South Carolina Passes Mobile Barbershop Legislation

Quality of Life
May 20, 2021

Lawson Mansell

Policy Content Manager

“My RV is outfitted; we can turn it into a barbershop tomorrow.” – Geoff Richardson, owner of Lava Salon in North Charleston

Last week, the South Carolina Senate passed a bill to authorize the existence of mobile barbershops. The bill was ratified by both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor on May 17th. For the first time, licensed barbers will be able to apply for a license to operate out of a mobile unit, bringing their services to wherever they are needed.

Rep. Pat Henegan (D-Marlboro) was the lead sponsor on this bipartisan initiative and told Palmetto Promise that constituents of hers have been asking for something like this for literally years. Barbers have informed her that the bill will make it much easier for them to serve their clients, particularly in rural areas.

“The nice thing about it is now people who can’t go out can pick up the phone and say, “Can you come by to cut my hair?” It just makes it easier,” Rep. Henegan said, “I am just so excited for all those who have worked diligently over the years to make this [law] happen.”

One of the early advocates of this initiative, in addition to Rep. Henegan, is salon/barbershop owner Geoff Richardson who told us back in February that he had mobile units that were waiting to be put to use. We checked back with him this week. “My RV is outfitted; we can turn it into a barbershop tomorrow,” Richardson told us, “Just knowing that it is an option is huge.”

Richardson envisions potentially hiring new barbers and expanding his operation, allowing him to set up in different parts of the city or even go to client’s homes for haircuts.

He also noted that this law makes it easier for newcomers in the industry. “It’s good to see South Carolina finally stepping and providing this opportunity to entrepreneurs,” Richardson said, “It’s a great and inexpensive way to start a business.”

Both Richardson and Rep. Henegan noted that mobile innovations are occurring across the spectrum, with food trucks and even mobile healthcare options emerging. It’s important for South Carolina to clear the way for these innovations, instead of maintaining archaic barriers to them.

COVID has exposed the need for regulatory flexibility in more than just barbering. Reforms are being debated for nearly every industry, from healthcare all the way to the food and beverage industry.

In our Palmetto Playbook, we outlined specific problem regulations and the recommended steps to address them, mobile barbershops being just one of several regulatory barriers. As COVID continues to take its toll on the job market, we’re excited to see South Carolina open up new avenues for jobs and small businesses in this industry.

Featured Image: Photo by Cheiko Hara, The Porterville Recorder