Q&A

Reader to Reader: Do you give away free services to your family?

Q.

Do you give away free services to your family? When does it begin or stop (moms, sisters, mother-in-laws, etc.)?

A.

A school instructor gave us this advice, “Make sure you charge your family and friends for your services. If you don’t start now it will never happen.” So since the first day I earned my license, I’ve charged my family and friends. I didn’t want them asking me over and over again for a service as a favor to them. It would take away paying customers that we all rely on to pay our bills; plus, this way, we get our family and friends to support our businesses. - JULIE GUTH, El Cajon, Calif.

I give free services to my mom, sister, and husband’s mom and stepmom as a Christmas present each year. When I was in school, I’d practice on my son’s girlfriend and her mom (everything from acrylics to waxing) and even used her mom as my model for the state board, but since getting my license I’ve charged them. Granted, I don’t mind doing an add-on service (like a wax) for free if the person pays for a pedicure or other regularly priced service, but I don’t want to be used for my services. My products, license, and time all cost me money, so why give it all away for free? - ANNA SCHULTZEL, Salon Evolution, Phillipsburg, N.J.

I don’t give away any free services to my family. They all understand that this is my business and how I support myself, and they want to help me do just that! - STEPHANIE SHUTTLEWORTH, Salon Nouveau & Boutique, Clovis, Calif.

 I don’t give free services, not to my aunt, uncle, cousin, mother, friends, etc. If I gave free service too many times I could go out of business. I always say, “Nobody is willing to pay my bills if I am broke.” Sometimes I give my friends and family a discount, but they at least have to pay the material costs. - VERONIKA BOND-WALLACE, Ronis Nail Dreams, Ipsheim, Germany

 I’m a new nail tech at an up-and-coming salon. I like to give free services to immediate family and close friends. I sometimes give free services to people who work in the community. I know that word of mouth is the best advertising that I can get. - MELISSA ST. CLAIR, Serenity Nail Salon, Maumee, Ohio

I have to pay for the products, and I am using my valuable time, so why would I give away my services? My husband gets free manicures and pedicures, but it’s usually done at home. My mother gets a 15% discount on her nail services. I also give a mani/pedi or a full set as a gift when a good friend or family member gets married or has just had a baby. But, that’s as far as I go. - DANA GONZALEZ-KURTZ, Artistry of the Nail at Salon Shibumi, Portland, Ore.

I do my husband, daughter, and son for free. I’ve done one of my daughter’s friends for free, but I haven’t had any of my local extended family ask for services. I’m not sure if I would do extended family for free, but I would probably give them a discount. I don’t think I’d give discounts to friends; I don’t expect discounts from them, so I wouldn’t expect them to want a discount from me. - SHELLY HAWTHORNE, Pampered Nails, Round Rock, Texas

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