Q&A

How can I cut costs and finally make a profit?

Q.

I’ve been doing nails for almost two years and have built a decent clientele. The only problem is, I did the math and over 50% of my income is going back into nail products. I’m using top-of-the-line brands and disposable files. How can I cut costs and finally make a profit? I know our prices are too low as well, but we are trying to stay competitive. Any advice?

A.

<p>Jill Wilson</p>

As a business consultant for Summit Salon’s nail department, I encounter this often. Here are a few of the issues I see that can cause low profit and low pay, and get nail techs discouraged.

•  First, build a relationship with your local sales distributor. They usually have loyalty programs and can tell you about upcoming sales to help cut your costs.

•  Re-evaluate the brand of files, etc., you are using. There may be comparable tools out there that cost less. Buying in bulk and purchasing refill sizes can also cut your costs. Again, a sales distributor may be able to help you with this and provide some samples.

•  It’s good that you are using top-of-the-line products; however, you don’t have to have every color of gel-polish in the line. Consider carrying just the top 25 colors your clients use.

•  Review your back bar costs and the cost per visit and look at what products need to be used during each service. My guess is you could delete a few products without cutting corners.

•  Check your service times and make sure you are keeping on task and have set service standards. See where you can tidy up your service techniques and times. By doing this you will be able to see more clients; this alone can increase your income. Imagine being able to get in one more pedicure a day or five more additional services a week. By adding on $50 a day, you can end up with $250 more dollars in your pocket weekly. That would be an additional $12,000 a year added to your income!

You say that your prices are low to stay competitive. But if you are offering premium products and exceptional service, you are not competing with the “other guys.” Demonstrate as many of your sanitation procedures as you can in front of your clients, so they can see your commitment to cleanliness. Tell your clients that you use nationally recognized brands and you keep up on your education. Show them through your services that you are better and worth every penny. There is also nothing wrong with raising your prices after two years. After two years you have likely become faster, have a better skill set, and have less availability for appointments.

Of course, not all of these suggestions may be applicable to you. It will take a little work and time on your part to figure it out how to reverse the situation, but you will see a positive change in your income.

 — Jill Wilson, nail department consultant, Summit Salon Business Center (www.summitsalon.com)

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