How to start a barber shop business

Written by melinda gaines | 13/05/2017
How to start a barber shop business
The barber pole is a symbol of the traditional barber shop. (barber shop pole image by Tammy Mobley from

The barber shop is more than just a service; in many communities, it's a tradition. Many men enjoy the camaraderie they get from visiting their local barber shop, while others simply appreciate a good haircut. Starting a barber shop business can be enjoyable and profitable, but in order to run a successful operation there are several things you will need to do.

Choose a niche for your barber shop. For example, some barber shops specialise in cutting ethnic hair. Some provide entertainment for clients such as a pool table or gaming systems to attract a younger crowd. Other barbers prefer an old-fashioned atmosphere and image for their shop.

Obtain a barber's license from your state. In most states, a cosmetology license and a barber license are different. To meet your state requirements, you will likely need to either apprentice under a licensed, practicing barber or attend barber school. Financial aid is available for most barbering programs.

Pick a location for your barber shop. You can rent a chair, buy an existing shop or start a brand new shop. Chair rental is ideal for new barbers because they get the benefit of practice and experience without the burden of running an independent business. Taking over a shop is a good idea if the selling price is reasonable and the shop has a good reputation. If you want to bring a new concept to your area, opening a new shop is the way to go.

Purchase the equipment you'll need, such as a barber pole, scissors, combs and brushes, clippers, sanitising solution, chairs and waiting area furniture from a reputable barber supply company.

Ensure your shop receives permission to open from your state's cosmetology board. This typically means making sure your building has proper ventilation and water systems as well as the required signage and equipment. It also means that your shop passes an inspection prior to opening.

Promote your barber shop business by listing it in local online and print directories, joining a barber's network or association, launching an informational website or blog, or handing out coupons at complementary businesses such as men's clothing stores, tuxedo shops, music and entertainment stores, electronics stores and men's shoe stores.


If you do not want to obtain a barber's license, you can hire licensed barbers or rent chairs to licensed barbers instead.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not want to obtain a barber's license, you can hire licensed barbers or rent chairs to licensed barbers instead.
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