How to Open a Barber shop

Outline Your Plan

If owning and operating your own barbershop is a serious consideration of yours, then there are a few important steps you will need to follow to make that dream happen.

It is never recommended that you go into any business without first conducting some research and putting pen to paper. Any successful business must start with a business plan, and within that plan, you’ll outline what is known as a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is inclusive of four factors and will help you take a good look at the business you’re about to open. They are:

  • Strengths. What can you offer that you feel no one else can? Or, asked a different way, what do you think you do really well in this field? The answers to those questions will help you figure out how to position yourself in the barbering world.
  • Weaknesses. Where can you make improvements? Are there any resources you don’t have? Once you answer these, you can fill in those gaps to ensure a more successful entrepreneurial experience.
  • Opportunities. What are they? What are the trends or the fads that you can capitalize upon? How can you take your research of the market and turn them into strengths that you implement within your company?
  • Threats. Are there threats present, especially in the form of competition? What are experts saying about the growth of your particular industry in the next ten years? Again, answer those questions to safeguard yourself against any business failures.

Figure Out Your Finances

In order to secure a brick and mortar shop, you will need to take a look into how much money is required of you. There are some experts who suggest starting with roughly $175,000 and no less. Others say you can get away with $120,000. Depending on how you choose to acquire your shop, the amount needed will change.

There are two routes you can choose: you can either purchase your piece of commercial real estate and open your barbershop that way, or you can lease the space. Remember to calculate the average monthly costs of both options in order to get a more accurate picture of how much money you will need. The precise dollar amount does depend on your location as well as the size of the space. Other expenses to consider include (but are not limited to):

  • Equipment such as clippers, combs, shears, dryers, towels, shampoos, face creams, lotions, and other products.
  • Staff salary and other labor-related costs
  • Rent and utilities which must be paid no matter if you buy your building outright or if you rent the space. You’re going to need to keep the water running and the lights on!

From there, try to foresee what you are going to take home versus the expenditures you have, remembering that the first year of business will always be the most difficult. Consult the list below and use resources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.

  • The annual net profit of barbershops (either nationally or in your region)
  • The hourly and yearly salary of barbers (so you know what to pay your employees)
  • The average yearly costs of operations
  • The average costs of operation for various services (traditional cuts, waxing, nail treatments, and more.) This, of course, depends on what kinds of services you’d like to extend to your clientele.

Finally, you will need to establish your business with your local bank in the form of a business bank account. Try to find a bank that is close to you and that has reasonable hours with both an ATM and a lobby so that you can handle your finances with a trusted banker or teller. Applying for a business line of credit will also help you to pay for the equipment and other expenses that you’re going to need.

Get Your Documents in Order

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to determine the type of business entity you want to establish. Each option brings with it different tax documents and tax regulations, so be sure to do your research beforehand. These business entities include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company, or LLC (This is the most popular choice among barbershop owners)
  • Corporation

After you decide on the entity, register your company for the proper state and federal taxes. You will need to apply for an EIN, or an Employer Identification Number, that will identify your company for taxation purposes. Keep in mind that each state has its own regulations when it comes to tax information, so a great resource to consider would be either the IRS website or the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Employees and Location

When it comes to barbering and cosmetology, each state dictates its own regulations for the hiring process of employees. There are a variety of requirements that employees in each state must meet, so it’s crucial that you investigate these in your own state before you put out those Help Wanted ads. Many states have requirements that center on some of the following facets for their employees:

  • Age
  • Degrees and certifications
  • Proper licensure
  • Examinations
  • Experience

Your location will also determine your hiring pool. If you know that there is a cosmetology school in your area, chances are you’re going to receive a vast number of applicants from that school. Keep in mind that some of them might be relatively novice.

Although everyone needs a good barber, not many people are willing to pay exorbitant prices for a simple cut. Location will also determine the amount that you can charge for your services. In big cities like New York City and Los Angeles, it is common to find high-priced services. Research your area to figure out what is reasonable within your community.

Many barbershops offer discounts for first-time customers, which might be a great way to attract new business and give your employees some experience.

Focus on the Atmosphere

It is no surprise that customers will follow a barber or a stylist.

If clients experience a good service, then location to them does not always matter; they will go where their favorite barber goes.

Remember this not only when you hire barbers to work for you, but when you set up your barbershop, as well. What atmosphere or tone do you want to set for your clientele? When they walk into the door for the first time, your shop will leave an impression on them. This is the reason why many barbershops are pursuing a cafe-like feel: for the ambiance.

Here are some simple additions you can make to the traditional barbershop layout that will go that extra mile toward making your customers feel welcome, and will inevitably have them coming back time and again.

  • Comfortable seating. This is not only crucial for the customers who are getting their hair cut, as some might be seated for a longer period of time; this is important for those who are waiting to be seen by the barber or the stylist. Keep them comfortable by choosing cushioned seats, such as couches or benches with a pillowed seat.
  • Mood music. No one enjoys shouting over loud music. The music you choose to play should only add to the vibe, not take away from it. If you want to instill a calm, soothing atmosphere, the music you choose to play will help you. Low-tempo songs, jazz, or piano covers of modern hits are all good choices.
  • Small refreshments. As stated, some barbershops are really going for that cafe-like environment, and are doing so by simply serving coffee. Opt for one of those single-serve coffee machines that utilize pods rather than a coffee pot that sits out for the entire day. Your coffee will be fresh, and you won’t have to worry about keeping a burner on all day. You might also want to consider a water cooler with both cold and hot options, as well as placing beverages such as tea bags for those who do not like coffee. A simple upgrade like this will keep your waiting customers happy and occupied.

Market Yourself

You’ve done the research. You’ve selected a location as well as a building, and you’ve assembled your team. Well done! The last step before cutting that ribbon is to market yourself. How are you going to let people know that you’re opening your doors? If you don’t mind word of mouth and going around on foot, a great way to advertise yourself is to hand out flyers throughout the community to let people know that you’re open for business. You might also consider taking out an ad in the local newspaper or working with one of the restaurants in the area to see if they will let you advertise there (think of those diner menus that feature local businesses).

Social media can also be a vital tool in getting the word out about your business. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to create a business profile where you can market your services, show before-and-after photos with your clients, announce special discounts and promotions, and much more.

You’re now on your way to opening your doors and showing the world what you and your team can offer!



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