Money Matters

Would a No-Tips Policy Enhance the Image of Nail Professionals?

Instead of expecting clients to supplement the nail professional's earnings, nail salons would price their services at a level that allows workers to earn a living wage. Salons could even make it a salon policy and notify clients that tips are no longer accepted at the salon. 

Before I stick my neck out to have my head chopped off, let me first say that I don't think there's anything wrong with nail technicians accepting tips. Tipping is not only a well-observed international custom, but tips are an important and substantial part of of many nail technicain's income. 

But I'd like to throw out an idea: What if nail technicians decided - in their quest for greater professionalism- to not accept tips? Instead of expecting clients to supplement the nail professional's earnings, nail salons would price their services at a level that allows workers to earn a living wage. Salons could even make it a salon policy and notify clients that tips are no longer accepted at the salon. 

While I don't think there is anything inherently unprofessional about accepting tips, nail technicians have to wonder if accepting them contributes to the impression that a nail technician's work is not serious or professional. Nail technicians sometimes compare their work to that of a physician's in that nail care is not just a beauty treatment but a practice that keeps nails healthy. They also cite stringent sanitation requirements of nail salons as an example of the seriousness of their work. Nail technicians in nearly every state must have a specialized education and be licensed by the state (unlike other tipped service providers such as waiters).

Perhaps a more serious concern is that the expectation of tip income makes some nail technicians reluctant to increase their prices when their own business costs rise. Nail technicians shouldn't be expected to make up in tip income what they should rightfully be earning in service prices. 

I have heard many nail technicians complain about clients who do not tip and have heard them ask for advice on how to get clients to tip. If it is upsetting when a client doesn't tip, you have to ask yourself why. If you can't survive financially without tips, you definitely aren't pricing your services right. Also, when you expect a tip and don't get one, you end up being disappointed by the client and possibly resenting her, which is completely inappropriate considering she has paid you what you asked for your serivice. Whether or not that price is fair is something you have to determine. 

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