How Much Does a Barber Make

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Earn an Income, Have Fun and Care for Others

A barbershop is more than just a place where a guy can go for a haircut and shave. They're often social environments where clients gather to watch the game, have good conversation and catch up with friends. If you're a people person, have an eye for men's style and enjoy caring for others, a career as a barber could be an enriching pursuit that helps you make a living at the same time. Hours often include evenings and weekends, so having solid childcare is a bonus.

Job Description

Barbers spend their days cutting hair, trimming beards, giving shaves, offering facials and sometimes performing coloring and permanent wave services. Maintaining client records and setting appointments are sometimes part of the job, as well. Expect to spend many hours on your feet. Padded floor coverings and other accommodations can sometimes help if you have physical limitations. Sanitation and keeping tools clean is an important responsibility at the beginning and end of the day, as well as between clients. Barbers spend a lot of time listening and making conversation with clients, and ambiance is almost as important as the haircut when it comes to the barbershop experience.

Education Requirements

Barbers are required to obtain a license in order to practice in all 50 states. You'll pay a fee for the license, which varies by state, and you'll need to be prepared to keep up with any continuing education requirements your state may impose. To sit for the licensing exam, you must be at least 16 years old, hold a high school diploma or the equivalent and be a graduate of a licensed barber school. Most barber schools offer nine- to 12-month state-licensed programs that teach you how to wash, cut and process hair; how to trim beards and mustaches; how to give shaves; and how to offer basic skin care services.


Nearly three-quarters of all barbers are self-employed workers in independent barbershops, while the other quarter are employees in personal services environments. Self-employed barbers have more control over their schedules, which is wonderful for raising children, but they must also purchase their own benefits. Those who work as full-time employees of a salon or barbershop, instead of as independent contractors, are more likely to receive benefits from their employer.

Years of Experience

Barbers earn a median salary of $24,300, which means that half of all barbers earn more than this and half earn less. The top 10 percent earns more than $22.79 per hour, while the lowest 10 percent earns less than $8.76 per hour.

A barber's salary is relatively stable, slowly increasing with experience. Your starting salary will depend on your first job and who your clientele is, but expect to see a gradual increase over time. One projection looks like this:

  • 1-2 Years: $26,972-$30,325
  • 3-4 Years: $28,560-$31,897
  • 5-6 Years: $29,443-$32,822
  • 7 or More Years: $29,707-$33,099

Job Growth Trend

Demand for barbers is expected to increase by 9 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as in other industries. Increasing population is the primary driving factor in this increase. Choose your barber school wisely, and look for advanced training or internships with well-respected barbers to increase your income, introduce you to a higher-end clientele and enjoy the job security that comes from a steadily growing client base.