A good, licensed nail technician knows just what to do to provide individualized services for their clients. Between cleaning, filing, trimming, polishing, and repairing, there’s a lot that goes into perfecting the art of those perfect nails and toenails. 

Professional nail care services can be a lucrative business. If you’re looking to maximize revenue for your nail business, you’ve come to the right spot! We’ve put together eight ways to make more money as a nail tech, so you can start earning more and growing your business.

With a little creativity and ingenuity, the good news is, you’ll be on your way to nail entrepreneurship in no time. 

How Much Money Does a Nail Tech Make?

Before we dive into how to make money as a nail technician, let’s cover exactly how much money the average nail tech makes.

  • As of February 13, 2021, with roughly 2.7k thousand salaries reported, the average nail tech in the United States makes $16.24 per hour. Of course, some areas are higher and some are lower. 
  • Columbus, Ohio, for example, has an average nail technician salary of $21.31 per hour, while Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has an average hourly wage of $16.07.

How much money a nail tech makes depends on the geographic location and can vary from state to state. According to ZipRecruiter’s database, the average salary boils down to $16 per hour or $33,077 per year, but can fluctuate between $7-$25 per hour.

How to Make More Money as a Nail Technician

While the average nail technician in the U.S. makes roughly $16 an hour, there are ways to maximize your revenue and exceed that number. Below, are some of the top ways to increase your earning potential as a nail tech.

1. Upselling Services During Booking

The idea of upselling services during booking is a tactic used by many nail technicians and manicurists. The key with upselling is to find the sweet spot — you don’t want to pressure your client, but you also want to let them know what other services are available. 

A full spa manicure, for example, with a massage, costs more than a classic manicure or polish change. For you, as the nail tech, this service may not seem too different. For the customer, however, it’s a chance to bask in something luxurious. If you’re on the hunt for ideas on how to make money as a nail technician, upselling mani/pedi combos, spa services, or nail art is a good technique to master in order to increase nail business sales.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when working on the art of upselling.

  • Be Honest: When clients come into a nail shop, they want to be treated with honesty and authenticity. Professional nail services like a full set of beautiful artificial nails can get pricey, so be upfront and straightforward with the costs beforehand. 
  • Try a Consultation: Whether you’re doing an email consultation or a verbal consultation, talk to your client before you start the nail services. If you’re already halfway through, they may be less likely to succumb to adding on more services. However, with a good chat beforehand where you get to know them, their likes and dislikes, you can work together to fine-tune the perfect nail treatment. 
  • Consider the Season: Is your client going on summer vacation to a tropical place where they’ll be swimming a lot? Or maybe, a winter getaway during Christmas and the New Year where they’ll need a gel mani/pedi that lasts a while? Consider the season and work your upselling tactics into it. Remember, your clients want their nail services to last and look good (which works to your benefit). 

2. Charge More for Popular Time Slots

It’s no surprise that when you’re in the nail business, certain time slots are more popular than others. If you’re curious about how to make money as a nail technician, consider charging more during peak times. 

You may find your schedule fills up more after 5pm on weekdays and in the late morning on weekends. Some of the seasoned pros in the beauty industry crank up their prices a bit during these time slots — because they can (high demand leads to higher profitability). 

Not sure what your most popular booking times are? With StyleSeat’s Smart Pricing system, we do the work for you. Our data science analyzes your schedule to identify your most popular times and strategically raise your prices to match their true value.

3. Find Higher Quality Clients

When discussing how much an average nail tech makes, the profits can often come down to the quality of the clients. Recurring clients offer consistency. For a nail artist or nail salon owner, you might see your regular clients once a week. A consistent client who comes in once a week or once a month, whether they’re getting a gel polish set or a simple manicure, is beneficial to a small business owner. 

At StyleSeat, we’re all about helping you build a high-value client list. Here’s how we do that.

  • We Give You Exposure: To help you get exposure to millions of clients, we run ads and promote your profile across search engines, social media, and email campaigns. 
  • We Market Your Business: With StyleSeat, you can get the Instagram book button and run your own email marketing campaigns and promotions. Learn more about how you can boost your business with these nail salon advertising ideas
  • We Keep Your Regular Clients Happy: Consistent clients are quality clients. To help keep your current clients happy, we send personalized reminders and tools to help them get the booking times they want more often. If you’re wondering how to improve your nail salon business, StyleSeat’s tools make running and scaling your business easy.

4. Monitor Your Product

In the salon industry and nail salon business, your margin refers to the cost that it takes you to perform your service versus what you charge to perform the service. It’s an often overlooked part of the beauty business when nail techs are just getting started, but it’s important to map out every expense before you get started. 

Often, when a customer comes in to get a manicure or pedicure, they’ll want to sample polish (and, when added up, those little bits of polish impact your supply and lead to increased costs overall). Nail polish swatches are an excellent way to conserve your polish stash and ensure customers can still get the color they want.

5. Make Payments Easy

When discussing how nail technicians make money, sometimes, it’s all about how easy their payments are. It’s important to make your payment process simple and seamless. After all, no one wants to be stressed out when they’re getting their nails done — it’s a relaxing act of self-indulgence, after all. 

With StyleSeat, we process all your payments for you. We automatically charge the card on file after the appointment ends. Your client can also add a custom tip, if they’d like, from the text message we send them after the appointment.

We’ve found that clients tend to tip up to 40 percent more when paying through StyleSeat. You sign up for free, and we help you maximize your profits. 

6. Try Mobile Nail Services

A mobile nail technician is a hot commodity. As a mobile nail tech, you drive throughout your area of choice and deliver your services to your client. In many cases, this level of catering to your clients can come with the promise of good payment.

In addition to doing a nail treatment for just one client, you can also offer your services as a package. Having a nail painting party is a fun all-ages activity, from birthday parties for little ones to bachelorette gatherings. You can also work out the packages beforehand, which is helpful and offers some room for you to negotiate and upsell (i.e. offering mani/pedi combos, hand and foot massages, or partnering with another beauty salon professional for cosmetologist services).  If you want to cast a wider net, you can also offer to do different types of nails like polygel or dip powder.

You can also bring a bag of products, like polish kits, to sell during your mobile service treatments as well.  

Start Maximizing Your Revenue

When it comes to how to make money as a nail technician, there are plenty of strategies you can start implementing today. From fine-tuning your art of upselling to working on that automatic payment system, making money as a nail tech is similar to a lot of other businesses out there. It takes dedication, research, and experience.

If you’re looking for help along the way, StyleSeat is here for you. Get listed with us for free today and start your path toward nail tech success. Because with StyleSeat, we don’t just help you run your business — we help you grow it.



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