Articles > Business > What Would You Do (Client Edition): I Can’t Afford To Tip—Can I Still Book An Appointment?
Last updated: April 15, 2024

What Would You Do (Client Edition): I Can’t Afford To Tip—Can I Still Book An Appointment?

BTC What Would You Do WWYD Client Edition Can't Afford To Tip Should I Book Anyway
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Advice For Clients Who Can’t Afford To Tip But Still Want An Appointment

Let’s talk about tips. Not only do they let you know a client is satisfied with their hair BUT they’re super helpful for things like paying bills and buying groceries. So should they make or break whether a guest books with you? A client recently reached out to us wondering if they can still make an appointment with their stylist—even though they can’t afford to tip this time around. What do you think? Keep scrolling to see what the BTC fam had to say!


“Hi, I’m a client and I was just wondering: Do stylists prefer us not booking an appointment if we feel we can’t afford to tip or not a big tip? Like, if I’m super short in a given month, I can afford the service but not with tip—should I not book with my stylist? I really love my stylist and I love how she does my hair but I don’t want to offend her either. My bills are my bills and they just are what they are. Any advice from other stylists that follow your page?”


Tips Are Appreciated, But They’re Not Everything


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Client Edition Can't Afford To Tip Should I Book Anyway


“I don’t ever expect a tip, and I certainly don’t get offended when someone doesn’t tip! That way, when I do receive great tip, it is a nice little surprise.” – @amberkae4 


“I tell my clients a tip is not necessary, but a review on Yelp or Google with my name in it would be greatly appreciated in its place.” – @trishh_withey 


“Whenever a client apologies for not being able to tip I always say my tip is them coming back to see me! I never expect a tip! If you don’t want to do someone’s hair because they can’t tip on top of the price, maybe you should raise your prices. My prices are set up to where I wouldn’t have to worry about a tip. Don’t be greedy.” – @kpa_phd 


“I would much rather have the client than the tip! Sometimes my clients apologize and say, ‘I wish I could tip more.’ And I always tell them how important they are to me and how I enjoy having them—don’t stress out about tipping if it’s gonna keep you from coming to see me.” – Holley R. Munnerlyn


“No, there are things far more valuable than a tip such as, buying products, pre-booking and leaving a good review.” – @hkmadeit 


“There are other ways to tip your stylist! We like coffee, breakfast, baked goods, energy drinks, candy, chocolate, etc. We also do a referral system that for every new client you bring, you get 25% off of your service. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. A referral is one of the best gifts to give your stylist. It shows that you really appreciate them and trust them enough to recommend them to someone else.” – @makeupcrazehairlove 


“I have been known to ask my guests for referrals and reviews instead of tips. I have also told them I would rather they take the home care I recommend than tip me. I feel like, while tips are nice, they don’t help in the long run.” – @punkyprofessionalhair 


“I do not accept tips, ever! Not cash or charge! I tell my clients rebooking and client retention is more of what I am interested in. Full books=consist income! Yes, this is a service industry, to always give an amazing service to everyone regardless of tipping!” – Sara Duplechain


“I don’t require tipping! As a suite owner, I do check my clients out myself and have to look at the numbers, but I try not to look at who tipped what for the fact that I don’t want to judge anyone based on what they tipped. I have a few clients who are in school and are on very tight budgets. I totally understand! I’ve been there! It’s very nice when people do tip, but I don’t base my whole income on tipping.” – @thecoppercomb 



If You Can’t Afford To Tip, You Can’t Afford The Service


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Client Edition Can't Afford To Tip Should I Book Anyway


“A tip is part of the service. If you can’t afford a tip, then you can’t afford your stylist. If you can’t tip a service (for anyone and anywhere not just hair), then you should not be getting a service done.” – @marisapisani 


“Yes…Not to sound like it’s all about money because it’s not. But it is a service and you should always tip accordingly when someone does a service for you. It’s kind of insulting not to tip. It would be like going out to eat and not being able to afford the tip. It’s just not right.” – @alyssa_pantano 


“Then that client should go to a less expensive salon and tip properly. If I couldn’t afford to go out to dinner and tip my server properly, then I wouldn’t go. A stylist never forgets the good and bad tippers.” – Lisa Marzorati Mehr


“Would you go to work for no or little pay?” – @mjshade23 


“Omg then wait and save a couple weeks until you can. Lord have mercy.” – @jo_love1111 


“GETTING YOUR HAIR DONE IS NOT MANDATORY. Spending your paychecks on other material items then choosing to book a service and not tipping is just a lack of respect for your stylist. It’s like you’re saying your Starbucks and lash extensions are more important to you than their time. It’s your priorities and you’re basically saying you don’t respect your stylist enough to prioritize spending $10 to tip. I mean come on, if you’re struggling financially so much that you can’t afford even a $10 tip why the f**k are you getting your hair highlighted?” – @shedoesmyextensions 


“You should pay the people who provide a service to you. There’s a reason you’re not doing it yourself and in the salon—time is money. We are all trying to make a living, too.” – Andrews A.N.


