With a new year approaching, I am going to use my column this month to recommend a few New Year's resolutions for professional nail technicians. I hope it's a happy and profitable year for you all and that your pedicure business continues to grow.
1) I will attend at least two continuing education classes on pedicure services and foot-related products in the coining year.
Knowledge is power! Resolve to become more knowledgeable on foot care this year. Participate in the class and ask questions. Become acquainted with the diseases that can affect the feet and lower extremities. Learn how these conditions will affect the manner in which you perform the pedicure.
Take product classes as well. New products are always being promoted for pedicure services. Learn what they are and evaluate how they can augment or replace those you are already using. Developing your expertise in these areas will enable you to provide better services to your clients. You will be able to recognize conditions and promote foot care products that are more beneficial for your clients.
2) I will recognize those circumstances that require the assistance of someone who is more knowledgeable than 1 am.
Know when to say no! If you have not already established a referral relationship with a podiatrist as 1 recommended in my article "Good Pedicurist Care Can Prevent the Need for Podiatrist Care" (September 1994), make the effort this year. You will be happy you did. The more my wife, who is a nail technician, and I work together as nail professional and podiatrist, the more I am convinced there is a threat benefit for the patient/client we treat. My patients who do not need the services of a doctor but do need foot care are more economically served by the nail professional. Also, insurance companies are covering less and less general maintenance foot care. This is a void that the qualified nail professional can readily fill.
Should you have any questions about a condition or disease, or just need information, your best teacher will be your friendly podiatrist. I have not found any podiatrist who does not like to discuss the foot and its care. Be knowledgeable about your clients’ foot conditions and problems, but recognize your limitations and discuss clients' problems with the podiatrist. Refer to the podiatrist those clients who require services beyond your scope of expertise, and I am sure you will receive referrals in return.
3) I will promote pedicures not only as a beauty service but as a service that encourages healthy, happy feet.
Think healthy! New services build business. Pedicures should always be promoted as healthy and necessary foot maintenance. Salon promotions should be directed toward those individuals who will benefit the most from pedicure services — older clients, for example. This is the age group that is having trouble reaching their feet, and therefore is unable to care properly for them. I suggest a promotion where you recommend a monthly pedicure, and give a special rate for clients who pay for three months in advance. I always see pedicures promoted as the thing to do in the summer months. But why limit this service to just three months out of the year? We walk on our feet year-round, not just in the summer!
4) This year I trill upgrade my pedicure equipment and services.
Look around your pedicure service area and ask yourself: Would I like to receive a pedicure here? Do I enjoy working in this pedicure area? Is it clean, modern, and up-to-date, or is it just an extra area of the salon set aside for pedicure services if someone happens to request the service? If any of these questions pose a problem, then this resolution should be your number-one priority for the new year.
Does your pedicure area afford privacy for the client? People do not like to show off their feet in public. I quote from a letter we received that emphasizes this fact: "I have very ugly feel. How do people in your line of business feel about dealing with sealing feet and toenails getting difficult to clip?" Do you think tin's lady would ever consider a pedicure in a salon that did not offer privacy for this service? She is not the exception. There are many potential clients who feel the same way about their feet.
Are your pedicure instruments top-quality and made to work on the foot? I see too many large, inappropriate instruments being sold for use on the feet. Talk to your friendly podiatrist about her recommendations on what instruments work best for trimming nails and cleaning out the nail margins. The purchase of high-quality stainless steel instruments is cost-effective because they will last you a lifetime. They seldom need sharpening and are easily disinfected.
If you do not already have a hydrotherapy foot spa, consider making the investment this year. Properly promoted and situated in the proper surroundings, it will more than pay for itself. It will make the client feel special and pampered. The client will look forward to her next service with anticipation. Elegant surroundings with modern, top-of-the-line equipment will promote you and your salon better than any other type of advertising.
5) I will educate all of my clients about the necessity of proper foot care and hygiene.
Through the classes you attend and the literature you read, you will increase your knowledge and be able to pass it on to your clients. Clients want to know why you do a service in a particular way. I am reminded of the elderly patient who I saw many years ago. He had been going faithfully to a podiatrist for 17 years. This podiatrist trimmed his nails monthly and then would pack cotton under the margins of his big toenails to make them comfortable and to prevent ingrown nails. When the patient began to see me professionally, I trimmed his nails and also trimmed out the sides of the big toenails so there would be no pressure along the nail margins. He wanted to know why I did not pack cotton under the margins so that his nails would not in grow. I explained to him that the cotton had not changed the way his nails grew. I also explained the way I had trimmed them would actually give him more comfort for a longer period than if I used the cotton. I then explained to him how nails grew and outlined the minor surgical procedure that could be performed to give him permanent comfort. He was back the next week for the surgical procedure and was quite upset that he had never been offered this in the previous 17 years. In my opinion, his previous podiatrist did him a major disservice by not educating him and by having him return over and over again to treat a condition that could have been treated more cost-effectively by-giving him the option of surgery.
Not sharing our knowledge slows progress and leads to misinformation It is our responsibility to teach patients/clients about nail growth. We must train them how to trim nails properly. If the matrix bed is too malformed to allow trimming alone to prevent the problem, a permanent correction should be recommended. You would be surprised how many people do not know that a chronic ingrown nail can be easily corrected through a minor surgical procedure.
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