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How do I Open a Barber Shop?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

The mistake that many people make when starting a new business is that they don’t adequately consider the business side of their profession. If you want to open a barber shop it is important to not only be a skilled barber, but to also understand how to run a small business. If you are already trained as a barber and just considering going out on your own you will have a different job ahead of you than someone who is new to cutting hair and wants to immediately open their own barber shop.

If you are new to the barbering profession entirely, it makes sense to take any business classes that are offered by your barber school. While mastering different scissoring techniques is important, managing cash flow is probably the single most important aspect of running a successful business. If you are out of school or your school doesn’t offer business classes, consider taking a few basic business management courses at the local community college.

Barbers cut, wash, and style hair.
Barbers cut, wash, and style hair.

Do you plan to be the only barber in your barber shop, or will you lease space to others? This is a decision that you should make before you choose a space for your business. If it will only be you, you can choose a much smaller, and less expensive, spot. If you plan to add other barbers, you will not only need space for their equipment, but you will also probably want some sort of break room as well as added storage space. The advantage of sharing your space is that you can collect monthly rent to help cover your costs and you will not be alone in the shop.

Some barber shops focus on facial hair as well.
Some barber shops focus on facial hair as well.

Before you open your doors, it is important to write a business plan. If you need to approach a lending institution for funding, you should have a business plan. Even if you are paying for the start-up costs yourself, a business plan is important. It helps you determine your expenses as well as your potential profits. You will know how much you need to make each month to break even, and how many clients you need to meet that number.

There are many resources available for the new business owner. Before you open a barber shop, visit your local library to check out books on small business and business plan development. The Internet has a variety of resources available as well. You can also visit SCORE, a nonprofit that connects retired business professionals with small business owners, and the federal government’s Small Business Administration. Whether you are selling shoes or haircuts, a successful small business requires you to manage your cash flow and track income and liabilities carefully.

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Discussion Comments


Even if someone has been working in another barber's shop for some time, that does not mean that person is aware of all of the costs associated with opening a new shop on his own.

For example, the owner of a new shop will need to have or purchase all of his own hair cutting equipment, barber chairs and sinks, where those things may have been provided for or rented to him in the past.

Even something as simple as hiring someone to come in a couple of times a week to clean the shop could add costs the new shop owner never even considered.

As the article says, a business plan is key for any new owner to help avoid surprise costs.


Another important thing to consider when deciding whether or not to open a barber shop is competition in the area.

There are usually already two or three barber shops in most good-sized towns. You want to be careful not to flood the market.

Once a man finds a barber he likes, it is common for him to stick with that barber for life. A hair cut is a personal thing, and most people don't want to take a chance that a new or different barber may cut their hair differently.

If there already is some competition in the area, do some research on those other barbers and look for a niche that may drive new business your way.

For example, how old is the clientele in the other barbershops. If an existing barber is more popular among middle-aged or older members of the community, think about opening a more child or young adult friendly shop.

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    • Barbers cut, wash, and style hair.
      By: AntonioDiaz
      Barbers cut, wash, and style hair.
    • Some barber shops focus on facial hair as well.
      By: dmitrimaruta
      Some barber shops focus on facial hair as well.