If you choose the path of an entrepreneur; you will soon discover the radical difference between working for yourself and working for someone else. With self-employment, comes many freedoms. It also happens to come with countless responsibilities. In the nail industry, there isn’t always a clearly laid out path for career advancement, performance reviews or automatic salary increases with benefits. Those kind of money-moves are usually self-ordained. So how do we get there? As nail pros navigate towards success, we owe it to ourselves to revisit our earning vision, critique our own productivity and question anything that comes to us as an industry standard. One idea we’d like most to challenge is never doing a full set again.
When you begin to ask questions and challenge the status quo; be prepared to take in and act on new revelations. Who’s ready for this?
LIFE CYCLE OF A FULL SET
Track the life cycle of a full set of enhancements from the moment it’s applied. Have you ever asked yourself how long the average full set wears? It has its own rhythm and it tends to look like this: Full Set + Fill + Fill + Full Removal. It’s common for a nail tech to allow the client to wear their set for up to two fills. Then the next appointment after the second fill, tends to be a complete removal to start a new full set. This cycle repeats every three months. This is what most techs do and this is also what most clients come to expect.
Question 1. Does this kind of schedule actually work to your advantage?
THE BREAK DOWN
One reason why this Full Set + Fill + Fill + Full Removal (and repeat) service cycle initially makes sense is if the gel or acrylic product you use for the enhancement “peaches” or discolors as it ages. The color match might be off due to a repair or wear. Obviously, you want to insure color consistency. This is not an issue with YN products. However, there are other product lines out in the marketplace that do. Another reason is you might go this route is because you’ve been told that nails need to breathe. This is like an old wives tale like sitting too close to the television will make you go blind. Simply not true. Natural nails do not need to breathe. And if they did, allowing them to breathe would mean exposing them to air for longer than the quick minutes between filing/soaking off and reapplication of the new set. The real reason most nail techs go this route is for the potential cash infusion that comes full removal and brand new full set. We’ve been guilty of this in the past but we’ve changed the way we book. A regular fill tends to be priced at the lower rate of 50% of the full set. This is when the pricing structure breaks down and fails to support your business.
Question 2. How can a fill service be better positioned for profitability?
As a business owner, you have to be awake to what you’re doing and why you are doing it. Auto-pilot, is not an option. Make every client count. What part of your income does each account for? Is your schedule booked for higher earning or breaking even? This is where strategic thinking comes in. Take a look at the entire picture. Your book is like a puzzle that when put together illustrates your annual income. When you fall into the rhythm of a full clientele; full sets will mostly happen when you squeeze in a new client. The bulk of the work will be fills and eventually rebalance services. Make the price of a fill worth your while. Price should always reflect the time and effort this takes. Nail art and other embellishments are add-ons too. A daily sales goal is a great motivator, but make sure it’s realistic. Calculate how many fills and full sets you need to do a day. If you plan on being booked solid, that looks like an average of 10-12 clients per day. You don’t have to work as hard on your fills. You should be able to lay in your fills in less time than it takes to do a full set. If you price your fills properly; you’re going to be able to boost your income.
Question 3. How do you pace yourself to protect your physical and mental health? What service do you use to anchor your day?
If you’ve priced your fills at 50% of a full set, start gradually raising your prices by 20%. A half hour fill doesn’t mean that you should charge less. Your speed and efficiency are an asset. Your pricing is not based on time. Your pricing is based on service, on quality and on treating people right. Don’t be afraid to do this. We know especially now, that a lot of people are scared of this because they don’t want to lose clients. If a client wants nice nails, they have to pay for them. It’s not an unreasonable request. Being able to do nice nails is a lot of work. If you don’t value what you do, then your client won’t either. A lot of people are at home right now giving it their hair and nails their DIY amateur best. They will understand more than ever that what nail techs do is a skilled art. When salons open, you will find clients who appreciate what you do.
Question 4. What is the sweet spot pricing for your work and how is your service more valuable than the salon down the street?
Here is a roadmap to pricing. A Full Set should command $90. A Basic Fill is $60. What we mean by a Fill is that the growth in the back literally gets filled in. The front gets shortened and the nails are one color. A gel polish with a basic fill is a 30 minute service. We know that pricing may vary by region. Just know that like a nice meal or a nice pair of shoes; clients will pay for a nice set of nails in a safe and clean environment with great customer service. A full set should run you an hour. If you are still working towards that we always recommend you focus first on your technique and then your speed second. A Rebalance is that service for existing clients. It restructures the existing nail enhancement because of growth and weight displacement. A Rebalance is priced at $80. Cutting in smile lines, is an additional $10. Nail Art is $5 per additional color. Reevaluate your business and pricing structure. Set the goal to increase over the next 12-24 months. Don’t go about a price increase in one super inflated move. It won’t turn out well.
Question 5. Can you set up reminders every three months to increase your prices? What month and dates do the prices fall on and when do you plan to inform your clients?
**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, “Biz Talk: Never Do A Full Set Of Nails Ever Again!”
***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion:
21 May 2020