How do I know if a salon is right for me?

December 28, 2010

Dear Shari,

I am just out of school and I'm starting to look for work. I don't really know if I'm ready to go out on my own as a booth renter. How do I know if a salon is right for me?

Sincerely, Searching for a Home


Dear Searching:

As a salon owner and educator, I speak with a lot of techs who had a hard time when they first got out of school and joined the work force.

From an educator’s perspective, the most common problem is that the nail tech right out of school is not prepared or does not have the skills to jump right into a busy salon. I suggest you find a mentor who is willing to work with you on quality and speed.

From a salon owner’s perspective, I provide my staff with salon support and recognize that a tech right out of school is not ready, and I make an investment in her by continuing her education.

Make an employment wish list of things that are important to you. Your list may look something like this:

1. Day hours (so you can work when your children are in school)

2. Busy salon (so you are sure you can build clientele)

3. Location (you don’t want to work too far away from your children’s school)

4. Mentor (someone who will work with you)

5. Salon-supplied product (to keep business costs down)

6. Salon should offer natural nail care, pedicures, acrylic, fiberglass, and gels

7. Must have good sanitation

Find a salon that fits your wish list and don’t ignore your gut feeling when you’re there. If you’re not comfortable with the surroundings, there may be a reason.


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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