When Clients Say No to Their Nails

It’s always been the case that now and then an artificial nail client will ask to have her nails removed. But these days, given the economy, it seems to be happening more often. So how should you handle it when a regular client asks you to remove her enhancements because she doesn’t have the money to maintain them? And how do you ensure she remains a customer of the salon?


I asked one of my favorite nail techs, Jill Wright, the owner of Jill Wright Spa for Nails in Bowling Green, Ky., to weigh in. Here’s what she had to say:


“The number one thing I do is empathize with her because this is a difficult, emotional situation that needs to be handled with care. In no way do I ever make her feel bad about her decision or shame her. I listen to her story and tell her it’s OK; we’ll do whatever she wants.


“The second thing I do is give her a cost analysis and break it down for her in a weekly format. If a client gets fills every two weeks for $33, it costs her $16.50 per week. If she stretches it to three weeks, it costs $11 per week; four weeks costs her $8.25 per week; five weeks costs her $6.60 per week; six weeks equals $5.50 per week (but that’s the max someone could successfully stretch it).


“I just did this last Friday for a client and she felt immensely better about her situation, as she routinely stretches it to five or six weeks with virtually no breakage. Putting it to clients this way helps them see in what other areas they could scale back instead of giving up their nails.


“Lastly, when they do finally transition to natural nails I make sure they take home a bottle of nail strengthener (the cost of which is built into the soak-off service with spa mani). We talk about their concerns and I’m upfront with them about what they can expect if they follow my advice and what they can expect if they do not!”


“By following the golden rule of how I’d want to be treated, this allows the client to return to me whenever her situation improves. Also it means that neither I nor the client will ever have to have an uncomfortable moment when we accidentally bump into each other at the grocery store!”


— Judy

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