For many men in the United States, a trip to the barbershop is a fun and relaxing experience, that just happens to have a function to it as well. As you sit in the barber chair, you’ll either find yourself engaging with the barber, other customers, or just passers-by who like to walk in and have a chat. It’s a chance to get away from it all, and some of the best barbers are long-standing pillars of the community.
To open your own barber’s shop takes real guts and determination. There are high expectations already, and the competition is friendly but strong. Yet what goes into creating a successful business in cutting and grooming people’s hair is actually quite straightforward. So if you have decided that you want your own male grooming salon but need help figuring out where to start, here are four tips for opening a successful barbershop.
1. Get the right equipment together.
You can’t cut anyone’s hair without a decent pair of scissors, and you can’t groom a bearded face without a sharp, durable razor. But whilst you may make your stylish designs look easy to pull off, you know more than anyone else that there is a myriad of salon equipment that sits in your barber station. Barber equipment includes various combs, brushes, razors (electric and knife), as well as all of the various styling products, lotions, and accessories.
It will help you immensely to go into your new business with the right equipment and a full barber station, but get the essentials first and look to see if anyone is selling hardware for lower costs as you go.
2. Give your customers something to look at.
No customer in the world wants to sit in that barber chair and stare at a blank wall while you are trimming their hair. The truth is, sitting in that chair can be quite disconcerting, and customers can have trouble knowing where to look. Their eyes dart between their reflection in a mirror, the big scary razor in the barber station, or trying to meet/avoid your eyes as you concentrate.
So, give them something to look at! Don’t leave your walls bare in the name of niche décor–that ship sailed about 15 years ago. Cover your walls with canvas wall art instead. Wall decor is a varied and useful thing, helping to keep your customers comfortable whilst looking good in the process. You can put up some delightful modern art by local artists, or spruce up the décor with something a little more unique like wood wall art applied directly to the structure. Alternatively, get some friends who would be willing to model for you, have their portrait taken after they’ve had their hair groomed by you, head over to Shutterfly and have the portraits printed on to a canvas, and et Voila! Canvas wall art that is cheap, cheerful, and functional for those customers who are a little stuck for examples of what they want you to do for them.
3. Don’t forget about the barber chair.
Customers can just tell when they are sitting in a cheap barber chair. They tend to lack comfort, get in between you and your barber station, and really bring down the experience for the customer. You may as well have outdoor furniture with pillows stuck to it if you don’t spend a little extra on your barbershop chairs. Deluxe barber chairs will make the whole experience for your customer, and although they might not be the cheapest, it will mean the world of difference. Something simple like a headrest will help make your customers feel at ease, and thus will help bring them back to your shop the next time they need barbershop services.
This is not something you can afford to wait on when it comes to getting started. However, with Keller International, which has salon chairs, purpose chairs, and many a deluxe barber chair for sale, you will have the answer to all of your problems. You won’t have to fork out a ton of cash to buy barber chairs from them either, as they are available for competitive prices!
Historically speaking, salons and barbers gave us a whole genre of music in “barbershop,” through the four-part harmonies of a barbershop quartet. These days, not many establishments really go for that unique accessory, but if you’re going to have a successful business, then you have to have something that keeps people coming back to your place. Aside from the great hair styling and classic home feel, of course. Yes, you could have all of the exclusive offers in the world, but they aren’t sustainable and are only helpful for getting people through the door the first time. Obviously, you have taken the above advice and adorned your walls with fabulous modern art and wood wall art. You may have even put up a couple of televisions on the walls beside the mirrors, or grabbed a great speaker system to play music all day in lieu of live musicians (although, if you can get some talented locals to play, then go for it!)
If you really want to see that shop thrive, and build a huge base of returning customers then you have to learn the gift of gab. Talk to everyone, patrons, staff, friends, family—everyone. At the end of the day, people go to their local barbershop for a good conversation first, and a decent haircut second!