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Prepared for Repairs?

Gel lamps, pedicure thrones and e-files are vital to your business. So what do you do if they go on the blink? Dealing with a major equipment malfunction shouldn't force you to shutter up the shop. Be proactive with this handy guide.

Pedicure Thrones: Maintaining Your Investment. 

Probably the most expensive salon investment, pedicure thrones have a wide array of maladies that many never even consider. Pedicure thrones should be maintained like a car, with regular servicing and checkups. If you have a problem with a pedicure throne, contact the manufacturer of the throne to find out about its warranty and repair program. Most will have technicians that can be called out to your location, but the time frame will depend on the availability of the needed parts.

European Touch has an in-house staff of fully trained technical support representatives and a nationwide network of technicians that can be called on to repair pedicure thrones at locations throughout the country. The in-house technicians can answer installation and warranty questions, and are also able to converse fluently in Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, and English.

European Touch and Continuum Footspas have recently partnered with One Source Service, a company that specializes in installing, maintaining, and repairing salon equipment throughout Mexico, Canada, and the United States. European Touch has a “Preventative Maintenance Program” included with the purchases of new Murano and Rinato Spas. Under the program, One Source technicians will come out for multi-point inspections during the first year of use for the chairs.

“The service is similar to what a mechanic does during your car’s tune up,” says European Touch technical support coordinator, Gene Drozdov. “They check connections and areas requiring lubrication, and check any bolts that may have loosened over time. They also give the spa a deep cleaning and remove debris that might have accumulated since installation, and they give the upholstery a treatment too.”

Continuum Foot Spas has also made its parts readily available to One Source Service so repairs can be done in a timely fashion, no matter where the broken chair is located. Continuum’s president Joe Galati says it’s important to have such a service in place because “salon tubs take a lot of abuse today. They’re subjected to harsh chemicals, dead skin, aromatherapy oils, and anything else that gets put in the water. It’s important to service the chairs and maintain them so little problems don’t become major problems.”

Maintenance Tips - Robin Langlois, president of One Source Service, says 90% of the problems he sees in pedicure thrones are caused by neglect. “The first things you start to see are the motor on the chair starting to make noise, the drain pump on your drain starts to go down slow, or there is a discoloration of the bowl because they’re not cleaning it properly. These problems can become quite severe, and the next thing you know you have to replace an entire chair.”  He makes the following recommendations for preserving the life of your pedicure throne:

  • Regularly scheduled maintenance calls. Pedicure thrones should be serviced by a professional every six months. They should check all the vitals to spot any problems early and do a thorough cleaning.
  • Condition the leather. Take time to treat the upholstery to prolong the visible wear.
  • Don’t free-pour bleach into the basin. If you’re going to use bleach to disinfect, only use one tablespoon for every five gallons. Pouring lots of bleach will corrode the rubber gaskets and plastic in the drains, filters, and jets.
  • Pay attention to your warranty. Different companies have different warranties. Some are longer than others, and some only cover part replacement and not installation. Make sure you know exactly what your warranty entails so you can make well-informed decisions on maintenance and repair.

E-Files: Can’t Live Without Them

Electric files are the workhorse for nail salons. Techs who use e-files put them through rigorous daily schedules to keep their appointment books well-packed. Problems often arise in the handpieces, where they can become inbalanced and inaccurate. And the electronics within the base can become temperamental.

But luckily, most drill manufacturers have warranties in place, and many offer repair services that accommodate a wide range of e-files.

Sara Smith, customer service manager at Kupa, says techs can call Kupa’s hotline number and talk to a representative about any problem they are having with any e-file. If Kupa carries the parts for that make and model, the tech can send it in for repairs. And even if Kupa does not carry the parts for a particular brand of e-file, often the repairmen can purchase the parts and then install them.

Smith says a lot of techs don’t know that they need to send their drill in regularly for maintenance and cleaning. “For a heavy user, they should send it in to have it serviced every six to eight months. It’s good to do a thorough cleaning to clear out the acrylic and gel dust, and to check for any damage. And we don’t recommend trying to clean it yourself. For Kupa, any outside work done on the e-files voids the warranties.”

Aaron Kudrowitz, customer service manager at RAM Products, says they will repair other drills if they can get the parts for them, but in most cases they repair only RAM drills. “If the customer has a problem, they call us, and if the e-file is still under warranty, we’ll fix it for free,” says Kudrowitz. “And if it’s not, we’ll still give a free estimate if they send it in. If they choose not to do the repairs, we’ll send it back.”

