on that in other posts). You can charge more (more on that in other posts). You need to generate more money per hour. The best way to do this in the professional haircutting business is by suggesting and retailing take-home hair care products. Retailing is a learned skill. Any haircutter can learn to do it at very high levels of effectiveness and productivity (more on that in other posts). What you do need to do now is measure your retailing to know where it is so as to grow it. Retail dollars per day or week is not a good number due to variations in haircut traffic. Retail sales per haircut are a true measure of your retail effectiveness. Take total retail sales for the day or week and divide that by the number of haircuts for the same period. If you sold $102.00 of product to your 63 haircuts during the week your retail dollars per haircut = $1.62. Small increases in retailing will make this number jump quickly.
Knowing these basic numbers cold, without having to look them up, moves you well down the road to seeing these numbers increase. Now you know what numbers to know. Now that you know your numbers hatch a plan to grow what you know (more on that in other posts).