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Becoming a Barber in 10 steps

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Let me start by saying, you can’t become a barber, you either are one or you’re not. Working in a barber shop is all about passion and craftsmanship and this is something very personal. Due to the boom that has emerged over the past two years, the art of barbering has become more of go to career and even tho it doesn't get as much attention it deserves.  Some barbers groom celebrities every day, and have become quite the celebrity on their own. Before you ditch your day job or walk out of school set on the idea of becoming a barber. Not every barber has the life of a rock star. To become successful, you have to work really really hard. Just getting trained at the right college, it can take up a couple of years to get the basics!.

1. Do your research

To decide if this is the right field for you, take the time to visit several barbershops that fit the image of one you want to work in. Be sure to make at least one visit during a busy time, which tends to be after school during the week, after 5pm on Friday, and late morning to mid-afternoon on Saturday. Keep your phone or have a notepad handy and use it to jot down notes on duties performed by the barber and the apprentice, the overall condition of the barbershop, and any other responsibilities/ details you may notice. Also, take the time to speak with at least one barber. However, don’t expect him to do this while he is busy. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment for your own shave or haircut. Use this time to ask about his experience, any problems he has faced, his professional thoughts, and anything else you think is important.

2. Think about the clientele of you want surround yourself with

It’s important to understand that you may not be able to attract your ideal clientele until after you’ve worked hard to build a name for yourself. I started in a hairdressers and the clients liked to be more pampered. Regardless of where you are working, every customer deserves the highest level of service. This will also help establish your reputation.

3. Can you hack it?

Barbers spent most of their time on their feet upto 10 hours a day. Is this something you are able to do? Will you be able to maintain your skill and precision when repeating mechanical tasks, such as using clippers and scissors and sweeping? To succeed as a barber, you’ll have to be able to manage the physical aspects of the job.

4. Are you a social butterfly?

Yes, barbers need the skills and knowledge to sterilize tools, shave and cut clients, and even evaluate certain skin conditions. Of course, this is all taught in college. What is not taught in college is personality, though it is a key aspect of the job. After all, barbers are expected to be friendly and personable and a psychiatrist, while also possessing great skills. If you aren’t certain about your social skills, you may want to rethink your decision to become a barber.

5. Get your high school qualification and NVQ.

Most colleges require that you have a GCSE's in English and Maths in order to enroll in a barber course. Even if the county you reside in doesn’t have this requirement, many colleges require this for admission. If you are still in high school, you may be able to start preparing for work in the field by going to find a Saturday job.

6. Consider the cost.

While there are free courses at colleges for 16-18 year olds, for older people or private providers these can be quite expensive. For example, some 2 year course may cost as much as £3,000 at your local college, while a 12-month, top tier course may cost upwards of £8,000 with a independent provider. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of owning your own barber shop if this is one of your future career goals.

7. Ask an experienced barber if you can help them out

You may have to do this as your course or you may be able to find a barber who will pay you on a apprenticeship scheme . Explain what you want to get out of the position and commit to helping with anything that may need to be done around the barbershop, such as sweeping up hair. While completing your tasks, pay attention to his daily routines.  

8. Graduate from a barbering course

Take the time to find a reputable course that gives you the opportunity to learn about everything related to working as a barber.

you can expect to take classes covering:  

Health and Safety

How to shampoo,

condition and treat the hair and scalp

How to cut hair using basic barbering techniques

How to cut facial hair to shape using basic techniques

How to dry and finish men’s hair

How to create basic patterns in hair

How to advise and consult with clients

9. Learn about legal considerations

Your course may cover some aspects of legal considerations, but in case they don’t, you need to learn what to do to legally protect yourself and your clients from any potential issues. Unfortunately, though rare, accidents do occur, which is why insurance is so important. Look into the cost of the liability insurance you will need to work as a self employed barber.

10. BE READY !!

Regardless of what town, city or country you plan to work in, you will be required to take an trade test to prove you are ready to work as a barber and fit in with the dynamics of the shop.


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