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Starting Your Own Business - Barbering

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Student loans are putting off teenagers studying at University.  In a series of articles/blogs, I explore what those wanting to be their own boss involves.


The possibility of becoming self-employed is a dream for many people.  It brings with it the burdens of tax returns, paperwork and responsibility, but also freedom.  This articles touches upon the general points to consider about becoming self-employed as barber.  Future articles will feature other specific areas/professions.


Being Your Own Boss - Barbering


Everyone needs a hairdresser or barber to cut their hair, unless you go bald.  Here are a few things to think about if you think about becoming your own boss as a barber.


Starting a business as a barber needs simply a stool and some scissors.  It is a business usually started by young people after a couple of years of training at college, but anyone can do it.  Once the business has been started, word can get about and the number of clients can steadily increase.


The qualifications for the course are not high and there is the need for talent, but once you start it is very hard to turn back.  Any such business should be planned and then considered with family and friends, as it does not make much money.


It is not enough that the young entrepreneur is happy doing his job.   A young person can easily train to be a barber, yet maintaining a barbering business needs skill, patience and an understanding that there is not much money to be made after the initial flurry of activity. 


Trainee barbers will trim friends and get some extra cash, but once you open a salon or rent your first chair with dreams of making money into the future, you need to recognise that the trade does not make a lot of money and in five years, your options are limited.  Planning is the key


Here are a few things to consider


A business plan
Insurance
A proper rental arrangement for your chair
An accountant
A vision
Key man insurance
Advice on a Limited Company


The Business Plan


Life as a barber is hard and each contract is for a small amount of money.  Being a barber for a long time will take it out of you, so you should plan expansion and other sources of income streams.


Any promising barber should estimate how many customers they will have in a week and project forward for a year.  After deducting normal expenses you should see how much cash is left over after the tax man has had his share and see if you can live on that for the next thirty or so years.


Expansion involves hiring more barbers.  Consider the risks of personality conflicts, as they will have your confident personality, yet different styles and skills, so tension is possible.


Insurance 


Accidents happen and you should make sure you get decent insurance against personal injury and damages to people’s head and appearance.  Whether you can obtain insurance with no experience and no qualifications is unlikely, but a recent case of a lady being burnt with a hairdryer underlines the need for insurance.


You can never limit or exclude liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence, so insurance can cover you for this.


A Proper Rental Agreement for your chair


If you cannot afford to rent a property straightaway, you need to make sure that you know what your outgoings will be during the rental chair arrangement, unless of course you are using the floor in your parent’s kitchen.


Many established barbers or hair salons will rent a chair for a fixed sum per week or will take a percentage of takings. 



  • If you rent a chair, try and get a minimum period of time that you can stay, but also be able to get out on a one week’s notice

  • Ask around for fair rents, because you are stuck with the deal.  If you agree a percentage, do not give too much away, possibly 10%

Anyone interested in being a barber will know the personalities involved, so try and get a long arrangement, but have the ability to leave.


It will be best in writing, so there is no doubt, but do not rely on their insurance policy for injury to your customers so take out your own.


Key Man Insurance


This is insurance to cover your health and ability to continue to make money.


You need to see if you can get this type of insurance if anything happens to your hands.  You could be injured on a sports field.  Once this happens and you are out of work temporarily or permanently, you will need something to tide you over


An accountant


One of the most tedious aspects of running a business is handling the accounts, paying the tax man and working out how much you have made.


Try and find a small booker-keeper who works form home who can do your books for you


Once you have a couple of years accounts you can use this for bank lending and getting a property


The vision


Try and have a vision for your future.  Whether it’s taking on a franchise or being the person who grants franchises.  Read biographies of famous people in the beauty, hair, fashion or perfume field about how they opened and began to run their business.  Try and find a business coach/family friend who can show you the ropes


Limited Company


For a small barbers shop there is no need for the costs of a limited company.  An individual can try and exclude liability by saying the limited company is responsible, but if anything went wrong any action would be against the barber, so there is no point


Conclusions


This is not an area where long term growth and expansion are possible
You might be your own boss, but you will want to change within years, so do not give up studying straightaway
Selling a barbers shop is easy to do, but do not expect a lot of money
Building a franchise of barbers shops is very hard work
If you really want to do it, have another interest 


Keith Cutler
Solicitor Advocate
Hibberts LLP