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What is a Barber’s Shop Business?
With many shops and businesses closing and the decline of the high street, it would be easy to assume that businesses such as barber’s shops would be quick to follow. However, barbers across the UK have been able to go against the trend, with the barber industry showing significant growth year on year. In fact, more than 3,500 new barber’s shops have opened in the last five years alone.
With self-care and male grooming becoming more popular, it’s no surprise that this industry is growing. A barber’s shop is a place where (typically) men and boys get their hair cut and styled; however, people of all genders and identities can use the services of a barber’s shop. Barbers specialise in shorter haircuts that typically require lower day-to-day styling and maintenance. People who have long hair may opt to use the services of a salon, rather than a barber’s shop.
A barber’s shop typically specialises in a range of cutting and grooming tasks and techniques, including cutting, shaving, trimming, dressing, shaping, grooming and styling hair, beards and moustaches. They may also engage in other general grooming and skincare procedures and treatments.
If you are considering starting up a barber’s shop business, you have several options available to you:
- Open an independent barber’s shop.
- Set up multiple barber’s shops in your area or operate nationally.
- Hire a chair in an already existing barber’s shop and work on a self-employed basis.
- Operate an at-home or mobile barber business.
You may opt to hire other barbers to work in your barber’s shop or operate as the sole barber, either on a permanent or self-employed basis. The more barbers you hire, the more customers you will be able to accept at one time. Once you have provided your clients with their chosen service or treatment, the customer will then pay for this service.
Many barber’s shops succeed as a result of repeat business and recommendations. Barber’s shops are also frequently considered to be social hubs, with customers often socialising with each other or with their barbers. Depending on the size and popularity of your barber’s shop, you may offer pre-booked appointments or walk-in appointments.
There are several tasks associated with running a barber’s shop business. Although your responsibilities can vary depending on the type of services you offer and whether you work in a customer-facing capacity, some of the typical daily tasks associated with this type of business are:
- Ordering equipment, stock and haircare products.
- Researching all products you use, storing them safely, ensuring they are used correctly and checking whether your customers have any allergies or sensitivities to any of the hair products before using them.
- Pricing your services.
- Making appointments.
- Consulting with customers and giving recommendations and advice.
- Cutting, shaving, trimming and styling hair, beards and moustaches.
- Ensuring the cleanliness of your premises and equipment.
- Maintaining equipment regularly.
- Handling customer payments.
- Marketing and advertising.
- Completing business and administrative tasks.
If you are thinking of starting up a barber’s shop business, you must ensure that you have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications. It can take several years of training before you become a skilled barber. You will also need to ensure you stay up to date with current styles, trends and techniques.
A passion and talent for barbering, good interpersonal skills and customer service skills, creativity, a genuine interest in your customers and a flair for business can also be beneficial. If you are a sociable person who enjoys working in a face-to-face capacity and you have strong barbering skills and a solid business plan, then setting up a barber’s shop business can be both financially and personally rewarding.
Types of Customers
People of all ages and demographics visit barber’s shops. Although your customers are likely to primarily be men and boys, any person with short hair can utilise the services of a barber.
Determining the types of customers your business is likely to attract can help you to plan your advertising and marketing strategies and maximise your profits.
There are multiple factors that can influence your typical customer base, such as:
The services and treatments you offer
Not all barber’s shops offer the same services and treatments. Some customers may request a simple cut or hairstyle, whereas others may want more enhanced treatments or services, such as afro-textured hair care, braids or beard and moustache treatments. The types of services and treatments you offer can significantly impact your customer base.
Many customers visit a barber’s shop that is conveniently located near them. Because people with short hair usually require more regular haircuts, they are more likely to visit a barber’s shop that is located close to their home, work, place of study or another area of convenience. Consider the location of your barber’s shop when trying to determine your typical customer base. For example, if you are located in a city or town centre, you may attract local professionals who work in the area, whereas if you are located in a residential area, your clients are more likely to be people who live locally.
Your price points
Your pricing will be a major factor in determining your typical customer base.
Customers can typically be separated into three pricing categories:
- Budget: These customers are looking for the lowest-priced barber and are usually happy to have a more basic service.
- Mid-range: Mid-range customers are looking for a combination of quality and affordability. Although they don’t want to pay premium prices, they don’t look for the cheapest option and instead look for a quality service at a reasonable price.
- High-end: These types of customers are willing to pay the highest prices for the highest level of service and the most experienced barbers. They are more likely to look at factors such as the aesthetic of your shop, the equipment and products you use and your qualifications.
Different types of customers will have different pricing expectations.
