Barbers provide services such as haircuts and shaving. A barber gets paid differently depending on where the barbershop is located and how much traffic the shop receives. Building a long-term clientele is essential in making the most money in the career of barbering.
Barbering dates back to the Bronze Age of 3,500 B.C., and is even mentioned in the Bible. Barbers initially cut hair, but also acted as dentists and even surgeons. Initially, women were not allowed to visit a barbershop, but today they not only receive services, but may also attend barber schools in order to become licensed barbers. Barbers typically do not work on Sundays and Mondays because of a tradition that dates back for centuries.
Barbering has developed over the years, servicing both men and women and implementing hair styling into the profession--not just cutting and trimming hair. Most barbers early on didn't work for a set salary, but used their services as a bartering tool to live and survive within a community.
Barbers are basically independent contractors--either they work for a barbershop and pay the owner a commission, or they work for themselves and own their own shop. Barbers make the most money in urban areas, where shops attract many clients on a daily basis. In some urban areas, such as Hollywood, California, barbers can make upward of £16 to £32 or more per hour with a steady clientele. Most barbers rely on both walk-in clients as well as an established clientele. Barbers can make more money by working special hours and accommodating certain clients, such as those with special needs, or by making home visits, which can bring in double the rate for a haircut.
Barbers make money by charging different rates for different services. As of 2008, most standard haircuts average between £5 and £13 a haircut. For a neck and face shave only, the services can vary between £3 and £6 plus a tip; for facials, around £1.90 to £3, and for beard trims around £3. It typically takes a barber 15 to 25 minutes to thoroughly cut a man's hair. For women or men with longer hair, or those who want more style options, it can take an additional 15 minutes. Tips vary per haircut, but typically are between £1.30 and £3 per cut. Barbers who work 40 hours per week with a steady clientele can make anywhere from £325 to £520 per week.
It usually takes about six months to a year to get fully established as a barber. Word-of-mouth advertising will bring in more clients and help the barber establish a good rapport in the industry. Some barbers begin with lower rates per hour until they get better and more established--starting out at around £5 an hour is average for the beginning barber by the time they perform one haircut and then pay their chair rental or commission to the owner.
Barbers are usually paid in cash by their clients, and the money later needs to be recorded in a book or ledger for tracking purposes as well as for taxes. Barbers who make good money can easily be recognised by how busy they are: if they typically always have a chair full of clients waiting for cuts, chances are they are making a successful living from barbering.