The Barbers’ Playbook: How to Choose the Best Barbershop

Instead of committing to the first shop that offers you a chair, these 4 steps will help you discover the best shop for you.
Matthew Mendoza
Matthew Mendoza, aka Barber Doza, is a licensed barber, educator, and consultant. He helps barbers get licensed and build their businesses.

Jumping from shop to shop is a bad look. Instead of committing to the first shop that offers you a chair, be patient and consider the pros and cons. Unlike the NBA draft, you have the power to choose what team to join. These 4 steps will help you discover the best shop for you.

Step 1: Identify All Your Options

Make a list of every barbershop in your city. An easy way to do this is to download theCut to find the highest-rated barbers and shops near you. Notice the location of each shop within the city. This will help you with step 2.

Action Step

On a piece of paper or a note on your phone, write down all the shops within a reasonable commuting distance.

Photo Credit: Brad Neathery

Step 2: Fill Out the Details

Detail work isn’t just for fades. In most cases, you’ll be able to uncover these details without stepping foot in the shop. As you answer these questions, certain shops will emerge as more elite opportunities. This makes it easier to imagine where you’ll make the most money, acquire more clients and provide the best overall client experience.

Action Step

Answer these 6 questions:

  • What is the cost of their services?
  • Do they have a website? 
  • Are they actively posting on social media? 
  • What is their Google Review rating?
  • Do they offer online booking?
  • Do they have paid parking or free parking?

Step 3: Continuing Education Opportunities

Finding mentors is crucial to success in this industry. As a new barber, you want to find a shop that will grow your skills. Some shops invest in your growth, while others just want your booth rent. You want to be part of a shop culture where barbers regularly shadow each other to pick up new techniques, not the toxic culture where barbers don’t support each other. Consider the continued education opportunities at each shop on your list.

Action Step

Scroll the barbershop’s Instagram feed to see if they have posted about workshops or expos.

Step 4: Understand the Agreement 

This is where you crunch the numbers. Too often, new barbers find themselves in a shop without knowing the details of how the money flows. There are booth rental shops, and there are commission shops. Some pay daily rent, others weekly, and others monthly. Some make you sign an agreement, others don’t. Some will pay you a commission for products sold, while others won’t. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you commit.

Action Step

Narrow down the list to your top 5 shops. Set up an interview with the owner to understand the terms of the agreement. Do not sign until you understand the details. 

You are a free agent. Take full advantage of this opportunity. Once you start working at a shop, it will be more difficult to explore your options without the town talking. 

Looking to grow your clientele? Download The Barbers’ Playbook: 10 essential strategies to evaluate and grow your barber business. Whether you are a new barber or an OG, this playbook will generate new ideas to elevate your business.

Matthew Mendoza aka barber doza is a licensed barber, educator and consultant. He helps barbers pass their state board exam through his online course, provides business strategies to emerging barbers through his podcast Beyond Barber School and writes about the latest trends in the industry through his weekly newsletter called theGuideline.