Your qualifications, experience and level of expertise
The more highly qualified and experienced you are, the more money you are able to charge. These factors can also impact the types of customers you attract, as those who are looking for more stylish or sophisticated services are more likely to choose your barber’s shop.
Your business brand and aesthetic
Your branding and aesthetic are key to attracting customers. Your business name, logo and the design of your barber’s shop are all key to the types of clients your business will appeal to.
Your marketing and advertising strategies
Your marketing and advertising strategies will have a significant impact on the types of customers you attract. For example, if you advertise on social media sites, such as Instagram or TikTok, you will be more likely to attract younger customers, whereas if you advertise in your local village newsletter, you are more likely to attract older customers who are involved in your local community.
Equipment You Will Need
Your equipment is an essential requirement, as without it you will not be able to operate your business. The type of equipment you require will depend on the type of barber’s shop you set up and the typical services you offer.
Although your equipment requirements can vary, below is a list of equipment typically required by barber’s shop businesses.
Trimmers are a vital piece of equipment in a barber’s shop and are used for a variety of tasks, including:
- Close shaves and buzz cuts.
- Detailed cuts, such as fades.
- Cleaning up the back of the neck, around the ears and the hairline.
- Creating beard designs.
They are most popular for edging, outlining, dry shaving and light shaping. Trimmers are most common for smaller areas of the head.
An electrical shaver
Electrical shavers can help reduce skin irritation. They are used for a variety of tasks, including shaving the head, removing all facial hair and fading and blending. Shavers allow the barber to get very close to the face or head.
Clippers are an essential barbering tool and you can choose between corded and cordless clippers. Corded clippers tend to have the most powerful and consistent motors whereas cordless clippers allow you to cut hair without the constraints of a wire. Clippers are generally used for cutting a lot of hair on a larger area and for customers who do not want a very short cut.
Clipper guards are plastic attachments that connect to your barber clippers and prevent them from cutting hair shorter than a particular length. They help to ensure the customer gets the haircut they request; for example, if they request a number one cut, a clipper guard will set the length to 3.4mm.
There are different types of razors you may need in your barber’s shop. The most common type is the straight razor, which provides a more clean and smooth shave. Straight razors come in different thicknesses.
You will need to purchase a variety of pairs of scissors in different shapes and sizes for different hair types and different types of haircuts. Each barber who operates in your shop will also need a complete set of scissors so that they can all cut their customers’ hair at the same time.
An edger is used for tasks that require precision and detail, such as beard or moustache trims and detailed hair designs.
This is a smaller, more compact type of clipper and is used for a variety of purposes, including detailing, refining and outlining a haircut and trimming a client’s eyebrows.
Blade oil and brush
This ensures you get the best performance and longest lifespan out of your clippers and trimmers. The blade brush should be used to brush the hair out of your blades and the blade oil can be used to keep the blades lubricated and working smoothly.
Combs are needed for brushing, detangling and styling hair. You will need to use combs throughout the hair styling process. You will need combs at every styling station and may opt to purchase different combs for different hair types.
A duster is used to remove leftover hair from your clients’ necks and shoulders. You can choose from dusters with supple nylon or natural horsehair bristles.
Capes are worn by your customers and are intended to protect their clothes and skin from any loose hair and any products or chemicals you use. You will need multiple capes and will need to ensure you wash them regularly.
Towels will have multiple uses in your barber’s shop, including wiping excess shaving cream off clients’ faces, softening beard hair (hot towels), closing the pores and tightening the skin (cold towels) and catching any dripping water from the client’s hair.
Warm towels are beneficial if you offer face shaves or any other beard or moustache treatments. Many barber’s shops offer hot shaves to soften the beard and provide a close or more efficient shave. A towel warmer provides you with a steaming hot towel quickly.
These are used to dampen the hair before cuts. The spray bottles can be filled with warm water or warm water mixed with conditioner or another haircare product.
Hair dryers will be useful when styling your clients’ hair. You will need a hair dryer in every workstation.
Good hygiene practices are important in a barber’s shop. You will be required to sanitise your equipment and workstations between each customer. Cleaning your tools regularly with a disinfectant spray can help to remove bacteria and keep your blades lubricated.
The types of products you will need will vary depending on the treatments you offer. You will likely have to purchase multiple types of products for the same treatments to account for your clients’ needs and any allergies or sensitivities. You may be able to purchase the products directly from the manufacturer or buy them in bulk to save money.
Some hair products you may choose to purchase include:
- Styling gel.
- Shaving creams, gels and foams.
- Beard care products.
- Skincare products.
Sinks and backwash units
These are a type of reclining chair that is attached to a sink. They are used for washing hair and rinsing dyes and other products out of a client’s hair. Depending on the size of your barber’s shop, you may need multiple backwash units.
