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6 Wimborne Road
Poole, Dorset, BH15 2BU
United Kingdom

01202 649100

The UK's elite Barbering College based in Poole, Dorset; offering a wide range of qualifications from the most respected barbers in the business (including NVQ Levels 2 & 3)


Taylor Talks

Keep up to date with everything happening relating to barber training and our courses.

Alcohol in the Barbers

Mike Taylor


It is a growing trend in the industry for salons and barbershops to offer a free beer, or a glass of wine or champagne with the haircut. But does this work? Can you offer this? And is it worth offering this? Here’s my thoughts:

Does it work?

To a degree, yes. From previous experience when offering a beer most clients will turn it down but either way, they tell their friends about it and it becomes a talking point amongst groups of people. I have had a lot of clients say I have been recommended here my mate said this a cool relaxed place where you can have a beer when getting a haircut. Then I offer them one and they say no. Offering a beer gives the image of a cool, relaxing barbershop and helps your business stand out from the crowd.

Can you offer this?

Technically speaking, you need an appropriate licence to be able to include alcoholic drinks as part of the service. If the supply of alcohol is linked to a sale – even if the client is not specifically being charged for the drink - then a licence is needed. So, if you’re not giving anyone who walks past the shop a free drink then, strictly speaking, the cost of the drink is included in the service and they are paying for it.

According to the Licensing Act, you must have two licenses to sell alcohol. The first is a Personal Licence – required for the person authorized to sell the alcohol; and the second is a Premises Licence – required for the premises from which you sell alcohol. Both licenses come at a cost, which varies depending on the local authority.

However, the council have come into my barbershop before because they thought I was selling alcohol as part of the service. I argued my case as I would often give a beer to my client’s friends and family who weren’t paying for a haircut. The man from the council went on to suggest that if someone came in off the street and requested a beer then I wouldn’t give him one. I said I would but it’s unlikely someone would walk into my barbershop and ask for a free beer. After all, Barclays offer me a free coffee when I have an appointment, but no-one walks into a bank off the street and asks for a cuppa. The long and short of the story is that having beer in my barbershop wasn’t important enough to me to argue my case with the local authority. I knew it would be a drawn-out process that I was likely to lose so I stopped having it. 

Is it worth offering this?

Personally, I think it is definitely worth it! Being able to give a beer to clients (and their friends) helps the barbershop become a social hub where clients can relax whilst they get their haircut. But the most important thing is that it’s done right. Invest in a beer sub with little glasses so they can have a small glass of beer which is a little classy. Also make sure the area is clean and well maintained. Try to avoid cans of beer as you could risk the barbershop looking slightly uncouth and attracting a different type of clientele. Plus, the last thing you would want is your clients needing the toilet half way through their haircut.

My thoughts are if you’re considering giving away a free drink as part of the service, first weigh up if the cost of the licenses will be worth it! It’s important that you do it right so if you’re unsure then speak to your local authority. If you are going to do it, make a big thing of it. Invest in a good beer tap and create an area for your clients to relax and enjoy their drink.

Retailing in the barbershop

Mike Taylor

Firstly, this is something that is a must and can be very profitable.

To me, you have not done your job correctly unless you have dried off the hair after you have cut it. You need to do this for two reasons; one is to check your cut is perfect as we know wet hair always looks good, the second is because it’s our job to create a style and show our customer how to recreate this when they get home. 

Remember that the new generation of men may never grow up using a hairdryer.

The next is to show what you are using and advise the client what is best for their hair type and style.

Take your time in choosing a brand to retail, and perhaps stock a couple of brands. The brand needs to do the job be at the right price point and look appealing. Men want to spend money on themselves, just look at the thriving aftershave market.

So, do your research find the right brands for you. Make sure these brands are not being sold in supermarkets or high street chains. Reputable brands will have sales teams and reps, so why not talk to the brands to see what they offer you? Do they have good point of sale and display units? Do they offer support and training in their product? These are all things worth considering.

Here is the Taylor Top Tips to retail

  • Give advice on how to recreate the style.
  • Always dry off your haircut.
  • Have a good retail area that invites the client to browse.
  • Do your research and only stock brands that you cannot buy in the high street chains.
  • Make sure the branding suits your style and clients.
  • Utilise point of sale for branding and awareness.
  • Have your staff trained on the products you are using. Knowing their benefits will organically increase sales.

Once you become a retail champion, you will see your doors open to clients that want products in between haircuts. You may even find new clients come to your shop off the back of your product knowledge!

NEW Apprenticeship Standards

Luke Seall

NEW Apprenticeship Standards

Apprenticeships are changing and here is what you need to know….

The old apprenticeship frameworks have been given a shake up and the new and improved apprenticeship standards have now been launched. The new standards have been developed by employer led groups called Trailblazers and are designed to develop apprentices skills and knowledge specific to their job role. 

Here are some of the changes and how they might affect you:


The new apprenticeship standards are a level 2 qualification but are set at a higher standard than the old frameworks and they include some skills and knowledge from the level 3 NVQ, including shaving.

The mandatory units are:

  • Consultation

  • Shampoo, condition and treat the hair and scalp

  • Cutting hair using barbering techniques to create a variety of looks

  • Style and finish men’s hair

  • Cut facial hair into shape

  • Shaving services

There are no optional units.


There has been major changes in the way the apprentices will be assessed. Gone are the days where your teacher will assess you throughout the qualification in your college, training centre or workplace. The new and improved assessment process will work similarly to a driving test where your instructor will teach you to drive and an independent examiner will conduct your test. In the new standards, the employer and training provider will provide the training and an Independent End Point Examiner will assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours through practical observations and oral questioning. The overall grade for the apprenticeship will be determined by the performance in the end point assessment which will be graded Pass/Distinction or Fail.

VTCT are currently recruiting a nationwide team of Independent End Point Assessment Examiners to conduct end point assessment for the new hair and barbering apprenticeship standards. If you feel you have the right commercial experience and want to be part of raising the standards of hairdressing and barbering apprentices then apply at


From the 1st May 2017, the way apprenticeships are funded has changed. For smaller UK employers – with an annual payroll bill of under £3 million, employers will be required to make a 10% contribution to apprenticeship training and the government will fund the other 90%. The employer will need to agree a payment schedule with the training provider and this cost will include the cost of the end point assessment. The training provider must prove that the employer has paid their contribution as a condition of the government paying its contribution.

All qualifications will remain completely government funded for apprentices ages 16-18. 

There will still be an age grant for employers who take on a 16-18 year old apprentice to meet the extra costs associated with employing a young apprentice as research suggests that 16-18 year old apprentices can require significantly more supervision and pastoral care. This will now be a £1000 payment to be paid to employers in two equal instalments at 3 months and 12 months into the apprenticeship.

Colleges and training providers receive a lot of bad press for the lack of skills being taught and from what I’ve seen, this is mainly because a lot of the time it’s hairdressers teaching barbering. The new end point assessment will put a stop to this and ensure that only learners with competent skills and knowledge will pass this stage of the qualification by having Independent End Point Examiners with significant industry experience conducting the tests.

Personally I am really glad of these new standards. I went to the initial interviews at VTCT to become an Independent End Point Examiner and was given further information about the process and it will definitely ensure a stricter training and assessment process – I will definitely be tightening the ship at my own academy. I need my students to pass first time, as a retest will be very expensive and embarrassing.

This is a huge stride in the right direction for ensuring that we are raising the standards for our industry.