Sure, clients are a nail tech’s life source, and many times, a good friend as well. But no matter how much you love them, they can also get on your nerves—especially if they continuously   show up late for appointments. From talking incessantly on cell phones to clients who can’t seem to relax, here are some   techs’ client pet peeves.

It’s annoying when a client returns two weeks after receiving my best efforts to repair a previous self- inflicted disaster, only to find that the client has once again trashed my beautiful creation. Visualize a mess of glue on top of glue, mixed with picked, lopsided, deformed nails that can pass for animal claws. I usually explain to her that it is not healthy to treat her nails like that, then raise my magic wand once again and presto, gorgeous nails. Is this the end of it? No, I do it all over again the next time. I don’t know who I’m more peeved with: the self-mutilating client, or me for getting sucked into this mess.--Tina Romano, Signature Salon (Decatur, IL)

I’ve only been  in the nail industry for a few months and have only had a couple of clients so far. One of them is off the wall. She had been going to a discount salon and since the shop I am working in is closer to her, she’s started coming to me. Once, as I was almost done filing her nails after a fill, she proceeded to light up a cigarette and start smoking right in front of me. When I asked her to kindly put it out, she told me, “The other shops don’t mind me smoking.” I then had to explain the hazards of smoking near my chemicals; she also mentioned the fact that her sister used to do her nails because she could go into any beauty supply store and buy the products. This seems to be a big pet peeve of mine from just dealing with this one client. It’s annoying that anyone can walk into a store and buy the products to do her own nails, only to mess them up so bad that she needs to see a professional and have them corrected.--Karen Pascoe,  Paula’s Temple Hill Boutique  (Harrison, Maine)

Clients know there will be an extra charge, but they still write their checks before their service is done. What really annoys me is when clients know there will be an extra charge for a broken nail when they come in for an appointment, but they still write their checks before they have their service done. Another pet peeve is when a client whispers questions to me about someone else in the room. Sometimes it is negative and other times it is as innocent as, “What is her name?” but it sounds like she is saying something bad about the person.-- Kim Cavossa,  Head to Toes Day Spa ( Foxboro, Mass.)

Customers expect me to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If I am not, they run to the nearest discount salon. I usually handle this two ways. If it is an emergency-they’re going on vacation, it’s a special occasion — I will meet them at the salon if at all possible. If it’s not an emergency and they don’t want to wait until I’m in the shop, they are more than welcome to come by my house, where I have a station set up. Another pet peeve is clients who say their nails just fell off. Most of the time it is obvious that they have picked, bitten, or hit their nail on something. I show the customer how I can usually tell why the nail came off, whether it was lack of care or inappropriate application. I pass out three to five different information sheets that 1 have printed up. We also go over the care they should be giving their nails and hands.--Carta Epperson,  Gone Wild Hair &  Nail Designs (Pendleton, Ind.)

One thing my clients never do is relax. Their hands are always stiff, even after I remind them to relax. It’s difficult for me to do the proper job when their hands are so stiff; however, a heating pad under my table towel tends to relax them somewhat. Another thing is that they have to check out every nail as soon as I get the acrylic or gel on, and I have to remind them I still have to file and buff. Yes, they will have a high gloss shine.-Darlene Johnston, Pampered & Polished Salon (Ontario, Canada)

Clients who pre-write checks before their services are completed are annoying. I also hate it when a new client’s check bounces: there is no guarantee that I’m going to get reimbursed for my services. The sad thing is that I get referrals, and sometimes their checks are the ones that bounce. Also, I hate when clients come in and have absolutely no idea how they lost their nails. Clients who can’t sit under the UV dryer for three minutes are also annoying. They leave and mess up their nails while opening the car door, putting on their seatbelt, or turning on the ignition. I have to completely redo the nail (or nails) and it cuts into someone else’s time. I also don’t like it when I polish eight of the clients nails and she suddenly decides that she doesn’t like the color. She usually says the color doesn’t look the same on her nails as it does in the bottle.-- Michelle Ramoz, Genesis Salon (Glendale, Ariz.)

