Why Most Barbers Give Up in Their First 3 Years Part: 1

Don't Be a Statistic. How to Beat the Barber Odds.

As the barber industry continues to boom, more and more people are deciding to invest their lives and careers into this revitalized industry. No longer a classic staple of the past, barber shops are back, and they’re more accessible than ever.

That demand for barbershops calls, obviously, for greater demand in barbers.

Barbers reap a lot of positive benefits— they’re given the chance to interact with people constantly, the demand is high (as is the job security), and there is plenty of opportunity to make money. Additionally, as a barber, you’re spending time both improving people’s lives while indulging in your creative side.

Unfortunately, the barber industry isn’t all roses. In fact, most barbers will give up on this industry, and their passion for barbering, in the first three years of career.

Like every industry, there are obviously pros and cons, but not every industry has such a high turnover rate. What is it about barbering that forces so many professionals out? What makes them give up on their dreams after spending time getting their licenses, taking classes, training, apprenticing, and more?

That’s exactly what we’re here to explore.

The fact of the matter is, barbering is a tough gig. Sure, you can make great money, work with wonderful people, and have a rewarding career that feels more like a creative indulgence, but that’s not always guaranteed, and just by the very nature of what barbers do, a career can be difficult.

Check out what we mean below.

It’s Draining & Exhausting

Those who’ve never spent the day running around a barbershop and working on consistent appointments probably won’t get this, but being a barber is an exhausting job. You’re rarely able to take a break, you’re constantly on your feet, your upper body is going to be exhausted from the consistent lifting/moving/stretching, and you’re likely sore in places you never thought you would be.

Translation? Barbering is an exhausting job, and even though it might not initially seem this way, its’ terrible hard on your body. Your muscles, your skeletal system, your joints— everything is going to suffer. It’s not just that you’re standing for hours every day, you’re also rotating, angling, stooping, and craning to make sure you’re getting everything done correctly.

To be a barber, you have to be in shape — we don’t mean you have to be able to deadlift 500 pounds or bench more than your bodyweight, but we do mean that because barbering is so exhausting, you have to make an effort to focus on your health and wellness.

Often, people don’t make it in this industry because they’re bodies simply can’t handle it.

It Might Take Some Time to Make Money

Ideally, you’d come out of your classes, fresh of your barber certification, and start making mad money right away. And for some, that might be possible (maybe they’ve already got a great gig set up, maybe they’ve been gifted with an intense natural talent, maybe the stars all aligned).

But that’s not always going to be the case, and honestly, like with any business (especially if you’re building up your own), it can take a while to start making the money you want to.

This will hit home even harder if you’re still trying to pay off loans or payments for classes, apprenticeships, certifications, exams, and more.

We’re not saying it’s impossible to hit the ground running as a barber, but we do know that it’s a common pattern in this industry for it to take a bit to pay off. Sometimes, people quit barbering because they simply don’t think they’re making enough money to justify it as a career choice.

The Passion Isn’t There

Sometimes, barbers find out all too late that the passion for being a barber simply isn’t there. And while some people can certainly get by doing this job without having a real flair or passion for it, the majority of people are going to want to love what they do.

Further, it’s tough to talk yourself into staying in a career in the barbering or hair stylist industry if you don’t absolutely love it — the cons sometimes really outweigh the pros if you’re not working in this industry because it’s your passion.

Often, when passion isn’t there, stress and exhaustion have a way of winning out, and a lot of people end up giving up on the barbering industry because they’re just not as into it as they thought they might be.  

Your License Doesn’t Give You a Ton of Wiggle Room

A lot of people end up getting out barbering and transitioning into something else because their license doesn’t cover everything they want, or rather, being a barber is too niche.

As a barber, you tend to specialize in men’s grooming (which, includes facial hair, styling, etc.) That being said, there’s plenty you can’t do. A lot of barbers will remedy this by dual-licensing, making them sort of a jack-of-all-trades, but others will simply give up on being barbers because they don’t feel the time, effort, and expense to get multiple licenses is worth it for them.

It Complicates Your Work + Life Balance

We know what you’re thinking — every job complicates your work-life balance.

To a degree, that’s true. With every career choice, you’re tipping the scale on your work-life balance, but in the barbering industry, you’re really giving your balance a run for its money.

For starters, work days are going to be long and tough. Like we said, being a barber is hard on your body, but it’s also really hard on your mind. You’ll find yourself at the end of a 9-hour shift wanting nothing more than to collapse on your couch, drink a beer, and fall asleep until your next shift. While there’s nothing wrong with that every now and again, you know that being exhausted (and a total couch potato) while you’re not working isn’t always the healthiest way for you to spend your downtime. Exhausting days can lead to you not wanting to socialize, exercise, or spend time doing the things you love.

Further, barbers have a tough time with work schedules. For the most part, you’re going to be working rough hours, days, and holidays because you need to be available for other working people. The day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July — you name it, you’re probably going to be working it (even if it’s just for part of the day). This kind of schedule can really screw up your work-life balance.

Still love this industry? 

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Stay tuned for part 2 of 3 to learn how to combat this statistic and how to set yourself up for success!

2 thoughts on “Why Most Barbers Give Up in Their First 3 Years Part: 1”

  1. This is by far the Best Story I’ve read in regards to being a Barber the time & energy you have to put into it. My name is Dante Samson and I’m a Licensed professional Barber for 26years and a Professional Instructor 9 years. Believe me I know, working as a Barber definitely had its ups and downs but you have to stay consistent, working on the quality of your cuts the quality of your tools of the trade and being there for your clients. Being an Instructor allow me to share my experience with my fellow students in being a Barber and helping them pass the State Board. Again outstanding Story Peace.

  2. I agree, work+life balance can be complicated if your spouse or significant other isn’t on the same page. This can be challenging. In my case I’m still learning to accommodate both work+life balance while being successful in my barbering career.

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