How to Open a Barber Shop | Checklist for 2023

No matter if you are an established barber or a beginning one, you would need guidance on how to open a barber shop. Our guide will allow you to apply a structured approach to budget planning, legal requirements compliance, hiring staff, marketing plan and more for your new business.

What You Will Learn

We will talk about legal requirements as well business planning, budgeting, and marketing activities and some checklists to help you start a new barber shop.

Jump to The Section You Like

  1. Requirements for Owning a Barber Shop
  2. How Much Does It Cost to Open a Barber Shop?
  3. Barber Shop Opening Checklist
  4. Barber Shop Equipment List
  5. Owning a Barber Shop Pros and Cons
  6. Conclusion

Requirements for Owning a Barber Shop


Can you start a barbershop without a license?

Business licenses and permits can differ between states and provinces and, in some cases, even between towns.

Here's a summary of the common business license steps and permit requirements to assist you to get going:

1. Obtain Required Licenses

  • Cosmetologist License: Most states require that you be at least 18 years old and graduate from a recognized cosmetology program or apprenticeship, pass a series of hands-on examinations, and have on-the-job experience performing services on clients to get your cosmetology license.
  • Barber Shop Business Operation License: The standard business license required to open your barber shop. You can apply at your state department or the U.S. Small Business Administration by providing your name, business name, and social security number.
  • Certificate of Occupancy: Your local property evaluation services or government agency can assist you in doing that. They'll check to make sure that your shop space is safe and validate that it has the necessary water and electrical hookups to work.
  • Specific Licences: There are lots of types of licenses in the men grooming industry, a few of which may be necessary for your barbershop staff, depending upon their field of expertise. Some states will require a different license if you intend to have a nail technician or a tattoo master in your team.

2. Register Your Barber Shop

  • Get your TIN: Also called a Tax Identification Number, you can get this 9-digit number by applying straight to the IRS. Even small business owners who do not plan to hire any other barbers or personnel still need this.
  • Check Name Requirements: You'll need a barbershop name for your business plan (more on this later). However, some states also have particular requirements for businesses when it concerns names. When naming your brand-new barbershop, make sure to review these.
Requirements for owning a barber shop
Requirements for Owning a Barber Shop

3. Obtain Required Permits

  • Barber Shop Retail Seller Permit: This lets barbershop owners offer retail items along with providing services. In states that collect sales tax, you'll most likely require a retail seller permit. Inspect the U.S. Small Business Administration or your state's site for more details.
  • Building Permits: These permits are managed at the state level and need inspections and approvals for any work that you intend to do to make your barbershop all set for business. Charges can differ, however, do not skip this step- it's legally required and important for safety.
  • EIN: You will require your Federal Employer Identification Number to submit your Federal and state taxes, payroll, and other paperwork.

    You can get it from the IRS or your state's website, and you'll need to provide your business license, personal details, and a general description of your services and products.

4. Get Barber Shop Insurance

The price of insurance coverage typically differs between about $50 to $250 a month, and it takes care of you, your personnel, and your customers. The most common kind is called "general liability" insurance and protects against damage to your property, claims made against you, or in some cases, even harm to your business's reputation.

5. Sign a Lease Agreement

A lawyer can assist you in drawing this up, although templates are obtainable online. You'll wish to ensure to have this signed prior to investing any money in the existing barber shop or making any modifications to the venue. If you're purchasing the place, ensure to seek advice from a legal adviser to close the sale.

We recommend you to check out our post on Barber Shop Logo.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Barber Shop?


1. Barber Shop Licenses and Legal Fees

  • Licenses: In the U.S., these can cost between $100-$400 for small businesses like barber shops. That includes the processing costs and the license itself.
  • Certificates: The inspections needed to release a Certificate of Occupancy vary by state. However, you can anticipate paying at least $250. If any issues need to be dealt with, you'll need to fix them and have the site inspected again for another charge.
  • Cosmetology licenses and certificates are generally needed for all of your personnel, and their training will need to be kept up to date, too. The fee to renew these varies by state but is normally $50 or more.
  • Permits: Retail requirements will differ by state but are typically a necessity if you intend to sell products to customers. In California, for instance, there is no charge for a retail seller permit, but a security deposit might be required.
  • Legal Fees: A lawyer can go over your lease or bill of sale, check that all of your documentation is submitted properly, and read any "fine print" on your state's requirements or insurance coverage paperwork. They normally charge about $200 per hour for their services.

