Starting your own mobile nail business

Superscript
04 June 2021
7 minute read

Thinking of starting your own mobile nail business but feeling overwhelmed? Fear not – we’ve put together a guide to help you, with the wisdom of three successfully established mobile nail technicians: Marta Nagorska, Founder of Furious Filer; Natalie Rose, Founder of Nails by Natalie Rose; and Sabina Uzunovic, Founder of Nailed by Sabina.

Know your market

No matter what type of business, setting goals starts with knowing your market inside out.

Knowing your target audience will help you build a solid foundation by being able to identify and tailor to each and every client personally.

Sabina Uzunovic, Founder of Nailed by Sabina

Price right

Is your core market after a quick no-frills experience at a lower price, or willing to pay more for luxury touches and products? Both offer business opportunities, but try mixing the two and your services won’t cater to either!

Equally, know your worth. Sometimes this can be challenging, especially if you started out by giving free treatments to friends and discounts to friends of friends, but ultimately it's important to remember that your skill and time is worth paying for – and don’t forget to factor in your overheads.

Being mobile, you’re saving the time travelling to and from a salon… you still have overheads, travel, product, training, and also your time to cover.

Natalie Rose, Founder of Nails by Natalie Rose

Not sure where to start? Check what your competitors are charging.

Reach your market

Once you’ve identified your market, it’s time to get the word out and make yourself known. Getting established is half the battle at the beginning. As you build up your client base, word-of-mouth recommendations should keep you busy with a steady stream of bookings, but it’s normal for things to take a little while to take off.

Make yourself easy to find online

Google

No surprises here, but one of the most common ways for people to discover new businesses is Google!

In fact, each month in the UK ‘mobile nail technician near me’ is searched 1,600 times. So if you’re not appearing in the results, you’re potentially missing out on quite a bit of business!

How to show up on Google

Make it easy for people to find you online, by being consistent. Make sure all your social media accounts are the same name (or close enough). It looks good and also means people can find you easily.

Natalie Rose, Founder of Nails by Natalie Rose

Social media

A no-brainer for those in the beauty industry, social media platforms offer ample opportunity to amplify your brand and drum up new business. This is because they enable you to:

  • Present your work
  • Showcase your glowing testimonials
  • Market any promotions or competitions
  • Makes it easier for those on social media platforms to get in touch

Make an effort to be consistent in posting regular content on your social platform. Use social media to advertise your business, ask your friends and family to support you by sharing and commenting on your page.

Natalie Rose, Founder of Nails by Natalie Rose

Facebook

Facebook is well set up for businesses, offering free business pages. Note that you'll need a personal Facebook account in order to set this up, but it's pretty straightforward.

Find out how to set up your Facebook business page.

Instagram

Given the visual nature of nails, Instagram is the perfect place to show off your portfolio of work.

Not sure where to start? Check out this fab guide to Instagram for salons.

Website

Setting up your own website may seem a little more complicated than signing up for a social media business profile, but after the initial set up it should take less time to maintain!

At minimum, your website only needs to contain a few basic things. Essentially:

  • Your price list
  • Contact details

Think of it as your shop front – visual appeal matters. Adding a little information about yourself and even a photo can help customers to feel more comfortable inviting you into their home! Plus featuring your Google reviews, or testimonials, can go a long way.

Experiment with offers

Sometimes a small offer can be enough to entice someone to book in with you immediately, rather than popping your leaflet in a drawer (where it’ll inevitably sit for months).

However, make sure whatever offer you're promoting is actually something you can afford - and don’t forget to include terms and conditions! You don’t want to make the mistake of a never-ending offer. You may find that for getting yourself off the ground, a simple X% off your first treatment is the way to go, but there are more creative ways to experiment with offers.

Promos for nail businesses that don’t undermine your prices

Attracting and keeping customers keen through offers is a balancing act. You don’t want to end up only attracting customers who always go for offers rather than developing loyalty to a particular nail technician. This is why offering the best level of service possible is super important (but we’ll come to that later).

