Michigan Threatening to Deregulate Barber Licensing

Michigan Barber Law House Bill 5517

Michigan is back in the headlines in the barbering community, but not for banning barber poles at salons in Michigan this time. No, this time around Michigan is jumping on the bandwagon of states proposing legislation that would deregulate licensing for barbers and cosmetologists. Recently Governor Rick Snyder made the push for deregulation of the Michigan barber industry through Michigan House Bill 5517, causing significant backlash from salon licensing boards in the state of Michigan. The bill would deregulate the salon industry and allow barbers to operate without a license.

By deregulating the barber industry, this bill may have severe unintended consequences. First, the standards for the barber industry will decline in a significant manner. The legislation will redefine the licensing requirements for the barber industry.  The reason that requirements are in place for the barber industry in Michigan is to ensure the safety of clients. Currently, a barber must pass a 2,000 hour course in order to obtain a license to practice barbering in Michigan. In addition, a barber must also obtain a Michigan state barber’s license to practice barbering by passing a rigorous written and practicum exam. While these requirements may seem strict, they ensure that only skilled barbers remain in the profession and abide by the utmost standards.

Family barbershops and local barbershops will likely suffer the most if this legislation is passed. Anyone in the world will be able to come to Michigan and “set up shop” as a practicing barber. These new barbers from out-of-state may charge lower rates and attract business away from family barbershops and local barbershops. People who have been denied licenses in other states or countries will be able to practice barbering in Michigan. In addition, people who have a criminal background may also be able to set up a barbering shop in Michigan without requiring prior approval from the Michigan barbering board.

Another unintended side effect of passing this legislation may be that fewer high school students complete their educational requirements. Fewer high school students will work to obtain a diploma, because they will be able to start their own shop without any qualifications. The spread of serious illnesses could also result from the deregulation of the barbering industry. Trained barbers go through rigorous safety and sanitation training, and they know how to properly sanitize equipment and keep their shops clean and safe for employees and customers. They are also required to maintain a clean atmosphere in their shops through the regulation that is currently in place, which includes compliance visits from the regulatory boards. If deregulation were to occur, some barbers may become careless in the upkeep of their shops or the sanitization of their equipment without fear of repurcussions.

The Michigan H.R. Bill 5517 poses some serious issues for the barbering industry in Michigan. If you believe like we do that deregulating the licensing laws of the barbering industry is a huge mistake, you should contact a state representative to have this bill shot down.