2. Barber Shop Location

  • Rent deposit: This will include your first month's rent but can additionally include an extra deposit in some cases (if the property is furnished, some states allow landlords to charge more).
  • Barber Shop Fit-out: The fitout budget will differ a lot depending upon your taste, funds, and the square footage of the place itself. Don't hesitate to get several quotes.
  • Furniture: To start, you can anticipate paying anywhere from $200 to more than $1000 for a high-end chair, and washbasins also begin at a couple of hundred dollars each. Do not forget furniture for your client reception areas and break rooms, too.
  • Signage: It's essential to have the perfect barber shop sign to bring in customers to your business. That stated, a professionally-made sign done by a graphic design business can begin at a few hundred dollars, so it's a good idea to look around before choosing one.

3. Barber Shop Equipment

How much does barber shop equipment cost?

You have the choice of leasing equipment or buying it outright. Both have their benefits and downsides.

A brand-new complete set of barber shop equipment and tools will cost you around $27,000, whereas with leasing you just make monthly payments. These rates will depend on the company, and many do offer you the possibility to buy the equipment or lease new items later on.

Many companies will provide you the possibility to lease larger, more costly items such as styling chairs and backwash station chairs, but be prepared to shop around for smaller items such as carts, trolleys, and service accessories.

When you begin equipping up, bear in mind that your requirements might change in the future, so you'll want to prepare not only what you purchase now but what you may require later on.

4. Barber Shop Marketing

Your barber shop website is one of your barber shop's most crucial marketing tools, especially if your target audience is younger or professional. They tend to value the convenience of online booking and use social media to look for the services they're searching for.

You can create your barber shop website using a completely free design template online or employ a specialist to help. They generally charge between $300- $700 for this service. Or, you can invest in good barber shop management software that includes a website building function.

Don't forget about business cards and leaflets, too. Make sure to reach out to the local community with the help of printed products that you can distribute at your barber shop and local businesses.

You may even want to invest in an ad on the radio or in the local newspapers.

How much does it cost to open a barber shop
How Much Does It Cost to Open a Barber Shop?

5. Initial Stock

Your total stock will vary depending upon the size and staffing needs of your barbershop. When you work out product needs, make sure to include disposable items utilized in each service, in addition to retail items and professional materials.

  • Professional Products: These are your "back bar": what your barbers will utilize on customers and ought to be inventoried independently from sellable stock. Barbershop software can help you keep an eye on these.
  • Retail Products: Track what you offer customers independently from your supplies budget. How much money you spend on these products will depend upon your marketing and the products you choose, along with any specialties your barbershop provides (such as beard grooming or treatments for greying hair, for instance).

Do not miss our post Barber Shop Price List.

Barber Shop Opening Checklist


Some people are curious about how to start a hair barbershop. Similar to any new business venture, a bit of planning goes a long way. Here are the guidelines that you can follow to help turn your dream into a prosperous business.

1. Select a Business Model

Will you sign up with a franchise (this comes along with a lot of assistance, however less independence), or will you run your own business? Also, you'll require to choose whether to pay your staff on commission or rent out booths/ space to independent barbers.

2. Prepare a Barber Shop Business Plan and Price Menu

Is owning a barber shop profitable? The first answer sits in your business plan.

It really helps barber shop owners like yourself to remain on budget and will give you a roadmap to navigate your business. Include a marketing plan, your target market, budget, and the kinds of products/ services you'll offer clients. Add to this a breakdown of your basic recurring costs like staff salaries, insurance, back bar expenses, and marketing.

3. Find the Best Location

That will depend a lot on your brand and target market. Will your client base be young and professional? Then search for something near a local downtown or business center. Other barber shops might succeed in cozy areas or little towns if this fits their customers and brand.

4. How to Fund the New Barber Shop

Wondering how to open a barber shop with no money?

Insufficient funds at startup are one leading reason that barber shops can struggle. Try to have at least six months buffer. Sources of financing can include your own savings, help from family and friends, your local credit union, and loans and grants for industry startups. Make sure that you have a budget and plan to pay it back, too.

