Veteran nail tech Shari Finger – owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, III – field’s reader questions in the areas of salon management and workplace politics.
Recently employees at my salon approached me about getting services done in the salon. My policy is employees can get two free services per month in the salon but it must be on their days off or after salon hours. They complained that after salon hours is impossible because normally we close late and everyone is too tired. Before the salon opens is also an issue because some people can’t get there any earlier and getting there on their days off is also difficult.
I don’t want to have employees painting each other’s nails or waxing themselves during regular working hours. Any advice?
Irked about Perks
Dear Irked: There is nothing wrong with your policy and it should be considered a wonderful perk by your employees. The majority of salons have employees receiving services during off hours, often before or after work and even on days the salon is closed. If that is your policy, I can’t see any reason to change it.
When developing and enforcing your personal service policy, consider the following points: As a salon owner you MUST require each employee to wear your products. Nail techs or receptionists wearing drugstore polish won’t sell the polish off your shelf. Your employees’ hands are a major influence on customers’ choices. Clients sit for an average of an hour to an hour and a half looking at the hands of the nail technician servicing them. Those hands sell the customer on nail shape, length, color, product, and treatment, even more than the spoken word many times. In my salon manual you will find a page devoted to dress code in which I state that everyone must wear a set of salon enhancements, or have beautiful natural nails. All nails must be polished, with no chipping or broken nails. (And to everyone reading this right now saying, “I’m too busy,” or “I can’t wear polish because of the polish remover,” I say, “yes you can!” My staff and I have been doing it for 19 years.)
Another issue is why nail techs need other nail techs to do their nails. Everyone in my salon does her won. We fill and backfill ourselves and even wear our own art work. With my new nail techs or students, I feel it’s a learning experience to wear your own work. With my new nail techs or students, I feel it’s a learning experience to wear your own work. I want them to live with any imperfections, to watch a nail lift because the product touched the skin, or sit at stop light comparing the consistency of the C-curves. From time to time I do encourage a master tech to exchange services with a less experienced tech as learning experience.
The empty chair syndrome is also a business killer. If you have a new tech who is trying to build a clientele you don’t want her chair to be empty or her hands idle. You may want to fill that chair with coworkers who will proudly wear her work.
When developing salon policies you have to take consideration of the issues that are important to you as the salon owner. After your policies are in place, don’t feel bad about enforcing them. Remember you are the leader – the boss – and it is your job to lead. Your employees need to understand you are watching out for their best interest by making sure the salon runs professionally so they can make an income.