There is a wide range of barber chairs with different features and appearances. When choosing barber chairs consider the aesthetic of your business, their functionality, the comfort of the customer and the barber, the quality and the material (i.e. is it durable and easy to clean?).
Styling units are professionally installed in your salon. They are the area where haircuts and styling take place. You may choose built-in wall units, island units or tables. You may also choose to incorporate shelving, cupboards or drawers into your styling area.
Mirrors will be installed on the wall as part of your styling unit to allow customers to see their hairstyles. You may also need handheld mirrors to show customers the back of their hair.
Beauty trolleys can help you keep all your main equipment close by. You can move your equipment around your barber’s shop more easily and reduce the amount of lifting and carrying you need to do. Barbering trolleys usually have shelves or compartments for storing different items.
Your barber’s shop will likely have a reception area where you will take customer payments and make appointments.
For your reception area, you will likely need:
- A reception desk and chair.
- A laptop or computer.
- A telephone.
- An appointment book or scheduling software on your computer.
- A cash register and Point of Sale (POS) system.
- Business cards and appointment cards.
- Pricing signs and opening hours signs.
- Shelving for displaying products.
- Magazine racks.
Couches or chairs
If you have the space, you may want to have a waiting area for any clients that arrive early or in the event your appointments overrun. You could use couches or chairs in your waiting area. Couches or chairs are particularly beneficial to barber’s shops that offer walk-in appointments, as it gives the customers somewhere to wait.
Maintaining a high level of cleanliness is essential for your barber’s shop business. You will need to wipe down chairs, equipment and surfaces between each client and ensure your salon is clean at all times. Some cleaning equipment you may need includes a sweeping brush or hoover, a mop, disinfectant, cloths, sponges and cleaning products.
A fully stocked first aid kit
A first aid kit is a necessity, as you will be working with potentially dangerous equipment and products. A first aid kit can also be used if any customers sustain an injury in your barber’s shop. Ensure your first aid kit is restocked regularly and is easily accessible.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE can be helpful in protecting both you and your customers. PPE can protect you from bacteria and infections, from any chemicals you use in your barber’s shop and from any potentially dangerous equipment. Some PPE you may utilise includes masks, gloves and aprons.
A CCTV system
A CCTV system is necessary for protecting your shop from theft and burglaries. It can also help to protect you in the event of a threatening customer or an allegation against your business. A CCTV system can cost between £300 and £5,000 depending on the specification of the equipment, how many cameras you require, and the installation costs.
When you are creating your business plan, an important consideration you will need to make is your expected start-up costs and running costs. Calculating your expected costs allows you to determine your initial investment requirements, your pricing strategy and your profit goals.
There are multiple costs associated with setting up and running a barber’s shop business. Some of these costs will be one-off initial costs that you will need to pay when you are setting up your business. Other costs will be ongoing costs you will need to pay regularly – usually weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
Some of the typical costs associated with a barber’s shop business are:
A business location
Your business location will likely be your biggest expenditure. You will need to rent your premises on a monthly or annual basis. Rental prices can vary significantly, depending on the location and the size of the premises. City centre locations and newly built premises usually have the highest rental costs. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually.
Refurbishment and installation costs
Unless the premises you rent previously operated as a barber’s shop or a similar business, you will likely need to refurbish or convert your shop to make the area fit for purpose and to install the furnishings and equipment you need. You may also want to renovate and decorate your shop to fit the aesthetic of your business and make it attractive to your customers. This could also include decorating the outside of your shop and installing a sign. Renovation costs can vary, from £500 to £20,000 depending on the level and scale of work required. As part of your renovation costs, consider how you can make your shop easy to clean and ensure it is safe and in line with health and safety regulations.
Your equipment is an important purchase, as without it you will not be able to run your business. The cost of equipment can vary based on how large your shop is and how much equipment you require. The bigger your premises and the more customers you want to accommodate at one time, the more equipment you will require. You may choose to purchase less equipment initially and expand your equipment as your business grows. If you operate as a self-employed barber in an already established barber’s shop, the shop may supply some of the equipment for you. Equipment for your barber’s shop business can cost between £3,000 and £30,000.
Maintaining, repairing and replacing equipment
Repairs, maintenance and replacements are ongoing costs you will need to factor into your budget. Although some of your equipment and machinery will come with warranties, repairs and replacements are inevitable – particularly because the equipment will experience heavy use. Correctly cleaning and maintaining equipment and ensuring it is used correctly can extend its life, but potential repairs and replacements should still be factored into your budget.
Ongoing equipment costs, such as hair products, shampoo and conditioner and cleaning materials, will need to be replenished regularly. You may need to order more products weekly or monthly, depending on how many customers visit your shop. Factor the costs of your stock into your monthly and annual budgets.