Steve Wallace, president of Medicool, has a repair program as well, and offers warranty extension purchases so his e-files can be covered for up to two years. The warranty covers cleaning as well, and Wallace shares the belief that techs should regularly service their e-files for cleaning to prolong the e-file’s life. “We have a quick turnaround with cleanings,” he says. “We can usually have it done by the same day, and have it mailed back to the customer and on its way the following day.”

The majority of other e-file manufacturers have repair services in place. Some will be able to repair a small number of drills outside of the ones they manufacture, but they can always fix e-files that they manufactured themselves. OPI, Young Nails, and Atwood Industries all have warranties for their e-files that they honor, and will be able to assist you with your e-file even if it is after warranty. E-files in need of repair after warranties have expired will at least be assessed and attempted to be fixed by the manufacturer. And most times, the problem is easier than you might think.

Gel Lamps: Curing Broken Lights

Gel lamps are another salon piece prone to malfunction. All gel lamp manufacturers typically provide warranties and repair programs for customers that own that company’s lamp. But there are some companies that repair other lights as well.

OPI and Young Nails both have one-year limited warranties for their lamps. If a customer has a broken Axxium gel lamp still under warranty, they can contact OPI and send in the lamp to have it repaired, and it will be returned promptly.

Young Nails also accepts its own lights for repairs. Lights will be repaired for free if they are under the one year warranty, but they will also give over-the-phone estimates if the warranty has expired.

Lily Fierros, operations manager of Young Nails, says the majority of calls they get are merely bulbs that need replacing, in which case Young Nails will send out the bulbs to be installed by the technician.

Light Elegance has a repair program to fix any type of lamp. Jim McConnell, president of Light Elegance, says if techs have faulty gel lamps, they should give him a call and tell him the make and model of the lamp and what the problem is. “Frequently it’s an easy fix, and we’ll take lamps from different companies as well. If I have the parts and think I can fix it, I’ll do it,” says McConnell.

McConnell says one of the most common problems he sees stems from cord mishandling, when cords are positioned in ways that cause them to crimp. After repeated misuse, the fibers inside the cord can snap and the light will cease to work properly. He says the best way to avoid this is to always make sure you position the lamp so as not to stress the cord.

McConnell also recommends double checking to make sure the automatic shut-off switches are working correctly, because it can lead to quick burnout of bulbs and further breakdown within the lamp, like a short circuit.

Here’s a Partial List For Repairs:

E-FILES

  • Atwood Industries www.atwoodindustries.net (800) 451-6733
  • International Nail Manufacturers (INM) www.inmnails.com (800) 541-9838
  • Kupa Inc. www.kupainc.com (714) 739-2081
  • Medicool www.medicool.com (800) 433-2469
  • OPI www.opi.com (800) 341-9999
  • PNI Worldwide www.pniworldwide.com
  • RAM Products Inc. www.ramprodinc.com (732) 651-5500
  • Young Nails Inc. www.youngnails.com (800) 777-9170

PEDICURE THRONES

  • Amerispa LLC www.amerispa.com (888) 533-0738
  • Belvedere USA Corp. www.belvedere.com (800) 435-5491 in USA; (800) 463-0229 in Canada
  • Continuum Footspas www.continuumfootspas.com (262) 754-4900
  • European Touch www.europeantouch.com (800) 626-6912
  • Lexor Inc. www.lexorinc.com (866) 733-4772
  • One Source Service www.onesourceservice.net (866) 774-7078
  • Pediworld www.pediworld.com (877) 800-0444
  • Princess Pedicure Spas Inc. www.princesspedicurespas.com (877) 733-4772
  • Pro Spa www.prospa1.com (800) 630-4776
  • Salontech www.salontech.com (877) 725-6683
  • Sanijet www.sanijet.com (877) 934-0477

GEL LAMPS

  • CND www.cnd.com
  • IBD www.ibdbeauty.com
  • International Nail Manufacturers (INM) www.inmnails.com (800) 541-9838
  • LCN USA www.lcnusa.com (800) 86-NAILS; (800) 866-2457
  • Light Elegance www.lightelegance.com (800) 275-5596
  • OPI www.opi.com (800) 341-9999
  • Young Nails Inc. www.youngnails.com (800) 777-9170

You can find more information about repairs and maintenance on our editors blog. We have tips from manufacturers on how to preserve and maintain your e-files and other salon equipment, with some more good pictures of common problems techs encounter. Go to www.nailsmag.com/editor/, and feel free to leave comments about your own experiences. We’d love to hear from you.

Keywords:   electric files     equipment repairs     pedicure spas     replacing gel lamp bulbs     salon equipment     salon furnishings     UV lights  

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