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Hello. I'm new here. I stumbled onto this site so I hope you can help me Shy I'm starting school in a couple of weeks to become a nail technician. I was googling some things, and I typed in nail technician. One of the top matches was nail tech salary. I decided to look at it. Now I think that was a bad idea... I'm scared I won't be able to support myself. I saw things ranging from some nail techs make seven dollars an hour (which is scary because that's less than minimum wage here), some sites were saying nail techs make ten dollars an hour, and one site where this lady was saying nail techs make as much as they charge for services (one woman said she charged $35 for a full set and she can do a full set in and hour so she makes $35 an hour.... Is that right?), One woman said it took her ten years to start making $14 an hour.

I'm not getting into this because of money or for some get quick rich scheme. Please understand that.... I love doing my own nails, so I figured I'll love doing other people's nails. Don't get me wrong. Loving what you do will make your job and life fun, but I also want to be able to support myself. I live with my dad currently. I want to be able to move out. I want to pay my own bills. I understand that I will need to build up a clientele to get things started. But now I'm worried and wondering can you support yourself as a nail tech? Do any of you have a second jobs? Or have you had to take second jobs? Am I just worrying myself to much? Please help me Huh
Everyone will tell you there are so many variables that it's hard to call it.
....and no you can not calculate it based on services fees for an hour service.

First of all, if you work for someone else you get an hourly or a percentage of that $35 (usually 45-60%).

Second, if you work for yourself (booth rent or have your own space) then you must deduct all of your costs, rent, insurance, utilities, product, supplies, etc per hour worked then your total service dollars, so no definitely not $35 an hour.

Don't mean to discourage you at all...but it may take some time before $$$ success is realized.
This September I will be in business for 8 years, I live on a very busy street in a small town. I thought business would be booming right from the start and it was so not the case. I only really started making money last year. I jumped up 10 g's in one year, I did raise my prices that added to my benefit for sure.

I am a home based business and if I had to support myself then I would have closed within the first few years. My husband is the financial supporter of this household, so my extra money was just that, extra. So it really just depends on what you're looking for, I am basically capping myself at the wage I made last year so I do not have to charge clients tax, nor am I willing to pay tax. Mind you if I was as busy during the year as I am in the summer months then I would change my mind. I am only crazy busy in summer, but keeping steady all year.
So really think this through and make your decision, I think it would've been in my best interest to work for a salon then venture out on my own but I have no regrets. So maybe doing that at first will benefit u, take care and good luck.
There was a recent thread on techs salaries - I'll link to it at the end of my post, as well as what I typed out about the potential to earn 100k.

What you earn in this industry really depends on what you put into it, and how your menu and calendar are structured. There are many people in this industry who are not making minimum wage - both in the discount salons where workers are not paid properly, and with techs who are doing booth rental or opening their own salons.

I believe that there is money to be made in this industry, it just takes a lot of work to get there, and unless you can land a job at a busy salon that will pay well, it takes time to start earning decent money. If you decide to go the booth rental route (or your own salon), then you do need to be prepared to not make much money for the first couple years until your book is built up. I started out with a set amount of cash and purchased what I could to get started, then I turned all my profits back into the salon and expanding retail for the first few years. Actually, because I moved about a year in to my start, I think I was close to three years in before I started paying myself regularly.

Once you have it built up - if you've structured pricing well - the income potential is really good.

Here is the other thread:

This was my calculation:

I think it is entirely achievable for a solo tech to earn 100k, and if you're in the right area/niche then I think it's possible in the 2-3 year mark. I was on track for that when I had to slow things down due to some health issues that are not treatable.

My average income was $58.77 per service. This number includes retail sales and art add-ons. I have a no gratuity salon, so there are no tips included in that number. Obviously I don't work full time, but if my health hadn't gotten in the way this is what a 48 week year might look like:

10 services per day =587.70
5 days/wk = 2,938.5 per week
48 weeks = $141,048

I used 48 weeks because it allows for more vacation time as well as training time. I've spoken with many techs who say they do 12-14 services per day, so 10 should be do-able even if you only fill your schedule to about 85-90% full - which I consider to be fully booked!

I think that if you're hitting those numbers, your entire overhead should only be 20% of the gross, which leaves you $112,838 less the wholesale price of retail (about 14k by these numbers), which puts your net profit at just under 100k.

You can see my menu/pricing on my website to get an idea for the prices I charge to generate my service average. I am a solo tech with no assistant, and I do have a nice variety of retail. It accounts for about 30% of my gross, which makes a big difference in take home pay. I generally only sell to my clients, and they appreciate the added service of being able to do some last minute gift shopping and saving an extra errand.

ps... I know these numbers might look unrealistic to some, but don't underestimate what you can charge if you build your business a certain way - and don't underestimate the power of retail dollars. I have literally had days where my gross receipts were $850-1,000 for a single DAY where I only completed around SIX services! My retail items range from $5-60, so I'm not selling anything expensive, AND I do NOT "sell" to my clients. I talk about retail items I am excited about, but really it's because they have an hour or so to sit looking at my retail items, and they truly do appreciate being able to save time by doing a little shopping at a business they are already going to be visiting!
The first thing you must do before crunching any numbers is make sure that you do awesome nails. If your clients are not "shouting off the rooftops" about you, it will be difficult to grow your business. Your clients are your advertising. Word of mouth is needed for anyone starting out.

If you have discount shops in your area, ask yourself "Why are clients going to come to me instead of the discount shops?" What will you be offering that will set you apart?

Crunch all the numbers you want, but first practice your skill until you perfect it!
Thank you for your help.... I wasn't talking about making $100,000 a year. That would be nice lol I was just talking about after school. I want to be able to move out, and have my own apartment, and pay my own bills. I don't really have a definitive answer about how much someone will make. I was just wondering after school could you move out and support yourself? but thank you guys Shy
The 100k was just copied from another thread - looking at the math, because there are so many places that will tell you that it can't be done. Supporting yourself is still a very indefinite amount, because what you can live on might not be what someone else can live on. I will hit 40-45k working part time this year, but I wouldn't be able to live on that - though you or someone else might.
It could take a while to be able to be independent. As was stated earlier, your work can make or break you. Your work ethic will do the same. You'll need to do the 'chair time' which means you need to spend time at the salon even when you have no clients. Early mornings, lunch time, and late evenings are when most people need their nails done.

If you can, you need to plan on staying with your Dad for a while until you get established, that could take at least a year depending on how good your work is. Even then, it could be pretty tough on your own for a while. There's going to be weeks where you're swamped and other weeks, *crickets chirping*. That's why so many wash out in this business.