Yes, I have turned away clients before. I once had an elderly lady come in for a pedicure who had clearly not taken care of her nails in a long time. Her nails were so long they wrapped underneath her toes. They were super thick as well and the cuticle had grown up along with the nail and I knew it was just something I should not be working on. She didn’t have an apparent fungus or any warts so I was simply honest with her and told her that she needed to see a podiatrist to cut her toenails. I told her I was willing to remove the calluses from her heels, apply a sugar scrub to her legs, and massage them as well but that I could not do any nail care. She appreciated my honesty and left a very generous tip.
Anne VanSpronsen, Eve Salonspa, Portage, Michigan

I turned a new client away. She came in for a full set of acrylics, but her nails looked infected. I told her I wouldn’t do them; I stated that I was not willing to damage her nails any more than they already were and that she needed to see a doctor about the infection first. She asked if she could talk to another tech, so my coworker looked at her nails and stated the same thing I did. The client asked me when a good time would be to come back to get her nails done, so I gave her my card and told her to call me in two weeks and I’d look at her nails and see what we could do then.  She thanked me and told me I was the only nail tech who had ever refused her service. She became a regular client after that.
Andrea Handley, Creative LCN by Andi,, Anchorage, Alaska

I’ve turned clients away twice. The first was an elderly lady with dementia. Her son had brought her in for a pedicure and when I looked at her feet I saw that the nails had fungus and were curling under her toes and there was green mold on her legs and feet. I didn’t know exactly what she had so I refused services and suggested she see a doctor. The second time was because of the client’s attitude, and I simply told her I was booked. When a client comes in with attitude, demands certain prices, and tells me how to do my job, then I nicely decline with no openings available.  Sometimes you just can’t please everyone. I’ve also had a client whose personality just didn’t click with mine, and after a few visits, I suggested she might be happier with another tech in my salon. Since then she has been a happy, loyal client and we now get along.
Loni Preato, Dalonnie’s Hair and Nail Studio, Las Vegas

I turned away a client because she had an outstanding balance from a missed appointment, her appointments were always stressful, and she had been talking bad about me to my nail tech buddies.  The next time she emailed for an appointment I sent the following reply: “Thank you for contacting The Turtle Nail Salon regarding  an appointment.  Are you aware that you have an outstanding balance owed on your account? This balance is from a missed service that was cancelled with less than 24-hours’ notice and not for emergency reasons.”  I included in the reply the amount owed and explained it was a charge for 50% of the service booked.  I advised this client if she wanted to return for a service she would be required to pay the outstanding balance and prepay for the next service.  She never returned, which is OK with me. Having a client that stresses me out is not worth the money.
Melissa Steppler, The Turtle Nail Salon, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Next question:
Do you have any quirks, habits, or special rituals you find yourself doing before performing a service? [Answers will be printed in the February 2017 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by November 15 to Please include your name, salon, city and state, and a high-resolution headshot with your response.

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