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Hi everyone,

I am looking fora little guidance. I have been working the in the nail industry for 5 months. I started my first job in a natural nail day spa. I am still working there. My problem is I am getting very discouraged with myself and my job. I love doing nails but being a perfectionist, I am sometimes not satisfied with my speed and final product. Duh and I am only doing pedi's and mani's. I can't imagine if I had to tackle Liquid and Powder!!! Although I would love to master L&P's, I can only imagine it would take me 3 hours to do a full set. So my dilemma is, the place that I am working at is four days a week, mothers hours (900-200). Work has been extremely slow as I am the first and only manicurist in the shop. Which is also tough because I have no mentor. so my pay check is very small, and I find that at the end of my short day I have had only 2 manicures. sometimes 1. At the end of this week I had 3 manicures and 2 pedicures. that's four days of work!!! pathetic huh?? I feel like this is a dead in spot for me, even though I love my boss, and the clients that I do have. Summers are dead in the Spa. because it is slow I am taking it personally. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am not good enough. I am contemplating quiting nails altogether, or maybe I should give this another shot. Look for a job where someone can mentor me a little. And pick up some speed. My manicures sometimes end up being 35-40 minutes long, that's bad huh!! So I would love some input IF I decide to stay in the nail business I am thinking maybe I should try working at a Mall?? Any advice???????? Desperate and discouraged!!
Thanks to all
You need to be less hard on yourself, the spa is slow for whatever reason, but I'm sure it's not because of you.

I don't think 40 minutes is a long time for a manicure at all. I take an hour for my mani's and at the spa where I worked they were an hour too.
That is the time slot they wanted manicures set at. If you don't feel fulfilled then maybe looking someplace else isn't a bad idea. I think alot of people are slow right now.

Good luck, chin up! :wink:



There is absolutely nothing wrong with that timing. In fact, if I were doing a basic mani in 35-40 minutes, I would be trying to find some way to make it longer. I give my express mani 30 minutes, my basic 45 minutes and my spa manis, depending on which I do an hour.
I know how hard it can be to sit there doing nothing, but us old timers call it paying our dues. It has and does happen to all of us at some point in time. It could be your location also. I won't tell you to up and leave, but I would check out other places. One other thing, having those great mom hours could be hurting you also. I know where I am, my clients work and some don't get off until after 5pm. I have a couple days a week that I stay later, and all this time is by appointment only. I book Saturdays, but if no one is booked by 5 pm on Friday, Saturday belongs to me. My clients know I do this and have no problem with it. In fact, some have even moved their regular Saturday appointments to Thursday and Friday evenings because they want me to have that time, not to mention it frees up the day for them.
Don't give up. You are new and it takes time. It was always said that it takes at least a year to build a client base...I think it takes longer, especially now. You need to get yourself out there and let people know you are there. I have gotten several great ideas here on BT by reading the posts.
I hope you rethink your situation and not give up.
Happy Nailing

My first nail salon job was in a full service salon with 5 other techs. I worked there about 6 months until I decided to rent a booth someplace else. I left there with lots of clients and more knowledge than I had just coming out of school. One lady was Asian and she taught me how to do silk wraps, one lady worked for Creative and she taught me all about their products. The others all taught me a ton of information I still use 20 years later. Check out other salons, find a place that the staff has a teachable heart. Some salons may be full of nail techs but their heart isn't in the right place to share their methods and help you learn.
I also agree with the PaintedLady, you may need to sacrifice some nights and weekends to get yourself built up with clients.
If you have a passion for nails, then that's all it takes. The rest will come as long as you stay passionate and always continue to learn new procedures. That perfectionistic personality will do you good in your nail career.
Hang in there!
As a 20 year veteran nail tech and salon owner let me pass along some things I know to be true and hopefully some of them will help you...

