Is A Barber License Required To Open A Barber Shop?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Opening a barbershop is a major undertaking. Everything from the facility’s expense to the possibility of revenue must be considered. One of the most significant considerations is whether you need a license.

Opening a barbershop is a terrific way to generate money in a down economy. There will always be a great demand for competent barber services, and if you have the necessary talents, word of your expertise will spread far and wide.

white, red, and blue barber spiraling bar

Before opening a salon, almost all states require a license and various additional certificates. Therefore we’ve included the most relevant ones below.

Barbering Certificate

A barbering license allows a hairdresser to earn money by cutting customers’ hair.

A barber must first finish a set of state-mandated courses to obtain this license. They must also pass the license test after completing the program. To legally work in your salon, all barbers must have this license.

Obtaining a Business License from the City or County

The business department of your city or county is in charge of giving you a business license.

Obtaining a company license is simpler than you would think, and often just filling out a one or two-page application.

You’ll need to know what kind of business you’re starting before you apply for a business license. If you are creating anything other than a sole proprietorship, and even if you are forming only that, you should consult with an accountant:

  1. Sole Proprietor: Use this model if you want to be your barbershop’s sole owner and operator; you will have no workers and will do everything yourself.
  2. LLC-Limited Liability Company: Use this type if you intend to be the sole owner and recruit workers. You may record your profits as personal income on your taxes while yet keeping some kind of security from things like litigation. If you want to start a franchise (purchasing a business under corporate governance, such as Supercuts or Fantastic Sams), you should also consider using this model.
  3. Corporation: Use this type if you want to build several barbershop locations, hire many workers, and attract investors.

While we’re on the subject of licensing, chances are you’ll be needed to obtain insurance (both liability and other sorts such as building, fire, flood, and so on) in addition to your business license.

Even though it is not a legal need, you should obtain liability insurance and consider insurance for your business.

You will require the following licenses and permissions at a minimum:

Licensing and Registration of Businesses

You must register your company with the state. You may also be required to register with the city or town where it will be located. You may be required to undergo a particular registration process with the board or agency that licenses personal appearance professionals in some places.

Employer Identification Number

If you want to hire employees or your company is legally structured as a partnership or corporation, you must get an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service. You can apply online.

Certificate of Resale

You must get a resale certificate if you intend to buy shampoo, conditioner, or styling goods for resale in your store. You can give a copy of your certificate to product wholesalers to avoid paying sales tax on your inventory.

Accounts for tax collection

If the goods and services you want to offer are taxable in your state or municipality, you must create a tax-collection account with the appropriate revenue agencies.


Building and health officials may be required to examine your place of business under state and municipal legislation.

Identifying the licenses and permits required to start a barbershop might be difficult. A local attorney who specializes in small-business concerns may be able to help you. Another alternative is to seek guidance from your region’s Small Business Association office.

Barbering License Holder

Before beginning barbering operations, the proprietor of a barbershop must register with their state’s Board of Cosmetology. This license ensures that the store complies with state regulations.

In most cases, the store owner must submit a fee and licensing application and pass a shop inspection. An employee of the Board of Cosmetology conducts the inspection. A license can be awarded once the shop has passed inspection.

All states require a barber license to conduct barber services such as hair cutting, trimming, styling, and washing, as well as shaving or trimming beards.

The prerequisites for obtaining a barber license vary by state but typically include:

  • A high school diploma or GED is required.
  • The person must be at least 16 years old.
  • a diploma or certificate from a state-approved barber school or program
  • In certain areas, you must additionally complete an apprenticeship with a licensed barber.
  • Passing state exam(s), which frequently involves both a written exam to assess knowledge and a practical exam to evaluate the applicant’s barbering abilities.

Like a barber license, a cosmetology license allows the bearer to perform additional services such as nails, skincare, and more.

Before an inspection, a barber shop should be equipped with the following items:

  • Sterilizing solution for sanitizers
  • Containers for trash
  • Separate sanitary cubicles
  • A trash can for used towels
  • Confined space for clean towels


Although this is not a license, several states nonetheless demand it for any business. The most popular insurance is a general commercial liability, which protects your company from liability claims resulting from unforeseen calamities such as a flood or a fire.

To determine which insurance is appropriate for your business, consult an insurance representative.

Patents and Trademarks

To prevent someone from stealing your invention, if you sell any trademarked items, you must file for a patenting license. A patent is quite simple and may save you thousands of dollars if someone attempts to replicate your goods.

