Do you want to know if it is possible to own a barbershop without a license? If YES, here is an analysis on the requirements to start a barbershop business. Barbershops are known to provide grooming services, such as haircuts and shaves. They are small shops that specialize in cutting hair and shaving the neck and face. In most states, it is not mandatory to have a license to own a barbershop.

Is It Possible to Own a Barbershop Without a License?

If you want to open a barbershop though, you will still need a barbering license. Almost all states in the US require a certain license and several other certifications before you can open your shop for business. A barbering license gives a barber permission to make money by cutting customers’ hair. To get this type of license, a barber must complete a series of courses required by the state.

After completion, he/she must also pass the licensing exam. All barbers in the salon will also need to have this license to legally work there. Every business owner in the united states is expected to register the operation of their business with their local state. It is pertinent to specify the business structure (ex: partnership or proprietorship) and to secure an employer identification number.

Not all states require a barbershop to have a business license, so remember to check the requirements in your area. Meanwhile, the owner of a barbershop needs to register with the Board of Cosmetology in their state before commencing barbering operations.

Note that this license is to ensure that the shop meets state standards. The shop owner is generally mandated to submit a fee and license application and pass an inspection of the shop. The inspection is conducted by an employee of the Board of Cosmetology. Once the shop passes inspection, a license can be issued.

List of Licenses Required to Start a Barbershop

Since states and towns/cities don’t have a specific barbershop license, they still have requirements for starting a business. A few of the common licenses and permits a barbershop need include:

  1. Employer Identification Number

Have it in mind that any business with employees and those that form as a partnership, corporation and in many cases an LLC, will need to get an Employer Identification Number or EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  1. Sales Tax Permit or Number

For your barbershop to sell products and/or offer services in a state, a sales tax permit is typically needed. This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue or similarly named taxing agency.

  1. Resale Certificate

When buying products such as shampoo, conditioner or styling products to sell to customers, your barbershop can purchase these items tax-free. A resale certificate allows a business to purchase inventory and instead of paying the sales tax to their vendor, they charge the sales tax to the end-user of the product. Sales tax will still need to be paid for supplies used in the shop.

  1. Certificate of Occupancy (CO)

In most communities in the United States, a retail business is mandated to secure a Certificate of Occupancy before opening. This certificate is obtained from the city and allows a business to occupy and operate from a building provided the building is in compliance with zoning, codes and any other local requirements.

  1. Insurance

Although this is not a type of license; many states still require it for any business. The most common type of insurance is general business liability, which will protect your business from any liability claims caused by unexpected events, for example a flood or a fire. To find out what type of insurance is best for your store, ask an insurance agent.

  1. Trademarks and Patents

If your business will be selling any trademarked products, you will need to apply for a patenting license to keep someone from stealing your idea. A patent is fairly easy to obtain and can save you thousands of dollars if someone tries to mimic your product. Bear in mind however that patents don’t last forever and once the patent expires, other businesses will be able to use products similar to your own.


Opening a barbershop takes more than being able to give a good haircut. Every state requires a license to cut hair. Additionally, there are licenses and permits needed to open a business. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

Opening a barbershop isn’t as easy as it looks. You will need to worry about land, equipment, employees, and much more. Obtaining a barbering license should be your first step towards opening your business. The fee for a barber license varies by state but is typically between $75 and $150.