What Are Barber Shop License Requirements in 2023?

One of the first steps in opening your own barber shop is understanding the barber shop license requirements- regulations that show you and your staff have the right facilities and training.

What You Will Learn

We’ll go over the professional regulation and licensing requirements for barbershop businesses, how to navigate the application process, and the costs involved.

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  1. What License Do You Need To Open A Barber Shop?
  2. What Does A Barber Shop License Cost?
  3. Can You Open A Barber Shop Without A Barber License?
  4. Barber License Requirements
  5. Can You Open A Barber Shop Without A Barber License?
  6. Conclusion

What License Do You Need To Open A Barber Shop?


First of all, what licenses do barbershops need?

Most of the time, barbershop owners will need to obtain multiple licenses and permits in order for their business to operate, depending on the services they offer customers and their location (since some of these- and the required fee for each one, vary by state). Let’s look closer:

Barber’s License: A barber’s license is provided to those who train specifically to work with male hair and provide shaving or beard care. It shows that you have the necessary professional training and understand the health and safety requirements in your state. All staff who provide services to clients in your barbershop will need a state license.

Barbershop Business License: You’ll need a business license to open a barbershop. Actually, this applies to all small businesses. These are licenses issued by both the U.S. Small Business Administration and state department. You can check either one’s website to apply- they’ll need your business name, your own name, and your social security number to file the application.

Employer Identification Number: Sometimes called your EIN, this number is necessary when you file your federal or state taxes, complete payroll forms or file just about any other employer-related paperwork.

Certificate of Occupancy: As required by state laws, you’ll need to complete an inspection as part of the process. Building and fire inspectors will check your barbershop to make sure you have enough space to provide services, meet fire code regulations, and have the right water and electrical hookups.

Barber license application
Barber License Application

Building Permits: Any renovations require a permit from your state or municipality. These permits require an application, and sometimes also need a licensed building inspector to come and sign off on the work.

Retail Permits: If your state collects sales tax, then all businesses there need retail permits to sell things, including hair care products. You can get this on your state’s website or through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Remember- all states with sales tax require it.

Do not miss our post on how to open a barber shop.

What Does A Barber Shop License Cost?


Each license and certificate has its own costs, and these vary for businesses in different states.

Licensed barbers in Florida and those operating in New York will face different requirements and spend varying amounts of money on their initial license and barber license renewal, for example. Here’s an overview of the licenses and other costs:

License: A barbershop’s business operation license costs between $100-$400 including the processing fees. This is usually the same price for any small business licensee in your state.

Pro tip: A barber shop license renewal can cost $60 or more, and the expiration date will be printed on your current one.

Insurance: This is required by law, and no business owner should skip this step. General Liability Insurance will usually cost from $50 to $250 a month.

Professional Licensing: Depending on the services you offer, you and each of the barbers on staff will need to be in compliance with your state’s requirements. A licensed barber will need to keep his certifications up to date after graduating, and this renewal can cost between $50-500.

Certificate of Occupancy: Expect to pay at least $250 for this. If the building inspector identifies any issues, you’ll also need to repair these and pay for another inspection.

Barber occupancy certificate
Barber Occupancy Certificate

Barber License Requirements


You’ll have to apply for multiple licenses and meet various requirements for both your team and your business itself. In general, here’s what to expect and some tips to help you navigate it.

U.S. Small Business Administration: You can apply here for Barbershop Licenses, obtain your Retail Permit, and get useful information about running a small business, securing a loan or finding other resources.

States Websites: They provide information about local Building Permits and Health and Safety Inspection requirements (along with their fees). You can also apply for your Federal Employer Identification Number here.

Barber’s License: If you’re wondering how to get a barber license, we have good news. Depending on your location, there may be multiple ways.

To get this, you’ll either have to complete a course from an accredited school or an approved apprenticeship (a hands-on way to get barber license without school), receive a certificate of completion, and pass a licensing exam with a practicum component. You can renew your barber license online using your state’s website.

So, how long does it take to get a barber license? An apprenticeship can take anywhere from 480 to 4000 hours depending on your state’s rules, and barber’s school can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete.

Insurance: Find insurers in your area that provides General Liability Insurance for small business owners, and make sure to get multiple quotes. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a helpful guide for this.

Pro tip: Join a Trade Association. One of the easiest ways to work through the local licensing process is to work with a trade association- they’re inexpensive for licensed barbers to join, and they provide a ton of information, including local licensing requirements, professional tips, assistance, resources and networking.

Do not miss our post on barber shop expenses.

Barber EIN
Barber EIN

Can You Open A Barber Shop Without A Barber License?


The answer to this is yes and no. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Barbershop Owner: If you’re not cutting hair or giving other services to clients, you don’t need to be a licensed barber. You can simply own the business and manage it. Of course, you’ll still need to follow all of the other tax and licensing requirements.

Professional Barber: If you cut hair, provide shaves or do other client-facing work, you most likely need to be licensed. Some states, such as Maryland have exceptions in place for apprentices.

Other support staff like cleaners and receptionists don’t usually require special certifications.

We recommend you to check out our post on barber shop franchise.

Barber building permit
Barber Building Permit



Opening a new barbershop is a lot of work, but also a very rewarding and interesting process. Congrats on taking the next steps to make your dreams a reality.

We hope that we’ve been able to be of some help and make the process of getting your barber shop license a bit easier for you. If you have any tips or insights of your own to share, make sure to let us know!


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