These are the day-to-day costs associated with running your business. Some running costs are paid monthly, and others are paid quarterly or annually. Your running costs can include electricity, gas, water, council tax and insurance. To maximise your profits, try to keep your running costs as low as possible.
If your hire other barbers to work in your shop, you will need to factor their pay into your budget. If you hire them on a permanent basis, you will need to pay them at least the national minimum wage of £9.50 per hour and account for other expenses such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay. However, if you hire them on a self-employed basis, they may pay you a fee to rent the space in your shop or pay you a percentage of their earnings.
Branding is an essential expenditure for your business. It can help you to establish your business’s identity and set you apart from your competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity and designing your premises, creating a logo and business name, and creating your business website. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the amount of branding you require.
Advertising and marketing
To ensure your barber’s shop business attracts customers and creates maximum profits, you will need to invest in advertising and marketing. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover (or your desired annual turnover) is £70,000, you should spend between £700 and £2,100 on advertising and marketing. You may need to invest more money when you initially set up your business or when you are trying to grow your business.
There are multiple coverage options available for barber’s shops, including:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance.
- Employers’ Liability Insurance.
- Tools Insurance or Business Equipment Cover.
- Buildings Insurance.
- Personal Accident Insurance.
- Legal Expenses Cover.
Insurance prices can vary depending on your coverage provider, the level of coverage you choose, your experience and qualifications and the size of your business. Insurance prices typically start at £15 per month.
Typical Pricing for Customers
Once you have calculated the costs associated with setting up and running your barber’s shop business, you can then determine your pricing policy. You will likely have multiple price points, with different services and treatments having different prices, and your pricing strategy will depend on multiple factors, for example:
- The types of services and treatments you offer.
- The location of your business.
- The equipment and hair products you use.
- Your local competition.
- The training, qualifications and experience of you and your staff.
- Your expenses.
- Your brand and barber’s shop aesthetic.
- Your barber’s shop’s reputation and the demand for your services.
In the UK, the average price for a haircut and beard trim is £19. However, these prices can rise significantly for city centre locations and well-known or experienced barbers.
Safely Running a Barber’s Shop Business
Safe practices in your barber’s shop business are essential to protect the health, safety and well-being of you, your employees and your customers.
Some ways you can safely run your barber’s shop business include:
Although qualifications are not legally required, they can help you to run your business more safely and successfully and can make your barber’s shop more attractive to potential customers.
Your options include:
- A barbering apprenticeship.
- A Level 2 NVQ in Barbering.
Obtain health and safety training
Relevant training can help to ensure safe practices in your business at all times. It could also be beneficial for any employees you hire to undergo health and safety training. Some training you can opt for includes Fire Safety, COSHH Awareness, Electrical Safety Awareness and First Aid.
Keep sharp instruments and chemicals out of customers’ reach
You should keep any potentially dangerous items out of reach to ensure safety. This is particularly important if you have children and other vulnerable people in your barber’s shop. It is also important to make sure that sharp objects, such as scissors, are stored correctly and cannot fall or cause accidental injury to any staff or customers.
Properly maintain and set up equipment
Any equipment you use, including furniture and barbering tools, must be properly maintained, correctly set up and safe to use. You must protect yourself, your employees and your customers from accidents or injuries caused by equipment. You should also perform regular equipment inspections to ensure your equipment’s safety and help extend the lifespan of your equipment. Maintenance includes cleaning equipment regularly and checking it is functioning correctly.
Check and maintain electricals, electrical outlets and plumbing
Not only can this save you money by avoiding damage, repairs and replacements, but checking and maintaining electricals and plumbing can help to protect your equipment from faults and protect the health and safety of everyone who visits your business. Implement a system for regularly checking outlets and plumbing and ensuring they are up to code.
Safely store and dispose of products
Ensure all products are stored in a temperature-controlled area and are covered, with no risk of leaks, spillages or contamination. Any particularly hazardous products should be kept away from customers. You must also dispose of products safely.
Be aware of potential noise hazards
Noise hazards can occur in a barber’s shop, particularly if multiple loud pieces of equipment, such as hair dryers and electric shavers, are operating at one time. Measure noise levels and make sure you are aware if noise levels are too high.
Always read the manufacturers’ instructions
Reading the manufacturers’ instructions is imperative when you work with chemicals and other potentially harmful products. Follow the instructions carefully and abide by the use-by dates on the label.
Implement cleaning procedures
Having effective cleaning procedures is essential for your barber’s shop business. You will be working with multiple clients a day and using chemicals. Human hair can also be hazardous if not dealt with correctly. A cleaning schedule and cleaning policies should be in place and should refer to the cleaning of furniture, equipment and surfaces. You should also implement handwashing procedures.
