Money Matters

Editor's note: Give Technicians a Reason to Sell

If a nail technician splits with the salon owner the profits on any retail she sells (just as she splits the cost of her services) the nail tech would have a tremendous incentive to sell more.

I was visiting a nail technician while I was out of town shortly after the first of the year, and the nail technician was telling me her resolutions. Of great interest to me was her goal to raise her income to $40,000 in 1991.

I asked her what she would be doing differently to accomplish this eager, of course, to learn something I could share with NAILS readers. I was disappointed to find out what the income increase meant for her. “I guess I’m going to have to work seven days a week,” she said, After some quick calculation it was apparent that even if she did work seven days a week she wasn’t going to even approach $40,000 unless every single client was a full set and she worked 12 hours a day. But even if she was able to make that amount of money with that kind of schedule, what shape would she be in at the end of the year, and how would she top it in 1992?

So my next question to her was about selling retail. I had passed a gorgeous boutique when I arrived at the salon, full of nail, hair, and skin products, as well as jewelry and handbags. I wondered if she realized the potential of what she could make selling those items. After all, nail technicians are constantly being told that a retail program is the only way to dramatically increase profits if they are already doing as many clients as they can.

I asked her if she made a commission on any retail items she sold. I was surprised to hear that she made nothing on any of the products her clients purchased.

Well of course she’s going to think that squeezing in more clients is the only way to make more money! Some informal research when I returned home revealed that this technicians’ retail compensation situation was not unusual.

There really needs to be a greater incentive to the technician to try to make these sales. Why would she develop her sales skills and suggest products to her customers if there is no benefit to her?

If a nail technician splits the profits on any retail she sold with the salon owner (just as she splits the cost of her services) she would have a tremendous incentive to sell more.

Most salons offer nail technicians, whether they are employees or independent contractors, a healthy split of their service tickets as compensation. This system of commissions ensures that there is an incentive for the technician as well as for the owner. Why can’t this system be carried over into the retail program? If a salon owner or manager offered technicians even a motivating split of profits on all retail she sold, wouldn’t retail income soar?

Even if a salon was not able to offer such a generous cut of the profits, there really should be some sort of incentive program for the technician to hustle those products Sales contests work, if the prize is desirable enough. Bonuses also work.

It is not that people won’t work if there’s no reward attached, but they certainly can be expected to work harder if there is.


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