Are you wondering if it is possible to own a barbershop without being a barber? If YES, here is a guide on how to open a barbershop without being a barber.
Formerly, only a barber with years of experience can consider opening a barbershop, especially since a barbershop owner needs to know the art of barbering and also that of running a business. But today, you can start and own a barbershop without knowing anything about barbing. Although it might be tough, but you can still achieve success as a savvy entrepreneur.
How Do Barbershop Owners Make Money Even Without Being a Barber?
From a business perspective, owning a barbershop is a profitable venture. According to reports, the average annual income of a barbershop owner in America is $27,000, which comes out to about $11.00 an hour. Barbershop owners make their money by offering their barbers a few options: commission base or chair renting.
Commission base is using a certain percentage both parties have agreed upon; usually, that percentage is 30/70. For example, if you made $100.00 that day, you would give the owner 30 percent or $30.00 of that $100.00. How you handle your tips for that day would be discussed between the owner and barber.
Another way or probably the most preferred way of weekly payment is by chair rent. Which means, the barbershop owner will rent out the chair space to the barber every week. A lot of factors will determine the amount the owner decides to go with. Finding that magic number is essential for profit.
A barbershop’s location has a lot to do with the price you can charge for your services. For areas with a lower level of income, shops may only be able to charge $7 – $10 for each haircut. If the location is in a higher income area such as the “California metro area” the average price for a haircut is $28 – $30.
How to Open a Barbershop Without Being a Barber
Being a barbershop owner can be tough and daunting. You will have to pay the barbershops bills, and set some extra money aside for expansion. You also have to ensure the chair rent amount or commission amount doesn’t cripple the barber, nor should it leave you feeling high and dry when it comes time to pay the bills. Below are few ways to establish a barbershop without prior industry experience:
1. Have an Idea
The barbershop industry today is highly competitive so you will have to understand the industry, see what others are doing to capitalize on trends and stake out your place in the market. Find out as much as you can about how the big franchises conduct business, what services they offer, and in which ways they are doing things differently.
Additionally, research smaller, successful, independent shops, and learn about the approach they take to offering their services, marketing their brands, and innovating in the space. Pay attention to business models, supply chains, and quality of service.
These days, men are seeking more than just a haircut. They are looking for a barbershop experience that is more upscale and a place to socialize, relax, and network. Have it in mind that some barbershops have coffee shop-style waiting areas and sell clothes or hair care products.
At the same time, there is also a need for in – and – out, quick – service offerings without any frills. Depending on your research into the industry, and what it is you want to achieve, seek a unique approach to what you will be offering the market.
Note there are three main business models in the barbershop industry: booth rental, commission, and full – time employment. Also choose your role in the shop. Will you be playing a management role, focusing entirely on running and growing your business, or will you also be cutting hair part time?
2. Create a Business Plan
Take your time to calculate all the expenses you will incur getting your shop ready for opening, as well as your monthly and yearly reoccurring expenses. Figure out how many clients you have to see each day, and how you have to set your prices to meet your expenses.
By doing this you can see if you can turn at least a small profit by charging prices your clients will pay. You will probably need around $5k – $10k to get started, depending on how expensive things are where you live and how many supplies you need to get.
Depending on whom you ask, you should either first save up this initial investment, or speed things up with a business loan. If you are planning on taking out a loan from the bank, you’d better develop a very solid business plan you can show them.
3. Acquire your City or County Business License
To ensure you operate legally, you must be aware of the laws in your own jurisdiction. This includes employment, business, and tax laws at the city, county, and state level. And those are on top of federal regulations.
As you consider opening up your own shop, the best way to start delving into the business end of things is to ask another barber who has experience with this. Many cities also have designated officials who can help you navigate the process of establishing your business.
To start your own barbershop business, you will likely need to work with at least two agencies: your city or county’s business office and your state’s board of barbering/cosmetology. Your city or county’s business department is responsible for issuing you a business license. Getting a business license can be easier than you might think, and typically involves filling out a one or two page application.
Before you apply for your business license, you will need to know what type of business you are forming. If you are forming anything more than a sole – proprietorship – and even if you are forming just that – you may want to get advice from an accountant.