For inspiration, here are four offer ideas that don’t have to undermine your prices:

  1. Packages (e.g. mani-pedi discount)
  2. Loyalty cards (e.g. 'get your 10th manicure free')
  3. Happy hours (to encourage business at quieter times)
  4. Referrals

Get on top of taxes

The bane of many a self-employed person’s life: business admin, or more specifically, taxes.

Dealing with tax can be a little daunting, especially if you have never done it before, so give yourself plenty of time to understand what expenses and income you have to track. It will make your job a lot easier and a lot less stressful if you have all of your documents in one place at the end of a tax year.

Marta Nagorska, Founder of Furious Filer

For more tips to get you tax confident, check out our guide to taxes for the self-employed.

Get the right insurance for your nail business

As insurance providers for beauty businesses, we’d be mad not to mention it – and it’s possibly the second-most disliked admin task for business owners after tax, but getting the right insurance for your nail business really is important.

Top tip: Business insurance is an easy one to tick off the to-do list – there’s no need to leave it until the last minute as you can get a quote 30 days’ in advance of your start date.

Provide five-star customer service

…and watch those dazzling five-stars reviews roll in!

This presents yet another reason to make sure your Google My Business listing is set up and ready to receive glowing customer reviews.

How to provide top-notch customer service

  • Be punctual - put your best foot forwards! We can all forgive and understand that being a few minutes late is sometimes unavoidable, but most of the time it is! Value your time and your customer’s time by arriving on the dot. It may seem obvious, but things like syncing your work calendar to your phone and - if you’re driving - making sure your petrol’s topped up in advance
  • Be prepared - sort out your equipment before appointments, making sure you always turn up with the right equipment. If you buy things in bulk, be sure that when you decant products into a more portable form that you label them clearly.

Products such as acetone, sanitising spray, hand cream and so on, can easily be decanted into travel size bottles which not only take less space in your kit bag but also are a lot lighter to carry. Note that it’s important to label things to avoid any confusion and it’s nice for the client to be able to see what you are using during the treatment.

Marta Nagorska, Founder of Furious Filer

  • Create rapport - but be aware that everyone’s different and while some customers may be up for chatting away, others may enjoy a quieter experience!
  • Accept feedback - the good and the less good. Many mistakes are a simple matter of miscommunication. Not quite the right colour? Offer to fix it, if you can. You trimmed their nails too short? Apologise. Rather than arguing that they didn’t give you the right information, it’s more productive to accept customer feedback, and simply apologise if something’s been lost in translation. An argument can lead to a bad review. A simple apology may actually put a positive spin on things and end in a positive review. Result!

    Networking and word of mouth are your most useful tools. People are more likely to trust and use a business that is recommended by a friend.

Natalie Rose, Founder of Nails by Natalie Rose

Never stop learning

Last but not least, never lose your passion! One way to do this is by constantly up-skilling and learning new techniques and how to work with different products.

Perfect your craft. There is the saying “Practise makes perfect”. Consider each appointment as a lesson to perfect your skills and improve yourself. There is always room for improvement.

Sabina Uzunovic - Founder of Nailed by Sabina

However, no matter how well you’ve mastered one set of products, different brands have their own formulas and techniques – case in point: gels. So before you use new products on charging customers, it’s a good idea to take a conversion course.

Just because you have gel manicure qualification doesn’t mean that you will use products from that particular brand correctly. Most courses last one day and are around a £100 mark. Each brand will have a slightly different way of applying their products to ensure optimal results and by learning about it you will minimise any potential issues that may arise during treatment.

Marta Nagorska, Founder of Furious Filer

So, there you have it. Know your market, reach your market, be sure to stay on top of your business admin, provide five-star service and never lose your passion for learning. Do all this and hopefully you’ll be well on your way to success as a mobile nail technician. Good luck – we’re rooting for you!


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