Money Matters

Reader to Reader: Should a Beginning Tech Earn the Same Wages as a Senior Tech?

Most nail techs agree that seniority should bring a higher price. 

If you go buy a bottle of champagne, you’ll pay a lot more for the one that has the best ingredients and an excellent reputation. This can also apply to nail technicians. I think seniority, knowledge, and availability should be a factor. I’m not trying to knock “newbies,” but I believe that a pricing structure is fair. Why should a beginner earn the same as a senior, when the senior technician brings in more money? The beginner should strive for excellence, customer satisfaction, and earn that senior title, and if the client likes her work, she’ll most likely stay when she raises her prices. Also, many clients don’t want to pay top dollar or have to wait for an appointment, so the beginner should have her share of business.

Laura Boyan

Middletown, N.Y.

Yes. Although senior technicians are more experienced than beginners, the newcomers are more knowledgeable about advanced technologies.

Neelam Malhotra

New City, N.Y.

I’ve been doing nails for 14 years and I’m still learning things, so no, I don’t think a new technician should earn the same. I believe in apprenticeships for beginners so they can learn some of the tricks of the trade and quickly move up to earning the same wages as a senior technician.

Kathy Rondeau

Layman’s Hair Co.

Albany, Ore.

A beginner doesn’t have the knowledge or the clientele to make as much as a senior technician. Building a clientele is something you have to work hard for, so you should be paid according to your knowledge and experience. If you’re paid hourly, just like any other job, you need an incentive plan. Why stay at a salon where you will always make the same amount of money?

Tabitha McCausland

Waves & Curls

Orlando, Fla.

Junior or senior, I don’t think how long you have been doing nails should dictate how much you are paid. Only how well you do them will keep your clients paying your price.

Lyn Baker

Finished Perfection Salon

Duncanville, Texas

Starting out, a beginning technician should not earn the same as a senior. The beginner needs to pay some dues and has a lot to learn, such as handling the public and new techniques. Each technician should be evaluated every six months for the first two years and receive a slight raise. The evaluation should be based on her clientele, workmanship, retail skills, work ethic, interpersonal skills, attendance, initiative, attitude and appearance, and sanitation practices. After two years, annual evaluations and raises should apply.

Fran Rocco


Greentree, Pa.

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