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How to Start a Barbershop

Want to learn how to start a barbershop? We got you covered.  Barbershop can generate incredible revenue. Plus, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’re probably always thinking of new ways to become your own boss. If you like cutting hair and making money then,  why not marry your passion for a slick hairstyle with your business savvy?

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about how to start a barbershop. From creating your business plan to welcoming your first customers through the door, get ready to discover if starting a barbershop is right for you.

How to Start a Barbershop: Do Your Planning First

Long before you invite your first guest into the barber’s chair, you’ll need to do research and preparation to ensure that your business is a success. This stage is critical to building the right foundation for your barbershop.

1. Identify your target market

The first thing you’ll need to do is consider who your target market is. These are your ideal customers, the ones who will keep your business running year after year. Consider factors such as their demographics, location, and needs.

This will also help you identify what services you should offer and what pricing will be a good match for your audience. For example, if you plan to offer high-end grooming services, your target audience will need to have a high discretionary income and be willing to pay for a luxury experience. However, if you realize that the area where you plan to open up your barbershop doesn’t have that discretionary income, you might need to rethink your services or what you plan to charge.

2. Research existing competition

Very rarely does a business exist in a vacuum. Unless you are in a small town where no other hair salon or barbershop exists, you’ll almost definitely have competition. To research your competition, find other businesses that are offering similar or the same services. You can visit the shops in person and research them online.

Make sure you keep a list of all your competitors. Include all the relevant information, such as their prices, services, and target customer base. Continue to update this list as competitors come and go.

3. Create a comprehensive business plan

A business plan is a document that includes information about your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. You’ll include all the research you did from the above two steps, along with details about your business’s mission, vision, and goals. Make sure that you create a digital copy of this plan that you can revisit later. This is helpful information for both yourself and potential business partners.

If you need a little help getting started, the U.S. Small Business Administration has a great guide to get you going: Write your business plan.

4. Secure your funding

There are numerous methods you can use to secure funding for your barbershop. The following are just a few ideas:

  • Bootstrapping is a form of funding where you fund the entire business launch with your own money. If you have enough personal savings you can use toward your business, this will help you avoid taking on further debt.
  • Small business loan. Another popular option to get a small business off the ground is to secure a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. You can get this funding from a bank or credit union, but it will require good credit, collateral, and a business plan.
  • Crowdfunding. Another option is to ask a large number of people to contribute money toward your business. You can use GoFundMe, or if you have a large network, you can spread your request by word of mouth.
  • Investors. Often, entrepreneurs will turn to investors who will provide capital for the launch of the business. Keep in mind that in exchange for capital, you’ll be giving up part of your ownership.

5. Creating a business structure

Creating a business structure is an important step and helps you separate your personal and business finances. It also protects you from personal liability if your barbershop is sued.

The most common legal entities for small businesses are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and Corporations. If you aren’t sure which business structure is right for you, consider consulting with an attorney. They can help you navigate each business type and decide on the best fit for your barbershop.

How to Start a Barbershop: Find the Perfect Location

Next up, if you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to identify the best location for your barbershop. When considering possible locations, consider all of the following:

  • Foot traffic. The more people who are coming and going from the area where your shop is located, the better. Choosing a remote location with little foot traffic can make it harder to drum up business.
  • Zoning regulations. Zoning is a critical consideration before you choose a location. Before signing a lease, make sure that the building is zoned for a barbershop. Generally speaking, barbershops require commercial zoning.
  • Setting up shop in a flooded market can make it extremely hard to get your business off the ground. Ideally, choose a location where the need for a barbershop offering your specific services is high.

Setting Up the Barbershop

With your business plan written and your funding and location secured, it’s time to get your shop ready for customers. Follow these steps to make sure your guests are greeted with an operational barbershop.

1. Choosing the right equipment and supplies

Before you open your doors, you’ll need to outfit your shop with the right equipment and supplies. The following is a quick checklist to help you get started.

  • Barber chairs
  • Styling stations
  • Hair-cutting tools, including scissors, razors, clippers, and trimmers
  • Shaving tools, including straight razors, safety razors, shaving cream, and aftershave
  • Towels and capes
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Retail products, such as post-appointment grooming supplies
  • Waiting area furniture
  • Point of Sale System

2. Hire your staff

Depending on your operational model, you might need to hire staff for your barbershop. Some entrepreneurs opt to start on their own, but ideally, you’ll want to hire staff for your shop so you can focus on managing your business.

To hire staff, you’ll first need to outline each job role. Make sure to create a detailed explanation of job requirements and preferred experience. Post open listings to online job boards and any local job market boards.

Additionally, make sure to speak to an attorney about what licenses barbers are required to hold in your state.

If you need help, check out the SBA’s guide to hiring and managing employees. Here, you’ll find out everything you need to know about setting up payroll and ensuring compliance with labor laws.

3. Design and decorate your space

Lastly, don’t forget to focus on making your barbershop a welcoming place for customers. Add decorations based on your unique style. Consider adding fun and different designs, like partnering with a local artist to paint an interesting mural that will catch the attention of those who pass by.

Market Your Barbershop

Developing a marketing strategy is a critical part of bringing in business. Hopefully, you’ve already spread the word to family and friends about your new shop. However, don’t stop there. Use the following ideas to market your barbershop:

  • Create a website and social media presence
  • Build out your Google Business Page listing
  • Design professional flyers and business cards—you can hand these out yourself and ask family and friends to give them to everyone they know
  • Network with other community members and business leaders
  • Attend events and host pop-up barbershops to showcase your work

Managing the Barbershop

Finally, your work doesn’t stop once your barbershop is running. One of the keys to running your business is keeping accurate financial records.

The following are just a few tips for helping you manage the business side of your barbershop:

  • Keep track of all income.
  • Track every single business expense.
  • Use a separate bank account solely for your business—never mix your personal and business income.
  • Use a cloud-based accounting service, such as QuickBooks. You can use this to digitize and store receipts and invoices.
  • Consider hiring an accountant. This is particularly helpful during tax season and can help you avoid making costly mistakes down the road.

Be Your Own Boss

Starting your own business is a great way to take control of your income and build the career you want. We hope that now you feel confident in starting a barbershop and wish you all the best on your path to financial freedom. Remember, our community is here to help. Make sure to sign-up for access to financial products, services, and information.

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