Pay a Man a Fair Wage


I’v had the opportunity of cutting my hair in many cities around the world – here are some of the average prices I have paid for a standard hair cut…

– Lagos (Nigeria) $1 – $5
– Pretoria (South Africa) $2 – $5
– California (USA) $10 – $30
– Paris (France) $20
– Amsterdam (Netherlands) $30
– Perth (Australia) $20 – $50

Imagine you were in Lagos last week and scored a $2 hair cut and in 2 weeks time you find yourself in Perth and have to pay $30 for a similar same cut…? Ok, thats not my point here…will save the frustrations for later. Here is my point:

I read in the past that “If a Christian (or a fair employer) has a $15 job to get done and two men are willing to do it, one for $15 and one for $10, the Christian (or fair employer) is free to hire either man”, but MUST pay $15 regardless of who he hires (- David Rigg). I have tried to live by this standard.

When I walk into a barber shop or any other service store, I usually have a predetermined amount to spend for a particular service (I call it a fair wage). For example, when I am in South Africa and I need to get an urgent hair cut but I am not in the vicinity of my preferred barber, I would usually budget R50 (even if I just need a R10 trim).

Although I believe R40 is a fair wage for a GREAT cut, I usually add a R10 tip to make it R50. Even when I am charged R30 for a cut, I would usually pay my fair wage of R50. The trick here is; the guy who charged me R20 and got a R30 “tip” rejoices and calls me “BOSSO”, whilst the other guy who charged me R50 and got “no tip” would think I am a scumbag and hope I never come back – deep down though, I am convinced I paid a fair wage for a good cut.

I try to apply the same principle when it comes to washing my car. Whether I wash at a super car wash, or with those “wash & shine” entrepreneurs that have taken over the parking lots of all the malls in SA or even if it is with the random multi-tasker on the road side who assists with your parallel parking and offers to wash you car with water from “only God knows where”…..I still pay a fixed wage for a great wash. A wage good enough to cover your work and a tip.

As I galavant across the globe, I am careful to adjust the boundaries of my “fair wage” (whilst wishing I was at the cheapest zone).

My wife dislikes my groove and in defiance mocks me by calling me – “Mr. Big Tipper” -, I just think in all things, a fair wage is great for a good service.

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About Lawrence Umukoro

Lawrence Umukoro is an entrepreneur and producer who has a passion for business and producing theatre, film and live events. Mr Umukoro was born in Nigeria and educated in South Africa, Australia and the USA. He is proud to be a graduate of Edith Cowan University Australia with a B.Eng (Hons) in Electronics and Communications Engineering. He may be reached at

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