Idea #



Barbershop Marketplace

August 6, 2018

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Backstory: This specific idea has been one of the most popular among my past clients as a side hustle or second project. I've always pushed my clients away from the idea because there were already options out there. Recently at a meetup, this idea came up again and there were people on both sides there. Guys wanting haircuts complained about the poor quality of the current apps and one barber complained about the lackluster features compared to other generic CRM tools. The recent surge in this idea again caused me to do some further research and I think this idea may have legs.

The Idea: A two sided marketplace for guys to find barbershops in their area, a community where men seeking a great can perform a search geographically and through skillset. Men can also pre-pay for their haircuts and leave tips making the experience as seamless and carefree as possible. The backend for the barber would have advanced CRM and clienteling features.

Deep Dive: Marketplaces are notoriously hard to start. You have to build up two different customer bases at the same time. In this case you would start with the barbershops, local in a city and then try to get those wanting their hair cuts. There already a few out there:

  • (Squire) - mainly west coast, only one shop in D.C.. On the Apple App Store, it only has 2.9 stars with a lot of 1 star reviews complaining about the app crashing and payments not working.
  • (The Spot) - focused in Miami. A newer app and better reviews but after reading the only negative reviews, the app is lacking features such being able to "complete your own profile with a picture."

I was going to list a few more but I noticed all of them are owned by Squir Technologies (Squire). They may be creating multiple different apps to hyperfocus in specific markets and scare away competition. Given their longest running app has very poor reviews, this market seems ripe for someone to come in and build a better mousetrap. Sample reviews from of Squire:

Getting into this space you would be behind Squire in the race and maybe they can fix all the issues to make themselves the leader but maybe not.

Validation: These apps listed above were featured in prominent tech spaces by Forbes and WeWork. WeWork has partnered with Squire to bring pop-up shops to select WeWorks.

Monetization: By providing a more user friendly and complete experience for the client, the barbershop owner would retain more customers. Keeping customers around will entice more barbershop owners to join the platform.

For the barbershop owner you could charge a monthly fee if you offer advanced CRM and clienteling features, such as:

  • Remembering clients birthdays and auto sending emails with discounts
  • Learning the clients haircut schedule and sending them reminder emails/texts
  • Managing more aspects of the business, accounting wise

Companies are more willing to pay for software when it adds value to a business. Wouldn't you have more faith in company charging you $149 to manage your shop than free? You would get a feeling they're going to last and you would more likely to be fully invested in their software offerings. You would be more likely to buy upgrades and other features. Free SaaS is burning money until they figure out a way to become profitable.