Got a van? You’ve got a barber shop.

Well – not quite. It takes a bit of modification and planning to turn a van into a mobile barbershop.

Mobile barbers are becoming more common – much like mobile food trucks and tattoo studios. You may want to work a couple of days a week at a shop and service others further afield around your city or region; or take your barbershop with you as you explore this great land of ours. Mobile barbers can also ply their trade at corporate events or festivals.

As a qualified barber, how can you set up your van as a mobile barber shop?

Getting the right van

Not any van will do. Extended vans and trucks are ideal for mobile barbershops, such as this 4×4 Extended Mercedes Sprinter that was converted into a barbers’ by Creative Mobile Interiors. You will need to make sure the van you get can accommodate electric generators or converters, a barbers’ chair, power points for clippers and hairdryers, towel racks, sterilisers, etc. You could also look at vans that can be stripped apart and fitted with customised chassis, like this Renault Master converted into a barber shop replete with drinks fridge, air conditioning, and lounge chairs!

What about a trailer?

An alternative to getting a van setup is towing around a modified trailer with all your barbershop essentials in tow. If you haven’t got anything to begin with, this does mean shelling out for a towing vehicle, the trailer itself, and the conversion.

Financing your vehicle

The upside to working for yourself is that you have an ABN – and that entitles you to business car loans like chattel mortgages and hire purchases. While they are the same in function – you pay off a balance over time – the ownership of the van can either rest with you or the lender. This might be good depending on your cash accounting method. The advantages to you are that it doesn’t require a deposit – you can finance more than 100% of the purchase price which means you aren’t dipping into your pocket for conversions. You can also claim back the interest paid, depreciation, and fuel on your BAS statements.

Working out repayments

How much will all of it cost per month? That’s where you can work it out with a car loan repayments calculator. You will need the principal (loan amount), the term of the loan, and your interest rate. To make precise judgements on whether a loan is cheaper, you should look for comparison rates. These are interest rates with all the major and ongoing fees added into the final per annum rate.

Converting your van into a barbershop

Once you have your van, you’ll need to turn to a conversion specialist to help you create the interior needed. Some conversion or mobile fit-out companies like Van Demons, who did this awesome mobile barbershop for Dapper Domain, are able to complete the conversion – but you may have to source your own barber’s chair, accessories, and other equipment to make your custom job 100% yours.

The financial information presented here is general in nature. Consult a financial professional before taking out business credit.