What's The Best Thing You've Bartered Your Services For?

May 01, 1996

What's the best thing you've bartered your services for?


I got my nail technician’s chair, my client’s chair, and a hydraulic lift chair reupholstered, as well as matching drapes plus some; plants in exchange for two free full sets, fills, and nail art for a client for five months.

Elaine Howe

Elaine’s Nail Boutique

Laredo, Mo.

I ran into a former client who was working as a waitress, and when she told me she hadn’t been back because she couldn’t afford acrylic nails anymore, I jumped at the chance to offer her a free set and fills in exchange for referrals. I also threw in free airbrushing. Was I excited when I. got four new clients in the first week alone! Now she can afford her nails and I have a larger clientele.

Sherri Parker

The Upper Hand

Farmington, N.M.

My husband jokes that there isn’t anything I won’t barter for! I’ve bartered my services for a house-keeper, art classes, a math tutor for my son, weekly massages, and I even had my house painted.

Reneé Ruder

Italienne Salon at the Oaks

Bakersfield, Calif.

One of my clients is a photographer, and she took boudoir pictures of me for my fiancés birthday. She also blew them up, mounted, and framed them herself. In return, I’m doing her nails for free until my bill of nearly $500 is paid off.

Michelle Omps

Bangz Salon

Winchester, Va.

Having been a booth renter for close to 17 years, the most important thing I’ve bartered for is the services of an accountant. Though I’ve enjoyed other trades such as haircuts, a new phone line, and jewelry, nothing compares to that one day a year when my client walks in the door with my books all categorized, typed, and ready for Mr. Tax Man. This saves me lots of headaches!

Janice Reams

Nails, Please!

Houston, Texas

Once a month I treat myself to an hour massage given by one of my clients who is a massage therapist. In exchange, she conies to my salon for free manicures and haircuts. What a great trade! With doing nails so many hours in a row, my neck and back muscles need the occasional TLC. She also refers her clients to my salon to get their hair done.

Judy Jewell

Judy’s Nails ’N Stuff

Silver City N.M.

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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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