Modern, well-furnished hair-cutting saloons found in big towns are the counterpart of Nhavis (barbers), wandering from house to house. Since long this occupation was followed by the Nhavi community among the Hindus.

The old Gazetteer included Nhavis under servants and enumerated the total population of Nhavis to be 7,858 in 1881.

The 1951 Census enumerated the number of barbers to be 1,594 (1,551 males, 43 females). Of these, 1,099 (1,061 males, 38 females), i.e., about 69 per cent were in rural areas. In 1961, the services were grouped under the heading ' barbers, hair-dressers and related workers ' and the persons engaged in this occupation were recorded at 2,564 (all males). Of these, only 523 or 20 per cent of the total were found in urban areas and the remaining 2,041 persons were in rural areas.

The tools of a village barber consists of a few articles like a faded-out mirror, a pair of cropping machines, a razor or two, a small piece of comb, a small piece of soap, a brush and a small aluminium pot (wati). But with the establishment of hair-cutting saloons, the barbers wandering from house to house are fast vanishing especially in big towns. A large number of customers are attracted to the new hair-cutting saloons. The sample survey of a few hair-cutting saloons revealed that the major investment of a unit was in equipment such as furniture, mirrors, decorative articles and radio-sets, if any. Fixed capital of a medium unit amounted to Rs. 2,500 and that of a small unit to Rs. 1,000.

In a big establishment, artisans are paid wages either on fixed or on piecemeal basis, the earning of an average artisan varying from Rs. 75 to Rs. 125 per month. The monthly income of the owner of a saloon varied from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 per month. The saloons were generally located in rented premises, the monthly rent of which ranged between Rs. 12 and Rs. 50 per month.