[meta description: how do you become a barber? Here are a few tips, pointers and some different things to consider when choosing to become a barber]
When you hear the word barber, you might just think about the man down at the local shop cutting hair and trimming beards. But how do you become a barber? What goes into it?
Becoming a barber takes a lot of hard work.
The training process is long, and you need to have at least a high school diploma or GED to even get started.
There are lots of different paths to take when becoming a barber. You can become an instructor, business owner, even a celebrity stylist!
Styling hair is a very big part of being a barber. And you need to be up-to-date with the latest trends in men's hair.
The barber industry is growing fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by the year 2022, the industry will have grown by 13%. This means thousands of new jobs and positions will be available!
So, let’s take a closer look at how to become a barber!
Make Sure You Meet the Training Requirements
You might be really good at cutting, styling and trimming hair. But without the right educational background you can't get the training you need to become licensed.
Before you get to start your training, there are a few requirements you must meet:
If you meet these requirements, you are one step closer to becoming a barber!
Next, you need to spend at least 1500 hours in a barber school to be permitted to take the exams (the time may vary depending on which state you are in).
It’s important you check with your state about the specific requirements. Some states allow previous minor criminal charges, whereas other do not.
You should also contact your local licensing authorities to make sure the information you have is up to date.
Finding the Right School
Finding a school that fits your needs is key to success.
Here you will begin practicing on mannequins. You will learn different techniques in cutting, trimming and styling.
All courses are led by a licensed instructor.
Next, you will move on to actual clients from your community.
Being a barber is much more than just cutting and styling hair. Some other important skills you will learn include:
- Communicating with different clients.
- Customer service skills.
- Sales and management skills.
These skills are very important if you want to become a successful barber. Especially if your goal is to run your own shop one day.
Barbering is a very entrepreneurial profession. This means many graduates go on to open up their own barbershops and start their own business.
There are different classes you can take to help make your way in running a successful business. These classes include:
- Business management.
- Employee and customer relations.
- Barbershop ownership.
What Happens After Graduation?
What happens next is totally in your hands. There are different areas you can choose from when becoming a barber.
Entertainment and Films
Cosmetologist are a necessity in the entertainment industry.
If you don’t like to be tied down, freelancing might be right for you. As a freelancer you get to choose your work, your hours and your salary. Downsides can be finding reliable work and finances.
The military is always in need of good barbers.
Starting Your Own Business
Many barbers choose to start their own business and open up their own barbershop. This takes a lot of hard work, but the rewards can be huge and life changing.
These are just some of the areas you can choose from. Be creative and find something you will be happy with.
Once you've chosen the path you want to take, it's time to decide which title you'd like to hold.
There are many different titles when it comes to being a barber, such as:
- Barber instructor- you will first have to become certified.
- Barber apprentice- some states allow you to become licensed if you have been trained by a master barber.
- Men's hairstylist- as a hairstylist, your main focus would be styling, coloring and cutting. Here it's important for you to keep up with the newest trends.
- Trichologist- a trichologist is a hair and scalp specialist. They know all about the different treatments to hair loss and other hair related problems. They evaluate factors such as lifestyle, genetics and environmental conditions to find the right treatment for the client. If you want to become a trichologist, science is a very big part of it.
Make a Plan
It's important you know where you would like to go in your career as a barber. Set some goals and begin working towards them.
Do you want your own shop? Do you want to work under a master barber? Freelance? Stylist? Figure out what you would like to do with your career.
Where do you want to be in five years?
Research and find out what you need to do to achieve that goal. Write down everything you know and all the things you still need to learn. Make a list of where you have to go and the things you need to get.
Important Tools You Will Need
Being a barber, you will need your own set of scissors, hair clippers, brushes, razors and combs.
It's important you get your own kit; you shouldn't rely on others to provide this for you.
If you have your own set of essential tools, you can practice whenever and wherever you want.
You can easily buy the things you need online. Many online stores offer whole packages with all the essentials you need.
If you plan on opening up your own shop there is a lot more you need, but we will get to that in a minute.
Apart from the tools, you will also need to be able to sterilize them. Cleaning the tools after every use is very important. Infections can spread very easily, especially if someone accidentally gets a cut, which can easily happen in this industry.
Barbicide is the most commonly used sterilizer amongst barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists.
It is used to sanitize everything from brushes to clipping shears.
Barbicide is sold as a concentrate. The individual barber then mixes the barbicide with water and keeps it in a bottle ready to use.
If you buy a straight razor, it's important to get one with replaceable razors. It's also good to get individual razors so you can replace them after each use.
Also check with your state if they allow the use of straight razors. Some states don't allow them, while others do if you're a licensed barber.
Opening Your Own Barbershop
If opening up your own barbershop is your dream, then there are a few things you need.
First of all, it's important you take advantage of the different classes and courses your barber school offers.
If you open up your own shop, remember that you will be responsible for all finances, employees, keeping the shop clean and tidy, and making sure your clients are all happy.
Most schools offer classes that cover things such as business management and marketing, employee and customer relations.
Managing your finances is important. You have to know how to charge your clients appropriately for your services. Keep in mind both tips and taxes.
It's important you know how to interact with the individual client.
You need to be able to take complaints as well as compliments.
And make sure your employees are on the same track. They should also know how to talk to the client. A session can take time, you don't want it to be awkward.
A good idea is to create your own clientele. These are your regular clients. It's important to keep them pleased with your service so they will recommend your shop to their friends and family. This will hopefully build up your reputation and bring you more customers in the future.
How will your clients be entertained? Music is a great way to create a nice atmosphere. Putting up a tv screen might be a good idea too.
While creating your shop, you should think about what makes a nice environment, what is your style? Should it be portrayed through your shop or should it be more mainstream?
Nice, comfortable chairs are something that will score a few extra points from clients.
Keeping the workspace clean is important, what tools do you need for that? A mop, a broom, disinfectant soap might be a good place to start. Write down all the things you need.
What services do you want to offer? Cutting, trimming and styling aside. Do you want to offer coloring? Scalp, head and neck massages? Facials maybe?
If so, you need to hire specialists and make sure you’ve got all the right tools for these services.
When you open your own shop, you need the right equipment. You have your essentials kit, should your employees have their own or will you provide it?
If your employees provide their own scissors, make sure they clean them properly and to your standards.
You should also make sure to provide things such as electrical clippers and blow dryers. Washing stations are vital features too.
Shampoo, conditioner and hair treatments are important as well. Good quality shampoo and conditioner is something your clients will notice.
Make a plan of how you want your shop to be, what services you want to offer and what prices will be.
Work towards your goals and one day you will have the career you once dreamt of.