Do you want to start a barbershop business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a barbershop business with NO money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample barbershop business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample barbershop marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for barbershops. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a barbershop business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Barber Shop?

Have you ever wondered how much money barbers cum hair salons make on a daily basis in busy areas?  If you have, then chances are that you imagined they would be millionaires. Well, the truth is that one can become a millionaire by merely being a barber who owns a hair salon.

There are countless number of men and even women who have to change their hairstyles from time to time. Some choose the once in a month option- especially if they have to wear new looks. Yet others want the two weeks or even weekly option. Whatever the case may be, the reality is that there is mega bucks in this trade.

The barber shop cum hair salon business is one business that you could start from just about anywhere. It could be from a cubicle, a room, a kiosk, shop, or a gigantic building. All that is required of you is to make men and women look good with good haircuts and trending hair styles.

No doubt if you are interested in making people look good by giving them clean haircuts and hair treatment, then you should consider starting your own barber shop. It is indeed a profitable venture especially if your barber shop is centrally located in an environment with the right demographic composition.

Before launching this type of business, it will pay you to carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your barber shop business, it will not take you long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.

So, if you have the desire to start your own barber shop business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.

Starting a Barbershop Business from Home – A Complete Guide

Industry Overview

Basically, a barbershop is a place where people go to cut their hair and of course it is the work place of a barber. A barber is a person whose livelihood is mainly to cut, dress, groom, style and shave men and boys’ hair and in some cases ladies/girls who keep low cut.

Asides from the fact that people go to cut, dress, groom, style and shave in a barber shop; it is also place where people go to socialize with other folks in the neighborhood and also to engage in trendy discussion in the community or country as the case maybe.

Before now, all those whose business is to take care of people’s hair were called barbers, but in recent time, the term in only used for people who handle male hair; hairdresser is used for those who handle female hair. In the 20th century, the profession of cosmetology branched out from the barbering industry which is why hairdressers may be licensed as either barbers or cosmetologists. Barbers vary with respect to where they work, the services they are licensed to offer, and the name they are called.

In the United States of America, the labor law and licensing requirements as it concerns barbers for each state differ on their labor and licensing laws. For instance, a cosmetologist who operates in the state of Maryland cannot make use of a straight razor, which is strictly reserved for only barbers.

While in the state of New Jersey, both barbers and cosmetologists are regulated by the State Board of Cosmetology and there is no legal difference between barbers and cosmetologists as they are issued the same license and can practice the art of straight razor shaving, coloring and other chemical works if they choose.

The barber trade has a long history that can be traced from the Egyptian Empire to the Roman Empire down to the Greek Empire. History has it that barbering was introduced to Rome by the Greek colonies in Sicily in 296 BC, and barber shops quickly became very popular hubs for daily news and gossip.

If you have plans of becoming a barber and to open a barber shop, then you are expected to undergo a barbers’ training. There are several means of getting trained as a barber. If you are in the United States of America you are expected to attend a Barber School, that is the only way you can easily acquire your license and permit.

Besides, most states in the U.S require a barber to possess a license before they can be allowed to practice barbering professionally. People also learn the trade by understudying professional barbers in their shops.

The cost of attending a barber school varies from state to state, and also from city to city. Schools in larger cities tend to cost more than those located in smaller cities and rural towns. So also, brand names can also affect the cost of barber schools.

On the average, most barber schools in the United States cost between $6,500 and $10,000 to complete. Each state has different minimum for training hours and as such, the length and cost of the program can vary for that reason. Another factor that influences the fees is that some schools tuition include supplies and textbooks, whereas others do not. The Barber license exam fee typically ranges from $50 to $150.

The barber shop business will continue to blossom because people will always go to barber shops to have a haircut or any other related services offered by barber shops. Despite the fact that the industry seems over saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own barber shops in the United States of America.

Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services offered by barber shops cut across all genders; male, female, people from different religion and ethnicity and people with different financial means hence the demographic composition for a barber shop business is all-encompassing.

The truth is that, when it comes to looking good in terms of having a clean and good haircut, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but should include all those who can afford to patronize your services.

