Most times the businesses that are often neglected are the most profitable, easiest to start and easiest to market. Establishing a barbershop (or barbing salon as it is called in Africa) is one of such businesses.
Most men go to a barbershop every week to cut their hair or shave their beard and they part with at least 300 naira at each of the visit as most services rendered at barbershops in Nigeria cost between 300 and 1000 naira depending on the kind of service rendered and location of the barbershop.
The main reason I advise people to go into this business is because it has a ready market, the business is easy to set up and it has a moderate startup cost. With a capital of 300,000 naira to 500,000 naira you can set up a decent barbershop. You can set up a chain of barbershops at several locations across your city and employ people to run the business for you.
Many barbershops in Africa are substandard. You can beat your competition by establishing a standard barbershop. In this article, I will explain how you can set up your own barbershop and make it profitable.
Steps to set up a standard barbershop
1. Go for training or employ experienced barbers – If you are going to be the barber, you need to get trained. You can attach with an experienced barber at a barbershop for about 6 to 12 months to learn. Training is very important as this will help you to know how to make different hair styles and satisfy the needs of your customers. Also, if you are just setting up the business as a part-time business, then you must employ experienced barbers.
2. Get a business office – this should be in a residential area where people can easily access. Your barbershop should be spacious. Don’t go for a small office as this limits the growth potential of the business. Also, a spacious office is more comfortable for your customers while waiting for their turn to cut their hair.
3. Furnish your office – you would need to paint the office. White colour is mostly used, but a good and bright colour design would suffice. Equip the office with a good lightening system, good air conditioner, install a good television (you can subscribe to cable television network for more entertaining channels), wall mirrors, standing fans, wall cabinet for keeping cosmetics and some equipment, sound system, rotating leather chairs, chairs for waiting customers, cover clothes, towels etc. Also tile the floor of the office.
4. Get all other necessary equipment & materials – The equipment you need for your barbershop include: combs, good clippers, hand gloves, brushes, dusters, and cosmetics like hair relaxers, hair sprays and dyes, aftershave, towel warmer etc.
5. Get good sterilizing system – Buy quality sterilizers to spray on the clippers and other equipment used for your operation. The priority of most customers is the safety. Most customers prefer barbershops that give priority to the safety of their customers. You can also get an autoclave for the sterilizing your equipment.
6. Get a good source of power – If there is no reliable electricity in your country or state then you would need an alternative source of power. A 2.5 kVA gasoline generator would be good. Your operation will be crippled without a good and reliable source of power.
7. Choose a good business name for your barbershop – you need to build your brand. The first step towards doing this is to get a good business name for your barbershop. Then ensure to do all that is necessary to make that name stand out from your competitors by providing quality service to your clients.
8. Register with regulatory bodies – Register with the barber’s association in your locality. This would prevent unnecessary disturbances and help to keep you updated with the latest trends in the business. You can also register your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, especially if you plan to expand the business in future.
9. Advertise your business – Let people know about your barbershop. The more people know about it and the services you offer, the better the patronage would be. Use several advertising media to spread the word about your business. Distribute flyers, post banners and use word of mouth.
10. You can sell some products in the barbershop – To make more money, you can create a mini cabinet for the sale of items like aftershave, shampoo, hair and body creams, perfumes, shaving sticks and powders, DVD & VCDs.
Extra tips to make your barbershop to stand out from others
1. Practice of good hygiene and cleanliness. Most customers like this. Keep your office clean always. Do not allow the hairs to accumulate on the floor before sweeping them away. Have a good waste bin which is disposed always.
2. Treat your customers with honour and respect. Ask them the type of hair style they want to cut before beginning. Don’t assume you know what they want. Hear them out first.
3. Dress properly in the right apron. Ensure that all your barbers are always well dressed in the right apron. This adds uniqueness to your work.
4. Get more experienced barbers to reduce the waiting time for customers. Most customers don’t like waiting too long before it gets to their turn. Therefore, consider having multiples service points in the barbershop and adequate barbers.
5. Make your barbing solon very beautiful and comfortable. Use good leather chairs if you have the resources. In western countries, barber shops are very beautiful and comfortable. At first, you may not have all the resources required to build a standard barbing salon, but just bear in mind that there is a standard and aim to grow into that standard.
6. You can create a facebook page or twitter handle or website for your barbershop. This will help you relate with your customers outside the barbershop and provide an avenue for updating them about new additions in your services. See an example of a barber shop’s facebook page (Facebook page of Maple Barber Shop in New Jersey, USA).
7. Do not give special treatment to some customers. All customers should be treated with dignity and honour. Customers should be attended to based on first come, first serve.
How to pay your barbers
In Nigeria, from interviews with owners of barbershops, as an owner of a barbershop, if you don’t intend to be the barber, then you need to employ experienced barbers. It is usually advised that you agree with the barbers on a set amount of money they should give you (‘’balance you’’ – as it is referred to in Nigeria) each week or month and once they pay you that money, any other extra money they make during the week or month is theirs. This method of remuneration motivates the barber to meet the set target and then make their own money.
However, if you choose to pay your barbers a fixed salary monthly, then you need to also employ a cashier whom all your customers would pay to after each service. The responsibilities of the cashier would be to collect payments, issue receipts and keep the financial records. This would enable proper accountability.
Establishing a barbershop or barbing salon can become a good income source for you. You can do this business full-time or part-time by employing experienced barbers to run the business for you. Even if you start small, aim to grow your barbershop into a standard one. This will give you an edge over your competitors, establish you in the industry and provide more income for you.
Do you have a barbershop? Have you tried starting one or considering the business? Let me know your experience and thoughts using the comment section below.