First and foremost you must treat this as a career and you must discipline yourself to be in the salon as much as possible. You mention that you work 4 days a week and from 9-2 (mother's hours you said). If one of those days isn't Saturday, it should be. Saturday is a big day for people to go to the salon-we are always more booked on Saturday than any other day. About your choice of hours-you need to look at the appointment book and see when the stylists are busy. Are they busier in the late afternoon and evening? Are they busier in the early morning say before 8am? You need to adjust your available hours to be in the salon when everyone else is busiest.

Second: It is NOT my job as the owner to fill your book. It IS, however, my job to make sure you are well trained, have all of the product and equipment you need to do your job and to promote the SALON. It is my job to get clients in the salon-it is YOUR job to get them to come back.. It is my job to teach you how to do that-but it is up to you to do it.

I provide a large yellow pages ad, radio advertising. and other print advertising as well as a website, email marketing, direct mail, biz cards brochures, referral cards and extensive training. I can give you all of these items and show you when and how to use them but I can't hold your hand. You have to take some responsibility for your career.

Third-When in the salon make every effort to introduce yourself to every client who comes in, tell them about yourself, offer a free hand massage, consultation, polish change-anything to get them in your chair. Offer to do a pedicure on one foot only-if they don't like it they don't have to pay. NO ONE ever says "nah-just do the one foot". If you have already done that, look busy-clean your station, read a trade magazine, practice polish techniques or nail art. Ask the stylist to refer you their clients. Make sure that you are doing the stylists nails. The more the existing clientele see you in the salon the more they will trust you and will begin to schedule with you.

Fourth: Give your biz cards to everyone and I mean EVERYONE-you meet. Ask you boss if you can do a mani/pedi special, or pair up a haircut/mani special anything to get them in your chair. I made referral cards to give to our clients. The client puts their name on the card their friend gets 30% off their first visit. The referring client gets $5 Diva Dollars to use just like cash anytime they want. Now, you may think 30% is a a big discount but would you rather get 100% of nothing or 70% of something?

Fifth: If you really want to work the "mom hours" then this needs to be your target market. Get involved with your local mom's clubs (we have 3 or 4 here) and take promotional info to them. Meet other parents at your kid's schools, give them promo material, join the PTO and give them promo material. Be involved in other mom activities. Kids play sports? Hit up the soccer moms. Ballet-hit up the dance moms. I am located across the way from a dance school-we put up fliers on their board. We get moms while their kids are at dance. Put together some "mommy and me" packages, do little Diva parties...the possibilities are endless.

If you do some of these things (and trust me, the more of them you do the quicker you will see results) you will get busy.

Oh, and remember to send thank you cards to every new client, and to every one who gives you a referral.

If you take control of your business and don't worry about how slow it is or what your boss is or isn't doing for you, you will become successful. I Guarantee it! :lol:
Re-read everything Sherri said, it's true, true, true.

I rented a booth straight out of school (financial mistake) and later worked in a spa. In the spa, I worked my behind off, and surely I was as discouraged as you. This is an opportunity for you to BUILD a clientel. Always smile. Always thank your client and give them your upmost attention. ALWAYS send a thank you note (see below) and always keep a file of their address for yourself. Always give them a card with an alternate way to contact you (cell phone in case you relocate).

In your thank you note, never start by saying "thank you for". Try this instead,

Dear Jane,

What a pleasure it was to meet you at XYZSpa yesterday. I sure hope your baby shower goes well next week (or whatever she talked about).

Please know that I am here in the mornings, but I am also glad to schedule some evenings for convenience. XYZSpa also offers gift certificates, which could be an excellent gift for the mother-to-be (or whatevever else she talked about).

Hope to see you again soon,

your name
your cell phone number

Our business is about SERVICE. Remember her, and her details. She'll be a great client, and even better FRIEND.

Best of luck to you.

Mood: Definitely not going off at Donna or anyone else.. A little frustrated with my own staff and the pathetic laziness that lies within my salon... :x

Quote:Always give them a card with an alternate way to contact you (cell phone in case you relocate).

