Should I be a barber? If you’re asking this question, you’re probably intrigued if ever you have what it takes to be a professional barber. Salary and requirements aside, being a barber requires dedication and passion for the craft. It isn’t about just cutting and styling hair, it’s also about considering it as an art. For the past 15+ years, the profession of barbering has experienced a major revitalization. More and more people are now aiming to become one.
Each country offers programs and licensing procedures for barbers so qualification won’t be an issue as long as you satisfy the training requirements. There’s a lot of perks to being a barber but it also has its own share of downsides. Barber jobs are easy to find and you can actually avoid the competition among the rising number of licensed cosmetologists.
So if you’re entertaining the idea of being responsible for other people’s hairstyles and beard maintenance, you should read the following points to help you decide.
Pros and cons of being a barber
It’s an art
More than a job, barbering is an art. You deal with different hairstyles and beard shaving which requires an eye for aesthetics. Your potential customers will pay because of the skills you have that they basically can’t get from DIY styling. Their hair is your canvas and it’s your responsibility to turn it into a wonderful piece of art. So should I be a barber if I want this perk? Yes, you can!
The challenging part here goes when customers start to request a specific look. It takes skills, practice, and art to accomplish all these. Being a barber makes you an artist too since you save people from their boring haircuts. It’s a unique and quite a romanticized way of expressing yourself, but definitely worth it.
Finding a job as a barber isn’t that hard! People continuously need haircuts so you won’t run out of potential clients if you’re working on a private shop or one that you own. As long as your barbershop is found in the city or near downtown, you’ll never worry about clientele and regular income.
There is also a rising employability among barbers which makes it a great option as a career. There’s a projected 12% increase in barber employment this year. It’s a promising statistics in case you’re planning to be one in a few months. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still competition in the employability of barbers, but quite low compared to related professions.
You are your own boss
Many barbers are self-employed and they run their own barbershops. This means you are your own boss and you can work at your pace. You can also choose who and what you want to work on without the feel of retribution. The only thing you have to do is make your customers’ happy with your service so they’ll keep coming back. So should I be a barber? The answer lies in your preference.
Although you have to put a lot of work and hours to make barbering a very lucrative job, it’s usually stable if you build a strong clientele. You’re in full control of your marketing here if you own a barbershop. You can also hire additional barbers after a few years.
One of the biggest perks of being a barber is having the chance to meet new people and talk to them. It’s your way of sending word of mouth about your business and receiving referrals from previous customers. You’re paid for both rendering a service and enjoying a good conversation with a client.
The best thing about being a great story-teller is you build your relationship with your customers. Once you made a good job with their hair, they would likely be patrons if you’re nice enough during the session. Keeping a friendly-environment will be added points to your marketing. A good thing for very congenial people.
Should I be a barber if I want a stable income? Like I mentioned earlier, you have to make your customers happy if you want to have a steady income. Barbering can give a decent income as long as you have a steady stream of customers. At some point, a low wage is one of the problems seen among barbers. But if you own your place and you have a clientele, this shouldn’t be a problem.
You just have to put more hours at the start and establish a consistent income base on your business. There’s a little equipment inventory needed here so operational costs wouldn’t be as big as other businesses.
The need for stamina
Barbers have to work on their feet all day long. You’re lucky if you can have a few minutes of rest before the next appointment or before the next customer comes in. Although it will need stamina for your legs and arms, having a queue of customers is a good sign for your earnings. Your back will hurt and your hands will get tired. It’s just a matter of getting used to it.
Anyway, it’s not a bad thing to ask for a few minutes of rest from your customer if you think your arms and legs are too tired. It’s for their own good too.
Exposure to hair and nail chemicals
There are days when barbering is an easy work, but most of the time, it could be a little toxic (metaphorically and literally). Continuous exposure to styling products and the tiny pieces of hair could cause respiratory issues or skin problems. This could be prevented by keeping the barbershop well-ventilated and the equipment clean at all times. Ask yourself again: should I be a barber?
It’s best that you choose less abrasive styling and grooming products to prevent it from taking its toll on you. Wearing a mask is also a choice but it will hinder your communication with the client.
