How to Start a Barbershop (Kinyozi) Business in Kenya

Learn about how to start and run a successful barbershop business, all the requirements needed and the necessary preparations you need.

Carson O.
8 Min Read

Are you thinking of starting a Barbershop business in Kenya? In this post, you will learn about all the requirements needed to start and run a successful Kinyozi business, alongside a list of potential obstacles you will likely face in the progress of your venture.

Stick to the end as we dive in!

What is a barbershop/ “Kinyozi” business?

A Kinyozi is a Swahili word that means barber. The main job of a barber is to offer exceptional haircuts to clients. Of course, to be successful in this business, you must equip yourself with the necessary skills to attract clients and retain them.

According to Farlex’s Dictionary, a barber is one whose occupation it is to shave or trim the beard and to cut and dress the hair of his patrons.

What do you need to start a barbershop in Kenya?

To start a successful Kinyozi business, here are the essentials:

1. Capital

To start a stable Kinyozi business, you will need at least Ksh.200,000. Of course, this capital requirement is only applicable to entrepreneurs looking to start their shops in high-end business areas such as big towns and cities.

If, however, you are targeting a smaller and less developed area, your startup costs could go to as low as Ksh.50,000.

Many factors influence your capital requirements such as your location, your Kinyozi shop design, the type, quantity and quality of equipment you intend to purchase etc.

Keep reading as we delve into each specific cost analysis.

Here is a business startup checklist for entrepreneurs.

2. Strategic business location

A strategic business premise is crucial to your profit margins.

Firstly, you will need to choose an area that has a lot of people, so that you always have clients day in and day out. Setting up your barbershop in a densely populated area will save you a lot of pain.

Secondly, as you choose your location, make sure that the space is visible to all and sundry. No one will see your shop if it is up on the 6th floor of a plaza.

If, however, you are out of sorts and end up with a space that isn’t well visible, you will need to employ intense marketing for you to be in favourable competition with other barbers around.

3. Get a business permit, advertisement and buyer safety license

Business licenses vary from county to county. Generally, for a business permit, you will need at least Ksh.3,500. Further, since you will need to play music, you will need to purchase an MCSK license. In addition, an advertisement and buyer safety license will be needed.

In short, make sure you set aside between Ksh.10,000 to Ksh.20,000 to sort out license expenditures.

4. Interior design, furnishing and equipment

A properly designed barbershop will always attract more clients than a poorly designed Kinyozi business.

Here is a breakdown of what you will need to design your barbershop:

Equipment/RequirementDescriptionApproximate Price Range (in Kenyan Shillings)
Barber ChairHand sanitisers, disinfectants, and cleaning tools15,000 – 35,000
Barber StationWorkstation with mirror, storage, and countertop20,000 – 50,000
Hair ClippersElectric clippers for cutting and styling hair3,000 – 10,000
TrimmersPrecision trimmers for detailed work2,000 – 8,000
Straight RazorsClassic shaving razors for traditional shaves1,500 – 5,000
Hair DryerBlow dryer for drying and styling hair3,000 – 8,000
Hair ProductsShampoos, conditioners, gels, and styling productsVaries based on brands and quantities
TowelsSoft and absorbent towels for client use200 – 800 per piece
Barber CapeProtective cape to keep clients clean during cuts1,000 – 3,000
Sanitization EquipmentHand sanitizers, disinfectants, and cleaning toolsVaries based on brands and quantities
Waiting-area FurnitureChairs and tables for clients’ waiting area10,000 – 30,000
Display ShelvesShelves to showcase hair products and accessories5,000 – 15,000
FlooringDurable and easy-to-clean flooring materialVaries based on material and area
LightingAdequate lighting for proper visibilityVaries based on requirements and fixtures
Decorative ItemsWall art, mirrors, plants, and other decorationsVaries based on preferences and selections
Sound SystemMusic system for creating a pleasant atmosphere10,000 – 30,000
Barber ToolsCombs, brushes, scissors, and styling accessoriesVaries based on brands and quality
Barber TrainingProfessional training and certification coursesVaries based on training programs and duration

Please note that these prices are approximate and can vary significantly based on various factors. It’s recommended to research local suppliers, compare prices, and consider your specific needs and budget while making purchasing decisions.

5. Learn how to shave

As you start your business, you will need to learn how to shave. Start by learning simple haircuts such as “Jordan” or “Box cut” then proceed to more advanced styles.

Learning these skills is a hands-on process. You will have to get this from an experienced barber. Take at least a month to learn shaving by either volunteering or working for another barber. Once your skills become exceptional, you can then confidently start your own Kinyozi business.

If, however, you are not ready to learn how to shave, you will need to hire an employee. Their salaries will differ according to the terms of your agreement.

6. How to get relevant employees

Most business owners choose to poach employees from other established enterprises because these workers are usually very good at their jobs. While this is a good way of getting well-trained employees, you will need to offer them more than their current employer does for you to retain them.

Apart from poaching, you can choose to personally train shaving enthusiasts and hire them as workers in your shop.

As you can see, there are many ways to manoeuvre through an obstacle.  

Teach your employees good customer service

Treating your customers well is the key to success for any Kinyozi business. Clients will always come back to that Kinyozi who was willing to engage in a witty conversation. In fact, in a town full of barbers with the same level of expertise, clients will choose the one with the best customer service


In summary, starting a Kinyozi/barbershop in Kenya is relatively easier than other businesses in the country. All you need to do is follow the instructions laid out in this post.


For more details, read this.

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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