How Much Does a Barber Make a Year?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · April 15, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How Much Does a Barber Make a Year?

The average barber’s salary is $52,123 a year, according to the latest data from ZipRecruiter. But barber salaries can range from about $17,500 to more than $86,000.

How much money you can make as a barber may depend on several factors, including education, certifications, experience, and where you’re located. Here’s a look at what barbers do and how they get paid.

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What Are Barbers?

A barber’s main job is to cut and style hair, usually for male clients. Barbers also may trim or shave facial hair, fit hairpieces, and provide hair-coloring services.

To become a barber, you must obtain a license in the state where you plan to work. Licensing qualifications can vary, but you’ll likely have to meet a minimum age requirement, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have graduated from a state-licensed barber program. You may also have to pass a state licensing exam.

A barbershop often doubles as a social hub where men can go to swap stories and catch up on the latest news while they enjoy a little personal care. If mingling with clients all day isn’t your thing, you may want to check out jobs with less human interaction.

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How Much Do Starting Barbers Make?

An entry-level salary for a barber can range from $8.41 to $41.35 or more an hour, according to ZipRecruiter. Brand-new barbers tend to earn the highest hourly wages in New Jersey, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.

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What Salary Can a Barber Expect to Make?

Barber jobs in the U.S. can pay anywhere from $17,500 to $86,000 or more, according to ZipRecruiter data. How much you can expect to make may depend on several factors, including how many hours you work and how many clients you serve; if you live in a region with more competitive pay; and if you work on commission, rent a chair at a shop, or own your own barbershop.

Here’s a look at the average barber’s income by state.

State Average Salary for a Barber
Alabama $49,572
Alaska $53,033
Arizona $50,968
Arkansas $40,073
California $46,632
Colorado $50,860
Connecticut $47,890
Delaware $48,177
Florida $40,869
Georgia $46,181
Hawaii $51,460
Idaho $44,515
Illinois $46,962
Indiana $52,044
Iowa $47,980
Kansas $44,493
Kentucky $42,214
Louisiana $44,134
Maine $45,672
Maryland $46,693
Massachusetts $53,224
Michigan $42,137
Minnesota $50,551
Mississippi $47,266
Missouri $45,239
Montana $50,200
Nebraska $45,804
Nevada $50,144
New Hampshire $54,449
New Jersey $53,861
New Mexico $50,829
New York $60,841
North Carolina $43,866
North Dakota $52,473
Ohio $49,290
Oklahoma $44,358
Oregon $52,559
Pennsylvania $55,714
Rhode Island $48,681
South Carolina $44,791
South Dakota $49,593
Tennessee $47,059
Texas $44,130
Utah $46,849
Vermont $60,007
Virginia $47,628
Washington $53,744
West Virginia $43,029
Wisconsin $52,882
Wyoming $53,101

Source: ZipRecruiter

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Barber Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

A barber’s compensation is traditionally set up in one of two ways:

•   Renting a chair or booth: Barbers who rent a chair at a barbershop pay the owner or franchise a fee for the space where they work, but they keep the rest of what they earn. This can give barbers more control over their work schedule and the services they choose to offer.

•   Earning a commission: Barbers who work on commission are paid a percentage of what they earn (typically between 40% to 70%). Or they could receive a predetermined hourly wage or salary plus a bonus commission. New barbers may choose to work a few years on commission to gain knowledge of how the business works and build a clientele, and then switch to renting a chair.

In addition, barbers can earn tips, usually about 15% to 20% of the price of a haircut or other service provided. Online tools like a money tracker app can help you keep track of your spending and saving from month to month.

Pros and Cons of a Barber’s Salary

As with any job, there are pros and cons to working as a barber, including:


•   Attending a barber school can take less time (usually a year or less) and is far less expensive than getting a college degree. Tuition is about $14,000 on average (not including books and supplies), but costs can range from about $4,000 to $25,000, depending on the program. Financial assistance may be available through federal or private student loans, grants, and scholarships.

•   Job prospects for barbers are good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for barbers is projected to grow by 7% over the next decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

•   Popular barbers often can work the hours they choose while serving clients who appreciate their creativity — and reward them with their loyalty and generous tips. If you like the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, you may even decide to start your own business someday.


•   It can take time to build a reputation and a reliable list of repeat customers. In the meantime, you may experience some income instability, and tips may vary from one client to the next. This could make budgeting and spending difficult at times.

•   As a barber, you may not receive the same employee benefits that other careers generally offer, including health insurance, a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, paid sick leave, or vacation pay. You might have to work nights, weekends, or a fluctuating schedule that makes it hard to plan your social life. And you may have to pay for your own work tools.

•   You might also want to consider how long your career as a barber might last. Though it can be a fulfilling job, the work can be hard on your neck, back, hands, and feet.

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The Takeaway

Your income potential as a barber will likely depend on where you work and the loyalty of your clientele. If you’re a creative and skilled stylist who likes keeping up with the latest trends, and you have good social skills, being a barber could be a great career choice. It also can help to have some business skills, as you may face unique challenges when it comes to managing your income, tracking your cash flow, planning for retirement, and paying taxes.


Can you make $100,000 a year as a barber?

Once you establish yourself and build a solid clientele, you may be able to earn six figures as a barber. Your success, though, will likely depend on how in demand you are, how willing you are to travel or work long hours, the clientele you cater to, and if you own your own shop.

Do people like being a barber?

Though barbering can be hard work, barbers on gave their job an average of 4.2 stars out of 5. If cutting hair and providing other personal care services is your passion — and you’d enjoy building a bond with your clients — you could find a career as a barber is right for you.

Is it hard to get hired as a barber?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for barbers should be solid for at least the next decade. If you get the proper training, become a licensed barber, and can demonstrate that you have the skills and demeanor for the job, it shouldn’t be too hard to find work.

Photo credit: iStock/dusanpetkovic

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