4. Form Your Barbershop Company
Note that forming a business entity protects you from liability and can save you money on taxes. You have five possible legal structures to choose from for your barbershop: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, S corporation or C Corporation.
Note that most barbershop owners choose LLC. This structure protects you from personal liability. LLC’s are more flexible when it comes to taxes, but can be difficult to set up. File a DBA (Doing business as), or file LLC paperwork with the State, or register a trademark. Get an Employer Identification Number.
Opening a business bank account that is separate from your personal accounts protects you from liability and gains you access to business banking services. To also protect your business from losses caused by lawsuits, fire, flood, theft etc., you need business insurance. You will also need to put an accounting system in place.
This will enable you track your businesses finances (expenses, debt, credit, tax etc.) with free accounting software or paid accounting software. Also have contracts written up. Your barbershop will need a set of basic contracts. An employment contract is essential. Have a lawyer put one together or find one online.
5. Find a location and Set up Your Barbershop
Note there are a lot to consider when deciding on a location for your barbershop. Depending on your budget and the nature of your barbershop, you will be looking out for certain characteristics. Leasing commercial property is one of the biggest steps you will take in starting a Barbershop.
Also, the design and layout of your barbershop and the furniture and decorations you choose are entirely up to you. If you want a minimalist feel, less is more. If you want to throw back to the 1950s, or even further, to the Wild West, antiques are a must. There are state cosmetology and barbering board requirements when it comes to setting up your barbershop, and it is important you make sure to comply with them.
6. Secure Suppliers and Build your Team
You will have to know that a successful barbershop requires a lot of equipment, some of which need to be replaced constantly. Find a supplier for razors, clippers, styling gels, cleaners, sterilizers, etc. You can buy supplies online, where there is generally a greater selection and lower prices. Or, buy supplies from your local retailer, who might be able to deliver faster.
There are hiring tools, staffing agencies, and job posting software to help you with attracting, on boarding and keeping track of applicants. A good team will make your shop a success. Whether you employ full – time barbers, strike a commission – based deal, or charge booth rent, you should still aim to have only the best barbers you can find working in your barbershop. Each of them must have a barber’s license.
7. Advertise Your Barbershop
Note that getting the word out takes time and can cost a lot of money. There are many options when it comes to marketing; from social media campaigns to gift baskets for loyal customers, and it is amazing what you can achieve with little to no money and ample creativity and energy.
Before creating a website, register a domain name for your barbershop. Your website should be user – friendly, informative, and perfectly aligned with your brand. There are many website builders to choose from. Most of them have free versions and are packed with templates to help you get started.
Also make it easy for your customers to book appointments with online booking, a must – have these days. Never overlook the power of social media. Facebook and Instagram lend themselves nicely to barbershops. Just remember that the point of social media is to actively participate in it: be accessible to your customers, share relevant pictures, videos and memes regularly and freely.
Consider leveraging digital signage. You might want to have one or two screens put up in your shop, and instead of having them on a TV channel, use them to advertise, or display menus, promotional deals, or other information. Be sure to register for Google My Business.
Also, consider setting up a Yelp Page and asking happy customers to rate your business there. Pay – per – click advertising and optimizing your website for search can also have huge payoffs, but you will either need to research these topics or hire a local agency to help you.
8. Host a Grand Opening
If you have done all the above, then your barbershop is ready to open its doors. A grand opening is a good opportunity to introduce your shop to the community and to attract attention. Always ensure to advertise your grand opening in the local paper and on social media.
You could also start handing out flyers a week or so in advance. You want as many people there as possible. Also be certain everything is where it needs to be and that there are enough tools and supplies for the day, and make sure your staff knows exactly what to do and how to act.
There was a time when owning a barbershop without being a barber was a key to failure. However, with the advent of technology and modern business innovation, nothing and virtually nothing is impossible.
So, even without prior experience, you can run your shop on full – throttle, have a cheap overhead at a prime location and more barbers to keep your engines pumping. With a bit of luck and perfecting your marketing/Promotional strategies, there’s no reason you couldn’t be making $86,000 – $150,000 a year as a barbershop owner.