Blueprint of a First Year

Paying Our Dues

by NAILS Magazine | May 20, 2011

I have been trying to hire more help. Lucy is only available to work during the day while her kids are in school and part days on Saturdays. So that leaves me with no help in the evenings and sometimes on the weekends (our busiest days and times). I've had to turn business away (a LOT of it) over the last couple of months. We had such a great response to our newspaper advertisement but had to stop running the ad for a while until I get more help due to having to turn away so much business. I do have an interview scheduled with a new graduate so hopefully this will work out.

Something I've learned through this whole hiring process is that it seems as though everyone I've interviewed or spoken with regarding getting into the nail biz has the crazy idea that they are going to walk into a salon and have an immediate clientele and immediate great paychecks. Well, it does not work that way guys. We all have to pay our dues and there will be days, weeks, and even months when the paychecks are slim in comparison to the number of days and hours we spend in the salon. After talking with several new graduates it sounds like they have not been taught really how this industry works. They have been led to believe they will have a pretty full book upon entering the workplace. So they come in expecting to go home with these large paychecks right away. I had to pay my dues 22+ years ago when I graduated and have had to pay my dues again when I moved to another state and started over with my career with over 15 years experience at the time. It's just a fact of life in this industry. And you're not going to come out of school making a top commission percentage either. Premium commissions are generally reserved for the experienced techs that also bring along somewhat of a client base.

The other thing I've learned is that many new graduates are not even aware that building your clientele also takes some marketing on the tech's part. A salon owner can only do so much to market the business and advertise and bring new clients in. But this is a very personal business. We provide a  personal service, so it takes getting out there and meeting people...doing our own part as techs to help build our client base. A salon can provide the tools needed to build (business cards, promotional material, promotion opportunities, etc.) but the techs need to understand that there is a role they play in building their books as well.

These are areas that I believe our schools are lacking in training for the industry (at least in my area): business education, clientele building, time management, marketing, commissions to expect right out of school, etc. There would be fewer unhappy techs coming out of the schools if they at least had an idea of what to expect instead of believing they are going to have immediate large incomes and immediate full books.

— Melodie, Tickled Pink Salon & Nail Spa, Clayton, N.C.

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