Barbers cut and style men’s hair. They may also provide other grooming services, such as shaving, beard trimming or hair treatments.
You could be:
helping your clients to decide how they want their hair
cutting hair with scissors and comb, razors and clippers
trimming beards and moustaches, or eyebrows and the hair in ears and nostrils
shaving clients, perhaps giving an open razor shave (using hot or cold towels, lather and razor)
applying styling products
offering other services, such as facial massages, hair and scalp treatments or hair colouring
ordering supplies and materials, selling hairstyling products to customers
keeping up to date with new styles and techniques and hair products
making appointments, answering the phone, taking payments and helping to keep the salon clean and tidy.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £5.28 an hour for workers under 18, £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42 an hour.
The apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £5.28 an hour (1 April 2023).
With experience this can rise to around £12.50 an hour or more. Tips from customers, and possibly commission from products you may sell in the shop, can increase your income.
You normally work indoors in a barber’s shop.
You would work around 40 hours a week.
You spend most of your time standing and you may have to bend and stretch a lot.
You usually work one or two late evenings each week as well as a Saturday.
You might be able to train through a Modern Apprenticeship. For entry, a good general education is useful.
You might enter by way of a full time course. Several colleges offer the SVQ in Hairdressing and Barbering or Barbering at SCQF Level 4-6. Some courses do not have any formal entry requirements; others may ask for subjects at National 4.
Some colleges offer other qualifications in barbering including Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) and City and Guilds qualifications.