Ensure proper ventilation
Because you will be working with chemicals which can release harmful vapours, you should ensure that your shop has proper ventilation. Fresh air should be able to circulate, either via open windows and doors or artificial ventilation (e.g. an extractor or dust ventilation unit).
Carry out risk assessments
Risk assessments are a legal requirement for businesses with more than five employees. However, even if your business has fewer than five employees, risk assessments are still recommended to ensure the safety of you, your staff and your customers. Risk assessments can help you to identify any potential hazards and risks in your business and how these can be reduced or eliminated.
As part of your risk assessment, you should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate any potential risks.
- Implement relevant safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
- Review the risk assessment regularly.
Keep clear and accurate records
If your business receives an inspection, up-to-date records of your cleaning schedules, risk assessments and health and safety policies will likely be requested. Keeping such records not only helps to protect your business and improve the likelihood of you receiving a higher score in your inspection, but it also ensures procedures are followed at all times.
Implement security measures
Security measures can be implemented to protect your business. Some ways you can protect your equipment and materials include installing a CCTV system, using secure and reliable locks and installing an alarm system.
Keep a fully stocked first aid kit
If a customer or employee has an accident or injury, it may not be serious enough to warrant medical intervention. Instead, you may be able to offer treatment yourself. Having a first aid kit that is checked and replenished regularly and is easily accessible is recommended.
Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
PPE can help to protect you from potentially hazardous chemicals and equipment. Ensure PPE is used for certain tasks and that any staff your hire are aware of your PPE policy.
Exercise your right to terminate treatment
If you feel threatened or unsafe or a customer doesn’t maintain professional boundaries or acts inappropriately, you have the right to terminate the treatment immediately. You could have your code of ethics visible to customers or ask them to sign a contract stating they will act appropriately. If you ever feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way, terminate the treatment and contact the police, if necessary.
When running your barber’s shop business, there are several legal requirements you must ensure you comply with. Ensuring you are aware of and following all legal requirements helps to protect you, your customers and your business.
Some of the legal requirements you should be aware of are:
Comply with the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008
These regulations apply to any products or substances that come into contact with the human body, including the hair. You must not use any products that could cause harm to a person’s health or use any products that contain prohibited substances. You must also comply with the regulations on labelling and animal testing.
Apply for a barber licence
Depending on where in the UK you are setting up your business, you may need to register to set up a barber’s shop business. You will need to register with your local council, which may then conduct an inspection of your premises to check you are following health and safety rules. If you pass your inspection, you will be awarded a certificate, which must be clearly displayed on your premises.
Conduct allergy tests
An allergy patch test should be standard practice in your barber’s shop business if you offer a hair-dying service or if you use any products or chemicals that could result in sensitivity or an allergic reaction. In these situations, the customer should come in for an allergy patch test on their skin 48 hours before their treatment, even if they have used a similar product previously.
Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
The COSHH regulations state that you must control any potentially hazardous substances. You must appropriately assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect people from harm. As a barber’s shop business, you will likely be dealing with several potentially hazardous substances, including chemicals that can irritate the skin or cause respiratory problems.
Comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
The Electricity at Work Regulations state that any workplaces that use electricals must construct electrical systems in a way that prevents danger, maintain electrical systems to ensure they are safe, ensure electrical equipment is checked by a competent person annually and conduct Portable Appliance Tests (PAT). This includes any electrical equipment such as corded shavers and hair dryers.
Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998
PUWER regulations apply to you and any employees you hire. You must ensure any equipment is fit for purpose and is maintained and inspected regularly. You must also ensure that health and safety risks are minimised to an acceptable level, that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment, and that protective measures are put into place. You must also ensure the equipment is used under appropriate conditions.
Comply with gas safety regulations
If you have a gas boiler you will need to have it inspected by a gas-safe engineer. If your equipment is deemed safe to use and complies with government requirements, you will be issued a Gas Safety Certificate. You will need to display your gas certificate clearly for your employees, customers and other visitors to your business to see.
Comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)
Manual handling regulations can help to protect you and your employees from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks. The regulations apply to the lifting or moving of any objects, bending down and reaching high. Manual handling tasks may include lifting heavy equipment and using repetitive movements when cutting hair.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur in your business. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document. These regulations apply to any incidents that involve you, your staff or your customers.
Comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974)
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act lays out the duties of all employers in the UK regarding ensuring the health, safety and welfare of everyone in your workplace. As you are the business owner, you will be responsible for protecting the health and safety of your employees and any clients or visitors to your business.
