How To Be Successful in Your Barber Career

How To Be Successful in Your Barber Career


Barbering is a profession which has been around since ancient times, and has gone through many periods of revitalization in recent decades in the US. Successful barbers combine their haircutting skills, creativity, business savvy, and interpersonal skills to create a robust career.

As you begin your journey as a barber, you are doubtlessly contemplating how to be successful over time in your barbering career. The most successful barbers have qualities such as hairstyling techniques, continuous learning, excellent people skills, and business management. The following are all ways you can attain success in your barbering career.

Get Your Education and Barber License

Every barber starts their career by getting their required barber training and obtaining a barbering license from the state. In California, barbers are required to complete an approved training program of at least 1000 hours before they can take their licensing exam.

After getting your barber’s license from the State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, barbers can go to work in a salon, barbershop, or spa, and may receive more on the job training, depending on the employer.

Sharpen Your Haircutting and Hairstyling Skills

Once you have the foundational skills to be a professional barber, you’ll get better at the art of barbering with experience. Honing your existing hairstyling and beard trimming skills on a continuous basis will make you a highly sought after barber.

Continuous learning is a big part of this profession, as new techniques, trends, and styles are constantly emerging. Learning new innovative styles, learning about coloring, hair styling, shaping, beard trimming, and shaving will help separate you from the competition.

Mastering Shaving and Facial Hair Grooming

Many clients go to a barbershop because they want their facial hair styled with precision. Learning how to style beards, goatees, and mustaches with clippers, straight razors, and scissors is a vital part of barbering. Giving men the precise look they want with their facial hair will help you earn repeat customers.

Using Your Creativity and Artistic Flair

One of the biggest reasons people become barbers is they enjoy using their creativity every day. Barbers often tailor custom hairstyles. If you have a good eye and artistic taste, barbering in a career in which you can excel.

Barbering is a field where trends and styles constantly change and evolve. Staying up-to-date with current trends is part of the job and a key to growing your client base. Attending workshops, seminars, and trade shows will help teach you new techniques. Following industry leaders on social media, reading industry blogs, and practicing new styles are all ways to keep up with current barbering trends.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

You will be talking to clients every day, and building rapport is crucial. Barbering is a service-based profession, and communication is one of the most important parts of the job. Understanding the customer, what they want with the haircut and grooming, and creating a positive experience will help you grow your career. Be sure to listen attentively and be friendly; make your clients feel comfortable in the barber’s chair.

Customer Service is Key

Whether you take appointments or have a walk-in business, customer service is one of the most important things that will help you grow your barbering clientele. Handling customer feedback, both positive and negative, is a large part of this skillset. When you provide exceptional customer service, your good reputation and word of mouth business will grow.

Presentation is Part of Long-Term Success

The way you present yourself on the barbershop floor is part of your marketing and sets expectations for the experience customers will receive. Do your best to cultivate your image and dress impeccably. Keep your own hair and beard trimmed perfectly.

When you look like a successful barber, people will think you are a successful barber and treat the customer experience accordingly.

Building a Client Base

Working in a barbershop or salon is a first step to building a client base. It is a gradual process to build up a client roster of recurring customers. By gaining real-world experience in a high-traffic shop, you can build up loyal customers. Provide good customer service, build good client relationships, and when you are ready to either move shops or open your own barbershop, those clients will follow you.

Marketing Your Work Effectively

Showing your barbering work and creating a brand is part of marketing, especially now, in the digital era. Create an online portfolio of your best work and share it in multiple different places, so you reach people where they already spend time online. Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook can be powerful marketing tools for growing your barbering clientele.

Even while you are building your business working for another barbershop, you can use marketing strategies to build your business. Using referral programs, building an email list, sharing your social media profiles, and developing a brand identity all help build your personal brand. Business cards are still effective for new customers so they remember to come back for another haircut.

When you open your own barbershop, adding your business to Google Maps, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other sites will help make your business more visible online. If you open your own shop, build a website that shows your skills and lists your hours of operation and contact information.

Business Management is Important

If you plan on opening your own barbershop, entrepreneurial skills like marketing, finance and operations will help you run your business smoothly. Organizational skills, business leadership, and time management will also play a large role in being a successful business owner.

Opening Your Own Barbershop

When you’ve built up a strong customer base, you might be ready for the next step – opening your own barbershop. This can be more profitable than working as an employee, but there is a lot more complexity to owning your business versus working as a W-2 employee. Setting up the shop is a process that has multiple steps.

  1. Create a Business Plan.  You’ll want this to present to secure financing. The business plan generally includes financial projections, market analysis, and a sustainability plan.
  2. Secure Financing. Budget for expenses like a lease, insurance, equipment, supplies, and staff salaries. You may apply for a startup loan or use personal savings to open your shop.
  3. Find a Good Location. High foot traffic areas in a dense urban center are highly desirable. Check and see how much the lease is per month.
  4. Comply with Legal Requirements. Your city or county will usually require a business license. Your business might be structured in your state as an LLC or other business entity.
  5. Designing Your Shop. Creating as aesthetic that is inviting and comfortable to your clientele is a big part of your barbershop’s experience. Consider your brand representation, and what equipment and décor you will need.
  6. Hire Staff. You may want to find additional barbers to cover the customer volume, and other staff for customer service.
  7. Formulate and Execute Marketing Strategies. Using your website, social media, ads, email marketing promotions, and other forms of marketing will help attract and retain customers. Loyalty programs help encourage repeat customers.
  8. Use a Booking System for Appointments. Using an online appointment system that syncs with your calendar is a way to manage customer flow and maximize productivity. Make it easy for customers to set an appointment when it is convenient for them.

Time Management Will Keep You Focused

Managing a barbershop is very demanding, especially if your shop is busy and growing. Your time will be stretched, so it is crucial that you learn efficient time management. In addition to doing haircuts, you must maintain shop cleanliness, manage any employees, do payroll, and stay compliant with industry and local regulations.

Landing Celebrity Clients

Not every barber will be in this position, but if your work is exceptionally good, and if you are a friendly person with great customer service, you may have this opportunity someday. Celebrity clients are a different type of client, and travel is part of this job. It requires different skills to deal with elite clients, and being adaptable to their requests is a valuable quality. Barbers and hairstylists for public figures have an important responsibility, helping to create the image of a celebrity.

Remember that skill and talent will help build your business, but people skills are the key to unlocking the rarest opportunities.

Receive World-Class Barber Training at Paul Mitchell the School at Campus, in Sacramento

If your goal is to get barber training from a world-class program and earn your California barber license, you can sign up at Paul Mitchell at Campus, located in Sacramento. Our 1000-hour program will allow you to earn your barber’s license in about 30 weeks.

To learn more about the Paul Mitchell the School at Campus training programs, or ask questions about financial aid, contact our Admissions team today to schedule a virtual tour.