So if you are thinking of opening your own barber shop business, then you should make sure your target demographics is all encompassing. It should include celebrities, public figures, politicians, business executives, students, sports men and women, young adults, teenagers, children, elderly people, ladies who carry low cut and every adult in the neighborhood where your barber shop will be located.

List of Niche ideas That You Can Specialize in

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the barber shop business. Every player in this line of business is usually involved in cutting hair for both male and female, dressing hair for both male and female, grooming hair for both male and female, dye/coloring of hair for both male and female, styling and shaving hair for both male and female, sale of clippers, sale of barbing bibs, clipper treatments and barbing accessories, sale of aftershave and shaving powder et al.

On the other hand, it is important to state that most barber shops also engage in home services and training (teaching people how to cut and style hair).

The Level of Competition in the Barber Shop Business

The competition that exists in the barber shop line of business goes beyond competition within barber shops in same location; you will be expected to compete with hair salons, grooming shops and hair stylists that also render some of the services that you offer. So, it will be right to say the competition in the hair salon industry cum barber shop business is tough.

The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your barbers are well trained to pay attention details when carrying out their services and your customer services is top notch.

There are several hair salons and barber shops scattered all around the United States; if you choose to start your own barber shop business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competition amongst barber shops, hair salons, grooming shops and hair stylists that also render same services that you offer within your business location. Besides, there are larger barber shops that determine the trend in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.

List of Well-Known Brands in the Barbershop Industry

In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they treat their customers.

These are some of the leading barber shops in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Hammer & Nails | Grooming Shop for Guys
  • Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids
  • Image Studios 360
  • Headcase – Barbers Franchise
  • Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop
  • Hair for Men Ltd
  • MVP Modern Barbers
  • Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop
  • The Barbershop A Hair Salon for Men ®
  • Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop
  • BarberVan® franchise family
  • Wellington & Barber

Economic Analysis

Barber shop business is not a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several barber shops when you go looking for where to have a haircut in your neighborhood. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey on the amount needed to rent a shop, purchase the needed barbing equipment and tools, barbing supplies and also the cost needed to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a barber shop business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a shop facility and the amount needed to purchase the needed barbing equipment and tools, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

Buying a Franchise vs Starting a Barber Shop from Scratch

If you are looking towards starting a barber shop business, it will pay you to start from the very scratch because, though the franchise of a barber shop might not be too expensive, but it is the expertise and skill of the barbers on ground that count not necessarily brand name.

Besides starting a barber shop business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small scale businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With the barber shop business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a shop that is close to a major road or in a residential estate and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to market your services.

Please note that most of the big and successful barber shops around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Barbershop

If you decide to start your own barber shop business today, one of the major challenges you are going to face is the presence of already established barber shops, hair salons, grooming shops and hair stylists that render same services that you offer. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Other challenges include economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, businesses such as barber shops and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers. Unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your barber shop. There is nothing you can do as regard these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work out well for you.

Best Legal Entity to Use for a Barbershop Business

When considering starting a barber shop business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as barber shop.

Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale barber shop especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood. But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons.

As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of barber shops all across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

Catchy Business Name ideas for a Barber Shop Business

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own barber shop business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • One Nation Barber Shop, LLC
  • Most Handsome Barber Shop, LLC
  • All Genders Barber Shop, Inc.
  • The People’s Choice Barber Shop, LLC
  • Prince & Princess Barber Shop, Inc.
  • Kings & Queen Barber Shop, Inc.
  • Adam & Eve Barber Shop, Inc.
  • Boston Unisex Hair Salon, LLC
  • Luke Geneva & Sons Barber Shop, Inc.
  • Cleanest Cut Children Hair Salon, LLC

Insurance Policies

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your barber shop business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own barber shop business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own barber shop business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Barbershop Business?

Aside from knowing how to cut hair, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some barbers cum barber shop owners stand out. If you want to make impact in the hair salon industry as a professional barber, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of trade.