Some ways you must do this include:
- Ensure your premises are clean, well-lit and properly ventilated.
- Take precautions against infection or contamination.
- Ensure all staff work hygienically.
- Ensure equipment is used safely and efficiently.
- Ensure your business has Public Liability Insurance coverage.
Comply with fire regulations
You must ensure fire safety measures are implemented on-site, particularly because you are working with electrical equipment and chemicals. There are multiple fire regulations you must ensure you comply with.
- Perform a fire risk assessment.
- Comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Implement any necessary fire safety measures.
- Implement emergency procedures and ensure these are clearly displayed on your premises.
Appoint a competent person
A competent person should be appointed to help your business meet your health and safety legal duties. You can act in this role yourself or appoint another person to fulfil this role. The competent person should have the skills, knowledge and experience to identify any hazards in your business and put controls in place to protect people from harm.
Prepare a health and safety policy
The law states that every business in the UK must have a specific policy for managing health and safety. Your policy should state exactly how you will manage health and safety in your business and state who is responsible for specific tasks and how and when these tasks are completed. Follow the recommended tips from the Health and Safety Executive on how to write a health and safety policy.
Comply with employment legislation
If you employ any staff, you must ensure you follow employment legislation, including the Employment Rights Act (1996) and the National Minimum Wage Act (1998). You must also comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.
Comply with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992)
Under these regulations, if your business has five or more employees you must ensure you conduct appropriate risk assessments, minimise any risks and maintain all equipment. You must also make sure high levels of cleanliness are maintained.
Comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with this Act when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ contact details or payment information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. If you process or store personal information such as customer accounts and records, you will need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Appoint a first-aider
All workplaces in the UK must have an appointed first-aider. In the event of an accident or injury, you will then be able to administer the necessary first aid. Although a first aid qualification or certificate is not legally required, it is the easiest way to demonstrate your first aid training.
Apply for a music licence
If you play any music on your premises, you will need to apply for a licence with the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and/or a Performing Right Society (PRS) Licence. You can apply for both a PPL and a PRS online.
Register your business
You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
Positives of Owning a Barber’s Shop Business
Running a barber’s shop business can be extremely rewarding in many ways.
Some of the main pros associated with this type of business include:
Not location limited
There are thousands of barber’s shops operating in the UK, which offers plenty of job opportunities. If you operate as a self-employed barber, this means you are not limited to one location. You have the option to move house, move cities or even move to another country in the UK or another part of the world, with plenty of job opportunities available to you.
Use a variety of skills
Barbers can offer many different services and treatments, including cutting, styling, shaping and dying hair. Every customer will have different requests and preferences, meaning you can use a variety of skills every day. This helps to keep your work interesting and allows you to perfect a high number of abilities.
Constant high demand
Haircuts are considered a necessity and people with short hair have to get more frequent haircuts, usually once every two weeks. Even if you have a lot of competition in your local area, you will likely still have demand for your services. High demand makes it more likely that your business will succeed and makes it easier for you to grow your business.
Free advertising on social media
You can easily gain exposure on social media by posting photos or videos of your customers and your work. Your customers may also post pictures to their own social media accounts which will be seen by their followers. This can help you to gain exposure and be noticed online. Social media is a form of free advertising which can help you to grow your customer base and increase your income.
It can be rewarding
If you are passionate about barbering, doing something you love every day, keeping up with new trends, styles and hairstyles and connecting with other people in your industry can be extremely rewarding. Seeing the satisfaction on your customers’ faces when you cut or style their hair or beard can also be extremely rewarding.
You can help people feel good about themselves
Making people feel good about themselves and building their confidence can be very rewarding. Getting a new haircut or style can positively affect a person’s confidence and can be part of their self-care or self-love routine. Knowing that your work has a positive impact on people’s lives can be very rewarding.
You can offer a personalised customer experience
At the start of each appointment, you will conduct a consultation with the client. This gives your customers the opportunity to discuss what they want and for you to offer advice or recommendations. Your customers will receive a personalised experience, which is more likely to result in customer satisfaction. Not only will your customers be happy, but they are then more likely to recommend your business to other people.
Choose your own schedule
You can choose which days your business operates and the hours you want to work. If you run a barber’s shop, you can choose the opening hours, based on your busiest days and your own preferences. As your business grows, you can also work fewer hours and allow your employees to handle the day-to-day running of your business.
As a barber, you won’t be sitting around staring at a computer screen all day. You’ll be active for a lot of the day, involved in different tasks, running your barber’s shop and talking to customers. This is great for people who don’t want a traditional office job.
