So, your grand plan is to open your own barber shop? That’s great news! Congratulations! There’s no denying it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and preparation to kick-start your barbershop and ensure its success. It’s sad to say, but poor planning and inadequate preparation can result in a new barbershop failing, but have no fear, we have put together eight things to consider before you open your barber shop to prevent this happening.
1 Funding the Business
Of course, every new barber shop owner dreams of long queues from day one, putting the business straight into profit. Realistically, though, it’s likely to take at least a few months before you break even — and, in any case, you’ll need funds for start-up costs.
Maybe you have enough savings or redundancy money to cover costs, but otherwise you’ll need to consider either taking out a loan or finding a business partner to share the costs. At a minimum, you’ll need to have enough to cover the first six months’ rent and bills.
2. Hiring Staff
It’s tempting to start off saving costs by working on your own, but if you get busy, you’re likely to need to hire both barbers and support staff, such as apprentices. Thinking ahead about staff will help you make decisions about the size of shop and amount of space you need.
You’ll also need to consider your opening hours. If you’re planning on opening seven days a week, for example, that’s too much for one person, so you’ll need staff to cover different days.
It’s vital to make sure all these staff are well trained and qualified to cut hair. If you use London School of Barbering for recruitment and training, you can be confident that the people coming to you are trained to a high standard and have recognised qualifications. Besides assuring the quality of their work, this will help you get more favourable insurance terms.
In addition, all graduates of LSB can earn some money by referring students to train here, so if you need to send someone for training, get in touch.
Where is your barber shop going to be located? This will depend on how you hope to position yourself. Do you see yourself as a high street business or serving a local residential area? Alternatively, you could be in a large shopping mall, or even go for a very prestigious location.
You’ll need to consider not only the aesthetic and target clientele you’re going for, but also where your competition is and what location would give you an edge. Also, how are your staff going to get to work, and how will clients travel there? Is there easy parking, or is it on a good bus route?
4. Insurance and Licenses
As long as your barbers are experts, it’s unlikely that customers will be injured, but accidents can always happen. In order to make sure you’re offering a fully professional service, we’d suggest going through a specialist insurance advisor, such as Salon Gold, who can establish with you exactly what you need.
You’ll also need to consider whether any of your activities will require a license. Are you intending to play music for your customers’ enjoyment, for example? If so, you may need a music license.
5. Building Your Brand
One crucial early decision is what you’re going to call your business. The obvious answer might seem to be simply to use your name, but that could cause misunderstandings, if customers expect always to be seen by you personally. Pick a name that reflects the style, values, and image you want to come across.
Ultimately, if you provide a great service, your reputation will grow by word of mouth, but you can’t just sit back and wait for that to happen. You have to deliberately build your brand, and nowadays that crucially involves being active on social media, especially in any local community groups.
6. Professional Contact Details
For a successful barber shop, you can’t just rely on passing trade. How are people going to contact you and make appointments, if necessary?
You need to make sure all ways of contacting you are easy to find and easy to use. This will include an email address and a landline (running the business on a mobile would look unprofessional), and you also need to get a good website in place. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it should be eye-catching and easy to navigate. You can either pay a professional to create it or else build it yourself through easy web-builders like Squarespace or Wix.
A booking system that’s easy for clients to use is essential. There are several excellent systems available, such as Booksy or SimplyBook.me.
Pricing your services appropriately can be a complex balancing act. To start with, you need to understand where you’re positioning yourself in the market. Do you want to be seen as “cheap and cheerful”, high-class, or somewhere in between? It’s important to have prices that are competitive but reflect that market level — not to mention ensuring a profit.
Research your competitors and find out what they’re charging for various levels of work, from juniors to senior stylists, and take your cue from those. You could also think about having products on sale in your shop, to help boost income.
8. Marketing and Advertising
Quite apart a social media presence, you’ll need a marketing campaign to promote your barber shop, probably including paid advertising. Where to place this advertising is going to depend heavily on where you’re positioning yourself and who your target customers are.
This could range from local free papers to upmarket lifestyle magazines. Other marketing strategies range from flyers in local shop windows to offering discounts for locals. Don’t forget the power of online reviews, too. Building reviews on Google is great for getting people to share your social media pages when they’ve had a great service.
Google has excellent free resources to help with your marketing. If you don’t have experience in marketing, though, you may prefer to outsource this to specialist marketeers.
Take a look at one of our graduate success stories to find out how Jason went from the London School of Barbering to owning his own Barber Shop.