Building your nail business from scratch in a competitive environment 2020

How to build a Nail Business

This page may contain affiliate links. If you want to buy an item please consider using my links at no extra cost to you.

Are you tired of hearing the words, “But there are so many nail technicians, you’ll never make it?” Or, “How can you ever compete with that?” it’s enough to discourage even the most determined individual.  

In this post, I will list some tips and tricks that you can use to build your nail business, as a nail technician, effectively, from scratch, even in a competitive environment!

When building a nail business it can be very similar to any other business such as that you need a business plan. You will also need to decide where your nail salon will be located, how to gain clients, what will make you stand out and have all your legal work sorted out. 


Start with a Nail Business Plan

First off, get started on your plan for your nail business. This doesn’t have to be written in a fancy business planner. Just take a regular piece of paper and start writing.

Include things like,

  • where are you going to base your business?
  • Are you going to work in a salon, or from home?
  • What do you want to achieve through your business?
  • Where do you want your business to be in a year from now?

Setting up goals for yourself can help you plan and focus on achieving them.

Include a list of items that you will need to get started. I have a comprehensive list of items you might need and explained why you may need them. I know looking at nail supplies can be daunting and you might not know where to start, what to take and what to leave for later, especially when you reach the nail art supplies category.

Focus on the necessities at first. Otherwise, it can seriously harm your budget! You can grow your nail art supplies as you get more clients. Focus on things that you desperately need to get started, that wasn’t supplied in your starter kit when doing your nail course, like a table (preferably glass).

  • Don’t be afraid to look for second-hand objects, this can be quite affordable and you may just find a great deal!
  • Two chairs, good lighting and an LED lamp for curing are also things to add to your list.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have. This will give your business a disadvantage.
  • Keep an eye on marketing groups on social media for people who are selling their used equipment.

What to Consider When Picking a Salon

Pay attention to the area you base your salon in. Even though it might be cost-effective for you, does not mean your clients will be willing to visit your salon.

If it is in a less-than-safe environment or a loud and crowded area, people might be discouraged from getting their nails done by you, no matter how talented you are.

Once you have moved into your salon space, decorate it and make it feel homey and inviting. 

  • Give your clients a home away from home, where they can relax and be problem-free for a couple of hours.
  • Make them look forward to their next appointment. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make space your own.
  • Hang some posters on the walls, decorate the area using your salon colours, and add a throw pillow here and there.
  • Give an old hanging spice rack new life by repainting it and transforming it into a gel polish display rack.
  • Use a cute pencil holder to store your nail brushes in.  Add some succulents to your space. Not only does it purify the air, but it looks adorable. Throw in a comfy rug to tie the space together.
  • Play soft background music to create a more relaxing environment for your clients.
  • To add an extra touch, you can supply a coffee station where your clients can help themselves to beverages before their appointment starts.

I made a list of nail salon decor ideas that you can go and check out 

How to grow your client base for your salon

Start getting clients. This is the step that most new nail technicians struggle with.

Start by asking close friends and relatives if they will allow you to do their nails. Even if you have to do it for less than what you intend to ask.

The important thing is to start building a portfolio of your work for potential clients.

No matter how amazing your work is, if you don’t have photos to back you up, no one will give you a try.

This brings me to my next tip, pictures! Taking quality photos of your work with studio lighting and a nice background will make the world of a difference.

You have to make sure that the photos you put out into the world have high quality and look professional. You want to attract new clients after all and not scare them off!


Invest in a good website and online identity. It might cost a bit of money but it is so worth it!

If your salon can be found on Google you can attract many new clients in your area. Not all people make use of social media platforms.

That being said; don’t be shy to ask people to review your work. Having a good amount of reviews on multiple platforms is a step in the right direction for promoting your website.

Reviews can really help draw people to your business.  Promote your salon on multiple social media platforms. Research the best way to promote your business on every possible platform and go for it!

The more exposure you can get the better! Don’t be afraid to ask more experienced nail technicians for help about posting on social media, or watching YouTube videos on how to correctly post on social media.

There are many very talented nail technicians with insanely successful social media platforms out there.

Create advertisements for yourself to promote your business even further through flyers and business cards.

You don’t necessarily have to spend money on hiring someone to create your designs. There are many amazing, free apps out there that you can use to design it yourself. One of my favourite free apps to use is Canva.

Keep up with popular trends and always provide your clients with new and exciting designs.  Motivate your clients to give nail art a try.  This will be a very good form of advertisements for your business.

Professional Relationships

Build a relationship with your clients. Reach out to them about things in their lives. When they tell you something like a family member who is in the hospital, show you care by inquiring about it later.

This will show your clients you care about them as people and not just walking piggy banks.  Send them messages now and then, like on the first day of spring or with the start of the festive season.

Make sure that they can trust you.  Being a nail technician can entail being a therapist to some people from time-to-time.  So don’t break their trust by talking with other people behind their backs.

Be Different

Be different!  Do something that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Even if it’s just giving your clients a hand massage after each appointment, put effort into it. Something this small can stick with a client and will possibly make them choose you over someone else.

Going the extra mile for your clients will pay off in the long run. There will be some who don’t return no matter what you do.

But the rest will come back expecting only the best. Spend your time ensuring your client will leave with a smile.

Focus on getting the shape of their nails right and focus on the length of the nails. Put the effort into creating a set of nails.

It is supposed to be your masterpiece after all. Make sure your client knows their time will be well spent at your salon.

Legal Aspect

When I say legal, I mean all your paperwork sorted out. Firstly things such as your qualification. You don’t need a qualification to start a business, but I would recommend it.

Then moving on to everything your government might require of you. Like permits, licence, tax number and so on. I can’t go into too much detail, because places differ and not all will have the same requirements as others. That is why you should do your own research when starting your nail salon

Here are some articles for starting a small business in different locations

Remember most clients will come to your salon through word of mouth.  So put effort and time into your work with your existing clients.

Keep them happy and satisfied so that they will be more than eager to refer people to your salon.

Your client’s nails are the biggest advertisement for you so ensure that you are happy with your work and that it is of high quality.

Building your salon from scratch will take time, but it’s not impossible. The more time and effort that you put into the business, the more fruitful it will be.

If you found this post helpful or enjoyable please share it with your friends and family.

Get free printables sets when you sign up for my newsletter.

Thank You

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.