How do you tell people that the freebies are over now?


Help Support SalonGeek:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Aug 29, 2007
Reaction score
bradford, west yorkshire
Hi everyone. I'm going to be establishing my mobile nail business soon, so expect to see me on here frequently!!!:lol:

I've got loads of questions milling around in my head, but the first and foremost is this: How do you get people to take you seriously??

Whilst I was training, I took the view that I should do enhancements for family and friends for free, in exchange for their honest opinion, and regular updates as to how they are lasting, any lifting etc. Also, that they knew that they may not be salon quality just yet!
Well, the volunteers were practically queing at the door, which was ace because I got lots of practice and I'm now confident in my ability to create nice enhancements.

Anyway, I'm qualified now, and so I'm building up to going "live" (no firm date fixed as yet), however various people have become acustomed to free nails, and even though I've told them that once I'm doing this professionally, the going rate applies, I'm astounded at how many have assumed that this doesnt apply to them, and that they will still get freebies!!

I know that when they ask for nails doing, I need to tell them in no uncertain terms that they will need to pay, but I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall.:grr: I told this to one friend recently and she was ok with it, then AFTER I had done her nails she said she doesnt get paid for another 2 weeks and so she "will" pay me then (didnt ask, just told me), and then 2 weeks later, she paid me with a bottle of wine!!!!!!!!!!!!:evil:

I do have just one friend who I will continue to do free nails for, however she is my guinea pig for my continued training, and takes time off work to be my model etc, but have any of you got tips on how you get that "I'm a professional now" message across to those who got freebies while you were training??
If I were you I would compose a nice letter, personally thanking everyone for their "services" lol, and announcing your business start date. You could include a price list, and even soften it by saying there would be a 25% discount or something specially for them for the next 2/3 months or whatever, or that a free gift awaited them at their next PAYING visit (ie small size hand cream, cuticle oil etc). You need to set this in stone and I think having something in writing will endorse this but having the letter will make it seem more personal too and hopefully well received.

Just a quick word about your pricing (I know you didn't ask for any advice on this lol) - don't go in too low, it is much easier to price high and then make offers for a while if you feel you need to, rather than price low, get clients, and then try to raise your prices. I know, I've been there :hug:
I just say sorry I'm qualified now, have to earn a living from this so I'll have to charge you. They were only free in training - thanks for being a model.

I used to charge £10 for a set and they were also queing at the door! xx
This is the problem when you start off doing should always charge something, even if its just to cover product costs.

I agree with Blossom...a nice polite and professional letter...

You will have to be firm on this otherwise they will take you for granted, if they are real friends they will respect you and your business.

A note saying..."Please do not ask for credit as refusal often offends" wouldn't hurt either.

I think its appalling that she thought a bottle of wine would do...would she work for a bottle of wine !!!
it is such a difficult one isn't it.
perhaps you want to talk to them whilst doing their nails about how skint you are and you are worried about going self-employed as not bringing in enough money.
then explain that you have a friends and family rate which is xx.

I had this problem but it was on the otherhand. Before I qualified I had a friend that was a mobile beauty therapist and a friend that was a mobile hairdresser. When I booked them for treatments when it came to the end I asked for the price, when they started getting embarrased, I then insisted that I paid the going rate otherwise I wouldn't book them anymore. I don't know if they charged me the full rate or not, but I insisted on paying each time. Although one said she would prefer to be paid in wine!!!

Now the shoe is on the other foot and they have started coming to me for treatments. For my friends and family I give them £5 off the treatment. For the friend who has a liking for wine, I give her £10 off the treatment.
Give thm all a price list! eeeeeasy!!

and if they dont get the hint your "fully booked, sorry" lol.

Personally i don't see why you have to give any reasons at all...its self ain't a charity...this is your JOB

Does there hairdresser, dentist or anyone else have to explain why they are charging them....!!
Give thm all a price list! eeeeeasy!!

and if they dont get the hint your "fully booked, sorry" lol.

Totally agree.......concentrate on getting paying clients in your book and don't worry about the freebies.....if they want to keep up their nails, they'll there anywhere else round by you they can get them for free?
They don't work for free so why should you!? Be firm but have a twinkle in your eye when you say this. You're a professional person providing a professional service and deserve respect and a fair payment for that service. So stick to your guns and don't cave in. True friends will still want to support you in your new business and spongers can go elsewhere for their nails!!

Best wishes and much success!
The only time i would offer freebies is if a. im feeling generous or bored, which isnt often, or b. i think it will benefit me. ie they will advertise and reccomend me.

but atm im too busy to give anything away!!

oh, my mommy never pays!! lol. i swap her treatments for my washing and ironing haha.

fatastic deal!! lol.
i agree, how cheeky of them to think they can keep having freebies and paying you with bottle of wine!!!

i had one friend who assumed id keep doing freebies, so next time she asked me to do her nails , i got out my diary and said right lets see whn i can fit you in, im chocka this week! (i wasnt lol) i said well can fit you in friday, but theres a charge if you cancel now hun, so make sure you can make the appt (she was renowned for canceling last minute when free) she said oh right how much are you charging and i told her, then she knew she would have to pay

best way is to send nice letter out as suggested or a price list, and maybe offer them a small discount for first booking, cos theyve helped you out as models?

if they dont want to pay, then as everyone lese said, let them find someone else to do them for free, your book is to be filled with paying clients hun

good luck with the business btw xxxxx:hug:
Yes I agree with everything everyone say and I know from experience how difficult is was for me, as you probably dont like hurting feelings, but I soon learned this dosent pay the bills and this is a business not a hobby.:irked:

Yep I would get my price lists made up and compost a nice letter the one I did went something like this

""I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me during my training by being nail models i really appreciated this.

Im sure though you are all relieved and glad to hear that I will no longer will be requiring this service, as I am now a FULLY QUALIFIED NAIL TECHNICIAN.

I will be starting my own business from and im sure you will wish me well in this enterprise.""

I have enclosed my price list for you to see, and I look forward to welcoming you as a client.

You could do a special offer for the first week in business but I dont like to give discount must be the scot in me.
Remember to put a note on your price list about payment and that you take payment by cash or cheque made sure its bold and noticeable. I hope this helps but dont let them away with not paying anyone.:eek: blooming cheek you earned thoes qualification.

I learned a hard lesson there are no friend in business.
kind regards Catherine
Thanks for all your advice ladies, I think the price list and thankyou note is a sterling idea, I will be issuing those amongst the main offenders asap!

Thanks again :green:
I know how u feel it was the same for me, it got so bad i had to stop doing nails altogether coz it was costing ME too much.:mad:
I have now started working from my spare room/home salon again and am also offering spray tanning, but from the day one i have charged and to be honest after the first one it gets easier. I give a free mini manicure to my closest and dearest maybe you could offer to paint their toes for free:!:
Im glad I read this thread, Im not at the stage of needing models yet (still destroying the fingers on my loyal nail trainer lol) but helpful to know how to go about it when the time comes.
Just a little side note if they are your freind and family and want to see you do well there should be no question that they are going to pay!!!!

Latest posts