Expert Advice

Finding the Balance Between Free Family Haircuts and Setting Limits

Ivan Zoot | December 19, 2017 | 3:14 PM

Holiday time is the time to spend time with your families. If you are like most haircutters this means spending time cutting their hair. The shop is hopping at the holidays. Everyone needs to get in to get a haircut. This includes all your family. The worst of these situations are the stories of hair cutters being invited to holiday dinner and being asked to “bring your scissors so you can do a few haircuts”. Isn’t this our holiday, too? Why would we be expected to show up and work?

We all have a few family members we feel we must cut for FREE. We all have a few more that we would rather not cut at all, let alone for FREE. We need to set some limits. We need to be OK with the fact that is it OK for us to set these limits.

 Knowing how to say no, set limits and establish boundaries with family and FREE haircuts is an important part of managing our business. I hear of the struggles haircutters have with these limits all the time.  This is also a frequent topic of conversation at many of my classes.

 Below are two of my favorite approaches to managing family and FREE haircuts. Both of these ideas can from audience members at my classes. Both ideas are easy to implement and fair and reasonable for all involved.

 Family Haircut Night – Designate one evening each month as “Family Haircut Night”, perhaps the second Tuesday every month from 6 to 11 p.m. You will cut anyone and everyone between these hours. They must show up with food to share. First come, first served. It becomes a fun family gathering, hanging out, enjoying each other’s company… and haircuts. One of your sisters or cousins can do the shampooing.  Your little nephew can sweep. Everyone pitches in. Perhaps your brother can clean the mirrors?

It ends at 11. Done. If you get cut on family haircut night it is FREE. If you cannot make it in that night you are welcome to make an appointment any other time of the month and pay just like anyone else. This allows you to be open and generous, but to set limits on your time and FREE work.

 Punch cards – One hair cutter at a class shared that she issues family members a punch card every year at Christmas. The card is good for 3 FREE haircuts and one chemical service at 50% off. The card is good all year, non-transferable, not carried over to the next year. The cuts and color can be redeemed at any time during the year. Once the card is done you are welcome to continue to come for haircuts… on the appointment book and in the cash register like any other client.

I love the punch card idea. It is very generous, totally flexible and more than fair. Family haircut night can be fun for all.

How have you decided to manage FREE family haircuts? How are you seeing to it that you can take care of family and yet not be abused?

 Happy holidays!


 Ivan Zoot AKA ClipperGuy is your healthy haircutter coach. Get and stay healthy, wealthy and wise with clipperguy support. For more information visit Ivan at


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