Women are not the only ones who want professional hair care services — men want to look good, too. There thus is a demand for barber shops that focus on male clientele. It can be difficult to make a profit in these shops if you do not approach both the financial and operational segments of the business with seriousness and proper planning.
Cleanliness and Guidelines
Because barbers can provide services that pose potential hazards to customers, such as dying hair with chemicals and using sharp razors, you must follow the same basic sanitation and legal guidelines as other cosmetologists. This might not seem like it ties into your profits, but customers who see a dirty shop aren’t as likely to come back. Even if people haven’t set foot in your shop before, if they’ve heard negative things about the way you operate, they may think twice before stepping through the door. You also can get fined or even lose your permits and licenses for not complying with cosmetology regulations, so keep your shop immaculate and take extra steps like attending extra seminars to make sure you are in compliance. Posting awards and certificates related to these events can show customers you’re head-and-shoulders above competitors.
Understanding the Market
Small barber shops, similar to any other business, have to have a sense of their market before they can hope to implement marketing strategies that bring in paying customers. Research what other competitors are doing and what the demographics in the community are like. For example, if your client base is people mainly 40 years old and under, services such as dying beards aren’t likely to be much in demand in your shop. Create your business strategy based on the results of your market research, fighting the traditional “gramps” or “old-style” concept of barber shops if necessary. Always ask clients how they heard of you, and adjust your marketing strategy if the needs or demographics of the community change significantly. Take the average income level of the area into consideration when you set your prices.
Organizing your barber shop is a profit must-do. This refers to your supplies as well as to your paperwork and records. When you organize your supplies, it is much easier to grab what you need quickly to continue business. That means people aren’t waiting around, so you can serve more clients. It also means the clients you do serve see you as efficient, which contributes to a positive service experience. When you organize your paperwork, it is easier to pay bills and see where the shop’s money is tied up. It is much less likely that you’ll miss important deadlines that might mean paying more. Check your books and do so often to catch errors that could cost you, and to find areas where more efficiency is necessary.
As a barber, you inevitably will need various supplies such as scissors, trimmers, protective drapes, and hair care products. Getting these supplies in bulk can save you big bucks, but you have to have the room to store them, and you often have to have enough money to pay for the goods up front. Developing good vendor relations can lead to accounts with vendors that allow you to purchase items on short-term credit, and also can result in commissions if you sell the vendors’ products.
Just because you are a small barber shop doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think ahead for your business. Set some of your profits aside and invest them. The amount you invest and exactly where you put your funds is a matter of personal preference, but the idea is that investing some of your funds can make profit yield more profit. When you need additional funds, you can tap the investment earnings to cover the expenses you have. That way, you won’t have to get into debt to keep the shop afloat in rough periods.
Employees can make or break a barber shop. Employing only barbers who are working through recognized apprenticeship programs or who are fully licensed is always the best bet from the legal standpoint. It’s also important to pick people who have vibrant personalities, as clients generally want to chat up their barbers and other cosmetology workers. Being clear with the employees about your guidelines and keeping them accountable can keep the shop operating smoothly. Don’t be afraid to demand their best work.