Time is money. As any corporate executive will tell you, speed and efficiency are key to profitability. The same holds true for nail technicians. But that doesn’t mean you have to usher clients in and out of the chair in an assembly-line process.
Time also represents opportunity. By trimming excess time from the fill, you can add it back in value- added service enhancements. You could use your time to introduce all your clients to the beauty of pink-and-whites. Or, add a paraffin dip right before the polish. Extend the massage a few extra minutes or incorporate an exfoliating step before the massage. There are any number of ways you can use the time saved on the basics to add value to the overall.
“I’d much rather have one client come for three services than three clients come for a fill,” says Tracey Revis, an OPI educator and owner of Tracey’s Place (Encino, Calif.).
By the same token, feel no shame in tightening up your appointments from, say, every hour to every 45 minutes. Top competitor Alisha Sale does a regular fill in 20 minutes and a backfill in 30. “My clients come in with their polish off and their cuticles pushed back because they appreciate the speed,” she says. “Lots of salons around me are very pampering and spend an hour on a fill, but not all clients want that or have time for it.”
We consulted top competitors and educators for their advice on trimming time from each step of the basic acrylic fill. Learn their timesaving tips for every step of the service, from getting organized to prepping the nails, making repairs, applying product, and finishing up.
Cutting Down the Backfill
“I drill out the smile line with a pencil’ backfill bit, then I thin out the free edge a bit I would never attempt the backfill without a drill.” — Janene Bushey
For hand-filing aficionados, try simply thinning down the entire nail plate, then building itAnzlovar back up as though you were doing a straight overlay “Apply all the white tips first, then go back and do the pink This keeps the pink from getting cloudy’—Amy Anzlovar.
“If it’s been at least four weeks since the last backfill I take down the acrylic around the cuticle with my electric file on a very low RPM Romano Then I shorten the length and cut in a new smile line. The only filing I do by hand is to level out the fill line and reshape the final nail” —Tina Romano
“I find it faster to just thin out the entire nail and sculpt it like I was doing an overlay’ —Tiffany Greco
“I use a barrel bit to thin out the tip all at once rather than first trenching out the smile line 1 start from the center and work first to the Rush right, then the left” — Rush
“The biggest thing is to know how to use your drill and to feel comfortable. You need to spend less time thinking about it I work right to left to cut out the smile line with a medium double-cut diamond bit, then I use a sanding band to thin out the tips.”—Sale
It’s unanimous: Every tech we interviewed emphasized the importance of being organized. Here they share the little things they’ve found that help keep them on track during each service and throughout the day. Experiment and find what works best for you. The key, they say, is consistency.
Proper Prep Is Everything
These techs agree that how well they prepped the nails at the last appointment decides how long this appointment will take. Prepping the nail should take the longest, but there are ways to cut corners without sacrificing quality.
A Few of Your Favorite Things
What tools could you not live without?
Janene Bushey: Pterygium stone and practice sheets
Danny Daulton: Nail dehydrator, #8 brush, a 100-gift file, a white buffer block, a UV top coat, and quick-dary polishes. “No ridge fillers, base coats or drill,” he insists.
Tracey Revis: Organizational tray, 180 –grit and 200-grit silver cushion files, a white buffer block, a medium-weight arbor sander but, 440-grit disc files (for natural nail prep), and the Pusher Plus
Amy Anzlovar: UV gel sealer coat, metal cuticle pusher, nail dehydrant.
Tina Romano: Oval golden kolinsky brushes (# 4 and #7), metal cuticle pusher, sanitizable files, very sharp nippers
Tiffany Greco. High-quality metal implements (including a metal cuticle pusher and a sharp set of nippers), nail cleanser/dehydrator, and a white buffer block.
Alisha Sale: Drill with a medium, titanium double-cut diamond bit and a #8 round brush
Streamline Your Sculpting
The general consensus is to use a smaller ball and to spend less time sculpting. With today’s self-levelling products, these techs say you should be able to set the ball down, let it settle, then stroke it into place with just a few swipes.
Timing Is Everything
The easiest way to cut time from your overall service is to know how much time you spend on each particular step and to focus on shortening each in turn. Danny Daulton timed each step of his 30-mmute fill for NAIL5, and says this is how each step should break out:
Prep: 5-7 minutes. Spend no more than 15-20 seconds per nail with a 100-grit file. Save time by doing all 10 nails in turn (Lifting adds time, but he advises making the investment now or you’ll pay with even more time at future fills) Next, clean each nail with a sanitizing/dehydrating scrub, then apply primer.
Product application 5 minutes. Spend no more than 30 seconds per nail laying a small ball of pink. Apply the product, sparingly, and don’t spend a lot of time playing with it.
Shape/shorten/buff: 5-8 minutes. Shorten and shape the free edges with a 100-grit file on all 10 nails. At the same time, lightly shape the cuticle area as needed with the 100-grit file (but practice your application technique in your spare time to eliminate this time-consuming and unnecessary step.) Then switch to the white buffing block to buff all 10 nails.
Polish: 7-10 minutes. A bit more attention on the buffing step will save time on the polishing step by eliminating the base coat. Don’t rush through the two coats of colour and top coat, though, because this is the finished look by which clients will judge your work.
It’s All in the Details
This section is short and sweet, just like nail techs say it should be during the service if you did everything else right.
Full Set Timesaver
Nail techs at Studio 10 Hair & Nail Design save up to 20 minutes on a full set simply by cutting out the tip wells. “We hold the tip straight and the slicer at an angle to cut out the smite line,” explains Salina Rush They quickly redefine the edge with a Cylifile.
“We use a deep C-curve tip for everyone, with a shallower cut for nail biters,” she says. “We place it at the edge of the nail; once you overlay it with acrylic it looks like a soft French smile line. It’s so natural-looking that some clients won’t let me polish over it.”
Rush says techs cut out tip wells during slow times. Just in case, they note tip sizes on all client cards so they can double-Check their stock in advance.