As an owner I would be livid if one of my staff did that. To me, it would be sneaky and underhanded and I would not tolerate that. It would make me question the intent of the tech. Is she there to build a clientele at the salon or just a quick way to get clients and leave?

There is only one way to get in touch with one of my staff members.. via the salon phone. If the tech leaves and I know where they are going, I will tell the client where they are if asked. I don't offer that information.

As an owner, I try to be fair. I beat the streets on a daily basis marketing my a$$ off for the salon.. My car, my gas, taking time away from MY book...I am like Sherri, I offer a variety of marketing for them. Yellow page ad, salon brochures, biz cards, uniforms, name tags, doing the foot work for the staff. I only ask that if they are not busy to go with me on occassion and introduce themselves.

You would be surprised at how many don't want to do this. They would rather sit at their stations all day and complain. These are the ones that I could care less if they build.

Even from a techie standpoint, you need to build. You can't rely on the salon to do it for you. Some owners are quite comfortable with their clientele and will not advertise or help you at all.

As a techie, I have contacted clients before but only b/c the owners locked the doors on us and we didn't know until we showed up for work the next day. I just happened to take home some consultation sheets that the manager knew of to make some notes. but.... I did not in any way steal them.

I would hate to see another one of us give up for lack of patience. Suzy, don't throw in the towel just yet. Give it some more time and it will come. With a little patience and some advertising from you. YOu are your own best advertisement and biggest fan. There are so many of us that are perfectionists out here with you. We just have to accept it and strive to make it better... for the clients and for us
thank you ever so much for the great response!! I feel so motivated after reading all of your responses. Can't tell you how grateful I really am.
Each one of you have offered me so much to think upon!!

I hope I didn't sound whiny. I do realize that I am responsible for my own success. Like I said I really do love my Boss and I have introduced myself to a lot of salon clients everyday, I have offered many complimentary polishes, and did get a few regulars from that. I am thinking the location, (and absolutely like you all said) mothers hours ONLY are not conducive to a successful nail career. I am going to reevaluate myself my goals, and hours such as working weekends and see if that helps. I realize I have to keep educating myself, and environment thinking I may have to move on to a new location that is designated to nails only, maybe working in a fast pace environment will get my manicures moving a little faster. I feel like I have no one to compare myself to, such as shortcuts, and the right way and the wrong way of doing things, etc. thank you all again!! I think I will hang in a little longer!!
Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!! D
Its unfortunate that no one tells you how difficult building a clientele is and how to "hone your skills" because we all know students rarely leave nail school salon ready. One thing I really want to stress to you is that you are experiencing just what we ALL have experienced and gotten through it, me included. I remember if I didn't get a $2 tip I would not be able to buy gas to drive home from work! It takes almost 2 years to build a clientele and be busy enough to hone your skills. 35-40 minutes for a manicure is not unacceptable. Its actually good. Clients want to be pampered and we are so in brained into being fast here in the states because clients are used to quick discounted services......Mentors are all out there - so reach out for help. Someone near you can help with some private training I am sure. Beautytech has tons of informative issues to read and many of us can help via e mail so just ask. Do not give up - you will be good enough in time so give yourself a break and go to some classes, participate in the nailtech chats on Sunday nights, read Nails & Nailpro from cover to cover and come and see us at shows. You will be fine.
Vicki Peters
Thanks for your response Vicki

