Barbers: Salary Overview
Barbers cut, trim, style, and shampoo hair, mostly for male clients.
Depending on their employer and expertise they may also perform facials, facial shaving, and fit hairpieces.
In some states, barbers are also licensed to bleach and color hair and offer permanent-wave services.
As a barber, you will also be responsible for receiving payments from clients and cleaning and disinfecting tools and work areas.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for barbers was $14.50 in May 2019- meaning that half of the workers earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the barber’s education and level of experience, the employer, the industry, and the region of employment.
The highest 10 percent earned more than $27.23 an hour while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.76.
We should also mention the fact that barbers who provide high-quality services and customer service may receive generous tips thus supplementing their annual income.
Barber Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 82,300 barbers employed in the United States in 2019, most of them being self-employed.
The top-paying industry was Technical and Trade Schools, a field that offered an annual mean wage of $40,920 but offers few job openings.
Barbers who worked for the Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals, a field that hires a small percent of all barbers, earned, on average, $36,030 a year.
The Personal Care Services field offered an average annual wage of $35,080, meaning an hourly rate of $16.86.
Salaries and hourly rates may also be influenced by the location and the type of salon or barbershop.
For example, those who work in a high-end salon typically have a higher hourly rate than barbers who work in regular barbershops.
The level of experience is another factor that determines how much a barber earns an hour.
As an entry-level barber, you may earn an hourly rate somewhere in the range of $10 but once you earn a few years of experience your rate will increase considerably.
Barbers sometimes also receive tips from customers and those who provide good quality work and customer service can earn generous tips.
Barber Salary by Compensation Structure
Most entry-level barbers work as employees in a salon where they earn either an hourly salary and tips or a commission-based income.
Those who work on a commission basis typically earn 60 percent of the services provided and pay 40 percent to the salon or barbershop.
Sometimes they also earn commission on the products they sell.
After earning a few years of experience working in a salon many barbers become independent contractors and rent space in a barbershop.
Independent contractors pay a booth rental monthly or weekly fee to the barbershop and keep all earnings to themselves.
Barbers who have many clients can earn more by becoming independent contractors than by working as employees in a salon.
How much a barber makes a year depends on his/her technical skills and interpersonal abilities.
Job prospects for barbers are expected to be good in the future.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for barbers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
However exact job prospects for barbers depend on the local economy and their level of expertise.
If you’re looking for a job at a luxury salon or in a field that offers higher salaries you should expect strong competition and having a diploma from a reputable trade school or technical college should give you an advantage over your competitors on the job market.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Barbers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.