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Nails at Home

Well-Known Member
May 1, 2003
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Hampstead, London
I need more help and advice from my new pals thanks to this site! :D :D I've been sending myself mad :twisted: when it comes to charging friends and family to do their nails. I absolutely could never charge my mum or sister (sister doesn't have them done anyway! 8) ) but I've not been charging my best friend either who has hers done regularly. When I first did them she did ask me how much she owed me and I told her I could never charge her :rolleyes: . I've now started using Bio Sculpture gel though and it's not the cheapest gel in the world so only today I've asked if she has these could she cover my costs of which I've worked out at about £6. Anyway, she's offered £10 and I've said this is fine. I still hate to take anything off her though as we go back so far and are so close. I've been giving other friends (but not so close ones) a discount too of around 25 percentish. The thing is I've got an ad going in a local paper this week and hope to get lots of new clients :D :D (have already got quite a few) and as I work full time and only do this part time I only have evenings and weekends to take appointments :( . I'm worried that I'm going to have to turn down full paying customers in order to fit in the friends but can't ever see myself being able to charge them full price :( . Oh, I'm cutting myself up about this so much and don't know what I should do :huh: . How do you guys deal with this??
You poor thing. Dont get so worked up. You must charge, in my opinion, everyone. You are running a business and if you dont value that business ie. your nails then neither will your clients. If you do their nails for free then they will not necesarily look after them like they would if they cost them money.

If you get a full paying customer are you going to turn them away to do your friends nails for free - I hope not. Accept your friends money - she may feel guilty at not paying.

Eplain to your friends that you are happy to do their nails at a reduced rate when you are starting out to get the practice but as time goes on you will expect them to pay a more realistic price. Offer an incentive - like a referral system, if they get you a full paying customer then you will give them a reduction etc.

Good luck.
Thanks for the advice Natural Nails :) I know I'll find it really really hard though but I know I've got to toughen up. At the moment I'm still charging very competitive rates anyway to full paying customers even because I don't feel I've yet reached that top notch standard - so the friends are getting great prices compared to going to a proper professional salon 8). I've thought about doing a price list for friends showing them the usual prices and that way I can hand them out in advance so they know what they owe me up front without me having to be embarrased :oops: :oops: when I tell them what they owe me (I know I shouldn't be embarrased anyway) - what do you think? I so wish I could flick a switch in the brain and stop feeling guilty taking money off friends!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Hi there,

I know exactly how you are feeling, as I was the same about charging my friends and family. However, when I realised how much money I was having to spend on my products each month, or each time I visited my supplier that soon opened my eyes :shock: I can tell you.

I do however, offer a discount to family of say a couple of pounds off, but Natural Nails is right if they are paying, they will more likely look after their nails more.

Take care
My best friend never pays, but I have sat down and worked out that in total she has had about £125 worth of work on them! (Going on what she would normally pay somebody to do them! But since I have started doing them she hasn't paid. At first this was because I was practising, but now she is willing to pay towards them.

I will knock her some money off, but it is my time, and it costs me to do them so she shouldn't get them completley for free. Also, if I have a full paying customer then they will take top priority because it is a business. My friend is earning a lot more money than me right now, and I have to earn a living now by keeping full paying customers!

Also friends seem to prefer it when their friends can do nails because they can call you up at anytime if they break one, so that you can go round to their house and fix it for them! :x My friends have now tried enticing me round with a bottle of wine! :shock: At the end of the day, they are getting it cheaper and it is convenient for them so they should pay. 8)

My Mum insists on paying full price for whatever service she has, and I hate it! I feel so bad about taking her money especially when she won't even take board from me! :oops: But her view is that when I am rich and I can afford to give her free services then she will take them, but until then she will pay like any other customer! (Also when I can afford to pay board I will be ready to move out apparently! :D )

