Are you a Hair Cutter or a Barber? There’s a Big Difference!

DSC_0261I was teaching a class about a month ago, and by the look of everyone’s faces I must have asked a very peculiar question. I asked the students if they were going to be a Hair Cutter or a Barber once they had graduated the program. Some students hesitated while others blurted out their responses. Then I asked the class who could explain the difference between the two or if there was any difference at all. Complete silence…! I was very excited at that point because I knew I was about to give the students an important perspective to have as they journeyed into their careers. Even as I point out this difference among the barbers that work in our salons I get really excited. They begin to see how important it is to understand this truth and put their craft into proper perspective. A “Hair Cutter” is one who cuts hair, nothing more or less. A “Hair Cutter” usually works as an employee at a local salon or barber shop and gets paid by the hour from the company he/she works for. A “Hair Cutter” only has to think about the customer that has sat in the chair to receive service. A “Hair Cutter” focuses on improving their skill level and making sure every haircut is precise and on point. There is actually nothing wrong with being a “Hair Cutter” if that is what one chooses to do with his/her craft. However I find that some “Hair Cutters”, even great “Hair Cutters”, have a hard time being a Barber. A Barber is one who practices the BUSINESS OF HAIRCUTTING. The business of hair cutting or barbering extends far beyond just cutting hair. In the business of hair cutting or barbering you have to focus on generating customers, managing customers, tools and supplies, financial responsibility, and creating your brand. We call these the 5 Key Areas to Building a Successful Barber Business. I must admit when I meet a student in Barber College or one who has just graduated it saddens me when they get into their shop and don’t understand how to grow their business. Granted the students learned everything they needed about cutting hair, but in the game of barbering that just won’t cut it these days. With the rise of barbers creating websites, using online appointment scheduling systems, creating mobile apps, and so much more, barbers really need to be creative in their business planning. A barber must focus on business and skill level whereas a hair cutter only needs to think about cutting hair. There is a huge difference guys!

What do you all think? Is there really a difference or am I making this all up?


3 thoughts on “Are you a Hair Cutter or a Barber? There’s a Big Difference!”

  • I love it! The title defines itself; hair cutter focus on cutting hair. Barbering comes from the word ‘barba’ meaning beard. This is where we get the word ‘barbarian’, bearded ones. These were the men we shaved and ‘civilized’, not just through their appearance, but through grooming them physically, mentally and spiritually.

    As barbers we have a RICH history; rich in character and rich in knowledge about business, and not just rich in the technical skill . It would be a shame for us to loose 2/3rds of that for a cut that grows out in two weeks, or a style that fades away in two years. We have been in service throughout the history of man. We should be growing and expanding, not diminishing and scaling back.

  • Great topic….I really appreciate and enjoy your topics. It is opening the door to growth and creative thought. Thanks!

  • The blog and comments are spot on. Additionally, I was told in barber college, a haircutter may not even be a barber. Our instructor infused us with the idea of being extremely proud of our historically important profession. In CA we are licensed as chemical barbers. We deliver haircuts, shaves, beard trims, chemical waving, hair straightening and camo color.

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