As a barber, you can help people look and feel their best. You have the experience and training needed to help people care for and style their hair (including any facial hair), playing an important role in the daily lives of your clients.

Starting a profitable barbershop, however, calls for you to hone these skills and offer excellent customer service. You must know how to deliver cuts and trims that your customers will happily recommend to others.

If you find yourself interested in barbering, we will walk you through the steps that will help you get started on your journey toward a successful business.

The Training That Will Help You Excel as a Barbershop Owner

Throughout the United States, barbers need to have a license to work. Some states may allow non-licensed barbers to open their own shop, but they will need to hire licensed barbers to take care of customers. You can earn a barber license by attending an accredited barber school or cosmetology school. To enter these schools, you often need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent.

At cosmetology school, you can expect to learn a variety of techniques and styles related to hair care. For example, you will learn different ways to:

  • Cut hair
  • Color hair
  • Bleach hair
  • Provide different chemical treatments

You will also have ample opportunities to practice using your own cutting and styling techniques so that when you begin to work in your own barbershop, you will have the confidence and experience you need to do an excellent job.

Once you have earned your barber or cosmetology license, keep in mind that your education is not over. As a licensed barber, you still want to make sure you continue to educate yourself and remain up to date on the latest styles and trends in hairstyles. Part of owning a successful barbershop lies in knowing what your customers need and being able to exceed their expectations. When you know the latest styles and trends, you will be on your way to achieving that goal.

Throughout your education, it's also a good idea to work on developing your attention to detail and time management. Both of these skills will not only help you excel in school but they will also help you run a more efficient and reliable barbershop that your customers will know they can count on whenever they need a trim.

Once you have completed your education, the time has come to move on to the important step of planning your business.

Creating a Plan to Organize Your Business

Once you have finished your education and decided to take the next step in opening your business, you want to start planning out what you will offer your customers. Creating a business plan will help you keep your thoughts organized, providing you with a direction to follow.

Determine Your Services

Begin by determining the services you want to offer. Many barbershops specialize in men's hair or short hairstyles. Determine if this is the direction you want to take your business or if you will offer a wider range of hair care services.

It is also common for barbers to offer services related to facial hair, such as trimming mustaches and beards or offering shaving. Consider if you also want to include these services in your portfolio. Similarly, consider if you want to group any common service packages to create offers and deals that might attract more customers.

Finally, consider the atmosphere you want to create in your shop. Do you want to go for a more pampered, high-end type of barbershop experience? Do you want to create a classic barbershop impression? If you are not sure about the direction you want to take your shop, you can make a decision after doing some market research.

Find Your Target Market

Next, you want to find your target market. As a barber, this will require looking at the current barbershops in your geographic area. See how well the various areas are served and if there are particular locations where many people travel to get to a quality barbershop. Much about setting up a profitable shop lies in location, location, location. From your grand opening, you want people to notice your hair salon.

You can also speak to people in the area to learn more about the type of experience they would like to have at a barbershop and whether they currently have that experience. Learn about what they miss when they go to get their haircut and you can start to form a mental picture about how you can fill this need.

As you progress through this process, you will gain a better understanding of the customers you want to target, the services you can provide for them, and how you can reach them through your marketing, which we will discuss further on.

Estimate Your Business's Initial Expenses

As you plan your business, you will need to know how much money it will cost to get your business started. Before you have your first customer, there are some startup costs you will need to cover.

As you begin to chart out these expenses, remember to include the cost of:

  • Your initial tools, such as razors, scissors, clippers, shampoos, conditioners, combs, trimmers, chemical treatments, and any specialized materials you need for your specific services. Also, consider details that will make the experience more comfortable for your customers (e.g., comfy barber chairs).
  • You need to make sure you insure your business location with professional liability insurance to protect yourself as customers come to you.
  • You also need to consider your rent, as you will need a physical location where you can meet with customers. Some barbers will decide to rent out commercial space to open a shop, which means you will need to factor in rent. Others, however, might operate out of their home. If that is your preference, you will need to consider the costs involved with transforming space in your house to work.

Set Your Pricing

Finally, you need to set your prices for different packages and services. You can begin by looking at sites like Thumbtack, which reports that the average cost for a haircut starts around $35 but can vary widely depending on factors like the barber’s years of experience and the geographical area.

To better inform your prices, consider the following data points:

  • What other barbershops in your area charge
  • What other barbershops targeting the same audience as you charge
  • How much you have to spend in overhead each month

You can also consider data points from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports that the mean hourly wage for barbers is $18.29, and use that to set prices based on how long different types of grooming services generally take.

