What do you charge a client with super long nails?


What do you charge a client with super long nails? I have a client who gets acrylics with gel-polish on top. Her nails are triple the length of the average client. I feel like I’m using almost a full bottle of gel-polish and at least double of all the other product. And she never tips. How would you charge? And if I charge her more, how do I tell her?


First, your price structure should reflect a higher price for any gel-polish compared to traditional air-dry polish. The increase in price is not just because gel-polish costs more than traditional polish. When polish is cured using UV lights, it adds time to your service, making the gel-polish appointments longer than regular polish. However, when using LEDs, this is less of an issue because of the shorter curing time. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, when the trend was full-length tips, some discount salons started charging for enhancements by length. Today the average customer wears her nails much shorter, with an occasional customer wearing extremely long nails. Sometimes you have to chalk up small losses as a cost for your business. If your forte is long nails, your price structure should be based on that fact, with the short nail customer being rare.

Charging by nail length is really hard to implement. Do you measure them? Put up a sign with different lengths and prices? What about people with really small nail beds, do they get a discount? My advice is to not let this bother you. What I would do is make that customer a deal. I’d convince her to let me put some art on them, give her a handful of business cards, and let her nails be my walking, talking billboard.

With regard to the lack of a tip: I’ve been doing nails for 29 years, and many of my very best customers have never tipped. You don’t become successful because someone left you a good tip. You become successful because they come and get their nails done every other week for years, tell everyone they know how about you, and fill up your appointment book.

— Shari Finger, Fingers Nail Studios (www.fingersnailstudios.com), W. Dundee, Ill.

Editor’s note: Check out Confessions of a Nail Tech on Facebook for more great nail tech questions like this one.

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