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Last updated: February 09, 2024

Toxic Clients: 10 Red Flags To Keep An Eye Out For

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Breaking Up With Clients: Beware Of These 10 Toxic Traits

We love our clients, but there are some situations when a problematic guest causes more harm than good. Strong client relationships are essential to a thriving career, but so is knowing how to set boundaries. So when transformation specialist Jack Martin (@jackmartincolorist) shared his tips for spotting client red flags—we took notes! Keep scrolling for the 10 types of clients to look out for. 



1. The Client That Wants To Bargain Your Prices

A lot goes into establishing a price list—including your hard work! Price lists are not up for discussion, so let clients know your prices are final. Ultimately, it is their decision to proceed with the appointment. Jack says, “You work very hard behind the chair with a lot of aches and pain to make clients very happy, in return, they should respect your prices and don’t complain or bargain about it.”



Change your mindset on pricing for good!

Instagram via @theoriginalbarberdoll


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2. The Client That Undermines Your Work

Don’t let customers undervalue the work that you put in behind the chair. They may try to downplay the appointment with words like, “it’s just a quick cut,” to lower the price or fit themselves into a tight schedule. 



When clients think a session will be “simple” but THIS is the reality…

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3. The Client That’s Never Satisfied With Salons

If a new client has a long list of salons that were just never good enough, that’s a sign of a huge problem. It’s not you, it’s them. When a client says, “I tried many salons before you, hopefully, you are the right one,” Jack tells us, “that’s a sign of a big problem, I advise you not to ride a bus that has been in too many accidents.”


P.S.—here’s how to raise prices without losing clients!

4. The Client Who Is Unable To Describe Hair Problems Or Goals

Jack knows, “When a client can’t clearly explain their hair problem then you will have a big problem solving it.” Just like if a client says they don’t like their hair but can’t explain why, or if they can’t clearly describe the look they are going for, it will be very difficult to meet their needs. 



Watch to see how we feel when a client says they want to be “BLONDE.”

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5. The Client Who Expects The Impossible

Jack’s example client requests, “I have about 3 inches of an old perm on my ends. I need to cut 4 inches, but I need to keep my perm. Go figure.” Steer clear from people who expect the impossible. Remember, it is ok to turn down an unreasonable request.



Tap play to see what we’re thinking when a client’s request sounds impossible!

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6. The Client Who Denies At-Home Hair Responsibilities

You can do all you can for a client at your chair, but once your client leaves, it’s up to them to maintain healthy hair habits—and not blame you if drugstore products ruin their hair. Avoid a red flag by educating your clients on the products they need for at-home maintenance. Not only does it keep their hair healthy when they leave your chair, it can also boost your retail revenue!



*Us nagging clients like their mother*—it’s because we care!

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7. The Client Who Rushes Your Services

Successful services need proper time and attention. Clients should not schedule appointments when they have somewhere to be right after.  Jack reminds us, “Salon services can’t be rushed, that’s a big sign of coming back complaining about the outcome.” Value clients that allow you to take your time. 


8. The Client That Has A Disrespectful Attitude

It should feel like you’re working with clients, not for them. That’s why Jack says, “Attitude is everything. No matter how much the client is offering to pay, if you feel just a little disrespect or control, stay away. It’s a complete partnership.”



There are two types of clients…

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9. The Client That Asks You To Change Your Technique

When a client is in your chair, they are there for your expertise. Stick to the techniques you’ve mastered and continue working with clients who respect that. Jack lays it all out: “Judge me on the results, it’s not of your business how I take you there, as long as you get your goal hair.”



10. The Client That Changes Their Mind Quickly

It’s hard when a client has a huge color transformation and loves it, then comes right back in and wants it changed. Indecisiveness can lead to refund requests or even free touchups. No matter the service, it takes time and energy to execute, so unpaid services need to be limited.



Don’t let clients make hair decisions after 9pm! 

Instagram via @behindthechair_com


You might feel discouraged about losing a client. But in the long run, it’s better for your business to have loyal customers who respect your expectations. Keep an eye out for these red flags at the salon!



Check out Jack’s juicy post below.

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A post shared by Jack Martin (@jackmartincolorist)



Aside from his business tips, Jack is well-known for his silver and gray transformations. Check out his top color formulas!

Instagram via @jackmartincolorist