It really helps to hear that most people have gone through the same thing I am going through. It also takes a little pressure off of me, because I feel like after all this time I should be perfect at what I am doing, if Im not perfect I must not be good at it. I know everything takes time and practice, but I really just want to give the best service I can. If I am not busy with return clients maybe they didn't like my service. I know you have to start somewhere. However being in that starting out phase is very challenging! Thats why it is so great to get feedback and know that your not alone. And to get encouragement along the way.
Vicki any suggestions on how to find a mentor, because sometimes I feel that even my polishing technique needs help!! How do I find a nail tech mentor in my area??
Is it appropriate to ask someone in a salon if they would be willing to give private lessons for $ ???? Not sure where or who to approach for the private lessons.
Also I remember someone posted a very thorough explaination on how to polish, can that re reposted again?? Not sure where to find it, I believe betty from naillite posted it.
Thanks Vicki and to all who have enlightened me! wink
So sorry Betsy from Nailite, oops
I just realized after posting my comment I misspelled your name.
I wrote betty instead of Betsy.

SORRY wink

Although, I did not post this original message. I posted a similar (Newbie Blues)one. I want to personally thank you for your input! It has been a help. You made it quite clear passion (for what you do) + Innovative (setting yourself apart from the rest) + Persistence (willing to be in it for the long haul) = a successfull business. Straight to the point-thanks ladies!
I just read the post from the new tech getting frustrated--SHE TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!! I too am the only nail tech in my salon, and I am fresh out of school and newly licensed. I am renting a booth and the stylists have been GREAT about sending clients my way. I love the idea of sending thank you cards to clients, however I have not been getting addresses or even phone numbers because the salon owner books a lot of my appointments and she knows everyone! Should I just ask each person for their name, address and phone#? I do try to get away from my station when I can, but I feel a little awkward offering people a hand and arm massage sometimes. Maybe Suzy and I could try to support each other! Good luck!
Get some client profile cards from the Industry Source. Everytime a client comes in fill out the card and keep them in a binder. At every appointment update their card with what you did that day, retail sold or recommended, condition of nails etc. You can also do this in a PDA.

If you are booth renting the owner should not have a problem with you tracking your clients. If you are an employee you need to check with the owner.

I have done this for 20 years and still have some of the cards from 20 years ago!
Thanks, I will do that.
I noticed the Creative logo on the bottom of your reply--may I ask a technical question? I just recently switched to Creative's radical liquid and powder system. I didn't notice anything about a primer. Is the ScrubFresh the primer? Just checking. I could use some pointers and maybe some advice on brush sizes. Thank you!
I no longer use CND products. I did complete their masters program a few years ago.

I use Young Nails now. I find it to be much more user friendly and YN hass tons of nail art "stuff" and I do a lot of that so I like that I can get everything I need from one place.
I read your posts in the forum, you were asking about tips for getting started as a nail professional and guidance in the nail tech industry. Well I've been a nail technician for about 8 years, and I just recently took a online continuing education course called Master Nail Technician. And it was an absolutely great course to study! It helped me out so much. It talked about how you can increase your income, easy to use techniques to very difficult to perform services, top of the line products to use. And it helped increase my clientele tremendously! I honestly have much more regulars then I've ever had, since studying that course. Anyone on here, that needs a good continuing education course should check it out. It's alot of information very useful for nail techs! You could study at your own pace and it wasn't too much information.