I have a list of 10 client pet peeves:

  1. Clients who show up late for appointments.
  2. Clients who don’t show up at all for appointments.
  3. People who bring young children to their appointments.
  4. Having lengthy conversations on the salon phone.
  5. People who try to help me out by clipping away at their nails, causing cracking and chipping. It actually makes for more work.
  6. Leaving empty or half-empty drink cans or food on my station.
  7. Clients who open retail items and sample with no intent to buy.
  8. Clients who ask me to stop working so they can take a cigarette break
  9. People who don’t turn off the water or light in the restroom.
  10. Clients who wait until their services are finished and then take 10 minutes to decide on a polish shade.

--Connie Thompson BourQuard,  Exquisite Nails by Connie (Chalmette, La.)

I don’t like when clients come in while I’m eating lunch. I have half an hour to relax, and they show up early for a 12:30 p.m. appointment. It’s annoying, especially if you’ve actually found the time to eat something. I also hate when I call to confirm an appointment and the client says she’s coming for sure. I only do that with new clients. One day, I had three back-to-back appointments, all new clients, who didn’t show up. I had called each of them the night before to confirm, and they still didn’t come in. I actually rescheduled one of them, and she didn’t show up for that appointment either. It’s also annoying when someone from your same line of work, say a hairdresser, has a service done and doesn’t even bottler to leave a tip.--Jo Laki, Jo’s Naughty Nails (Hamlin, Pa.)

Some of my pet peeves are clients who burp after having a spicy meal in the last 24 hours, clients who blow their noses right after I’ve finished prepping them, and the usual late and no-show appointments. I charge heavily, however, and have just about eliminated those folks.--Sally Hayward, Nails 4 U (Pinedale, Wyo.)

I hate when clients bring their cell phones and pagers with them. I understand that this is the age of technology and everyone has these toys, but can’t they part with them for one hour? Some people carry them because of their jobs, but most people just have them for fun. I am slowly starting to hate these gadgets. I have considered banning them at my table. It never fails that my clients phone will ring right after I polish her nails and they are nice and wet, I either fumble with the thing, attempting to answer it, or she does and goofs up her nails. I have picked hair out of clients’ nails, smoothed over. A few clients even manage their phones. I can’t imagine going to an appointment and asking my dentist to answer my phone while he is looking at my teeth.--Tina Robertson, Fingerpaints Salon  (Clovis, Calif.)

I have one client whose nails I’ve been doing for four years, and she’s only been on time on three occasions. The thing is, she herself runs on scheduled appointments, so you’d think she’d know enough to show me some respect. She’s actually on vacation for a month, and when she gets back I plan on “firing” her. She’s a wonderful person, but I just can’t take her never being on time, even if she does call about 20 minutes in advance. I also have one client who is never satisfied with the way I shape her nails. About a month ago, I trimmed them and didn’t even shape then. I figured if I shaped them, she’d have me redo them anyhow so why go through the trouble of doing what I think is right when it’s not to her liking.--Sue Fabian,  Nails by Sue ( Clinton Township, Mich.)

While I understand people will be late on occasion, to be late for each and every scheduled appointment shows lack of consideration not only for the nail tech, but also for the clients who follow. If I were to voice one pet peeve about certain clients, it would be those who are chronically late for their appointments. I know when I schedule a certain client for, say 1 p.m., she will not arrive before 1:25 p.m. This throws off the rest of the afternoon, inconveniencing clients who show up on time for their appointments. There is never a valid excuse for the tardiness, merely a nonchalant, “Sorry, I’m running a little late today.” While I understand people will be late on occasion, to be late for each and every scheduled appointment shows lack of consideration not only for the nail tech, but also for the clients who follow and must be kept waiting. The tardy client never offers a comment, let alone an apology, to the person patiently waiting past her scheduled appointment time.--Kathryn Whitlock, Aspire Salon (China, Calif.)

I hate when clients show up late, or do not show up at all. Why is it that I can show up at the salon half an hour early to set up my station and prepare for the day, yet my clients can’t seem to get here on time? The solution I have is charging full price to all no show clients. I have found that charging full price encourages clients to show up to each appointment. I just put in too many hours to have inconsiderate people on my book.--Chrisz Dosch, Jagged Edge Day Spa & Salon (Las Vegas)


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