5. Develop Your Barber Shop Branding

Your brand lets define your business and customers. It includes everything from your logo and name to your website and interior decoration. Pinterest is a good source of ideas to start. Select some images and words that identify your brand and use them for inspiration.

Opening barber shop checklist
Opening Barber Shop Checklist

6. Prepare Your Barber Shop Marketing Plan

Set up your website and social network pages, pick a logo design and connect to the community. Your family and friends can be vital when it comes to forming these connections with new customers.

Ensure that you also set up your Google My Business account information with images so that customers can find you on opening day and leave feedback later.

Read more on how to build clientele as a barber fast.

7. Get Barber Management Shop Software

Barber shop software will help you optimize your barber shop calendar, allow easy online booking, handle your staff schedule, take payments, track and order inventory, and more, saving you hours of hassle and cash every week.

We recommend you to check out our post How To Manage a Barber Shop.

8. Pick Credit Card Processor

Various companies offer various equipment and rates, including simple app-based systems or more complex appliances with receipt printing. Do not be afraid to look around.

9. Recruit Barbers

Advertise any openings and pick your dream team, then plan your training. Read more on barber job description to know what best credentials to look for.

10. Choose Product Suppliers

That depends greatly on your branding and clients, so select an assortment that compliments your services and vision.

We've prepared an opening barber shop checklist pdf to assist you to begin.

Barber Shop Equipment List


That includes everything from furniture to the tools and tech that your staff will need. Start by making a list of the small and big things that your space should have, separating "needs" from "wants" to remain on budget.

Remember, the equipment can normally be leased or purchased. However, tools and furniture will probably have to be bought.

Your barber shop shopping list must include:

  • Furniture: Reception desks, chairs, waiting area furniture, backwash stations, barber shop chairs, product display stands, lighting, wall art, trolleys, and shelving are all necessary things to place on this list.
  • Electrical Items: Blow dryers, clippers, trimmers, washing machines, and any specialized items for other services.
  • Tools and Supplies: This includes disposable items like gloves and paper towels, along with reusable aprons, scissors, combs, brushes, spray bottles, mirrors, and towels.
  • Management: Computers/ Laptops for running the barber shop, barber shop software to track scheduling, appointments, inventory, POS system, a cash register, and phones are all needed for the business.
  • Safety: First aid kits, fire extinguishers, masks, and hand sanitizers must be kept on hand.

We've prepared an opening a barber shop equipment list pdf to assist you to begin.

Do not miss our post on barber shop franchise.

Owning a Barber Shop Pros and Cons


Are barber shops profitable? They undoubtedly can be, however operating a prosperous firm takes a lot of work and devotion, too.

While there are a great deal of advantages to owning your own barbershop business, there are also some drawbacks that you'll require to be prepared for.

The best parts of barbershop ownership:

  • Autonomy: You decide how to lead your business, set your own schedule, and keep the earnings.
  • Creative Freedom: Developing your dream business, learning managerial skills, and helping to foster and coach your team is both gratifying and an amazing learning experience.
  • Opportunity: A typical barbershop can generate earnings of about 100,000 dollars every year. Out of this, about 50,000 dollars is profit for the barber shop owner. If you deal with things well, this can add up.

Some probable challenges to be prepared for:

  • Administration: It's difficult to handle all the administration work, from tracking payroll and stock to preparing for tax season and updating social media. Barber shop software can help you stay organized, optimize your calendar and manage scheduling and stock, amongst other things. However, you'll still have a lot of duties.
  • Taxes and Legal Necessities: You'll be the one ultimately accountable for paying taxes, insurance coverage, and ensuring all your inspections and documentation are up to date.
  • Losses: Even the finest businesses might have their slower days, and you will require to be prepared for this. It's a barber shop owner's responsibility to see that staff are paid and expenditures are handled, even if profits are momentarily low.

We recommend you to check out our post on Barber Shop Ideas.



We hope this guide has given you some clarity on how to open a barber shop.

The most crucial thing that you can do is invest your effort and time in keeping organized right from the start. Tools like barber shop software can assist with the efficient management of your new business.

The proper planning, a clear barber shop budget plan, and a solid marketing strategy can make all the difference.


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