In the 2012 issue of Nails Magazine, they list the 2012-2013 industry statistics. According to their study, in the state of Utah there were 1,753 nail techs and only 341 nail salons. Does this mean that most Utah nail technicians choose to work from home? Or could it mean something else entirely? Whatever the case, I know there are a lot of nail technicians who choose to work at home after graduating from school and passing their boards.

So, how do you build your clientele? There are a lot of different ways you can get started.


  • Punch Cards: Offer a punch card for each client. Once their 10th service has been fulfilled, or once they’ve spent a certain amount of money, give them a discounted or free service.
  • Referral program: For every three people they refer (or whatever number you’re comfortable with), they receive a discounted or free service
  • Extra Services: Offer a free pedicure with every third manicure, or offer free glitter with a future appointment. The possibilities are endless here, and can be interchangeable with each client depending on what they like done.
  • Extra Product: Small bottles of cuticle oils, top coats, or lotions are great incentives and can be given after the first appointment as a “thank you for choosing me” gift, or at future appointments as a “thank you for coming back” present.


  • If you haven’t read through Sarah’s previous post about knowing how valuable you are, stop right now and read through it. She talks about the smartest way to figure out what you should charge for your services.
  • If you are priced correctly and if there was math involved as opposed to guessing, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your pricing. We’ve all had that one client who tries to get you to charge less, or who refuses to tip once you up your prices. But if you know what you’re worth and know that what you’re charging is fair and is MAKING YOU MONEY, it’s easier to stick to your guns on pricing.
  • Remember that certain price ranges bring different clientele. If you’re too scared to charge more money and go with lower pricing, it might be easier to book people at first. I know from personal experience that clients looking for good deals don’t necessarily value you or your time. I had way more last minute cancellations and no-shows at lower pricing.
  • Raising your pricing can be scary because, inevitably, you will lose clients. However, you’ll also gain ones who know that paying a little more money gets them better quality of nails.


  • Clients appreciate nail techs who keep up with the trends and new products that keep coming out.
  • When you are knowledgable about nails as well as your products, clients take notice! Don’t be scared to talk about the science behind your products while you’re using them. Don’t be scared to contradict your clients when they talk about how bad acrylic is for their nails. Don’t be afraid to explain why they might feel that heat spike, and definitely don’t be afraid to educate them (kindly) when they don’t understand why their nails are damaged after picking off all of their product.
  • A smart nail tech who knows her stuff is more desirable than one who can get you in and out of the chair in 20 minutes and doesn’t talk to you. Remember to make your client’s time in your chair relaxing and enjoyable, and don’t forget to educate!
  • Take more classes!!! When you take time out of your schedule to learn more, your clients notice. Everything you learn is beneficial! Remember that you don’t have to stick to your product’s education classes to learn how to shape better, move quicker, or paint smoother. Someone once told me that if I ever had an opportunity to take an education class, to DO IT! That piece of advice has never let me down.


  • It’s not a gossip session FOR YOU. It’s not a therapy session FOR YOU. It should be a time for your clients to relax, regenerate, and get pampered! Remember to be a good listener and to try to keep the appointment positive.


Keep these ideas in mind, and building a clientele that will stick with you will happen faster than you think. Just be patient and keep working hard!