She is a babe is my Mum, and I love her to bits! :D
You lot are so much stronger than me I know it's definitely one of my downfalls to starting up this business. :( Mind you, lots of you are technicians full time and of course you rely on this money enormously - I just do it as a part time job and therefore feel greedy asking full prices to friends :evil: I tell you, I need a big slap :hit: and made to sort myself out! Beautful Nails, I envy you big time the fact that your mum insists on paying you and not even asking board off you. Does she want to adopt another daughter? ;) ;)

Anyway, today I've made up a price list for friends which gives around £3 off each service so it's not a huge amount to lose - this way I can give it to friends in advance and they know it's specially made for them and that's what the prices are - then it's up to them if they want the service or not :) It's a step in the right direction I suppose. :rolleyes: Mind you, still won't ever be able to charge my mum and as for my best friend the only way I'll probably find the guts to ask her for more is if the situation does arise that I've got too many full paying clients to fit her in in which case she'll have to start paying more! :rolleyes: Until then ..... I just wish people didn't put us in the situation in the first place and insisted on paying or threatening to go elsewhere. My sister does reflexology and when one of her best friends wanted her to do it on her she threatened just this and now she does her regular reflexology sessions for full price! Why can't all friends do this?? Oh well, it's not a perfect world is it :(
Its hard but hey you have to earn a living..........I do give discount to family but I also encourage them to give out flyers ect.
I do have one friend who I do free but we have the understanding that she is my practice hands :D I do want I want to practice and she is fine with this.
Take care Dawnie
Thanks again to all who have replied - hopefully I can learn to harden up from now on! :oops:
I guess the question to ask is....would the friends and family members whose nails you've been doing go and get their nails done in a salon and pay the 'professional' rate (to quote Geeg from the Referral Discount thread) ? If the answer is a flat out 'yes' then you should be charging them the same amount.

We do ourselves such an injustice when we discount. It implies we are not professional, and not worthy. If you want to give your services away when you are beginning your career that's up to you, but always realize that once you get good at it, there will be a trade off, and you've just found it.
One of the hardest things about being a woman in business is being a woman!!!

What I mean by this is, that as 'women' we have a soft side and also a wish to make everything 'nice' and 'cosy' for our clients ... we don't like to appear 'mean', and we dislike 'confrontation' of any kind.

When you become a woman in Business it does not mean that you have to become 'hard' and go against your natural nature, but that you have to become 'businesslike' in your handling of people instead of for instance the way you would be with your children or girlfriends and family.

Have you ever (yourself) walked into any kind of store or salon and expected to walk out with something for free? I certainly never have ... but so many technicians 'give away' their services.because they want to be NICE instead of businesslike.

"Oh you smudged your polish on the way out"?? Let me break off from my client that is sitting here and repair it for you for nothing!! I don't think so!! BUT technicians do it all the time!

"Oh, you broke a nail ( or it d'ropped off' - 'flew off' - 'dissappeared' - etc)"?? Just let me fix it for you for nothing! I don't think so!! BUT technicians do it all the time.

"You want French Polish today instead of your usual colour"?? Well, just let me do that for you for nothing! I don't think so!! BUT technicians do it all the time.

POST your prices for all of your services .. including the ones that your clients have come to expect for free .. and refer to it before you charge them. Then there is no embarrassment (because we are women) or expectation from the client that she is going to get any service from you for free.

We don't have to be hard ... just businesslike!
Thanks Geeg :) As I said in my previous entry I've now got a price list for "friends" and other clients and I'll be showing them this up front of doing their nails in future ;) - I'm trying to harden up and am very grateful for everybody's advice on this.
Oh Geeg...What you've described sounds so much like they way I would do business without my "business head" on! I just want to make everyones hands beautiful and give great service, but you are right as we all need to set business boundaries, while still giving great service

I own a nailschool in Norway and the first thing I always learn my students is: NEVER do anything for free or with discounts! You are NOT playing, this is real life, and you have to run a shop. If you give one friend discounts, then you feel you have to give another one, and another etc... How much discounts will you give? How much is your friends worth? You have to set up how good a friend is against another, maybe one is a better friend, maybe the second is not so good.... etc... Do you see the problem? Remember, it's YOUR monney you give them when you give them discounts.

