can anyone give me some ideas on how to build up a client base?

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*sarah*

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Hi guys,

I started my mobile nail business Nov 2006, but to date I only have 2 regulars at a few that come back to me when they want there nails done for a special ocassion. I'm thinking of throwing in the towel and going to work for someone else, I have tried leaflet drops at houses, hair dressers, have advertised at yell.com, and thomson local, handing out flyers on the high steet, recommend a friend, and % discounts and nothin seems to be working! just wondered if there was anything else I could try because I really dont want to give up!

Thanks xxxx
 

hippy-chick

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blimey!

we would all like to know that answer! LOL!

Looks like you've done all the usual things. I think mobile is the most difficult thing to do, and you'll find a few geeks on here mix working in a salon with mobile.

When I did mobile for holistic therapies, I only got a few regulars, thought it was never going to work. Started doing freelance work in a few therapy centres and that worked better for me.
 

*sarah*

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I've been asked if I woud like to rent space in my hair dressers, the only thing is If I have only one client that day I wont make any profit at all, and also a wee bit worried about the hair dryer blowing away my powders lol as its quite small in there. I've rented space before but its just trying to find somewhere which will let me work on a % basis to start with as I dont want to be paying rent if I'm not earning. xx
 

hippy-chick

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I did a lot of talks, demos and health promotion days. Once your on their books you get calls for all types of events.

Have you got a Sure Start, Aim High, Acumen, Adult education, Community centres, etc.

I often get booked for 4 hour pamper events too which are great fun. doing my next one in march.
 

Missy G

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Wow,ive been going mobile since September 2007 ,and getting frustrated im not getting much response from advertising since then, ive had the odd one here and their off of yell.com and leaflets ive delivered,but nothing from other forms of advertising.:suprised:

Its mind boggling too when people are really pleased with your work,like my first lady i done a pedicure on,she was my first mobile client..she said to me she would highly recommend me and asked for 4 of my leaflets to give to friends,she also asked me about doing manicures for a girly eve. she was going to arrange....havent heard nothing from her!!!Do you think i should post another leaflet through her letter box to jog her memory:?:

Another incident was back in November i done some extensions for a lady,she made an appointment for her niece to have a surprise set done for her on her birthday,she texted me 2 days later her niece is now going away can she cancel the appointment ,she will phone to rebook ...never heard from her...

Are people just generally too busy to remember to do these things ,or do they not return just make you feel crap,coz thats how it makes me feel,but then i am a big worrier,and can take things to heart.

People ask me hows the nail biz going and expect me to be loaded with clients ...i dont think they relise how hard it is to get a client base:(.

Keep trying hun,we all have to be strong,theres been many a time when ive wanted to give up ,ive put too much money into the industry to throw it all away so im just gonna take it as it comes and overcome any hurdles on the way..hopefully in about 5 years time i ll be laughing.:D
 

*sarah*

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yip am completly baffled by it too! I've seen some peoples nails who go to certain salons from my area n i think god I'm much better why are they not comin tae me lol
 

Susie H

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Nice big addy on the community center notice board, ask if you can put an addy up at the local play group to. Its the slowest time of year because everyone has firmly told them selves that this year they are going to watch the penny's but that will last until valentines day is just around the corner, so get visible now and you'll be on there minds, especially if you offer a group price, give them the idea that if 3 or 4 of them get together you'll give complementary toe nail art for every set of enhancements, or something like that.
Then when at the end you get the appointment cards out with your diary and smiling you say now then ladies when would you like to book in? I recomend every ..... weeks to keep your fingers and toes looking their best.
Apart from this, could you do a home studio?
Do you advertise on your car? Ask your local taxi firm where they get theirs done if you don't.
Your web site looks good:hug: still on the party idea how about teaming up with someone who does spray tans or waxing or makeup?
Hope some of this helps
 

Missy G

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What about when you go out shopping or maybe to the bank do you carry buisness cards on you?Ive often been served at the checkout ,and the assistants got here nails done,and maybe just start chatting to her about her nails and then give her one of your cards,i often um n arr about doing this ,i just havent got the guts at the moment ,when im 95-100% confident im gonna do this,if their nails looked crap and i felt i could do better id probly feel more confident to do it though.
 

