Industry • Inspiration
Barbershop Ideas: Get Inspired & Get Paid
Sep.26,2022By Boulevard Staff
Whether you’re becoming a first time owner or taking your barbershop business to the next level, this guide has what you need to get going.
Getting a beauty business off the ground can be tough, and brand new barbershops are no different. From the ins and outs of running a company to the nitty gritty of getting licensed for all the services you plan to provide, the barbershop business is intricate and complex. We’ve poured the barbershop ideas you need most into this handy guide so you can feel empowered and confident about throwing open your doors or just taking your barbershop to the next level.
How to set up a barbershop
When it comes to barbershop set up ideas, the first thing you’ll need is a location. Rent is one of the largest costs associated with running a barbershop, so take care to find a space that meets your needs but also fits your budget. Then square away all the licensing paperwork you’ll need to operate legally. You’ll need to cover the basics like business incorporation on top of haircare-specific licenses and liability insurance.
Next, stock up on all the tools and equipment you’ll need to provide your full menu of barbershop services. Barbershop chairs are pretty much non-negotiable, plus other functional decor like wall-mounted and hand-held mirrors. The design of your barbershop is important when it comes to the client experience, whether that means mounting TV screens to show the big game or decking out your shop with cool art and lighting. Don’t forget the clippers, shears, straight razors, combs, brushes, and products you’ll need to get the job done.
Lastly, think through the strategies you’ll use to get clients clamoring for a spot in one of those shiny new barbershop chairs. You can certainly start with an iconic barber pole, but make sure your messaging extends into the digital realm with marketing efforts that spread the word beyond your immediate community. Social media is a critical element of modern barbershop marketing, but your website also deserves attention; every touchpoint a potential client has with your business is an opportunity to turn them into a devoted customer.
Want to learn more about getting your barbershop off the ground? Read our article: “How to Start a Barbershop: The Complete Guide.”
Let’s talk numbers: How much can you make?
Although barbershop owners make approximately $29,000 per year on average, the huge range in barbershop business models means that the amount you can actually take home varies widely. Factors like the health of commercial real estate in your city, how much and how often you pay employees, and client traffic can all swing the pendulum in your favor — or put profits just out of reach.
As a barbershop owner, you have many options for how to increase your annual revenue. The most obvious way to increase your profit is to reduce your expenses — you need to bring more money in than you’re paying out, and it’s sometimes easier to reduce the amount you owe than it is to increase the amount you earn. Do a deep dive into your overhead costs and every single financial line item to make sure your books are in order and your operation is as lean as can be.
There are also plenty of ways you can tweak your barbershop strategy to increase your income. Make sure you pick a location where you can comfortably charge a fair price for your services, including what stylists are paid, the cost of equipment and products, and the cut you take as the salon owner. You can also appeal to a broader customer base by diversifying your services; in addition to hair cuts, consider offering straight razor shaves, beard and mustache treatments, hot towel massages, and consultations to customize the perfect service package for each individual client.
If you want to cast a wider net for ways to bring more dollars to your barbershop, brush up on alternative revenue streams. Offering chair rentals can simultaneously boost your bottom line through rental fees in the short term and introduce new clients to your business in the long run, for example. Curating a retail selection is another way to increase revenue; start by selling the products you’re already using during the services you provide, and expand from there to offer haircare and skincare products your barbershop clientele is likely to try, use, and love.
Curious about your earning potential and how to build revenue for your barbershop business? Check out our post: “How Much Do Barbershop Owners Make In 2022?”
Do I need a barbershop business plan?
Business plans are a great way to make the case for your company. If this is your very first barbershop, if you’re going into business with partners, or if you’re pounding the pavement in search of investors, having a roadmap that lays out the current state of your business and outlines your projections for the future will help you achieve your dreams sooner rather than later. Here are the most important sections you should include in your barbershop business plan:
Executive summary: Provide an overview of what your barbershop is all about, the status of your business today, and your plans for the future along with strategies you’ll use to achieve them.
Business description: What makes your barbershop unique? Describe what your company stands for, the kinds of customers you’ll cater to, what services you’ll offer, and what plans you have for setting up a barber shop if you haven’t opened your doors yet.
Industry overview: Do some research into the health of the beauty industry and the barbershop market at large. What trends can you identify and how will your barbershop business meet the moment?
Market research: Study your competitors and your customers to understand what other barbershops are offering and anticipate what your clients really want. Pricing structures, marketing strategies, services offered, and general style are all ripe for comparison.
Sales & marketing: How are you going to fill your barbershop chairs? Describe how you plan to spread the word about your business and make it easier for potential clients to find — and fall in love with — your barbershop.
Budget: Track the money coming in and money going out of your barber business to get a clear picture of your financial reality. If you’re already open for business, you can include tax filings, bank statements, receipts, etc.
Financials: Create a balance sheet that lists your assets and liabilities to create the foundation from which you can imagine your financial future. In this section you’ll create revenue growth goals and financial projections for where you want your business to be.
Team: Introduce the people who make up the beating heart of your barbershop. Include names, titles, and short bios highlighting industry achievements or accolades for anyone in management or leadership positions on your team.
Ready to chart out the path for your big barbershop moves? Use our handy guide here: “Business Plans for a Barbershop: How to Get Started.”
What’s the difference between a barbershop and a salon?
When clients start searching for a place to get their next haircut, it can be incredibly difficult to cut through the noise and find a perfect fit. While many people assume that salons are for women and barbershops are for men, the biggest difference between salons and barbershops is really the selection of services they offer. Instead of going by a gender binary, encourage clients to think through what kind of hair they’re working with (and what kind of hair they’d like to have at the end of their service!) to figure out whether salons or barbershops are a better fit.
The long and short of it
Typically, barbershops specialize in shorter cuts that require less styling between appointments but probably need to be touched up more frequently. Think clipper length cuts, trims, and buzzes. Salons, on the other hand, are usually more focused on hairstyles that take longer to complete, can take all kinds of styling, and probably only need to be revisited once or twice a year. Think scissors, shears, and hair down to there.
All about that face
While both barbershops and salons offer treatments applied to the face, the specific types of services available don’t overlap much more than that. Clients are more likely to head to a barbershop for a straight razor shave or facial hair trim, but will probably look to a salon for a facial (and sometimes even a mani/pedi too!).
Get the timing right
Since barbershops primarily serve clients with shorter hair, their services and treatments typically don’t take as long as salon offerings. That makes barbershops a better match for walk-ins without a wait, while salons can book up weeks or even months in advance and typically require advance bookings to keep their stylists busy and their waiting rooms clear.
License to thrill
One of the most critical differences between barbershops and salons is the licensing required. Cosmetologists and barbers are subject to distinct educational pathways, including mandatory trainings, practice hours, and certifications. The specific requirements of cosmetology and barbering licenses vary from state to state, so make sure everyone who works at your barbershop is fully licensed to practice wherever your shop is located.
Not sure how to tell beauty businesses apart? Learn the basics in our complete article: “Barbershop vs. Salon: What’s the Difference?”
Even if you’re more interested in barbering than running a business, the interim steps of designing a business plan, getting all your licenses, and planning for your financial future will all help you get back to doing the barbershop tasks you love most. Think of it as setting yourself up for success, and you’ll be standing behind a chair with a trimmer in your hand in no time.