Is Your Nail Department Profitable?

I’m so excited that we had several comments from the last article. Keep the comments coming — we love hearing from you! Thank you Kim, Lydian, Natasha, Helene, and Gerry for being brave and posting your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to read the blog and leave a comment. It’s rewarding to know that many kinds of nails techs are following the blog. From your words and comments, I know I have readers that are new. Some have a lot of experience and some are just trying to make the mortgage. Like I said when I responded to Kim, "It doesn’t matter what services you offer, the business is the same."  Some of you specialize in artificial nails and others only focus on natural nails. We all offer many different services, but we all need to concentrate on our business skills.


In addition to owning and running a full-service salon and spa, working full time as a nail technician, blogging for NAILS Magazine, I also work for Summit Salon Consulting Group. I travel to salons and spas offering business and technical solutions to build strong, successful, money-generating nail departments. I consult onsite most Sundays and Mondays. I really enjoy meeting other nail techs and visiting salons and spas all over the U.S. and Canada.


Many salons/nail departments have a lot of the same issues. Most salon owners keep barking at their staff about the same things over and over, saying, "You need to sell some retail, perform more add-ons, get your clients to pre-book their next appointment, increase your client counts/repeats, and boost your referrals." Then, I come in and explain it all in nail tech terms the techs can relate to and understand. The owner laughs and says "I’ve been saying that for months and then you come in and somehow they get it!" That’s because I’m one of you! I work behind the nail station like you, I get where you’re coming from, and I understand your struggles. I have had to overcome many of the same issues you have struggled with.


One of the guidelines I live by, is this one from Summit Salon. At Summit Salon we recommend that 15% of the salon’s income should come from the nail department. Just to make the math easy, that means if a salon generates $100,000 a month, $15,000 of that money should be generated by the nail department in service and retail dollars. Most salons I travel to are around 5%-10%. Those numbers to many salon owners mean that the nail department is not profitable. It’s true, typically most nail departments are not profitable.


One of the biggest reasons a nail department is not profitable is due to products costs. This nail tech likes these products, another tech likes this line, and yet another is unwilling to try to work with another product line. The owner has so much money tied up in all of these products. We have so many different products and lines, it looks like we don’t know believe in anything, we believe in everything!


Another reason: Many owners say, "There are so many discount salons popping up everywhere, we can’t compete with their prices." There is room for all of us in this industry, you just have to figure out what you are going to do to make your salon bigger, better, and different.


Many salon owners just want a nail department so their clients have nail services available to them. For this reason and many others, tons of salons have thrown in the towel on their nail departments. They have allocated that space to more hair stations. Why? Because the hair department is more profitable.


Check back next week to find out what my nail department percentage is and why passing it on with an in-salon visit from me can make your profits skyrocket! Making your nail department profitable, one more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST! For more information about onsite training with your staff contact me at [email protected]

— Jill

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