Over the past year, I have received hundreds of calls and visits from salon owners and nail technicians concerned about the discount nail salons opening in their area,” writes Terri Taricco, head of R.G. Shakour’s nail division, in the company’s “Salon Concepts” newsletter. Since the problem is not going away any time soon. Taricco urges salon personnel to face it head-on, and offers owners these suggestions.

1. PREPARE BEFORE IT’S AN EMERGENCY. Many salon owners wait until their salon loss customers before they acknowledge a competitive salon’s existence. Start analyzing your business and services now.

2. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO GET YOUR NAILS DONE AT A NEABBY DISCOUNT SALON. You can better defeat the enemy if you know them and their services. (If you discover the discount salon is using MMA, report in to your local FDA office. If the technicians are unlicensed, report them to your state board.)

3. DOES YOUR SALON OFFER GOOD SERVICE? If you clients are leaving because of price, maybe you need to look at increasing your level of service. Send a secret shopper to your salon and have her report back on how she was treated, from the time she booked the appointment until she walked out the door after the service.

4. WARN YOUR CUSTOMERS OF THE DANGERS OF UNSANITARY CONDITIONS AND ILLEGAL PRDUTS. Signs in the waiting area and at each station can tell clients what to look for in a safe salon, including how implements are disinfected, whether the nail technicians are licensed, and what product is used on the nails. Explain that claims that nails will not lift or break may mean the salon is using a banned product.

5. OFFER INDIVIDUAL IMPLEMENTS TO EACH CLIENT. She will feel good that you are providing her with her own implements, and (good news for you) she buys the files that you were paying for before.

6. TIME IS A FACTOR. Take a classes specifically designed to increase your speed. Also, stress the importance of being on time to your customers.

7. PRE-BOOK YOUR CLIENTS. It’s harder to cancel an appointment with a salon if your client has her next two or three appointments pre-booked.

8. OFFER NAIL ART. Some of you are saying, “My clients won’t wear nail art.” Well, why don’t you let them decide? You might be surprised.

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