Yes!! Added to your cart!

When My Clients Need A Reality Check


There are our expectations and then there is real life. They often share a few threads of  similarity but not much. Now let’s talk about client expectations versus reality in the nail salon. If the walls could talk, we’d have a hit TV drama on our hands! Are you familiar with the phrase, rigorous honesty? It’s brutal honesty’s softer and kinder cousin; but it’s no less direct. Rigorous honesty is the thing that gives you permission to speak the truth in every situation. It’s an observation made without fear and wrapped in kind intentions. It isn’t always easy to deliver but it will always set you free. A nail tech needs to be ready to have these hard conversations with ourselves and our clients so that everyone’s expectations are managed.   

Surprisingly, real life gets a bad rap. We kind of like it living in the present, the here and now. Wouldn’t it be better to claim what you’re good at and the services you can deliver with your own major style? Knowing who you are and what you do best is a good thing. It’s a real thing. Being honest about who you are, will carry you further in this business (with less effort) than trying to be someone you’re not.  There is no point giving the client what they want if you’re going to fail to deliver. It’s not good for you and not good for them. This would be a good time to whip out the social media and offer them a choice of similar great options that you can produce with one hand tied behind your back.  

So what happens when your client wants a certain type of nails and the reality of their nails or wallet won’t match their expectations? The most common situation here is when a client expects to pay less for a set. Again this is where the truth and a clearly stated price list can save the day. First take a minute to look at the reference the client sent you in advance or walked in with. Can you do this set of nails? Can you do this set in the time allotted for this client’s service? Can you do this set of nails in the allotted time and for the amount they have in mind? Your job is to know the answer to all these questions. Have a straight talk about the complexity of the nails and the cost of the service up front and not at the end. Don’t waste time and energy on a set you can’t agree to before you start. This is your business, you are in charge. Last we checked the purpose of running a business was to make a profit and earn a good living for yourself. The rigorous honesty we’re talking about is a part of your customer service. Nothing to apologize about here!

Is the customer always right? Nope, but there are exceptions. Check in with yourself. Are you always trying to make people happy at your own emotional or financial expense? Are you ok if a person walks away from you with a bad impression? Are you somehow attracted to demanding people?  If the answer to the previous questions is yes; you have a problem and not your clients. Do you now see how the reality check works both ways? Don’t allow yourself to get run over by a client’s unrealistic fantasy. Having clearly stated policies on your social media and booking confirmation emails can help with this. Your booking/cancellation policy, request for a picture of current nails and the set they want to have done prior to booking, etc.; these policies protect you, minimize work-related stress, and keep you loving what you do for work every day.    

If someone with nail nubs shows up and there isn’t enough “nail estate” to work her desired set of two inch stilettos for a $30 bargain price, how do you proceed? Pull out the price list and point to the set of stilettos. Next discuss nail health and the necessary foundation needed to create the stiletto. Then walk your client through the multi-visit months-long process in which this look might be achieved IF they can keep their hands out of their mouth. If the client still insists, offer the disclaimer that you are proceeding with this one particular set with serious concerns about frequent repairs and breakage. Pull out the price list one more time and show them how much repairs cost. If you share the reality that these nails are not going to last, their expectation has been reframed. It’s now on them, not on you. Don’t be afraid to tell it like it is.

**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, “WHEN MY CLIENTS NEED A REALITY CHECK” originally aired on November 10, 2020.

***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion: