How to Become a Dreadlocks Professional

8 minutes • 12 June 2021

A dreadlocks professional, also known as a loctician, offers hair braiding services to create the distinctive, ropelike strands of hair known as dreadlocks.

Man with dreadlocks looking over sunglasses

Dreadlocks require a skilled hair braider to achieve the look of this particular hairstyle. Dreadlocks also need special care to keep the hair clean and hygienic without damaging the shape of the locks. These extra requirements mean you can charge more for your services while looking forward to repeat business. Once someone chooses a loctician to braid their dreadlocks, the customer tends to return to the same salon for upkeep and maintenance – so long as you do a great job and provide good customer service.

As a skilled dreadlocks professional, you’ll help clients achieve the look they want with dreadlocks, while advising them on proper cleaning and maintenance of their hairstyle. Multiple appointments are typically necessary to get dreadlocks established and growing strong, so you can also look forward to steady business from every new client who walks into your shop. Generally, the straighter or finer the client’s hair, the longer it will take to lock.

Working as a loctician, you’ll also enjoy the professional satisfaction and creativity that comes with helping people achieve a bold look that expresses their individuality. You also stand to make good money. Dreadlocks professionals earn on average three times as much as a hairstylist. The work takes skill and patience, and the financial rewards reflect this.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How much money you can make as a dreadlocks professional
  • Training and Certification
  • Professional Groups to Join
  • Employment opportunities
  • Finding Clients
  • Plus helpful tips for new dreadlocks professionals
Man with dreadlocks sitting outside of a garage

How much money can you make?

The average salary for a dreadlocks professional is $71,902 annually, according to SimplyHired. That’s more than three times as much a typical hair stylist earns. The top 10 percent of dreadlocks professionals are making more than $165,000 per year.

Weaving full dreadlocks by hand, a skilled loctician can charge anywhere from $200 to $800 or more for this hairstyling service. Pricing generally depends on your skill, your location and competition from other salons and locticians that offer dreadlock weaving.

Training and Certification

Training programs for locticians can be found throughout the United States. Prices for beginner courses range from about $500 for a 4-hour course to more than $1,000. If you live in a state that requires licensing for locticians it’s important for you to choose a training program that satisfies those requirements. Online programs generally cost half as much as in-person training, although by attending classes with a live instructor you stand to gain more hands-on experience, which may get you up to speed faster than studying online.

In 23 states no license is required to offer dreadlock services. Other states variously require a full cosmetology license or a special license for hair braiding. Check with your state’s cosmetology board to confirm any requirements that apply where you live.

Woman with dreadlocks sitting outside

Some of the topics a good dreadlocks training program will cover:

  • The main dreadlock braiding methods, depending on hair type.
  • How to braid dreadlocks that are neat, tight and well formed.
  • How to make dreadlocks without using products.
  • Maintaining dreadlocks without resorting to wax, threading or looping through.
  • How to set up a dreadlocking studio.
  • How to provide great customer service.
  • How to create the correct sized base for dreadlocks depending on the hair type.
  • Providing after-care advice.
  • How to quote pricing.
  • Basic marketing for your services.

Professional Groups to Join

The largest and most respected association for hairstylists is the American Cosmetology Association. By joining this association you’ll be able to network with professionals across a range of beauty fields.

Locticians Across the World offers a venue for professional discussion, networking and the exchange of tips and techniques.

There’s also a private Facebook group, Professional Locticians Worldwide.

Man with dreadlocks surrounded by trees

Employment

Visiting local salons with copies of your certification, license (if applicable in your state) and resume are a great way to get your name and face in front of prospective employers. Even if there are no immediate openings, many employers appreciate the initiative it takes to walk in the shop and introduce yourself. It sets you apart from the many people who simply email their resumes and wait. A quick online search should reveal all the salons in your area that offer loctician services, including dreadlocks braiding. For salons that do not offer dreadlock braiding, consider visiting with the owner or manager of each and recommending that they should offer this service. You might just be able to create a job for yourself.

Online searches on sites such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter will also turn up job openings. Just remember that some states have licensing requirements and others do not. 

Your credentials may not automatically transfer from one state to another. In moving to another state you may have to take that state’s licensing exam to keep working.

Also use the networking power of your professional memberships to find jobs. After all, other locticians will be the first to know about job openings in the shops where they work. You might learn about an opportunity even before it’s advertised.

Finding Clients

Business cards and a basic website should be part of your marketing toolkit. The website need not be fancy or expensive. Just attractively designed, with photos of your work, location and contact information. If customers contact you about cost, explain that you’ll need to do a consultation to evaluate their hair and understand the look they want to achieve. Once you get them in your shop, then you can talk about cost. Serious clients will come see you. People who are shopping around for the cheapest price will just take up your time on the phone

In addition to your business website, create an Instagram account to showcase your dreadlock braiding services. The idea is to post plenty of “before” and “after” photos with hashtags so that people looking for a loctician can find you. For example, using #Dreadlocks as a hashtag will cause your Instagram page to pop up when people search for this hair braiding service on the platform. Instagram is the #1 online venue for beauty professionals to display their work. Be sure to get written permission from your clients before you post images of their faces. You can download and print free photo release forms here.

Woman with dreadlocks pulling hood over head

Other strategies for attracting new business:

  • Ask happy customers to review your work online. Word-of-mouth endorsements are still the best advertising.
  • Give discounts to new customers.
  • Create a referral program with discounts for returning customers who bring new clients to you.
  • Ask clients to review your services online. According to a survey, 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by positive online reviews.
  • Ask all new clients to complete a simple form about their interest in your sugaring services. Get their contact information on the form. This lets you follow up with clients and increase repeat business.
Man with dreadlocks looking out window

Good to know:

A great way to help your customers and boost your profits as a professional loctician is to stock an assortment of dreadlock-specific beauty products in your shop. Dreads require special care and maintenance, and there are shampoos, conditioners and oils formulated just for the maintenance and cleaning of dreadlocks. Selling these products should be easy because your customers will need them and they are already in your shop, so it’s convenient for clients to buy now. The other benefit of stocking these products is the profit margin – up to 40 percent. It’s attractive math: the sale of one $15 bottle of conditioner could put $6 in your pocket.

New clients just starting out with dreadlocks may need to visit you two to four times a month for up to six months until the locks begin to grow strong. Keep them on schedule with PocketSuite’s appointment booking app.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some other PocketSuite.io content that can help you grow your career as a dreadlocks professional. Here’s a great place to start. You’ll also love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses.PocketSuite has thousands of business owners who all started where you are right now. Our community is always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the PocketSuite app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300.

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