Minipig007

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I'm reading this thread with interest as i've just started up and am looking to do my first lot of leafleting this weekend.
My marketing plan includes creating specific flyers for all the nurseries in the area, adult education centres, hairdressers ect, and I'll send them through and ask if they could display it on their notice board/put on reception (that way i don't have to do face to face promotion which i hate....)
I'll just keep doing that once a quarter, with all my different offers and brand advertising.. along with my leafleting and my website. I don't know how successful it will be but as ihave a very small advertising budget (i.e £0 as all coming out of own pocket!!) i can only do this!
Remember, if you're leafleting, you'll need to leaflet the same area 3 or 4 times to get a good response... Break into their subconscious... if they keep seeing your name, then the next time they think "oh, i need my nails done", they'll think of you (hopefully!)

Good luck to you both.... and although none of the above is tried and tested yet (all just what i'm planning)... i'll let you know how i get on and if it works!
 

Peter Bowen

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You've identified two problems:

1. Not enough new clients.

2. Your business is not retaining your existing clients effectively.

I hope you have a list of everyone who has been to you in the past. Send them all an email (or maybe a letter if you don't have their email addresses) something like this (it worked well for me in another service industry business I owned and might work for you).

Dear Michelle,

I've messed up! We stupidly missed renewing our advertising contract last month (you know how busy it can be around Christmas) and as a result my appointment book for the next week is rather sparse.

My mistake is your gain. Call me today on xxx-xxxx-xxxx and make an appointment to have your [insert service/treatment here] done and just this once I'll do it for [insert your special offer here].

You know we don't normally discount our services but we're doing it because we messed up.

I'm giving this away on a first come first serve basis so if you're interested please give me a call on xxxx xxxx xxx now before someone else takes these bookings (I've sent this note to all my clients).

Kind regards


[your name]


You might also want to take a look at setting up some kind of a system to automatically do the marketing for you all the time rather than when you are desperate for work.

We'd previously developed such a tool for another industry but when my sister (she's a top stylist in South Africa) saw it she insisted that I make one specifically for salons and mobile operators - it does the reminding, selling and other useful things in the background leaving you free to concentrate on doing the work. If that's of interest you could take a look at the salon sales repeater

Hope this helps

Cheers

Pete
 
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becki x

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Nice work Pete :wink2: top idea
 

Blue Rose

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If the clients are genuinely (sp?) pleased with your work but not re-booking you need to implement an incentive for them to come back for their infills eg when they re-book offer them a free mini pedicure (file & polish). It won't take up much time (which you seem to have plenty of anyway) but the clients will love it.

Looking at my thread on clients re-booking http://www.salongeek.com/biz-geek/65764-how-many-clients-re-book.html there are some other ideas there to make the most of them coming back.

You could also try phoning them 2-3 days later to make sure that they're happy with their nails.

With your happy clients, instead of just giving them leaflets to hand out to their friends, encourage them to send others in by offering them a good incentive. Again they could have a free mini pedicure/hand & arm massage/foot & leg massage etc..... This can be adapted to whatever treatments you offer.

Above all, the main thing is to stay positive. There is nothing more off-putting for a client than a therapist/nail tech who comes across as having the weight of the world on their choulders, and being glum. You could be the best therapist/nail tech in the world but if your client isn't going out the door being wowed by you yourself, you won't see her again.

Clients aren't interested in your problems, they just want a solution to their problems. (That may sound harsh & I'm sure fellow geeks will think of several clients who are interested in them but at the end of the day, nail & beauty treatments are part of clients escapism).
 

georgie127

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I too took the plunge in october 07 and am home and mobile I automatically assumed that coming up to xmas I would be busy but it didn't work that way and I was thinking maybe its me and I'm not as good as I thought I was and I still kept putting out my leaflets and had 2 ads in my local papers and still I only had 4 bookings between oct and xmas but luckily I have family I practice on just so I am not forgetting about all the training I have done. so the new year came and I sat and wrote down all my goals for this year and where I want to be come october this year,one of those goals is to get new clients and the other is to change my gels to creative so I am now just waiting for a date for my conversion and all last week I spent making my leaflets as I got no response whatsoever from my paper ads ,I done these up with word put 1 pic of nail on it and offered 10% off any treatment booked before valentines day and I also have my own nails done for valentines(red tips with white heart sticker)and guess what I have loads admiring nails but even better I got 3 bookings yesterday so I am over the moon so anyone that is losing faith like I was you just gotta keep plugging away and you will get there -I know 3 clients won't make me a fortune but is the start so I am happy with that for now:lol:
 