Choose your staff
If you hire other barbers, hairstylists, admin staff, or cleaners, you will be in charge of the hiring process. This means you can choose the staff who best fit your business. For example, those who are the most qualified, the most personable or those who will fit in best with your business or your current staff base.
Connect with your local community
Socialising has always been a key feature of barber’s shops and you will likely find that many of your customers enjoy chatting with you and telling you about their lives. Opening a barber’s shop in your local community can help you to become a key part of your community and create positive personal and professional relationships.
Once people find a barber’s shop that they like and trust, they usually choose that business every time. This gives you high customer retention, with the same clients coming to you for years. They may also recommend you to friends and family, especially if they are complimented on their hairstyle. This can offer you increased business.
Design your working environment
As the barber’s shop owner, you can design the aesthetic of your business, choose the furniture and equipment, select your employees, choose the services you offer and even choose the music you play. You can design your perfect work environment that is positive, relaxing and enjoyable.
You can start small
If you don’t have an external investor or a large capital with which to start your business, you can start smaller and grow your business in time. Instead of opening your own barber’s shop, you could initially work in an already established barber’s on a self-employed basis, or operate an at-home barber’s shop business. Once you have established a client base and created some capital, you could then expand your business and open a barber’s shop.
Unlimited income potential
A barber’s shop provides many opportunities for growth. You can expand your premises and hire more barbers, target higher-paying customers or open more barber’s shops in other locations. Having the option to grow your business maximises your business opportunities and provides you with more opportunities for success.
Design your dream business
Regardless of what type of barber’s shop you choose to set up, you can design your perfect business. This includes the type of business you set up, the size of your business, the services and treatments you offer, your staff choices and the types of equipment you purchase. You can also design your business’s aesthetic and branding to ensure it reflects you and the type of business you want to run.
Be your own boss
You can make all key decisions yourself and steer your business in whichever direction you choose. You can choose how involved you want to be, the type of barber’s shop you open and how you want to run your barber’s shop. You can make the best decisions for you and your business.
Negatives of Owning a Barber’s Shop Business
Although there are many potential benefits to opening a barber’s shop business, there are some negative aspects to this type of business that you should be aware of.
Accountability and liability
You will be working with sharp and potentially dangerous instruments, including scissors and razors, as well as a variety of products and chemicals. Even if you are careful, accidents can happen; for example, you could become distracted or your customer could move suddenly, which could result in an injury. If an accident occurs in your barber’s shop, you could be held liable, which could result in your reputation being affected, a loss of business and, in serious cases, prosecution.
There are a lot of already established barber’s shops in operation. On some high streets, there can be up to five barber’s shops in operation at the same time. Not only will you be competing with other barber’s shops, but you will also compete with salons and other hair businesses. Competing with already established businesses can make it more difficult for your business to succeed.
Long, unsociable working hours
Barbers often operate long days and may be open for between 10 and 12 hours a day. Additionally, your services may be in higher demand in the evenings and at the weekend. In order to maximise your profits, it may be recommended that you open during peak times. This can have a negative effect on your personal and social life.
High start-up costs
The equipment needed for a barber’s shop business can be expensive. If you open a commercial location, you will also be responsible for the rent and renovation costs. Even a mobile business has to purchase a vehicle and mobile equipment. The high start-up costs mean you may need to source outside investment.
Your profits may not be consistent
Some days or months may be busier than others and this can be difficult to predict. Not knowing exactly how busy you are going to be day-to-day (particularly if you mainly operate walk-in appointments) can make it difficult to plan your staffing requirements and predict your profits.
Barbering is a physically demanding profession. You will be spending long hours on your feet every day and will be engaged in many physically demanding tasks, such as reaching high and bending low to cut hair and repetitive movements.
This can cause multiple health concerns, such as:
- Neck or back pain or strain.
- Pain, strain or injuries to your fingers, hands and wrists.
- Pain in your feet or legs.
- Respiratory difficulties or skin irritation from the chemicals and products you use.
Building your clientele can be difficult
Successful barbers may spend years building up their client base. This could mean you initially receive less custom and earn a lower income. If you have invested a lot of money into your business, this could result in your business failing.
It can be stressful
There are many responsibilities associated with running a barber’s shop which can be stressful. Not only will you be responsible for the day-to-day running of your business, but you will also need to ensure your customers are satisfied.
Motivation of employees
Your barber’s shop business may require you to hire employees. Although employees can be advantageous to your business, they can also be harmful. If you employ staff who are unmotivated, disinterested or have a negative attitude, this can create a negative experience for your customers which can result in bad reviews or the loss of custom.
A lot of skill, knowledge and experience is required
To help your business succeed, you will need to be highly proficient in a variety of skills and will need to have a lot of experience with different haircuts and styles. You will also need to have extensive experience working as a barber and keep your knowledge constantly up to date. It can be time-consuming to gain the appropriate skills and experience to make your business succeed.
