Do you dream of taking your hair business to the next level but don’t know where to start? No problem! Hair professionals have lots of options to scale their business. If you want to expand your hair business, it may be time to open a hair salon or barbershop.
And we want to give you a head start.
We put together these expert tips to get your hair salon or barbershop up and running, from writing a solid business plan to choosing a reliable booking app.
What’s the difference between a hair salon and a barbershop?
Traditionally, clients went to a barbershop for shorter styles, like flattops and buzzcuts. And they would go to a hair salon for longer hairstyles with lots of volume and styling. However, times have changed. So you’ll find barbers that know how to create trendy hairstyles, and hair salons that offer traditional cuts with clippers.
Still, there are many differences between a hair salon and a barbershop. Here are some key things to consider:
- Income: Barber services take less time, so their rates tend to be lower than stylists at a salon. Both barbers and stylists can make up to six-figures from their hair business, but on average, hairstylists make $35,990 while barbers make about $35,700.
- Additional Services: In addition to cuts, barbers do hot lather shaves, beard and mustache trims, and scalp massages. At a hair salon, you’ll perform color services, hair treatments, and hair styling.
- Follow up: As a barber, your clients might come in for a lineup every couple of weeks. Hairstylists tend to have more time between follow up appointments.
- Expertise: Barbers have to know a bit about styling, but they often give the client exactly what they ask for without suggestions. Hairstylists have to know more about hair care products and often sell their own. At a hair salon, you’ll be asked to recommend styles that compliment your client’s features.
Before you open either a hair salon or barbershop, consider which styles you prefer to create (and which services make the most money). Clients don’t usually ask for highlights at a barbershop or a fade from a salon. (But you might get lucky!) This is your business. You should do what you love.
4 Tips to Open a Hair Salon or Barbershop
Whether you open a hair salon or barbershop, you must take steps to ensure your business is a long-term success. Now that you know the difference between the two, follow these tips to get your hair business smoothly off the ground.
#1 Get Certified
Before starting a hair salon or barbershop, you need to obtain the proper training and licensing. There’s many ways to become a certified hair professional. Typically, you complete a certificate program at a cosmetology school or get your associates in cosmetology from a community college.
Then you obtain a cosmetology license and find professional work experience (if you haven’t already). Check your local laws to understand your licensing requirements. Hair salon and barbershop owners likely have more licensing requirements than solo stylists and barbers.
It’s a good idea to gain work experience in a hair salon or barbershop before starting one of your own. Seasoned hair professionals understand the nuances of business and client management. And it’ll be easier to start a business if you’ve already built a loyal client list.
And remember to research salon and barber insurance. Make sure you and your employees are covered for your services so that you can operate with peace of mind.
#2 Write A Hair Salon or Barbershop Business Plan
Now that you’re certified, licensed and insured, it’s time to write a business plan. A business plan is the roadmap for your salon and barber. It helps you (and potential investors) see your vision as a reality.
Ask yourself: What services will I offer? Where will I take clients? Will I buy or lease? What are my rates? Can other stylists and barbers rent out booths in my building? All this should be included in a business plan so you know what tools and financing you need to get started.
Hair businesses are typically low-cost to start. But you may need financing from grants or investors to cover the cost of equipment and lease or mortgage payments. Here’s a tip: Find a commercial property designed to be a salon or barber, so there’s little to no renovation costs. If you can, open your business in a busy shopping area to attract the most clients.
#3 Hire A Team
The best part about opening a hair salon or barbershop: you don’t have to go it alone. You can hire a team of stylists and barbers to help you take on clients and make more money. Many solo hair professionals are looking for an opportunity to work in a salon or barbershop. And you get to be their big break!
It’s important to spend time hiring quality team members. A team can lighten your workload, but it also means more responsibility, like handling payroll and employee conflicts. Also, you might want to add a clause to your contracts that prevents your team from poaching clients if they move on to a new gig.
#4 Choose The Best Booking App for a Hair Stylist or Barber
Whether you’re starting a hair salon or barbershop, you’ll need reliable software to manage different aspects of your business. Without it, you have to juggle client communications, team payroll, and lead generation all by yourself. Here’s what to look for when choosing hair business software:
Automated Client Management
Clients are the bread and butter of the hair business. They’re hard to find and easy to lose, so you want to nurture those relationships. It’s essential to keep in touch and follow up with them, but it can be difficult when juggling so many things.
You need business software that makes connecting with your clients easy, whether by email, text message, or video conferencing. When you’re in the beauty business, it’s extra important that clients know what to expect from your services and that you understand their preferences. So, it’s good to have an app that sends forms and contracts directly to your clients.
PocketSuite lets you automate client communications straight from your phone.
Simple Appointment Booking
Clients love the upbeat energy of hair salons and barbershops, but you know that it can get hectic behind the scenes. Stylists and barbers might see over ten clients per day. One mix up and a client could walk home with the wrong hair color (oops!) The stakes are even higher when you’re the boss. The key is to stay organized.
It’s important for you, your team and your clients to work in sync. So, you need an app that keeps track of availability and appointments, and makes it easier for clients to book you.
After weeks of blowouts and buzzcuts, you and your team will count down the days until that money hits your account (yay!). It’s essential to have software that allows you to set your rates, collect sales tax, receive tips and get paid quickly.
It’s always good to give clients multiple options to pay you. Just remember to keep a card on file in case of no-shows or canceled appointments.
Are You Open for Business?
Hair professionals can take their business to new heights by opening a hair salon or barbershop. To get started, ensure you have all your necessary licenses and a clear business plan. And when you’re ready to open up shop, choose software that can easily manage your beloved clients.
At PocketSuite, we love to watch a hair business grow. We’re all in one app that helps you run your business straight from your phone. You can get booked, schedule team members, and receive payments in just a few clicks!