If you have a particular interest for styling hair, you can consider becoming a barber. In this profession, you have the opportunity to cut and style hair, mostly for a male clientele. You may also serve women who opt for shorter lifestyles, although they are few and far between. Aside from trimming and shampooing hair, the other services that you provide clients include maintaining facial hair and doing facial shaves. You can also color and highlight hair if you are allowed to do so in the state where you provide services. The tools of your trade include scissors, clippers, combs and razor. You also use lotions, shampoos and hair color to do your job.
When trimming a client’s facial hair, barbers first lather the moustache or area that needs to be shaved. Using a razor, barbers then shave off the unwanted hair. If the client so requests, you can also perform other services, such as shaping the beard and massaging the face, neck and scalp. You strive to make sure that customers leave your shop looking and feeling good. You may also offer lotions, shampoos and other grooming products that clients can use in between appointments if these are sold in your shop.
After each session, you will be billing the client and accepting payment. You will also clean the work area following the sanitation procedures of the state. Having a clean work station is important since you encourage repeat customers if clients know that you exhibit professionalism in your attitude and in your work. In between clients, you also call up customers to remind them of their appointments. This greatly reduces the likelihood of them forgetting their scheduled haircut.
To succeed as a barber, you need to provide clients with the best service. Your business hinges on customers regularly coming back to have their hair cut and facial hair removed. It’s also a way to encourage them to spread the word of your expertise to their family members and friends. An important part of providing the best service to clients is listening to what they want. It’s also important to have excellent customer service skills. Barbers are known for the interesting stories they share to their clients. This is part of their charm that encourages clients to keep on coming back to them.
If you are the owner of your barber shop, you also need to have good business skills. Knowing accounting basics is important because it’s imperative that you have a clear understanding of how money flows in and out for your business to survive. This is also important for managing your tax obligations. Moreover, you also need to have marketing savvy since you would want to grow your customer base and even expand. If that happens, you would need to fulfill other administrative duties such as hiring and training new barbers.
One reason to become a barber is that it gives you the chance to channel your love for beauty to a profession that you can earn from. It also gives you the opportunity to set up your own shop after you have gained sufficient experience. Barbers who are good at what they do may get recommended to work for celebrities and public personalities, greatly widening their clientele and increasing their earning capacity. Since close to half are self-employed, it’s also a profession that allows you to set your own work hours.
Barber Work Environment
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that barbers work in barbershops and salons. A few work in resorts, hotels and spas. Their surroundings are well-lighted and clean. Many of them do part-time work, with their busiest schedules in the evenings and weekends when most people are free from work and go to barbershops to have their personal grooming needs attended to.
While many self-employed barbers have more flexibility when it comes to their work schedules, they often have to work longer hours than those who are salaried. Barbers have to wear gloves and aprons to protect their skin from getting irritated with some of the chemicals used in coloring and styling hair.
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of barbers is $27,710. This is just slightly higher than the $27,530 paid to hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists. Barbers working in the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska and Illinois receive the highest pay.
It’s also important to understand that barbers may also increase their earnings through tips. Customers who are very satisfied with the service that barbers give them often give generous tips.
Average Barber Salary
Executive barbers (Top 10%) earn $47,400 ($22.79 an hour)
Senior barbers (Top 25%) earn $37,020 ($17.80 an hour)
Mid Level barbers (Median) pay is $25,760 ($12.38 an hour)
Junior of barbers (Bottom 25%) earn $20,350 ($9.78 an hour)
Entry Level of barbers (Bottom 10%) earn $18,210 ($8.76 an hour)
Barber Salary By State
District of Columbia
Barber Career Outlook
The employment rate of barbers looks very good in the next few years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job rate of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists is set to increase 13 percent in the decade covering 2012 to 2022. For barbers specifically, the employment rate is set to grow slightly lower at 11 percent. Thus, from the 52,100 barbers employed in 2012, the number is set to increase to 57,900 in 2022. The demand will come from a burgeoning population who will need the services that only barbers can offer.
Barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists are required to finish a program in a barber school or cosmetology school. Before they can enroll, they need to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent. These barbering or cosmetology programs take at least 9 months to complete, with programs of longer duration usually leading to an Associates degree.
Before barbers can work in a particular state, they must first obtain a license. While requirements vary, it generally includes possession of a high school diploma or its equivalent, finishing a state-licensed barber school and successfully passing a written test. In some states, the written exam also has a practical component which tests skills. Other states have an oral test. Barbers have to be at least 16 years old before they can be issued a license after passing all the requirements.
Many states credit cosmetology training to those who want to get a license for barbering and barbering training to those who want to obtain a cosmetology license. The two licenses are even combined in selected states. In states which have reciprocity agreements with other states, licensed barbers may be able to obtain another license in that state without the need for added training. These are not very common agreements, however, so those barbers seeking employment in other states should check what the regulations are.