Working Faster

So many times I hear nail professionals ask how do I get faster, what can I do to be faster. Sometimes in the race to be the fastest details are sacrificed for speed. If you can finish a full set in 45 minutes by skipping cuticle work, for example, and it takes you extra time to do the repairs from lifting at the rebalance have you saved time in the long run? What if your full sets are taking upwards of two hours, are there ways to increase speed without sacrificing quality?

There are several things you can do to try to improve your service times. One of the first things you might hear from seasoned techs is “talk to the hand”. It is so tempting to look at someone when we talk to them, yet when doing nails if you look at the client you stop working and that costs you time. You also want to be sure that while you are talking to the hand, that you are not stopping to talk with your hands! The temptation to talk with your hands goes down when you are looking at their hands and working. Clients appreciate that you are talking to them and listening to what they have to say and will not view it as rude if you are paying attention to the nail service while you talk.

A great tip I got from a beloved mentor (Alicia Bryant-Mayes) for picking up speed was to improve technique and my confidence in that technique. I was really struggling with liquid-and-powder smile lines. As a result I spent a lot of time on the client trying to mess with zone one, all the while fretting in my mind. Alicia challenged me to do smile lines on 50 tips a night for several weeks. This seemed daunting and was definitely monotonous, but the end result was confidence that I could get the smile line in place and better technique. The improved confidence and technique resulted in a faster application as I was not so busy second-guessing myself and forever adding product trying to make it perfect and filing of all the excess from the additions.

Have you heard the expression “sculpt with your brush and not the file”? This is where you angle your brush to follow the curve of the nail while you work. Using a good mix ratio to make the product easy to work with will also help make life easier. Keeping a small margin of exposed nail between the product and the skin will make it easier to finish file as well as help prevent lifting and overexposure.

Let’s say you only do natural nails. Do you let the client leave the table during the service? If you have them wash their hands to remove cuticle product, consider keeping a spray bottle at the table instead. Do you have a good quality pusher that is effective or are you still using the same one from school 20 years ago? If you are offering a Shellac or similar service and your polishing is slow going, try applying regular nail polish to everyone you can get your hands on, you will pick up speed and confidence at a lower cost per service if you should choose to do it for family or friends at a lower rate.

Hopefully you have found an idea or two that will help you. If you have ideas to share, please leave them in the comments. The more we help each other, the better the industry becomes!

— Holly

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