High risk of your business failing
Starting up a barber’s shop business can be risky. Many new businesses fail which could result in you losing money or getting into debt. Your business could fail for several reasons, such as high local competition, an ineffective business plan or if the UK encounters another recession or period of financial difficulty. Because your premises and equipment will require a high initial investment, if your business fails, you will potentially lose a significant amount of money.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions. You will also have a lack of job security.
Although the majority of customers leave honest reviews, some customers are difficult to please and will leave a negative review because of the smallest complaint (even if it is something outside of your control). Sometimes a fake customer also leaves a fake review, which can be extremely difficult to disprove and remove. Negative reviews can be extremely damaging to your business, particularly if your business is new or you’ve had relatively few reviews.
Planning Your Barber’s Shop Business
An effective and well-designed business plan is essential to the success of your barber’s shop business. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.
When creating your business plan, ensure it contains information such as:
- Your company information.
- Your company description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
Some of the factors you will need to consider when creating your business plan are:
Your business summary
Your business plan should include a detailed overview of your business, including your location, the size of your business, the type of services and treatments you will offer, your equipment requirements and your business goals.
The treatments and services you will offer
Are you going to offer general services, such as haircutting and styling, or will you offer specialised services? You will need to create a full services and treatments list, based on your skills, the abilities of your employees and the types of customers you are targeting. Barber’s shops can offer many different services and treatments and you may opt to hire employees who have different skills or training to you as this will expand the services your business offers. Different services will have different price points and different typical customers.
Your target customer base
Once you have determined your location and the treatments and services you will offer, you can then identify your target customer base. Knowing your typical customers can make planning your business much easier. It can help you to design the aesthetic of your premises and determine your advertising strategy.
If you plan to hire other barbers to work in your shop, consider the size of your shop and the available workspace and the potential expenditure associated with hiring employees. You must also decide whether to hire employees on a permanent or self-employed basis. You may hire employees who have different skills or training to you as this will expand the services your business offers. Different services will have different price points and different typical customers. You could also choose to hire other staff, such as cleaners.
Your business location
Your location will have a significant impact on the types of customers you are likely to attract. It will also impact your premises’ rental costs. If your business is located in an area with high footfall or a place popular with your target market, the increased custom and higher profits will be extremely beneficial to your business. Consider your rental budget and your size requirements when choosing your premises.
Your local competition
Research your local competition to help you determine how to make your barber’s shop business successful. Look at the services and treatments they offer, their price points and their business aesthetic. You should also analyse what they do well and what you think could be improved. You can then decide how to make your business stand out and how to attract customers.
Your equipment and stock requirements
Consult the list below to determine the equipment and products you require, and the approximate costs associated with these, including the initial costs and any monthly replenishment costs. Consider what equipment is essential and what can be purchased at a later date. The equipment you require will depend on the services you offer and the size of your barber’s shop.
Your start-up costs and investment requirements
Consult the list above to help you calculate the approximate costs of setting up and running your business. Consider your equipment requirements and the costs associated with your business premises to help you determine your start-up costs. This can help you decide whether you can finance your business yourself or whether you need to source outside investment, for example, from a bank or an independent investor. Being aware of your typical costs can also help you to create a budget and predict when you will begin to turn a profit.
Different treatments will have different pricing policies, depending on the amount of work that is required, the time the treatment will take and the equipment and products you will need. Calculate your acceptable profit margin per treatment and look at the pricing of your local competition when setting your prices.
Your strategy for growth
Your strategy for growth is the actions you will take to realise your goals for expansion and any potential challenges your business could face and how you will avoid or overcome them.
- Hire more barbers that offer a wider range of services.
- Open another barber’s shop in another location.
- Offer introductory deals to attract new customers.
Creating your brand is a key way to ensure you stand out from your local competition. Branding can help you to focus on your target customers, attract clients and concentrate your marketing and advertising strategies. Some ways you can create your brand are by focusing on your business’s visual identity and creating a brand story. Your business name and logo are also part of your branding so ensure you consider these when creating your business plan.
Your advertising and marketing strategies
There are many ways you can choose to advertise your business. These can include partnering with other businesses in your area, advertising in your local community, advertising on social media and using paid online ads. Your marketing and advertising plan should detail what your brand is and how you plan to promote your business. As part of your marketing strategy, consider the most effective way to reach your target audience and attract potential customers.
What are your business goals?
Determining your business goals is an essential part of creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your barber’s shop business and help you to create a one-year, three-year and five-year business plan.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Have you complied with all legal requirements?
Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.