Business ideas
8 min read

How to Start a Profitable Barber Business [11 Steps]

Learn how to start a profitable barber business with our 11+ step guide. From setting up shop to marketing, we've got you covered. Start your business today! #barberbusiness #profitablebarber #startabusiness

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 05, 2024

image of a barber business
This page may feature products from our affiliate partners, which could influence the products we discuss due to potential compensation. Despite this, our evaluations are impartial, based solely on our independent analysis. The content here is intended for informational purposes and should not be seen as legal advice. For professional guidance, consulting with a legal expert is recommended.
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1. Perform market analysis.

Embarking on the journey of starting a barber business requires a well-informed market analysis to identify potential opportunities and challenges. This step is crucial to understand the competitive landscape, customer preferences, and trends in the grooming industry. Here are some key points to consider in your market analysis:

  • Analyze the local demographics to determine the target market for your barber business, including age, gender, income levels, and lifestyle preferences.
  • Research existing barber shops and salons in the area to evaluate competition, services offered, pricing strategies, and their market positioning.
  • Investigate current industry trends, such as popular hairstyles, organic grooming products, and technological advancements like booking apps.
  • Survey potential customers to gain insights into their needs, expectations, and factors that influence their choice of a barber shop.
  • Assess the potential for walk-in traffic by examining the location and visibility of your proposed barber shop.
  • Understand the regulatory environment, including any licensing requirements, health and safety standards, and employment laws relevant to the barber industry.
image of a barber business

Are barber businesses profitable?

Yes, barber businesses can be very profitable. Barber businesses typically have high profit margins and can generate a steady income with relatively low overhead costs. With the right marketing strategies and business savvy, a barber shop can be a very profitable venture.

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2. Draft a barber business plan.

Creating a comprehensive business plan is an essential step in establishing a successful barber business. It will serve as a blueprint for your business's growth, helping you to navigate through the initial stages and secure funding if needed. Consider these critical components when drafting your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Briefly describe your barber business, the services you offer, and your unique value proposition.
  • Company Description: Provide details about your business, including location, target clientele, and your vision for the brand.
  • Market Analysis: Research and outline the barber industry within your area, competitor analysis, and market trends.
  • Organizational Structure: Identify the management team, staff roles, and the legal structure of your business.
  • Services Offered: List the services you plan to offer and any additional products or merchandise.
  • Marketing Plan: Detail your strategies for attracting and retaining customers, branding, pricing, and promotional tactics.
  • Operational Plan: Describe the daily operations, the equipment you need, suppliers, and facility requirements.
  • Financial Plan: Project your startup costs, ongoing expenses, revenue streams, and profitability forecasts.

How does a barber business make money?

Barbers typically make money by charging customers a fee for their services. For example, a typical barber business often charges customers a fee based on the type of cut they get. Additionally, barber shops may also offer additional services such as beard trimming or hair coloring at an additional cost. To maximize profits and attract more customers, barber businesses should target their services to a specific demographic like busy professionals or teens looking for a new style. Finally, barber shops should also offer discounts or promotions to further draw in customers and build up their business.

3. Develop a barber brand.

Developing a barber brand is a critical step in distinguishing your business in a competitive market. It encompasses the essence of your service, the unique experience you offer, and the image you want to project to your clientele. Here are several key points to consider when building your barber brand:

  • Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Determine what sets your barber services apart from others. Is it your cutting technique, customer service, or atmosphere?
  • Choose a Brand Name and Logo: Select a name and design a logo that reflects your brand's personality and appeals to your target audience.
  • Create a Color Scheme and Aesthetic: Decide on colors and a design aesthetic that will be incorporated into your shop's decor, staff uniforms, and marketing materials.
  • Develop a Brand Voice: Your brand voice should be consistent across all platforms and communications, whether it's professional, friendly, vintage, or edgy.
  • Invest in Quality Branding Materials: Your business cards, brochures, and online presence should all convey your brand's quality and attention to detail.
  • Engage with Your Community: Build brand awareness and loyalty by participating in local events and using social media to connect with your audience.

How to come up with a name for your barber business?

Coming up with a name for your barber business can be a daunting task. It should be creative, memorable, and accurately reflect what services you provide. Start by brainstorming words that relate to barbering, getting inspiration from the shop itself and its atmosphere. You could also incorporate a play on words or a pun that draws from adages or literature. Finally, when deciding on a name, ensure it is easy to spell and pronounce. Once you have the perfect name, register it with the local government, and get advertising to start building your brand!

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4. Formalize your business registration.

