A stylist cuts her friend's hair for free while pondering the pros and cons of family and friend discounts.

Should I Charge My Family & Friends For Cuts?
The Recurring Question Every Stylist Faces

There are a lot of hard questions you ask yourself as a cosmetologist. Should I go with the more expensive product that works better or the cost-effective product? Should I rent in a high-traffic area or own a salon in a less-trafficked area? Do I really need to invest in a class about cutting the perfect mullet in 2022? (Spoiler alert, yes). 

What we’re getting at is that there’s no super simple part of being a stylist–and this is especially true when it comes to sharing your gifts, talents, and services with the ones you love the most. Yep, we’re talkin’ about your family and friends. The age-old question that’s haunted every stylist since the history of forever has probably popped up in your life, too. 

Should I charge my family and friends for haircuts? 

It’s a tough one, right? Luckily, we’re here to help guide you as you decide how you feel about this. Remember, there’s no one right answer for everyone out there, and every situation is a little different. 

Here are some considerations from the pros to help you establish where you stand on this dilemma.

The Pros and Cons of Free Cuts & Styles for Fam & Friends 

So, you’re on the fence about offering free cuts and services to the ones you love the most, huh? Don’t sweat it, beauty pro–you’re not the only stylist out there dealing with this dilemma. Let’s break down the thought process a little bit and explore some of the logistics behind it. Only then can you figure out how you feel about this type of issue. 

The Pros of Freebies 

Like every side of an argument, there are pros. Here are some of the positive, happier things to consider when it comes to providing your loved ones with free services (within scope). 

  • It will make your loved ones super happy and feel appreciated.

  • If it doesn’t take all that long, is a small service (like a trim), and doesn’t bother you, it can feel nice to share your talents with the ones you love.

  • Often, you can “trade” your services with your talented friends and family to get things you want (maybe you’ve got a pal who’s a great esthetician, and you can trade a cut for a facial?). 

The Cons of Freebies 

And, of course, there are cons, too. Here are some major considerations to keep in mind before you offer freebies to your loved ones. 

A stylist cuts her client's hair.
  • Small freebies can set the standard for larger ones. Sure, you’ll do a bang trim for free–but does that mean you’ll do a blonding session for free? Some people don’t know where to draw the line.

  • Some people won’t appreciate the favor and will expect it instead. 

  • It’s your livelihood, so it can feel tough to give your time away for free. 

Swap the "Free Service" Approach for Something Else 

If you feel like you want to give your friends and family some sort of deal, but you’re not down with the free-for-all approach, you can consider other options, like:

  • Service trades

  • Coming up with a family and friends-specific discount

  • Recommending family and friends to other beauty pros in your salon  

  • Invite your family and friends in for training sessions (make sure they accept the risks)

Ultimately, The Choice Is Yours 

At the end of the day, we can’t make this decision for you. Whether or not you want to offer your loved ones free access to some of your services is totally up to you. Our only advice? Make sure you’re offering your skills to people who appreciate them and appreciate you. We’re sure your loved ones are grateful for you and your talents–do yourself a big favor and don’t share your talents for free with people who don’t respect you, your time, or your skillset.

Looking for more advice in tough spots like this one? We can help! Elite Beauty Society isn’t just a top-notch beauty pro liability insurance company (though we are definitely that)–we’re also a resource for all cosmetologists. Subscribe to our blog ASAP to get regular updates on when we post, deals we run, and major discounts for beauty pros like you!