Business Management

Nail Services Go Mobile

More and more, nail technicians and salons are eschewing tradition and going to clients instead of the other way around. We’ve spotlighted some mobile salon services to give you an idea of what life on the road is like — and you might be surprised to find it’s not all that different from working in a salon.

States colored red allow mobile salons. Consult
NAILS' 2007-08 Big Book for state-specific regulations.

Ask anyone if they mind going to a salon or spa and you’ll be hard pressed to get a “no” amongst the group. It’s pretty much a given that most people love getting pampered at a spa or salon, but what happens when they can’t seem to find the time in their hectic schedules to book a service? That’s where mobile spas come in.

Mobile spa services have been on the move in the last few years, quickly rising in popularity as clients realize they don’t have to leave the comfort of their homes or businesses to get some much-needed pampering. They simply book an appointment over the phone or online, and a mobile technician, ready to work her magic, appears at the door.

With mobile spa services becoming so popular, we thought it fitting to feature a sampling of nail services offered by several mobile spa technicians.

Mobile SpaAverage Miles
per Month
Service InfoThe Details
San Diego
Cofounder Jeannie Owens says PUURSPA doesn’t track by miles, but rather by the number of appointments. A nail tech typically does between 6 and 10 appointments per week.Six to 8 nail technicians perform manicure and pedicure services lasting approximately 60 minutes. This is a pampering treatment for those who are on their feet all day, have poor circulation, are pregnant, or suffer from “tired leg” syndrome. First, hot towels are applied to stimulate circulation. Next, a cleanser and toner are applied. A scrub is then performed, which helps reduce swelling, exfoliates, and revitalizes the skin. Lastly, a vitamin-rich moisturizer is massaged in to soothe tired and achy muscles. Clients place their feet in a portable foot spa while relaxing in a comfortable chair. Towels are heated in a portable towel cabinet or crock pot
Pamper Perfect,
travels throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland
200, most of them for on-location spa parties within 15 miles from the tech’s home base Pamper Perfect contracts out for services and works with nail technicians accordingly. Their Ginger Citrus Margarita Pedicure is a customer favorite lasting 45 minutes. Owner Tammy Butler says the service is a refreshing toast for tipsy toes. Clients enjoy the zing of a tangy ginger citrus margarita soak with fresh lemon, lime, and orange slices. A spicy ginger salt scrub leaves feet feeling refreshed. A tangerine-scented massage lotion leaves feet and legs feeling soft and sweetly scented. Butler and her team like to set the mood for an on-location experience. Citrus aromatherapy scents and candles fill the air. Fresh flower petals are tossed on the floor. Butler likes to use a large stainless steel basin for the foot bath. “The family room is usually the room of choice,” she says. “We move out the coffee table and have plenty of room to set up the mobile spa.” The furniture is covered with pretty fabric and comfortable pillows. Each guest is handed a white robe and slippers rolled with ribbon or a fresh flower attached. The service is performed on a carpet mat to protect the floor. Fresh fruits are sliced and placed in glass bowls and margarita glasses so clients see the products. “It helps engage them in the experience,” says Butler.
Fred Segal Beauty Mobile, Santa Monica, Calif. 500 The salon has 10 mobile nail techs performing spa pedicures that last 1 hour. This pedicure soaks, trims, files, and buffs the nails. Feet also receive an exfoliating treatment and a massage. Fred Segal is synonymous with celebrities, and in fact, its Agency division offers services to production companies and celebrities. Mobile, on the other hand, is tailored for the regular individual. Fred Segal Beauty professionals come armed with duffel bags. Clients are offered bottled water and the latest magazines. Music plays on a portable CD player while their feet are tended to. Clients can also purchase retail products.
Spa Movement, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Between 400-600. The mobile spa does lots of personal spa events on weekends and some corporate events during the week. The 1-hour Lemon Meringue Sole Searching Pedicure is performed by one of seven traveling techs who are also certified estheticians. The Lemon Meringue is part of Spa Movement’s line of Sole Searching pedicures, which includes a hydrating mask that is applied for 10-15 minutes. A foot soak enriched with essential citrus oils and lemon slices help nourish feet. The service comes complete with a fluffy meringue topping for feet to dip into. Founder and owner Cathy Mancini says most clients like to have services done in a family room or living room. “We ask that clients sit on the sofa and we set our pedicure stools across from them,” says Mancini. “For corporate events we are usually asked to set up in the board room, so we ask clients to sit in a chair. We position ourselves in front of them.” Nail technicians usually bring pedicure stools, foot basins, towels, candles, and music to a location. “If requested, we can provide flowers, incense, beverages, and food,” says Mancini. “We give the hostess a little thank-you gift, which includes a card and some tools. If there is a guest of honor we give him or her a gift as well.”
mobileSPA, locations throughout the U.S. Managing partner Smita Majumder says it’s hard to say since they have a large network of spa professionals working for them. “It really depends on how many people we send for spa parties and from where they are traveling.” The service time for mobileSPA’s signature Spa Manicure is 35-40 minutes. A signature hand scrub made with honey, sugar, and essential oils is applied on the hands. Then, a hydrating hand mask is applied for a few minutes. A hand and arm massage follows. Nail techs show up with everything from manicure tables to polish. “When we get to a client’s house or hotel room, we set up a manicure station at any place in the house the client wants,” says Majumder.
The Mobile Beauty Co., Ottawa, Canada 460 A 30-minute pedicure is performed by one of eight traveling nail technicians. Mobile Beauty offers group discounts to entice a client to invite more of her friends over for a pedicure party. Owner Carolyn McNaim says Mobile Beauty has developed a unique way of doing a pedicure in 30 minutes, including polish application. The service includes a foot sugar scrub and a quick two- to three-minute massage. When Mobile Beauty arrives at a client’s home the first thing the nail tech does is place a plastic drop sheet under the work area to protect the floor. Nail techs sit on portable stools while the client sits anywhere she’d like. Clients place their feet in portable footbaths containing a disposable liner. “Using a liner in the foot bath ensures there is no need to clean the foot bath between each client,” says McNaim.
Nail Taxi, Alexandria, Va. 200 A 50-minute Signature Pedicure is offered by the salon’s eight traveling nail technicians. Nail Taxi’s Signature Pedicures come in various scents, including Cinnamon Bun, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Chocolate Bliss Soufflé. The sugar-based foot polish soufflés are custom made. Nail technicians place the foot bath on a pink circle rug. They use foot baths with disposable liners. A small side table holds all the necessary products and implements used in the service.

Originally published in NAILS Magazine, June, 2006.


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