Underbidding the Job

A few weeks ago I got a text from a potential client asking about booking an appointment and wanting to know if I could do a set “like this” and what would I charge for it.
She sent along a photo of the nails she wanted. I had to laugh a bit when I saw it. I remember the photo from several years ago. I think the original artist was one of my Myspace friends — I should look her up, actually. But more to the point, I’ve done these before. Or something similar...and I learned an important lesson from them.
Don’t put metal in a set of nails that you may have to drill through in the future.
I quickly ran through some calculations in my head, balancing that hard-learned lesson against things like how long it would take me to do a set like the one pictured, and how badly I wanted to do another set like this, and how badly I wanted to get paid to do another set like this.
And then I replied with a date, a time, a price, and a stern warning regarding what a pain in the butt it would be to remove this set.
So the date and time arrived, as did an enthusiastic new client who shared tales of how much trouble she’d had finding a nail tech who was willing to do this set for her. Mostly, nail techs have been insisting that they “can’t” do it, or “don’t know how.” I personally suspect these nail techs are just plain smarter than I am and know better than try this at work.
But my new client left very happy with her uber-thick nails with all that colored wire embedded into them and has been texting me regularly to let me know that her nails are getting tons of compliments.
Meanwhile, I feel like I’m about $40 poorer than I ought to be once all was said and done.
I really thought I asked a fair price for what I figured would be about two hours of effort on my part to turn out a set of nails that would be a hoot to do. Two-and-a-half hours and a fun set of nails later, however, I was kicking myself for underbidding the job. And I’m still terrified she’s going to want me to take them off for her to change them out.
But if any of those people who are oohing and aahing over her nails call me up, they are not getting the same deal. That’s for sure.

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