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What’s the best way to handle friends and relatives who expect free nail services?

March 30, 2015

What’s the best way to handle friends and relatives who expect free nail services — especially now that I’m working out of my home? I don’t want any hurt feelings, but that’s not something I can afford to do.

Answer

Always charge for your services whether you’re in a salon or working out of your house. When it’s your bread and butter, you have to let friends and family know that you can’t pay your bills with free nail services. I know my electric company won’t accept a “free nail service” receipt in exchange for free electricity! There will be some friends and family members who won’t like it, but you have to stick to your guns. After all, your goal is to make money, not give free nail services away. Products aren’t cheap. Ask them if they’ll take a reduction in their weekly paycheck. They won’t, because they value their time and what they do, and feel they should be paid the full value for it. You have to look at your craft the same way. Don’t let others downplay what you do to make to money. When my friends say my prices are too high, I say, “Compared to what? The discount salon that uses mystery products on your hands?” I let them know they get quality services with me and leave it at that. My feelings aren’t hurt because they aren’t the kind of client I want. I never let anyone make me feel guilty about charging what I’m worth.

— Chrissy Monroe, Love Those Toes Nail Spa (www.lovethosetoes.com), Washington, D.C.

How can I cut costs and finally make a profit?

I’ve been doing nails for almost two years and have built a decent clientele. The only problem is, I did the math and over 50% of my income is going back into nail products. I’m using top-of-the-line brands and disposable files. How can I cut costs and finally make a profit? I know our prices are too low as well, but we are trying to stay competitive. Any advice?

As a mobile tech, how do I ensure I get paid?

I have a question about working as a mobile tech. When clients book group events or nail parties, how do you go about getting deposits and payments? Have you ever traveled to a client’s house and they were unable to pay? What did you do?

What should I do differently with male clients?

I’m starting to get more and more male clients. I am wondering how long a manicure for a man should last and how to price it? Also do you have any recommendations on what else I can do to give them an extra masculine sense of comfort?

Should I Use Punch Cards?

I recently started working at a high-end salon and I’m looking for marketing ideas. Should I do punch cards? I can’t do “refer-a-friend” because I don’t have consistent clients yet. We are already doing social media.

Should I start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments?

I want to start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments. My posted hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. by appointment only. I am ridiculously flexible with my schedule, and let people book earlier and later if they can’t get in during normal hours. Recently, I had a 7:30 a.m. no-show! She was supposed to get services totaling over $100, and I forfeited holiday plans to accommodate her. She comes every two weeks, so I can’t lose her, but this is the second time she’s no-showed. What should I do? And how would I go about informing current clients of the new policy on off-hour deposits? 

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