As you complete these steps, you have now created a core part of your business plan. You now know what you want to offer customers, how much you need to spend upfront, who your target customers are, and how much you will charge for your services.

Creating a Business Entity

With your business ideas fresh in your mind, you can now transform those ideas into a reality. Begin by creating a legal business.

Why Do I Want a Legal Business?

Forming a legal business helps protect you and your business in a variety of ways. Essentially, it makes your business a separate legal entity from you. This is helpful because if your business falls into debt, you don't want your personal assets on the line to pay it off.

If you hire employees to help you run your barbershop, such as a receptionist or other barbers, you will also need an employer identification number (EIN). Creating a legal business will help you secure this identification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Considerations When Creating a Legal Business

You have a few considerations to keep in mind as you prepare to create a legal business.

  • The structure you choose will impact your taxes. You will need to decide between a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), general partnership, or corporation. If you aren't sure which structure will best fit your business goals or how your selection will influence your tax liabilities, speak with an experienced business accountant.
  • You need to make sure you have the necessary operating licenses from your state. This means learning what your local area requires for certificates of occupancy, a business license, and other regulations for when you welcome customers into a physical place of business.
  • Some barbershops will sell hair care products. If you plan to offer this service, make sure you have obtained the necessary certificates to purchase the products at lower rates and have set up any necessary tax-collection accounts.

Deciding on a Name

Now, you want to decide what you will call your barbershop. Look for something that will be memorable for your customers so they can easily find you again the next time they need a haircut.

Before you finalize your name, check with your state to make sure the name is legally available for use and check with domain registrars to confirm that you can use the name as a web address to prompt your business.

Organizing Your Business Finances

You are now well on your way to creating a successful barbershop. You have created your business plan, named yourself, created a legal business entity, and outlined the rules for your business. Now, you want to organize your business finances.

With the information you have about your legal business, as well as your EIN or your social security number (SSN), you want to go to the bank to open a business account. This will keep your money separate from that of the business. This improves your accounting, helps you make payments and receive checks on behalf of the business, and makes it clear to you how your business performs month by month.

Bringing Customers to Your Door

With your business established, you now want to focus your attention on bringing in new business with a solid marketing plan. As a brick-and-mortar business, you will focus on people in your immediate geographic area when looking for customers. Therefore, local searches will be particularly important. To help your business appear for customers looking for a barbershop in their area, you will want to follow a few best practices:

  • Have a well-branded domain. This means using your business name in the URL so that customers can easily find you. Build out your website to explain your services, use pictures to entice customers, and help communicate your expertise. If you do not feel confident building a website, you can reach out to freelancers on sites like Upwork to help you build a professional site.
  • Create profiles on social media to help you connect with your client base. You can draw in new customers by demonstrating your expertise in hair care.
  • Make sure you claim your Google My Business profile. Your profile gets prominently displayed when people search for you. Therefore, make sure you fill it out completely, use high-quality images, and invite satisfied customers to leave reviews.

As you build your local marketing strategy, do not overlook the importance of referrals. For a profitable barbershop, word-of-mouth recommendations can impact your bottom line significantly. Provide the level of customer service that exceeds people's expectations. Help them see what makes you a step above the competition so that they know where to return and who to recommend to their friends.

Your Day-to-Day Business Operations

As your business begins to take shape, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time on various daily operations that will help your business succeed.

As a barber, the majority of your customers will likely pay you at the time of service. Therefore, an important part of your operations will include tracking how much you charge customers on a given day and keeping your financial books updated. Fortunately, Skynova's small business accounting software was designed specifically for small business owners like you. With our software, you can quickly enter the total amount of your income each day and easily follow your finances.

As you track your income, you'll also need to track the money you spend on your business. This will include larger expenses, such as your rent and insurance. It also includes receipts for items you purchase to resell in your shop and anything else your business needs to run. Once again, Skynova can help you record and track your expenses so that you can see how much you have spent and how that compares to your income.

Start Your Business Now With the Help of Skynova

If you want your own business, becoming a barber is one of the best types of businesses available for those willing to put in the work and have skills as a hairstylist.

Now that you have walked through the steps toward business ownership, you have an idea about what you need to do to excel as a barbershop owner. If you feel ready to make your dream a reality, get started on this process today.

As you move forward, remember that investing in small business accounting software can help you keep your business finances organized. From tracking your income and expenses to helping you manage sales tax and run financial reports, Skynova's accounting software was designed to help small business owners like you keep accounting simple. See how our software products can help you as you build your business.