Editor’s note: Sometimes we get questions from readers in need that aren’t exactly technical questions, but they’re not typical business questions, either. For those nail techs dealing with difficult issues involving self-esteem, office politics, work relationships, and the like, we aim to offer guidance and perspective.
For this month’s On the Couch, we turn to Shari Finger, owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, Ill. A former Nail Tech of the Year and salon of the Year winner, Finger is a frequent contributor to NAILS
Why do all the misbehaved children seem to end up at my salon? Although I try to discourage parents from bringing their kids, I don’t have an outright rule against It. I have a sign that all children must remain with the parent at all times but they usually get loose and tough everything and leave their snacks and toys all over the place. I have no backbone so parents walk all over me. I don’t want kids in my salon, but I don’t want to be the bad guy. Plus I know some of my clients have no alternative. What should I do?
Dear Spineless: Not all the misbehaved children are in your salon; the balance of them are in mine.
There is no gray area on this issue-either you welcome kids or you don’t. Once you make the decision not to welcome children, you’ll need to persuade your clients to see it your way.
Consider posting a simple sign asking clients to refrain from bringing children to your salon. Hand out a letter to each customer explaining that many of your clients are mothers who use this time to relax, and for many of them this is the only time they get away from their children. At the same time explain the letter and your reasons during their service; this will add a personal and sincere touch.
Once you’ve done this, the job still isn’t done. You will need to give this letter and an explanation to each new customer. And if by chance a new customer brings a Child on her first visit, be ready with videos and coloring books-you will need to make sure they don’t feel uncomfortable.
If, on the other hand, you decide to allow children, you have to keep control and set guidelines that your staff must follow. For example, never allow children behind the nail table and lock all drawers. Don’t allow food despite the fact that mothers always think they will keep the children busy by eating.
You may consider taking a survey of your customers to see where they stand on the issue. You can use the information you gather to defend you decision. Clients will also feel as if they were a part of the policy change and that you are listening to their needs and wants.