However, keep in mind that patents do not live forever; if the patent expires, other firms will be permitted to utilize identical items to yours.

Complying with State Board Requirements

It might be difficult to meet the standards of your state’s barbering/cosmetology board. Each state has its own set of criteria. Check with your local board for the precise rules for your jurisdiction.

The board frequently collaborates with your state’s department of public health to conduct inspections to guarantee your compliance with state requirements. The following are some of the most common requirements:

  • Application for independent barber business owner completed
  • Proof that you own or lease a business address, Proof that you have a local or county business license, Proof that you are a licensed barber
  • The facility needs such as:
    • Running hot and cold water
    • Public restrooms
    • Water consumption
    • A minimum square footage requirement may apply to each barber chair (such as 35 ft2 per chair)
    • Trash and dirty item containers
    • Closed cabinets for storing barbering products and clean towels

Depending on your state’s requirements and the condition of your newly leased barbershop, meeting these requirements may necessitate renovations, architectural designs, a plumbing inspection, an electrician inspection, a use-and-occupancy license inspection, and a final health department inspection, not to mention a separate fire marshal inspection.

All this is not to discourage you but to urge you to research your local needs and price them, so you know your investment. Remember to keep these points in mind while you create your initial company strategy.

Not to mention the other crucial monthly costs you’ll have to pay in addition to rent: power, cable TV, air conditioning, heating, and utilities. You should also set aside some money to cover any penalties and other unanticipated fees.

A barbering license is still required if you wish to start a barbershop. Before you can open your store for business, almost every state in the United States requires a certain license and several other certificates.

A barbering license allows a barber to earn money by cutting customers’ hair. A barber must first finish a set of state-mandated courses to obtain this license.

They must also pass the license test after completing the program. All barbers must obtain this license to work legally in the salon.

Every company owner in the United States is required to register their operation with their local state. It is necessary to describe the business structure (for example, partnership or sole proprietorship) and get an employer identification number.

Remember that not all states need a barbershop to obtain a business license, so verify the rules in your region. Meanwhile, before beginning barbering operations, the proprietor of a barbershop must register with their state’s Board of Cosmetology.

It should be noted that the purpose of this license is to guarantee that the store satisfies state criteria. The store owner is normally required to submit a fee and licensing application and pass a shop inspection. An employee of the Board of Cosmetology conducts the inspection. A license can be awarded once the shop has passed inspection.

Is It Necessary to Attend Barber School?

You may wonder whether there is a method to avoid going to school when earning your barber license. While it is technically conceivable in certain states, it is not advised. You’ll have to bring your tools and master the necessary skills on your own.

There are lesson packages and YouTube videos available to assist, but even the greatest instructional films cannot compete with a curriculum at a barber school.

To earn a certificate of completion, you must also enroll in a barber school. The second option is to begin an apprenticeship, but this is a considerably lengthier and more involved procedure.

As a result, it’s far more practical to attend classes the traditional way rather than attempting to get expertise on your own.


Students who wish to work as barbers must complete a program that a nationally recognized accrediting body has accredited or the state department has approved that barbering.

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences is the most well-known national organization for accrediting barber programs (NACCAS). Students enrolled in NACCAS-approved barber programs are eligible for federal financial help.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Accrediting Council for Continued Education & Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education are other accrediting institutions recognized by the US Department of Education (COE).

In addition to these nationally recognized organizations, each state has its barber board that accepts certified programs.

Information about Barber Training and the Different Types of Barber Degrees

To become a barber, there are two basic educational pathways. You can start by enrolling in a barber education program and then taking the state license test.

You might also become a barber by getting a cosmetology degree. Many states enable cosmetology graduates to take the barber licensure test without completing a separate barber program.

On the other hand, Cosmetologists may need to complete a few more courses to sit for the state barber test.

If you want to be a barber, your best chance is to enroll in a good barber program. However, if you want to be a barber but leave your choices open, you may try earning a cosmetology degree and gaining your barber license.

Some states will enable you to appear for the test after finishing a barber apprenticeship rather than completing a professional school. Under the guidance of a state-approved and certified barber, an apprenticeship must be completed.

Some states, such as New Hampshire, demand a degree and an apprenticeship.


Opening a hair salon is not as simple as it appears. You will need to consider land, equipment, personnel, and other factors. Getting a barbering license is the first step in opening a shop.


Editorial Staff

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