Not too long ago, I met a girl at the gym who had long, awesome braided brown hair. When I asked her where she got it done, she told me that she had done it herself, and that she also braided hair as a side hustle! But can you really make money braiding hair?
This is what I was interested in learning. So I decided to look into it.
Is There A Market For Hair Braiding?
Actually, there is a pretty big market for this. On one side of the coin, you have African hair braiding, which is a style of hair braiding that is especially helpful for managing extremely curly hair.
But there are also many other styles of braids too. There are corn-rows, box braids, feed-in braids, Fulani braids… and many, many more.
Most of these styles are the most popular with women of African American descent, as they are traditionally used by African men and women in exceptionally curly hair.
But braids are catching on. They have always been an ‘underground’ hair style, popular in some fads, and ebbing and flowing with the different tides of fashion as they come and go.
But there is also a certain percentage of people who LOVE braids. The only problem is that not many people now how to put them in correctly. Not only does it take practice to make the braids look good, but it also takes a bit of experience to put them in the right way.
If you don’t do them right, they can come out… and your time will have been wasted.
This actually leads us to a very interesting, yet lucrative, side-hustle opportunity.
If you know how to do braids, then you may be able to make some serious money with this side hustle!
Let’s take a look at it.
How Much Can You Earn Braiding Hair?
Braiding specialists earn anywhere from $150 to $200 and up for a braiding job, depending on the length of hair and exactly what style of braids are going to be put in.
But it can also take a while! According to my research, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete an entire braiding process.
You will also need some basic supplies as well, including beads if you plan to use them. These supplies generally consist of a straight-backed chair, some combs, and mirrors.
You don’t really need anything else, which makes braiding pretty affordable to get into with little capital.
In fact, that is one of the biggest upsides to it!
What Do You Need To Know?
Braiding hair is not necessarily something that you can just jump right into. It takes time, effort, and experience to become proficient at this skill. There are professional braiders out there who have dedicated their lives to getting good at braiding hair… and if you want to turn this into a side hustle, you are going to need some practice first.
Start by braiding your own hair. Then, braid hair for friends, for free. If you have never done it before, watch some good YouTube tutorials to get acquainted with how it works.
Practice is really the key here, because that is what will separate you from those who don’t actually know what they are doing.
If you want people to pay you to do this, you need to actually know what you are doing and take it very seriously. Otherwise, your reputation will suffer, and you won’t get the kinds of referrals you need to make this business really work.
So, practice and become proficient at putting in many styles of braids. Try to braid every day. Do it as often as you can, and never stop learning.
In time, you will slowly become a professional… and that is when you can actually expect to make excellent money with it!
Do You Need A License To Braid Hair?
This is actually a fairly complicated question. And in some places, the answer is definitely a YES!
In the United States, the laws about braiding hair differ from state to state. Some states require a lot of cosmetology training before they will allow you to become licensed as a braider… but in other states, you don’t need to be licensed at all.
You can become a hair braider in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia without getting licensed.
But in all of the other states, you need to get at least a basic license to practice hair-braiding legally as a business. In some states, you need to go through over 2,000 hours of cosmetology school to qualify for these licenses!
There is actually quite an outcry among many hair-braiders about this exact issue. Hair braiding is a very traditional practice that utilizes no chemicals, heat, or scissors to do correctly.
And yet, many braiders are required to go through extensive training that has nothing to do with braiding, in order to be allowed to operate a braiding business legally.
But at the moment, these are the laws. So you will certainly want to research the laws in your state and see what kinds of requirements there are. If you happen to live in one of the states where licensing is not required to braid, then you can actually start this side hustle right-away!
If you live in one of the other states, though, you may need to settle for practicing until you can get your license to start braiding hair professionally.
Is This A Difficult Side Hustle To Start?
The answer to this question really depends on how much you know about braiding hair. It also depends on how much of a passion you have for it.
If you already have a love or a passion for braiding, then you are much more likely to succeed with this side hustle.
Because when you love something, you are that much more likely to put time, effort, and practice into it. If you enjoy doing it, then taking the time out of your day to practice is a lot easier.
This helps you to stay more motivated. And this, in turns, increases your odds of success.
Aside from the ‘practice factor,’ braiding isn’t all that difficult of a business to break into. The biggest upside is that it requires almost no equipment or capital.
The biggest downside is that it can be a bit difficult to market.
But if you can get really good at it, and establish a good reputation for yourself, you can actually make some pretty awesome money braiding hair!
Once you start to gain a positive reputation in the community, you can generally start spreading the word about your business using word-of-mouth marketing. And in the braiding community, your reputation is everything!
Many braiders also take photos of their work and compile a portfolio, so that potential customers can look at their past work and skill levels. This can be even more effective if you build a website or use Instagram to market your business, as all of these ‘portfolio photos’ could go right online to help you market!
This is also a side-hustle that you can eventually turn into a full-fledged business for yourself if you gain enough traction. Some braiders go on to open their own shop, train their own apprentices, and really expand their business.
But then again, this all depends on your goals. It also depends on how much you love braiding, and on how much effort you are willing to put into it.
My Personal Feelings About Braiding Hair As A Side Hustle
I actually think that this can be a lucrative side hustle. But it will take work.
It will take work to get good at the craft itself, and it will take work to market it in your local community.
It is also very important that you check your state’s licensing laws about hair braiding before you start a business doing it. It would be a shame to get shut down for not having the proper licensing!
When you take into account how much you can earn per-hour braiding hair, it actually comes out looking like a very attractive money-making opportunity.
But due to the level of commitment it would take to learn how to do it correctly, I also feel that this side hustle would be best reserved for those who actually have a passion for hair and/or braiding.
If you don’t love it, you will probably get frustrated and quit due to the sheer, intense amount of practice it requires to become proficient at it.
Our Final Opinion About Braiding Hair As A Side Hustle
Should you practice braiding hair for money and see if you can build a side hustle out of it?
There are a lot of ways to make money online. Some are good, some not, but ALL of them are still just trading hours for dollars.
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