Over the years I have gone back and forth on my feelings about working over someone else’s work. I’ve known several nail techs who flat out refuse to do a fill over another tech’s work. If a client comes in with a set of nails that was done by someone else, the tech will insist on removing the existing product and starting over.
I certainly appreciate the philosophy. It ensures that you know exactly what product was used. The product will be consistent, the workmanship will be consistent, and you’ll know exactly what condition the natural nail is in under the product. When that client comes back in two weeks, if those nails are lifting, you’ll have already eliminated a slew of variables that could have contributed to the problem. You also avoid the probability of the client holding you responsible for problems that actually stemmed from work that was done weeks before you even met that client.
On the other hand, some of us are hungry. We feed on the demographic that does not value the sort of professionalism behind the “take it all off and pay me twice as much to start over” school of thought. All that demographic focuses on is the part where they want a fill and they end up paying twice as much for a full set. They don’t appreciate the reasons behind it; they just feel like they got ripped off.
A lot of us choose to do the service the client asks for and hope for that client to notice the difference and get hooked.
That’s the side I’ve taken for 22 years. I keep telling myself that maybe someday I’ll be in a position to put my foot down and get picky, but I also know that one of the factors that keeps me busy is my willingness to do the service the client asks for. So I keep doing it that way.
Then, one day (today), a client comes in with a hot mess on her hands. A hot mess that she did to herself.
I have long been outspokenly easy-going on the do-it-yourselfers, but there’s a limit. I get it if you can’t afford to come see me every two weeks. Or if you just can’t manage to plan far enough in advance to get your appointments into my schedule before it books up. But GEESH LADY!
So she comes in with this homemade nail job that makes me cringe a tad. She’s so proud of herself. Going on and on about how she has “all the stuff” at home and how she can do her own nails. It’s been two months since I’ve seen her and the remnants of my work are still clinging desperately to the free edges of her nails. The rest looks like it was spooned on by a 3-year-old.
Meanwhile, as I stare at the nails and calculate the amount of time I’ll require to fix them versus the amount of time I have booked for the “simple rockstar backfill” she has chosen from the online booking menu, she is chatting up a storm with me about how they don’t really need a fill. For a moment, I think she’s going to ask me to file her botched gel top coat job off and simply re-top coat.
Her nails need attention. Professional attention. But it’s Friday. I’m tired. It’s been a crappy week and if all she wants me to do is redo her top coat, I’ll be happy to do just that and not even charge her.
In the end, we decide to go ahead and do the fill.
The biggest problem is that there’s all kinds of product flooded into her cuticles. I have to get that out of there. I have to remove all the stuff that’s lifting or about to lift — the stuff that flakes off at the mere touch of my e-file. I have to get into those nooks and crannies and make sure whatever the hell she put on there is off so I can do a decent prep job under my own product.
Meanwhile, she’s trying to tell me about her gel top coat. Explaining that the lamp she bought is the problem. It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that she’s totally oblivious to the inhibition layer left behind with many gels. So she just put her hand in the lamp and left it there for a really long time.
No. I didn’t fix it all back up the way it should be. I did my best to save her nails in the time and budget she’d allowed me. If she can’t tell the difference between her work and mine, I doubt she’d appreciate the cost of having me put them back together properly.
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