I participated in a round table discussion a few months ago and although nail techs shared stories from all over the county and we talked about a variety of interesting topics the discussion eventually got around to (and stayed on) competing in a market that is saturated with discount salons Instead of allowing the comments to degenerate into a complaining session, moderator Larry Gaynor had everyone do an exercise that I thought was useful and practical and would help a lot of you who are struggling with this very issue.

Are you concerned about discount salons? Do you think you’re losing business to them? Grab a piece of paper and make a list of 6-10 reasons you think clients patronize discount salons. If you’re like our group. your list will probably look like this:

Service. In some salons, a client may have up to four different techs working on her.

Convenience. They’re on every corner, happily take walk-ins, and service clients quickly.

Cheap. What’s there to say? They’re called discount salons because they’re inexpensive.

Clients can’t see the quality difference. Most clients don’t know the difference between a well-sculpted nail that took you an hour to do and costs $45 and the one she gets down the street that takes 30 minutes and costs $17.99.

Speed. Whether it’s because the tech’s individual speed is faster or because many are working on one client at once. the service is fast.

Walk-ins. Clients don’t have to wait for an appointment when they don’t want to. The next part of the exercise is to make a list of why clients go to higher-end salons. Your list will probably include more pampering more expertise, nicer atmosphere, lower odor, greater professionalism (consulting with clients), as well as techs who promote relationships between heir clients, themselves, and the salons.

What do you see here? The lists are very different, People go to different business for different reasons. Neither way of running a business is wrong but you’ve got to pick a side and stick to it. If you don’t plan to start competing with discount salons on their level (by offering the same things they do), then stop worrying about what they’re doing You’re competing with the salons at the other end of the spectrum. Do your own thing but do it very well.


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