Starting Your Career

Know Your Compensation Options

Believe it or not, some techs graduate from nail school and immediately open up their own salon. Most, however, wait to get some experience first. If you’re not ready for salon ownership, you can get to work as either an employee or a booth renter. Read on to learn the differences between these types of techs.


Source: 2010-2011 NAILS Big Book

Average Weekly Income (for nail techs and owners of all types)

$150 or less: 20.9%

$151-$250: 12.4%

$251-$350: 13.9%

$351-$450: 21.1%

$451-$550: 10.9%

$551-$650: 9.1%

$651-$750: 6.8%

More than $750: 14%

Which Best Describes Your Compensation System?

I am the salon owner/manager 
I am a booth renter. I pay rent to the salon and I keep all of my service fees. 27.9%
I am a booth renter. I pay rent to the salon and I keep a percentage of my service fees. 1.6%
I am an employee and I recieve a salary. 1.6%
I am an employee and I receive a salary plus a percentage of my service fees. 2.0%
I am an employee and I receive just a percentage of my service fees. 11.6%
I am an employee and my compensation is based on the number of clients I serve. (I receive a higher commission if I bring in more clients.) 3.9%
Other 15.2%


Commission rates vary, though 55.7% is the average for services.

33.5% of nail techs receive a commission or other incentive for selling retail  products.

For more industry statistics, visit

Next page: How to estimate your true income

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