Before you can officially open your barber business, you'll need to formalize your business registration. This critical step will legitimize your operation, allow you to comply with all legal requirements, and set you up to manage your financials properly. Here's a simplified guide to help you navigate through the process:

  • Choose a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation) that best fits your needs and offers the right balance of legal protections and benefits.
  • Register your business name with the appropriate state authority, ensuring it’s unique and adheres to state naming regulations.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes, which is also necessary if you plan to hire employees.
  • Apply for the necessary business licenses and permits, which can vary by state, county, and city, and may include a general business license, a barber shop license, and a health department permit.
  • Register for state taxes, which may include sales tax, unemployment insurance tax, and workers' compensation.
  • Understand the zoning laws in your chosen location to ensure your barber shop complies with local ordinances.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore key resources designed for barber entrepreneurs to gain insights on market trends, operational excellence, and strategic growth:

  • Modern Barber Magazine: Offers the latest on barber shop styles, techniques, and business tips.
  • BarberEVO Magazine: A comprehensive publication showcasing industry news, interviews with leading barbers, and trends.
  • Books for Barbers on Amazon: A collection of books covering various aspects of barbering, including startup guides and marketing strategies.
  • The Barber Society Newsletter: Provides monthly insights into the barbering world, including tips, trends, and business advice. Sign up required.
  • International Barbers Association: Offers access to industry reports, educational resources, and events for networking.

5. Acquire necessary licenses and permits for barber.

Starting a barber business requires not only skill and equipment, but also the appropriate licenses and permits to operate legally. Here's a guide to help you navigate the process of acquiring the necessary documentation to open your barber shop:

  • Barbering License: Enroll in a state-approved barbering program and pass your state's barbering exam to get a professional barber license.
  • Business License: Apply for a general business license from your city or county clerk's office to operate your business within the local jurisdiction.
  • Salon License: Obtain a salon license by ensuring your shop meets health and safety standards, which may involve a site inspection from a state board inspector.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): If you plan to hire employees, apply for an EIN from the IRS for tax purposes.
  • Health Department Permits: Check with your local health department to ensure compliance with sanitation regulations, and secure any necessary health-related permits.
  • Building Permits: If you're constructing or remodeling your barber shop, make sure to get the proper building permits from your local government.
  • Sign Permit: Should you wish to put up a sign outside your shop, you might need a sign permit depending on local zoning laws.
  • Special State Permits: Depending on your services, you may need additional permits (e.g., for serving alcohol).

What licenses and permits are needed to run a barber business?

Depending on the type of barber business you are running, you may need to acquire a number of different licenses and permits from applicable government agencies. These could include a business license from your local municipality, a state tax license, a health permit from your local health department, a cosmetology license or barber license depending on the state requirements, and any other special permits required by city or county ordinance. Additionally, if you plan to serve alcohol at your barber business, you will need to obtain an alcohol service permit.

6. Open a business bank account and secure funding as needed.

Starting a barber business requires careful financial management, which begins with setting up a dedicated business bank account to keep your finances organized. After establishing your account, securing the necessary funding to support your business's growth is essential. Here are the steps to guide you through the process:

  • Research banks and credit unions to find one that offers favorable terms for small businesses. Consider fees, services, and accessibility when choosing where to open your account.
  • Prepare the required documents, such as your business license, EIN (Employer Identification Number), and ownership agreements, to open your business bank account.
  • Explore different funding options such as small business loans, lines of credit, investors, or crowdfunding platforms to raise the capital needed for your barber shop.
  • Create a solid business plan that outlines your financial needs, projected growth, and how you plan to use the funds to attract potential lenders or investors.
  • Consider applying for business credit cards to manage smaller expenses and to build your business credit score for future financial endeavors.
  • Regularly review your business finances and adjust your funding strategies as your barber shop grows and evolves.

7. Set pricing for barber services.

Setting the right pricing for your barber services is crucial to attracting and retaining customers, while also ensuring your business is profitable. Consider your costs, the local market, and the value you offer. Here's a guide to help you determine the most appropriate pricing structure for your services:

  • Analyze the Competition: Research prices of nearby barber shops to understand the going rates for similar services.
  • Calculate Your Costs: Account for all your expenses, including rent, supplies, utilities, and employee wages, to ensure your prices cover these costs and yield a profit.
  • Value-Based Pricing: If you offer premium services or have barbers with unique skills, consider setting higher prices that reflect this added value.
  • Bundle Services: Offer packages or bundles, such as a haircut with a beard trim at a combined, discounted rate to encourage more sales.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Use temporary price reductions during slower periods to attract more customers.
  • Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty scheme where regular customers can earn discounts or free services, which can justify slightly higher standard rates.
  • Flexible Pricing: Be prepared to adjust your prices based on customer feedback and market changes to remain competitive.

What does it cost to start a barber business?

Initiating a barber business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $2950 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your barber business.