The only person who is getting something for free is my mum, but she wants to pay full price!

Hope you understood my English, I'm not very good, but at least, I tried! :D

Cecilie from Norway.
Just as a for instance.......

if it costs YOU £15 to make a product (not nails specifically) & you then sell that product for £30 you have made a profit of 100%. But if you offer a friend that product with a 50% discount how much have you made?....................NOTHING! So remember discounts only come put of YOUR profit, they never come out of your costs.
I've been thinking about this and the way i see it, if you do your friend's nails just for costs you'll have free publicity, they show them around, some people ask about, they tell them about you, besides, i spend time chating with my friends, why not be doing their nails in the meanwhile?
I did some gel extensions for my friend for free. She has a 5 year old daughter and as soon as she took her to school the next day, she said all the other mums asked her where she had them done as they wanted them too! I didn't feel confident at the time as I was still training but it shows that it is good advertising! (Gave me a confidence boost too!)
I refuse to charge my best friend as she was my model and took time off to come to London for my FDFC etc. and I believe it's a fair trade - however she keeps leaving money in the salon for me under my handsdown towel, or in my coffee cup which I find after she has gone :lol: :lol:

She even left my place in barefeet the other day to get into her cab because I found the money she left and chased her down the stairs to give it back - the cab driver thought we were mad and probably won't come near the house ever again!!! :o

My other friend has now had a free set and 2 massive free rebalances (she'd broken 4 nails each time :eek: ) and not even bothered to offer anything :evil:

In her case I think I'll keep a note on her treatment card of how much she should have been charged for each service, and when she next comes in and we fill it in together I will just casually say 'blimey, you've had over £70 of freebies - I think I'll have to charge you next time - you're starting to cost me money!!' and she how she takes it :suprised: Failing that, I'll have to grasp the nettle and ask her for the money outright - why can't she be like my other friend :sad:
Well to be honest it does not sound like your friend's fault .... sorry but the fault lies with you!!! Really! :biggrin:

If you tell someone they don't have to pay, then it's not their fault if they don't pay! It doesn't make them a worse person.

Lucky for you that you have a friend who has a conscience and realizes that 'free' can not go on forever, and is happy with your service. You should accept her money now with the same dignity that she is showing you in paying you.

You should definitely tell your other friend that from 'such and such' a date she will have to pay for your services like any other customer and hope she has been happy with her 'free' time and realizes that this is normal procedure.

Please don't be upset with what I am saying ... but if you set limits to begin with, the situation you are now in would not be an issue. If you are doing anything for free, set a limit of time that you are prepared to offer this and stick to it. Then everyone knows where they stand.
Oh - I set her limits - don't you worry :biggrin:

I told her - the same as my other ladies I did for free - that I would do their first set for free, if they liked my service and were happy they were welcome to rebook and pay next time - she seems to have conveniently forgotten the last bit :lol:

And my friend who offers the money, we've agreed materials only and a Christmas Box :lol:
I offered nails at half price for a long time to my customers unitl I felt that I was 'getting it right'.

I then decided that I would go full price on full sets and keep at half price for my rebalances as I thought this area needed tweeking.

Then I felt that everything was coming on lovely so wanted to go full price for both - then I got chicken!! I thought I would loose my clients if I started to charge more.

Anyway, I chose a date to go for it and explained to all my clients that form such and such a date it would be full price and

Guess what?

I have not lost a single one and I havent advertised in ages because I get so many recommendations! I even have clients who have strangers asking them who does their nails!

My advice for what its worth is be honest with your clients whoever they are and they will stick by you because they know that you are not trying to rip them off - just trying to do an excellent job for a excellent price.

Geeg is right on with her advice - again!
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