Traditional Barbershop vs a Salon Suite

Traditional Barbershop Setting vs Renting a Salon Suite: 

Which is Right For Your Barbering Career?

Working as a barber is an insanely rewarding job—you get to make a difference in peoples’ lives, foster invaluable connections, and hone your skills each and every day in new, exciting ways. Thankfully, there are tons of employment opportunities for barbers in so many different capacities—that makes your job all the more interesting and beneficial.

But all of these options available to you can sometimes be a little overwhelming—we get that. That’s why we’re taking a zoomed-in look at two very common, very cool job possibilities for barbers—working in a traditional barbershop and renting your own salon suite to run your own small-scale barbering service.

Both of these options offer a ton of great benefits and plenty of rewards, but just like with anything, they each have their drawbacks, too.

Take a look at these two employment options, read through our list, and start thinking critically about what could work best for you—remember, there’s no wrong or right answer, it’s all about what’s going to be the most beneficial for you and your goals!

Working in a Barbershop: The Pros and Cons

The Pros

Someone Else Takes Care of the Business Stuff

Don’t want to deal with business taxes? Aren’t interested in hiring and firing? Don’t care about the logistics of the shop? Working in a barbershop sounds like the right fit for you. Hey, no judgment—some of us want to take on the business stuff and some of us don’t. There’s no shame in either of those games—you do you!

Clients Come to You

Working in a barbershop often means clients come to you—in other words, you don’t need to put a ton of marketing efforts into drawing in new clientele. Your shop does the legwork for you.

No Rent, No Overhead Costs

You may have to give up a smidge of your check to your employer, but at least you’re not paying pricy overhead costs like rent, electricity, water, internet, and healthcare, etc.

Mentorship is Readily Available

Working a barbershop surrounds you with employees and co-workers you can make invaluable connections with. Often, this can go beyond friendship and turn into mentorship! This is much harder to find elsewhere (though, not impossible).

The Cons

Owners Might Take a Cut of Commissions

Though there are a lot of pros to working in a barbershop, your boss taking a cut of your paycheck isn’t one of them. Not every shop is like this, but it is a distinct possibility you’ll face this issue head-on if you work in a barbershop.

An Employer to Answer To

You do not run the show when you work for someone else—that’s just the fact of the matter. For some, this is a pro, but for others who have lots of ideas they want to implement, it could be a con.

You could luck out and get a great boss who is ready to hear you out and try your ideas, but you also could end up with someone who’s more into doing things their own way—and since it’s their space, they have every right to that.

You Don’t Control All Aspects of Customer Experience 

What your boss says about customer experience is what’s going to go—you likely won’t have a huge part in developing and crafting your customers’ experiences.

You Have Less Control

From working environment and co-workers to clients and services offered, you might not have as much say in what goes down. It’s totally likely you’ll end up with a boss who values your opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to be based on what you want.

Renting a Salon Suite: The Pros and Cons

The Pros

You’re Running the Show

Renting a salon suite is basically a scaled-down version of you running your own business. No, you might not own the building, but it’s your business residing in that suite—that means, in most cases, you’re the boss, and you’re the one running the show. Hard to not count that as a pro, right?

Less Risky Than Opening Your Own Shop

In that same vein, you get to run your own business without taking on the risk of owning an entire shop. Whether this is a steppingstone for you before you own a barbershop or this is the exact way you want to run your business, you’ll definitely be taking on less risk with this route.

You Control Customer Experience

Since you’re not working for anyone, you get to decide on what the customer’s experience is like from start to finish. While that might sound like a ton of responsibility, it’s also an entirely awesome perk—you get to be the one who decides what your customers experience at your suite, which means you can control your results and success.

You Can Cater to a Niche Clientele

When you work at a barbershop, you’re kind of limited to the target market that the owner or manager of the shop sets into place. When you run your own business inside a salon suite, you can target any market you want, offer any services you want, and customize the type of shop you want to be.

The Cons

You’re Running the Show

Yeah, we listed this as a pro before and now as a con. Why? Because it all depends on what you value! If you absolutely love running the show and not answering to anyone, then you can bet renting a salon suite where you’re the boss is going to be awesome.

But if you prefer structure and a more hands-off approach to running the business because you’re more interested in the craft of barbering itself, then running the show might be a con for you. It all depends on how you feel about authority and accountability.

Walk-Ins Will Be Infrequent

If you’re not an established, stand-alone shop, it’s highly likely that your walk-in rate is going to be substantially lower than that of a barbershop.

While it’s totally possible you could work within a salon or a building that has great foot traffic where this won’t be an issue, it’s still a likelihood you’ll have to deal with. If your bread-and-butter is the walk-in crowd, you might want to consider this thoroughly.

Overhead Costs

While you might not have to pay for a ton of the extra costs that go hand-in-hand with owning an entire shop, if you’re renting a salon suite, you’re still paying for that space.

Maybe it’s just rent, maybe it’s rent and a laundry service, maybe it’s rent, a laundry service, and water—it all depends on the deal you find and the company you partner with. While this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, it is undeniably a con that’s associated with renting your own suite.

Do you love our approach to no-nonsense business advice that’s specifically crafted for barbers like you? We sure hope so. 

Working with and for barbers is our passion—that’s why we put so much time and effort into curating and creating the best-of-the-best content to help you boost your career and help you chase your dreams. 

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