“If you’re that strapped with money where you can’t tip, you should stop all frivolous spending. YES getting your hair and nails done is frivolous. It’s a luxury, not a necessity. Wait until you are more financially stable.” – @sweetlimer


“If you can afford to have your hair done, you can afford to tip. If you’re on a budget, talk to me. We can adjust your service. We don’t get health insurance, a retirement plan, 401k. MOST stylists live at poverty level unless they are in a two income household. EVERY non-tipping client I have lives VERY comfortably while all my lower income clients always tip and respect me and my art. Get a clue, tip your stylist.” – @tha_stormin_mormon


It Just Depends


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Client Edition Can't Afford To Tip Should I Book Anyway


“Well, I see it like this: It depends on the situation. If you’re an independent contractor/owner, then no, tips aren’t mandatory because a returning client is a blessing but tips are still very well appreciated. Now, if you work for a major chain hourly, then that’s different. Why would you not tip the stylist only making hourly—and a low hourly wage at that? So a stylist lives and dies by their tips. You being a returning customer at that point doesn’t matter because you returning benefits the owner/the chain, not the stylist. Without the tip then, all the stylist makes is his or her hourly wage. The situation matters!” – @haireo81 


“It depends entirely on the salon they work for. Hourly employees and commission stylists who are employees really need their tips. Independent contractors, booth renters, salon owners and freelancers should be charging enough for their services that tips are appreciated but not needed to survive.” – Megan Jade O’Rourke


“I think everyone needs to consider everyone at this point. Everyone’s circumstances are different. A stylist trying to build her clientele working for a low hourly wage ($8-$10) in my experience, often RELYS on the tip and not so much each individual head. I’ve seen them focus on speed to get as many tips as possible. However, a stylist who is compensated by commission to ownership typically reaps a great wage and has a different mindset. They are able to set their prices based on the value and dynamics of the service.” – @thebflyeffect 


“Depends on if it’s every time. A tip should be included in what you’re willing to pay/afford. If a client never tips, give her a year and then raise her price.” – @tressed_out 


“I think it really depends on the stylist and if they are paying booth rent, commission or hourly. Commission and hourly I think really depend on tips, but with booth rent, typically, they get the money from the entire service. I think if you have been going to her for a long time, though, she will be fine with you not tipping occasionally. Also, you can tell her you can’t afford a tip but even a small tip is a tip.” – @huerta_jessie 



Be Upfront With Your Stylist


BTC What Would You Do WWYD Client Edition Can't Afford To Tip Should I Book Anyway


“I would just be honest with your stylist! I am very, very close with a lot of my clients. I’ve known a lot of them for a long time. If something happened where they couldn’t afford to tip me, I would 100% understand! Stuff happens, life happens! I love my customers and care about them genuinely, and I want them to be happy. I know they’re only human. I would still book if you can but totally give her the heads up! I’m sure she loves you and wants to keep you as a customer and will fully understand! In my eyes tips are appreciated, NOT expected! Xoxo hope this helps!” – @kayfabbb 


“I would just appreciate you letting me know, that way I don’t think I did something wrong that would constitute not getting tipped. But I completely understand if you are going through tough times—we all do. Just be honest with your stylist so she knows you appreciate her work verbally.” – @christinedeanneehair 


“Tips are never expected, but always appreciated! If you can’t tip, just tell your stylist how happy you are with your service and experience!” – @kimmiecuttinghair 


“As long as I know it’s not because you didn’t like me or your hair, I don’t mind at all. Just tell me.” – @evolvedcolorstudio 


“Just let me know your situation. It’s OK if things are tight, I understand. We all have financial strains from time to time. At least I know why you didn’t tip as opposed to me thinking you weren’t satisfied with your hair. Communication is key!” – @jettpink 


“For me, personally, I appreciate it when clients are just upfront with me. I don’t expect a tip but if a client who usually tips all of a sudden doesn’t, I’m left wondering if it was me or something about the service that was provided. And I honestly feel bad. But if my client just lets me know, without a doubt I would rather have the returning client! I enjoy my clients’ company and I would feel terrible if I knew a client felt they had to reschedule simply because of a tip! We all go through hard times. For me, seeing my clients is a lot more than just doing hair. To some of my clients, I’m the only set of listening ears they have. I take that responsibility seriously and that relationship means more to me than a tip.” – @bellaluna_salon