When you work on-location you are usually going into people's homes. This is an incredibly important thing and how you handle yourself can make or break your reputation as a professional stylist. Home is where real life happens. You are bound to see arguments, messes, and your clients in their most comfortable environment. There is a tangible feeling of vulnerability on your client's part and it is our responsibility to steward that vulnerability with the utmost care. Here are a few tips to do just that:
- Be punctual. Try to arrive to your appointments a few minutes before you're due so you are ready to go the minute they sit in your chair. Running behind happens, and when it does it is important to communicate with the clients it will effect. If you think you may be late shoot a text (or a quick call) to your nexty. Respecting your client's time will mean a lot to them and even if your punctuality isn't perfect it will still help them develop a trust in you.
- Have all your tools with you. I am constantly moving my stuff around and there have been times when I have left things behind that I need. While you can usually work around the problem without too many issues you will sweat less and give your client's a more quality service if you have all your tools. If you find yourself leaving things behind come up with a system to keep that from happening like a checklist or bag organization where you can visibly see that your missing an item. With a touch of extra planning you can save yourself mucho sweat beads.
- Don't overstay your welcome. Some of my most beloved friends started out as clients first. We are 'daymakers' and we automatically feel close to the people we see often and make smile. However, not everyone of your clients is your bff and it's soooo important not to get too comfortable in their homes. I always try to err on the side of being "mostly hairdresser" than "mostly friend" even though we are both to them. Unless they are begging you to stay, when you are finished with your work there, pack up, clean up, and be on your merry way.
- Don't under-stay your welcome. This is where your intuition needs to kick in. Building a good rapport with your clients sometimes goes beyond just doing your job and heading out. If they ask you to stay or invite you to something fun, by all means GO, but always keep in mind you are still representing your business and your brand so be professional!
- Leave them better than you found them. As a mom, this is something that makes the most incredible impression on me. When my daughter cleans up after herself I feel so grateful and it makes me want to keep her around a little longer. On a professional level, your clients should never have to deal with the mess you leave behind. Always ask for a broom/vacuum to clean up hair. Have a cloth or wipes to clean any leftover residue or spills on the surfaces you've been working on. Place hot tools on a heat resistant pad. Doing these simple things will leave an huge impact on your clients and can help guarantee they'll be happy to invite you back again.
- Be trustworthy. We hold more than hairdryers and flat irons as hairdressers, we hold our client's hearts. You may be the only person they share some of their most personal information with some days. It is our job to keep our hearts open and our mouths shut.
What are some valuable lessons you've learned as an on-location hairdresser?
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With all my heart and hairspray,