In my view, there are about three great hotspots for gossip in town, namely a drinking place, barbershop and hair salon. Last weekend I gathered some business gossip about the barbershop itself. No sooner had I sat on the chair for a haircut than a young man in his twenties entered the barbershop with an interesting story. “Have you heard? There is a colored guy operating a mobile barbershop in Lusaka using a van.” He stood behind me and leaned towards the mirror while rubbing his face. “I heard on Smooth Talk that he barbers three days in a week from Friday to Sunday at shopping malls. ”
All of us who were in the barbershop gave our two cents worth about the business and admired the colored guy. From the point of view of business consulting, I got more interested and decided to research more about this niche in the hair industry. Previously in my business talks, I have preached about owning a mobile car wash only. It never occurred to me that a barbershop could operate using the same business model.
What does a mobile barbershop entail? A mobile barbershop provides barbering services such as cutting, trimming, shaving and styling hair at a location convenient to the customer. Mobile barbers follow customers to their place instead of servicing them in a salon. They book their clients at various places including homes, lodges, hotels and boarding houses to name but a few. They carry with them tools for use and drive to various destinations.
Legally speaking, a mobile barber just like any other business is supposed to be registered with the local authority. Before you start going around barbering people please ensure that you are compliant with the law by registering your business and getting licensed.
Requirements for starting a mobile barbershop
People go to the barbershops because they want to look good. Cutting hair makes them look smart and improves their image. The barber therefore venturing into this business ought to have honed the skill. My research shows that the Lusaka Business and Technical College offers a certificate in Hairdressing & Cosmetology, a course that covers barbering too. They currently charge K2,580 per term and the course duration is one year. Entry requirements are a grade 9 or grade 12 school certificate. I believe there are more institutions out there offering the same, which can be explored as alternatives.
Skill without the right tools is like nimbus clouds without rain. To develop a super reputation in your niche there is a need to invest in top-notch equipment.
- Mobile barbershop as a business
In business it pays to be well organized. There are many people in townships who are conducting barbershop services. To stand out however, you need to run your hustle as serious business. This entails PACRA and ZRA registration, business license with the local authority (Council). Additionally, you will need to open a separate bank account and find a way of tracking income and expenses.
- Marketing your business
We are living in a busy world and therefore convenience has become a commodity. Those vendors who sell their merchandise to motorists on busy roads like Cairo – Lusaka always have a market due to convenience. Convenience is value addition and people are willing to pay for it.
Build your clientele by starting in your neighborhood or local church. Build advertising space on social media and if possible create a website. Produce flyers and let word of mouth do the job for you. Moreover due to COVID-19, some people are scared to go out and cut hair in salons. With proper personal protective equipment, these customers will feel much safer with you.
Start a mobile barbershop and be your own business!
Your Business Consultant @ Lighthouse Concepts.