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Blueprint of a First Year

Why You Shouldn't Concern Yourself with Discount Salon Pricing

by NAILS Magazine | October 28, 2011

For some reason I’ve been up since four this morning....Too many things to do and I’m excited to get going on them I guess! As part of my morning routine, I checked in at the BeautyTech nail forum, and a newer nail tech had posted, asking how she’s going to convert clients from the three local discount salons. This has got to be one of the craziest things that nail techs today focus on, and I really wish that we would just stop! Not that we shouldn’t be aware of them, and make note (to our clients) of the differences to show the value that comes with a higher end service, but it drives me just a little crazy to see other nail professionals worry about the prices that these salons charge.

The reality is a single nail tech only needs so many clients. Really, do the math. I have several popular services that, based on the steps involved, will always take more than an hour. My average service time (based on current speed) is 1.2 hours, and that’s counting every service I’ve ever done in the salon. I want to only work 40 hours a week in the salon -- not counting the time at home on the computer doing research and watching tutorials, etc. Since I am a solo tech in a shop that requires more attention than a teething baby, I have calculated that I should only be actually performing services about 32 hours a week on average. That means that I can only reasonably perform 26-27 services per week! Somewhere short of 50% of my clients have more than one service on a regular basis. Of course, they vary in time between services -- 2-4 weeks for hands, 4-8 weeks for feet -- but the reality is I only need about 80 clients (45% of those getting double services) who become regulars, and I will have a full book.

Your numbers might be different than mine. Maybe you’re faster, or slower, or don’t have services that take as long. But your reality is still the same as mine -- you only need a finite number of loyal clients.

There are a few assumptions underlying those numbers. I am assuming I can cover my expenses and earn a living with only 27 services per week, which means I am assuming I can charge enough (and convince people to pay it) for those services to ensure that. One thing is for sure. If I am competing with a discount (and possibly non-standard) salon on price, I will not be successful.

I think I am off to a good start, but I know I’m a long way off from where I want to be. I believe my challenge is to create an environment where there is no exact competition for what I do. From the atmosphere in my studio to the small extra touches I provide and the unique value of the services I offer, my challenge is to create a total package that no one else can duplicate without a ton of effort. Then I can only hope that nearby techs will be too unmotivated to copy me.

— Candice, Panache Nail Studio, Stanwood, Wash.

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