*sarah*

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Thanks for all the input I will definitly be putting some of these idea's into practice! I have a list of clients, and was thinking of sending out my new pricelists and a short letter thanking them for there custom, and giving customer loyalty cards eg recommend a friend recieve 20% off next treatment, or book 4 appointments get 5th half price how do this sound?
I'm always cheery and don't let clients know how quiet I am but if they ask I say it's been a little quiet but it always is after christmas, so I know its not my attitude putting them off. I think I've just been unlucky in a way that all the clients I've had have been getting it done for a special ocassion, and some cant afford to have them done all the time.
Also I worked in a beauty shop for a while but the girls wanted money in fast and taking around 2hrs was'nt generating enough cash for her so she got someone in that was doing them in about 30mins tip & dip I think! so all the clients I had built up in there have kept going to her shop apart from 2 that always come to me when they want there nails done. Is it a good idea to get back into a salon or hair dressers?
xxxx
 

becki x

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Gigi once told me,allthough being mobile can be sucessfull,being in a salon means more exposure to the general public which can only be a good thing

Obviously she worded it much better :D
 

Blue Rose

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Hello Sarah,

Reading your last thread it seems you managed to build up a clientelle when you were salon based. Maybe that would be worthwhile doing again. You may not earn as much per hour if you have to hand over some dosh in rent, but chances are you will be busier. You will have a steady stream of people to network/chat with and can offer them some good incentives to book in with you.

I think it's a great idea to send a letter out thanking them for their custom, as not many businesses do this.
 

hippy-chick

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Have to admit to changing my opinions (albiet slowly)since taking this second room on.

I've always worked freelance, so go in to venue, do appointment, get paid, leave.

Now I'm in a venue that I pay a weekly rent, so basically, its up to me how many hours I do, but the potential is there to make money.

But, I am still working on the hourly basis thought process. Also, I didnt want to dilute my work by giving too much away, as clients get used to freebies or reduced rates and resent paying full price later.

I;ve started thinking differently though, I would rather fill in those empty hours with appointments than sit there twiddling my thumbs waiting for the appointment to come along.

By offering more incentives etc I should hopefully start generating more business. Any bookings is better than the odd bookings.
 

Blue Rose

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Hello Ann/hIpPy ChIcK

As you're probably aware by now I'm a great believer in offering clients great incentives to get them through the door and spending more money once they're in, even to the point of giving away free (yes, really, free) back massages.

I am particular about what offers I do ie I never do offers on waxing or on mans/peds. We're always busy with waxing anyway and our hourly rate for man/ped doesn't give us as much leeway. And I very, very rarely discount treatments.

You're right in saying clients can come to expect offers but our regulars can only have them if it's not their usual treatment. The way I do it is by putting together packages which if they booked individual treatments would take up half the day, but by doing them in one session, it keeps appointment time down, and also the price. A lot of clients have gone from spending £12-15 per month on waxing or eye treatments to £35-60 per month extra. Lots now book in for their next special (as well as having their regular treatment) without even knowing what it's going to be.

We also have some clients who only come in every 2-3 months for waxing but once in a while I'll send them a special offer leaflet. One time I did this I sent out 8 leaflets and 5 booked in - at £40 each :).

I now spend very little money on outside advertising (I'm not even in our current YP) and focus on getting clients in more often, spending more. By saving on advertising costs, it does give you the leeway to do more incentives & rewards for clients, which they love. The more generous you are the more likely they are to tell their friends how wonderful you are, which in turn brings in more clients. The more you give, the more you get.

I think the key thing is to know your clients and stay in regular contact with them.
 
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hippy-chick

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:hug:hi Sarah,

excellent comments - per usual! Soooooo glad you've joined geek.
 

Blue Rose

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ah, thanks hon :hug:
 

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