By Maria Cientanni

Working out what to charge clients is a minefield. Quite often people say, “There is a girl down the road who charges £10 for a set of nails and I charge £20, so she will take all of my business.” Stop thinking this way!

Think of the amount of money you need to earn rather than how full your book is.

So you and Miss £10 Nails want to turnover £100 per day; she needs to do 10 sets of nails against your 5. This means she needs to have 50 clients a week up against your 25. Based over a 2 week maintenance appointment system, she needs to have 100 clients every 2 weeks to your 50. So in essence she is working twice as hard as you in every way.

She won’t be able to maintain 10 sets a day so her earnings will drop. Nobody for any length of time can work nearly 12 hours a day (bearing in mind clients arriving late, adding unplanned extras in like nail art, soak offs etc and you having couple of breaks) before it physically and possibly mentally becomes a problem. So the reality is she will look to lose at least 3 of those clients a day, dropping her down to £70 per day for £7 clients and you still earning £100 a day for your 5. Already by having your pricing correct, you are earning more than her for doing less work.

The level of service you offer is going to be different as well. Somebody who is doing 7 clients a day has to work quickly! If you’re doing 5, your working day is automatically less but your earnings are more and your quality is better. This gives you a cushion for the unpredictable client who surprises you on arrival with a weird request!

It gives you a break before the next client, a chance to relax your hands and prevent RSI – bear in mind the girl doing 7 sets of nails is now dropping down to 6 as her hands are aching so much that she can’t do anymore in a day.

Break your working day into hours, that way you know how much you need to earn per hour to get the £100 per day. Based on a 7 hour working day you need to earn a minimum of £14.29 per hour. So if you do a CND Shellac treatment that lasts 1 hour and you charge £20, the leftover £5.71 goes towards the cost of products used, tax, heating, electric, insurance etc. Miss £10 Nails will earn £8.57 per hour based on 6 clients in a 7 hour day and she still has the same £5.71 outgoings as you! Hands up who wants to earn £2.86 per hour…even using the cheapest of stuff will only save her pennies. At some point, Miss £10 Nails is going to realise she’s not even earning minimum wage and probably stop doing nails altogether.

In short, Miss £10 Nails is not your competition. Anybody who is prepared to earn £2.86 an hour is not producing great work – fact. If you are mobile or work from a room at home, charge properly and don’t think because you are not in a salon you should charge less – you still have almost the same expenditure as a salon if you are running your business correctly.

Charge for nail art (see the pricing guide below), who doesn’t want to earn an extra £5.00 for 15 minutes work? Retail files, cuticle oils, polish etc – this earns you money without physically working.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with the odd set of discounted nails if you have a cancellation, but this should never be normal practice unless you want to be Miss £10 Nails.

Nail Art Pricing Guide

Glitters that cost £3.95 = 5.2p + VAT – minimum 75 sets

Glitters that cost £7.95 = 10.6p + VAT – minimum 75 sets

Foils = 26.3p + VAT – minimum 15 sets

Glimenté = 7.9p + VAT – minimum 100 sets

Smooth It! = 28p + VAT – minimum 35 sets

Layer It! = 19p + VAT – minimum 50 sets

Neon Effect Powders – 7.9p + VAT minimum 100 sets

Chrome powders at £7.95 – 7.9p + VAT – minimum 100 sets

Rainbow Powder £10.95 – 10.9p + VAT

Stardusts – £7.95 – 7.9p + VAT – minimum 100 sets

Ombré Powders – £4.95 – 4.9p + VAT – minimum 100 sets