1. Treat every client like they were a guest in your home. Even if they aren’t your client, offer to get them a drink, ask about their children, remember the vacation they took the week before, etc. People appreciate being treated as a valued guest rather than a number. Now that I am an instructor, I try to make the students understand this as well. ~ DARLENE SAMMONS LMT, NMT, MNT, Program Director of Esthetics/ Nail Technology Miller-Motte Technical College, Chattanooga, Tenn.

2. No matter how “close” you feel your relationship is with your client...always keep in mind they are a client, not a friend, and you’re being paid to do a service. I learned the hard way early in my career. It’s disappointing when you think a client is a friend and something personal happens in your life (sickness, death, family emergencies) and suddenly this friend now acts like a difficult client. ~ ALICE WALLACE, High Road To Education Team Member Utopia Salon and Spa, Westfield, N.J.

3. You and you alone are responsible for your career and where it will lead you. It’s up to you to set your own standards and strive to learn all you can. Don’t worry what the nail tech sitting at the next station is doing or not doing. I was fortunate enough to have great mentors in the industry. I couldn’t hold myself back in order to fall in line with my coworkers. I made it my mission to learn all that I could on my own. ~ ALICE WALLACE, High Road To Education Team Member Utopia Salon and Spa, Westfield, N.J.

4. Always be the ultimate professional when you are at work. No matter what kind of day I’m having, how many people no-showed or cancelled, or how I am feeling physically, I am not going to let the next client know any of that. My client is paying for my time while she’s at my table, and she deserves all of my time and attention. I put myself in her shoes, and recall how it feels when I’m in the presence of a service provider who is not ‘present.’ I never want my clients to feel that way. ~ LAURA MERZETTI, Scratch My Back Nail Studio, Ajax, Ontario, Canada

5. Do what you say you do, even when no one is looking. When I say I clean my implements after every client, I do. When I say I clean my pedi tub after every client, I do. It’s all written down and given to the client. It’s important that your word is worth something, even if it is just for your own peace of mind. ~ BRENDA GIBSON, The Brenda Gibson Center for Nails, Perrysburg, Ohio

6. Never bad mouth somebody else’s work, even if it’s really bad! If someone comes to me with a bad set of nails, I keep my opinions to myself and do the best job I am able to do. In the end, they will see the difference without being told and you will come out looking more professional. ~ GINA SILVESTRO, Michael K Galvin & Gel Essentialz Salon, Cranston, R.I. 

7. Never cut corners. Even if for some reason I fall behind in my schedule, the quality of my work never changes. I know that eventually if I concentrate on getting the job done and put my mind to it I’ll make up the lost time and at the end of the day, everybody’s nails will get done. ~ GINA SILVESTRO, Michael K Galvin & Gel Essentialz Salon, Cranston, R.I. 

8. Try to be accommodating, but stick to your schedule. I used to feel bad when people needed to change their appointments so I would stay late or come in on a day off for them. Before I knew it I went from working three days to five long days because I could never say no. I stopped staying late and coming in early, and eventually my clients stopped trying to change their appointments. They now know that if they cancel an appointment with me, chances are they will not get in again until their next scheduled appointment.  ~ GINA SILVESTRO, Michael K Galvin & Gel Essentialz Salon, Cranston, R.I.

9. Follow “the golden rule.” Remember to treat everyone with respect and courtesy — the way you’d want to be treated in return. Give people the benefit of the doubt until you’ve personally spoken to them. Don’t always assume the worst of people. Sometimes clients really have left a message to cancel their appointment, but the cellular call hovers out in cyberspace, landing on your phone days after the client’s missed appointment — and days after you badmouthed her to everyone or left a nasty message on her phone! And sometimes it’s you that misplaced your salon tools, which mysteriously have a way of turning up after you accuse one of your coworkers of stealing them! ~ JILL WRIGHT, Jill Wright Spa for Nails, Bowling Green, Ky.

10. If you don’t have the science to back it up, don’t give it to your clients as fact! When I was fresh out of school, I thought information from other professionals had to be true since they had been doing nails longer. Turns out I mis-educated a lot of clients to start out with, even putting it in my brochures! Now anything I tell my clients to educate them has solid scientific backing, so I’m not helping perpetuate common industry misinformation! ~ HOLLY L. SCHIPPERS, The FingerNailFixer, Bussey, Iowa

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