The website is:
Just wondering if things have gotten better? I too am a new nail tech and am getting discouraged! It is hard when you need a steady paycheck --- so I work full time at my 'regular' job and part time as a nail seems that my boss at the salon doesn't feel I give enough time, yet I can't sit there all day several days a week and only bring home a measley $50 bucks! I am torn!!!
Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to thank everyone, once again on all the great responses. I wanted to share my outcome with anyone interested. I decided to leave the hair salon I was working at which was getting me down. I took some of your advice and decided to change my hours. I found a great nail salon in a mall 15 minutes away from me. Its a terrific place to work. Lots of walk ins. I work tuesday and friday nites and all day saturdays. It is the best move I have made!!!. I am working along other nail techs and learning by watching and getting tips. All the girls there are terrific, its like one big happy family. They are always willing to share ideas and tips ! just watching them helps me learn shortcuts and better techniques. I feel so much more confident, and at ease about my performance. I am so happy with my job!!! I really enjoying doing nails so so so much more. And to think I was considering quiting nails!!! I am going to start learning acrylics today!! I can't wait. thanks to everyone who offered support it really changed my thinking. And to anyone else who is feeling frustrated like I was, if you love doing nails (like one of the girls had said previously) stick with it, don't give up!! I am so glad I stuck with it and made a few changes!! Thanks to all of you !!!!
Be glad you have 35-40 min. to do a mani!! At the spa I work for, we are booked on the hor. and 1/2 hr. That means we have to complete the service and be ready for the next client! It is a very busy spa, but I feel the client is cheated, as the menu says 30+ minute manis, 1 hr. pedis. Even those of us seasoned have trouble keeping up (There are 4 nail techs). Plus, we only get 50% commission! I take in about $1200 p/wk. doing manis and pedis only. Only get 1/2 of that plus have to pay a certain amt. per service, for "product" (where the heck does the 50% go???) and a 3% credit card fee per client. Very unhappy with this situation and looking to go back to booth rental. I could not get access to any of my clients right now. They are locked up on the computer and you have to have a code to get their info. I do gel nails, but miss L&P! I have been doing acrylics for 20+ yrs.
Hang in there, as it is a slow time for the industry. Spring and summer are great for pedis. We are picking up a bit for cruise clients and Florida bound clients, and then Spring break and summer. Perhaps it is the timing. You are not slow really. Another thing I found to cut my time is to not gab so much. I tend to talk with my hands, get real involved in a conversation :lol: and go overtime! It may be the salon/spa you re at. Maybe they are just not that busy ever. Being fresh in the business is hard, if you expect to make a bunch of money right off the bat. Takes time and sometimes switching around to find your "niche".
Good luck.
Im glad that you are happy with the changes you have made. working in a mall should be quite fast paced. that will be nice for you. 45 minutes is how long it takes me for a manicure. i think you are doing just fine. my only advice for you is to stay where you are for a long time. and realize that life is what you make it - and so are careers. If you want something to happen, then make it happen. you know people will tell you to go and talk to the other clients and introduce yourself to everyone and all of that, but its hard! It is really hard to just go up to someone and essentially try to sell them something. I was so shy at first and was worried about being rejected. but when I started doing those things, i found people didnt mind at all and were in fact quite interested to know about what i had to say/show them. so if you ever feel awkward doing it, just remember that this is your chosen career, and thats how you make it successful. so you just do it anyway until you are comfortable. it really does work. I hope that you like it at the new place. keep us all posted as to how things are going there.

good luck

I feel your pain. I just received my license and started working this minth. Saturday I did a backfill and pedi and it took me 2 hr :? (maybe a little longer). It seems to take my 2hrs to do a full set and about 45min to 1 hr for a fill. I seem to be getting lifting and I too want everything perfect!

The salon I am in seems to be slow, but i hear this is a slow period for this businessjavascript:emoticon(':?'). All I can say is hang in there we wen to school for a reason and we just need to wait and I HOPE it will all pay off. I too have children and work mother hours (longer at times) :? :? :?
It is always the best to have great quality before quanity. It takes time to build and be confident in your self and your work. I'm sure these women enjoy the pampering and the conversation that goes along with it. Stick with it, I know it will pay off!!!!
I so can relate I have worked five months now in a brand new spa. I only am allowed 30 minutes for a manicure. I would like to do at lease 40 min for a manicure. I get allot of clients that have only 30 minutes because they are processing with color in between. I feel as though its not enough time to do a good job. I have had no one for spa manicures and my paraffin is not moving at all. I would like to be busier and I'm not. I'm doing everything right hand massages,handing out my cards I'm getting the word out every chance I get. They have hired a acrylic girl I used to work with and a estititcian. I am not very fond of both of them but I can be professional. I am concerned a l little that it may hurt my business..
thanks guys sorry so long...K.
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