These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own barber shop business;

  • Licensed Professional Barber
  • Certified Barber/Hair Stylist

Please note that if you have plans of becoming a barber and to open a barber shop, then you expected to undergo a barbers’ training. There are several means of getting trained as a barber. If you are in the United States of America you are expected to attend a “Barber School“, that’s only when you can easily acquire your license and permit. Besides, most states in the U.S require a barber to possess a license before they can be allowed to practice barbering professionally.

 List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Barber Shop Business

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own barber shop business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

Financing Your Barber Shop Business

Starting a barber shop business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a small barber shop in a street corner within your neighborhood. Securing a standard and well-positioned shop, purchase of the needed barbing equipment, tools and supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start-up capital.

But if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale barber shop business with more than a handful of employees. No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan.

If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for star-up capital for your barber shop business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell of shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends

Choosing a Suitable Location for your Barber Shop Business

The location you chose to open your barber shop is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a shop facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a shop facility for your barber shop business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers; except you want to concentrate on offering home services (going to the homes of your customers as against them coming to your shop).

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your barber shop;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for the services of barber shops/hair salon in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of barber shops, hair salons, grooming shops and hair stylists that also render same services that you intend offering in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al

Technical & Manpower Details

On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines, shelves, and software applications. But you will definitely need clippers, clipper sterilizers, clipper sharpeners, flat screen TVs, computers and receipt issuing machines, sound System (For playing music and keeping your customers entertained), barber chairs, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regard leasing or outright purchase of a shop facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard barber shop business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Chief Barber (you can occupy this role), Deputy Chief Barber/Barbing Salon Manager, Barbers, Sales Agent, Cashier (Counter Agent), Security Guards and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small scale but standard barber shop business.

The Service Process Involved in a Barber Shop Business

Generally, when people visit a barber’s shop, they tell the barber what they want, or on the alternative, they can choose a style from a catalogue and then the barber assigned to them will give them the required haircut cum hair treatment they requested for based on their guidance if need be.

In case of home service, when a customer calls a barber requesting for home services, negotiation is made on the phone or via any other communication channel. Once agreement is reached, the barber will send a barber to the residence of the customer and the services will be rendered their and their money paid.

When it comes to a business such as barber shop that also retails barbing merchandises, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandise manager to help the organization/store stock goods (clippers, barbing bibs, clipper treatments, barbing accessories, aftershave, shaving powder et al.).

They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they do not only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits, but also that they purchase items that are in demand in their business location.

Once the items are bought, they are properly arranged in the store for customers to see and purchase. On the other hand, they are also expected to wrap and deliver items orders made by clients if such services are available in their barber shop.

It is important to state that a barber shop may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated barber shop business process is not cast on stone.

Marketing ideas and strategies

Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a barber shop business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will struggle with the business because there are well-known brands determining the market direction for the hair salon industry.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your barber shop business;

  • Introduce your barber shop by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to churches and other religious centers, military training base, schools, households, bachelors and spinsters, corporate executives, business people, about to wed couples, expectant mothers, sports men and women, students, tourists, corporate organizations, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your barber shop is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across, so that those on social media or those who read blogs can know where to go when they need to have a haircut within your location
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your business
  • Engage in road show in targeted communities from time to time to promote your business/services
  • Join local barber shop owners association for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow page ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing for your Barbershop

One key factor that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

If you are able to secure high volume barbing contract (schools, prisons, military training base et al), then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your barber shop business.

If you are into the retailing of clippers, barbing bibs, clipper treatments, barbing accessories, aftershave and shaving powder and you intend selling at rock bottom prices, you need to ensure that you purchase your items directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If your intention of starting a barber shop business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of barber shops and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your barber shop;

  • Advertise your barber shop in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • List your barber shop in local directories/yellow pages
  • Contact military base, churches and other religious centers, schools, households, bachelors and spinsters, corporate executives, business people, about to wed couples, expectant mothers, sports men and women, students, tourists, corporate organizations, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your barber shop is located informing them about your business and the services you offer
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your barber shop.
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
  • Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your barber shop is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are well branded with your company logo.
Joy Nwokoro