8. Acquire barber equipment and supplies.

Equipping your barber shop with the right tools and supplies is crucial for providing top-notch services to your clients. From durable clippers to comfortable chairs, each item plays a significant role in your day-to-day operations. Here's a guide to help you acquire the necessary barber equipment and supplies:

  • Barber Chairs: Invest in ergonomic and adjustable barber chairs that ensure comfort for both clients and barbers.
  • Hair Clippers and Trimmers: Choose high-quality, professional-grade clippers and trimmers for precise cuts.
  • Scissors and Shears: Get a variety of scissors and shears for different cutting techniques.
  • Combs and Brushes: Stock up on an assortment of combs and brushes suitable for various hair types and styles.
  • Shaving Supplies: Include straight razors, shaving creams, and aftershave lotions for traditional wet shaves.
  • Sanitization Equipment: Ensure hygiene with sterilizers, barbicide jars, and disinfectants.
  • Hair Care Products: Offer a range of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for sale and use in your services.
  • Reception and Waiting Area Furniture: Provide a welcoming space with comfortable seating and reading material.
  • POS System and Scheduling Software: Implement efficient booking and payment systems for smooth operations.

List of software, tools and supplies needed to start a barber business:

  • Barber Chair ($250 - $1,200)
  • Mirror ($30 - $100)
  • Clippers/Trimmers ($25 - $300)
  • Styling Tools ($20 - $200)
  • Towels ($10 - $50)
  • Brushes and Combs ($5-$20)
  • Hair Products/Oils ($5-$50)
  • Shaving Supplies ($10-$50)
  • POS Software (free - $100/monthly subscription)
  • Barber Supplies Organizer (starting at $50 )

9. Obtain business insurance for barber, if required.

Securing the right business insurance is crucial for safeguarding your barber business against potential risks and liabilities. It not only protects your financial assets but also provides peace of mind for both you and your clients. Below are the steps to obtain the necessary business insurance:

  • Research different types of insurance policies such as general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, property insurance, and workers' compensation insurance to determine which coverages are suitable for your barber business.
  • Contact multiple insurance providers to compare quotes, coverage options, and customer service. Consider insurers that specialize in small businesses or specifically in the beauty and personal care industry.
  • Gather all necessary information about your business, including the number of employees, estimated annual revenue, and details about your business location, to provide to the insurance agent.
  • Review the insurance quotes and policies carefully, paying close attention to coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions to ensure they meet your business needs.
  • Choose the policy that offers comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price and finalize the purchase. Make sure to keep all insurance documents in a safe place and inform your team about the coverages provided.
  • Regularly review and update your insurance policy as your barber business grows or as there are significant changes in your business operations.

10. Begin marketing your barber services.

Once your barber business is set up, it's crucial to attract clients and build your brand. Here's how you can kickstart your marketing efforts to get your chairs filled and scissors snipping. Employ these strategies to ensure your services are known in the community.

  • Develop a strong brand identity: Create a memorable logo and slogan that reflects your business's personality. Use these consistently across all marketing materials.
  • Launch a user-friendly website: Ensure it's optimized for search engines (SEO) and includes your service menu, pricing, location, and an easy booking system.
  • Utilize social media: Regularly post engaging content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase your work, share customer testimonials, and offer promotions.
  • Network locally: Attend community events, join local business associations, and partner with other businesses to increase visibility.
  • Offer opening specials: Attract initial customers with discounts, package deals, or loyalty programs.
  • Encourage word-of-mouth: Ask satisfied customers to refer friends and family, and consider a referral discount program to reward them.
  • Invest in targeted advertising: Use local newspapers, radio, or online ads to reach potential clients within your community.
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What licenses and permits are needed to run a barber business?

  • Barber Chair ($250 - $1,200)
  • Mirror ($30 - $100)
  • Clippers/Trimmers ($25 - $300)
  • Styling Tools ($20 - $200)
  • Towels ($10 - $50)
  • Brushes and Combs ($5-$20)
  • Hair Products/Oils ($5-$50)
  • Shaving Supplies ($10-$50)
  • POS Software (free - $100/monthly subscription)
  • Barber Supplies Organizer (starting at $50 )

11. Expand your barber business.

Once you've laid a solid foundation for your barber business and have a steady flow of clients, it's time to think about expansion. This step can take many forms, from increasing your services to opening new locations. Consider the following strategies to grow your business:

  • Hire additional skilled barbers to accommodate more clients and reduce wait times.
  • Expand your service offerings to include new styles, treatments, or complementary services like massages or facials.
  • Increase your retail section by selling grooming products, which can also improve customer loyalty.
  • Invest in marketing to reach a broader audience, using social media, local advertising, and partnerships.
  • Explore franchising opportunities if your business model is strong and replicable.
  • Consider opening new locations in areas with high demand and little competition.
  • Offer training programs or apprenticeships to not only foster new talent but also to create a potential hiring pool.
  • Stay up to date with industry trends and innovations to keep your business relevant and competitive.
  • Collect feedback from clients to improve services and customer satisfaction continually.