Being a barber is a happy job since you get to talk to a lot of people and style different crowns. But it’s not always a bed of roses. Customers can become unhappy with your service and they can be rude when their expectations aren’t met. And just like any service-oriented business, this can be a pain in the ass to address. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing strategy, but it can also break your business if the wrong word is spread.
It’s your responsibility to make up for the damage that’s been done. Somehow, mistakes are inevitable in this career. You can either offer a big discount or a free service just to appease the angry customer.
Earlier, I mentioned that self-employment may be a good thing. You are your own boss and you run the business as you wish. But there’s also downsides to this too. The moment you lose your clientele, your income dwindles. You have to start again to sustain yourself and the operation of your shop.
You also have to pay for your taxes and other dues. So should I be a barber? Well, there’s no claims or security even if the shop closes or laids-off people (in case you don’t own one). You’ll be left empty-handed if you rely on it solely without a solid network of clients. This part is quite subjective and you have the power to control it.
Not an easy start
Accept the fact that when you start as a newbie barber, it won’t be easy. You would have to work long hours and save a lot of money to open your own shop. This is to ensure that you’ll have a decent living while you climb the ranks of the barbering industry.
Beginner barber rates vary per shop but expect that it won’t be as hefty as experienced barbers you’re going to meet. You have to work for it to earn it. It’s like any other story of people starting out on their careers and establishing a name for their selves.
Question to ask yourself
Can I afford and finish a barbering program?
As you know, you can’t be a professional barber without attending a barber school and earning specific hours of training and apprenticeship. Programs for this kind of job vary in cost and it can likely be as expensive as $20,000 for the most exquisite option. Ask yourself first if you’re willing to shoulder the cost and finish the program all throughout. So should I be a barber? You have to go through this first.
If you’re a bit cash-strapped, you can look for barbershops with lower rates or even a scholarship grant. You should also check for the requirements of your state when it comes to licensing barbers. Create a checklist and accomplish one at a time.
Do you see it as a life-long career?
Barbering can be a life-long career if you do it right. Remember that you’re investing your money for training (and continuing studies for some) so you would want to be solidly inclined to it. Although it’s not necessary that you want to be a barber all your life, it pays to have a vision of what you want to do in the future.
Being a barber can be your springboard to other opportunities like being a full-time stylist or owner of barbershop chains. You’ll never know what’s in store for you in the future. At this moment, you don’t need to have everything fully figured out.
Are you a man of few words?
Are you the silent type who prefers doing your job and that’s it? If so, you might need a little perking up before you push through with your plan of being a barber. Barbers have to be excellent conversationalists to engage their customers and kill time while they finish a long styling session. Although your service will speak the most for your skill as a barber, being friendly and open for stories is a plus point. So should I be a barber? You should be a people person first.
Customers don’t like boring barbers. It doesn’t mean you have to be goofy; you just have to know how to keep an interesting conversation going.
Do you prefer working indoors?
This might come as a surprising question, but there are people who actually prefer working on the field, getting their hands dirty or their bodies sweaty. If you’re not that type, you might prosper as a barber. As you know, barbers work on air-conditioned shops and if there dozens of customers, they would be stepping out when it’s already dark. It can be a challenging choice for a job but it wouldn’t need any heavy lifting or physical exertion aside from being on your feet constantly.
If you’re a home-bodied person, being a barber won’t be a very limiting job in terms of the working environment.
Are you willing to start small?
Any career you can think of would always start small. If you’re willing to climb the ranks, you can do well in the profession of being a barber (or any other profession you can think of). Wages could be a little lower than most, but it will pay off once you invest in experience and skills. So should I be a barber? The choice is yours to take.
Don’t be impatient about going there and owning your shop. For some, it will take years before they can finally sit back and let other barbers do the job. You have to put on long hours and endless effort to reap the fruits of your labor as a barber.
Do you have the passion for the craft?
Of all the questions you can ask yourself, this is the most important. Do you like the practice of being a barber? Are you passionate about it? No matter how low the wages are or how straining it is to stand the whole day, having the passion for what you do will bring you to places.
If you love styling and haircutting, it could already be a reason to pursue barbering as a profession. But always be realistic with your goals. It’s not an easy job but will be rewarding in the years to come.
So ask yourself now, should I be a barber? If you’ve decided to be one, you can now start spending time as an apprentice before securing training hours and a license.