On Wednesday, I took my son to get his hair cut. We’ve been trying several local barbers/hairstylists to find someone who can cut his hair well at a reasonable price. What I’ve found during this experience is that when you go to get your hair cut, you usually choose at most two out of three factors: a good haircut, a cheap price, and the ability to actually get an appointment.
So far, virtually every place we’ve taken our child has been able to achieve two out of three of these factors – but none have been able to hit all three.
Take the most recent haircut, for example. The haircut was quite good and we were easily able to get an appointment, but the price was unbelievably high. Before that, with my daughter, we got a great price and were easily able to get in, but the haircut was poor enough that I might as well have done it myself. Before that, we got a good haircut at a good price, but it took three weeks to get in.
So, what can I conclude from this?
First, I’m considering learning how to cut hair myself. I’ve been able to do this a bit on my own head, but I’m not good at it at all and it usually leaves me looking terrible and, eventually, heading towards someone that cuts hair professionally.
My children are young, and thus perfect appearance isn’t vital for them. I have a few years to learn how to cut their hair while the mistakes of learning won’t cause them much social consternation at all. If I do too bad, I can have someone else fix the mistakes in order to make them acceptable for pictures.
Second, the business models for haircutting drive me to this conclusion of cutting hair at home. Of the various places we’ve been, people seem to be content either not having enough business (via high prices or bad haircuts) or turning away business (via inadequate staffing).
Quality haircutting is a service I’m willing to pay others for at a reasonable rate. However, if I can’t easily get that service, I’m going to look for other options.
Third, cutting the hair myself will save money. I have two young children. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I would get their hair cut every two months (each) at $15 a pop. Doing it myself saves $180 a year.
Of course, the counter-argument is that the $180 spent would save me time, but would it, really? In order to get my child’s hair cut, I have to call and make the appointment, take the child to the appointment, wait before and during the appointment, and then take the child home again afterwards. If I do it at home, I simply cut the hair, no questions asked.
In the end, frugality is about finding maximum value, and I’ve finally realized that I’m simply not finding maximum value for my children’s haircuts at the barbershops and salons available to me. Thus, it’s time to take matters into my own hands.
Are there any services in your own life that you’re dissatisfied with? Could you take those services into your own hands for a greater value?