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any advice for small town/country nail techs
#1
Right now, I work in a small city (about 50,000 people) at a busy shop. I have a good clientele there. I am considering opening up a small shop of my own about 25 miles away in a small country town (about 5,000). There are no other nail salons in this or any of the neighboring small towns, so I would have no local competition. The commercial rent is significantly cheaper than in the city. Also, I live much closer to the small town. My main concern is whether I would be busy enough to sustain my shop in such a small area. Are there any small town/country nail techs out there who might have some advice for me?
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#2
I had a salon in a very small historic town. It is on the lake, and near a resort area, so there were a couple of B&Bs in the area, but I saw only very minimal clients from that. There were people moving into the area- mostly retirees that wanted to live on the lake. We had some summer people but not enough to base a business on. I started out as the only nailtech in the town and business was good. A lot of people don't want to go out of town if a service is offered close by. I became friends with some of the real estate people and the ones that did gift baskets for new buyers put my card, menu, and a coupon for a free service in the basket. The ones that didn't do a basket kept my cards and menu in their offices and when someone asked about what could be found locally, they were given my card and info, along with other business info. One agent had a list that included groceries, dentist, doctors, school info, etc. that they gave clients. I opened a business account at one of the banks and left discount cards for the employees. When I went to get gas at the convenient stores I left cards and gave a service to the person behind the counter. I had left a salon to open my own nailusiness and they gave me refferals. I got so busy that I had to have someone come in to help- that is another story- I won't go there.
You can make it in a small town with a little planning. And if your clients love you now, some may even follow- I had some that did and made it a day trip- shopping and lunch. Good luck.
Always be kind....you get farther.
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#3
One thing to consider would be how close the small town is to other larger towns. Or how far away is the closest nail salon. My distant cousin's wife has the only nail salon in a country town. It's so isolated that people who live neighboring country towns have to come to her also because she is still the closest to them. So business is pretty good for her since she gets clients from her town and the surrounding areas.
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#4
Another thing to consider is the town itself. I live in a small town (pop 3000) and it was VERY HARD for me to get an inroad here because I am an "outsider"! However, only with women my own age. The fact that there are 4 other towns within 40 miles of me helped me gain my clientelle and prove to those snobs that I knew what I was doing! But in those first months, I would have starved if not for the young girls and older ranch wives that showed no bias.
Claudia
C-C My Nails
Newcastle, WY
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#5
In your small town, how many ppl there travel to get nail services? If you think there's significant amount then it could work. I'd also look at what's offered in the larger town compared to what in the smaller town. Are ppl whiling to go to the bigger town for groceries, Dr.'s, shopping, etc.? If they do, then it's likely they're already doing their nails in the larger town. Your prices and work needs to be competitive to what's in the smaller town. Honestly, you might be able to charge a bit less since you're paying less for rent, and saving on gas to go work. You'll need to decide how much you need to make it the smaller town, which is obviously going to be less that where you are now. Who knows, you may end up making more!
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#6
I just opened in a fairly small town - about 6,000 I think - in March this year. I do also have an Island community to draw from, but I don't think the population is that high - maybe another 10,000? I have done way better than I expected since I went out on my own (I get between 2-8 new clients each week just by referral in a location with no real street frontage), so I feel very fortunate. Until recently, there were 3 discount walk-in salons (one just went out of business) and there are two other techs working in hair salons, and I know they are both struggling. It really depends on you, and what you put into it and how many people live within a reasonable driving distance.
Candice
Nail Tech/Owner
http://www.PanacheNailStudio.com
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#7
I am a small town nail chic,,, and I'm in a town of 3500 and my advice to you is to do your services above and beyond what anyone else can and will do. I have been in business for 4 years, and yes the first year no money, but I was able to pay the bills... Patience.. continue, you will have to work some long hours, and give up some of your time, but in the end it will pay off. I give a hell of a massage with my pedi, I go clear up to the knee, and I don't charge for any of my nail art. I also offer sculptured nails and Gelish has been a huge hit for me and my clients. I always rebook people before they leave and right now I have it least a 2 week waiting list. THE KEY IS TO DO WHATEVER YOU DO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. Make sure you are super clean, only use one file per person and either throw it away or send home with them, and pumice sponges, open it in front of them and throw it away in front of them. Always have cold water and remember what is talked bout in the shop stays at the shop. Especially in small towns. If you want to chat more about this feel free to email me ill be happy to share some marketing things I have done.
Buffie / Buffie's Place, SW Kansas...



We are not in Kansas anymore toto!!
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#8
Thank you all for the advice! I'm going to keep saving my money and educating myself more about the area I'm hoping to open up in (talk to other business owners in the area, contact the chamber of commerce, etc). I don't want to make any rash decisions, so I'm going to give it a lot of thought and prayer through the rest of the year. By next spring, I'm hoping that I will be ready to make my move. Thanks again, ladies, for your advice and encouragement!
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#9
buffie30 :
> I am a small town nail chic,,, and I'm in a town of 3500 and my advice to you
> is to do your services above and beyond what anyone else can and will do.
> I have been in business for 4 years, and yes the first year no money, but I
> was able to pay the bills... Patience.. continue, you will have to work some
> long hours, and give up some of your time, but in the end it will pay off.
> I give a word removed of a massage with my pedi, I go clear up to the knee, and I
> don't charge for any of my nail art. I also offer sculptured nails and Gelish
> has been a huge hit for me and my clients. I always rebook people before they
> leave and right now I have it least a 2 week waiting list. THE KEY IS TO DO
> WHATEVER YOU DO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. Make sure you are super clean, only
> use one file per person and either throw it away or send home with them, and
> pumice sponges, open it in front of them and throw it away in front of them.
> Always have cold water and remember what is talked bout in the shop stays
> at the shop. Especially in small towns. If you want to chat more about this
> feel free to email me ill be happy to share some marketing things I have done.
>

I completely agree!!! I am in a small town (pop. 3000) and am booked weeks out. Alot of that is because I am very nitpicky and according to others, I am "the best" for miles around (I always feel silly repeating that, have trouble believing it) Smile
They can go 30 min to an hour away and get NSS nails for less than my price, but the quality is no where near close to mine. We also have another nail tech in town, but she is not very good. I have had a few go to her, only to come back saying my work is worth the $$ (well duh, lol).
It also really helps that I am originally from this town, alot of people know me, my family,etc. It took me a couple years to get to where I am, but it you are patient, and keep improving your work, word will get around....and we all know how well it travels in small towns! Soon you will have to have a waiting list!!
Hillary
Nail Tech for 11+ years!
Mommy to 3 beautiful girls, Laila-8, and Jaylee-7, and Evy (9-7-12)!
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#10
Hi StacyJean,
I'm just curious where you're located in Ohio? I'm also in Ohio! Wondering if you're close by. Good luck to you!
Nothing But Nails
Galleria of Salons
123 W 3rd St
Dover, OH 44622
330-827-8878
 Reply
#11
Starfish: Sorry it took me a few days to respond, I don't get to check the forums as often as I'd like. I live in Cortland, Ohio. I work in Niles, Ohio. It's in the northeastern part of the state, near the PA border, about 20 miles from Youngstown.
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