working from home vs salon

Working from home vs working from a salon

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When you’ve completed your training to become a nail technician, the logical next step will be to determine where you will be working from. Most people are faced with two choices. Either start working at an existing nail salon, where you will most likely have to either,  rent a space, or pay commission on every set of nails that you complete, or you can decide to work from home, by creating a home-based nail salon.

Seeing that I’ve experienced both settings I will go in depth and cover the pros and cons of working in a salon setting versus working in a home-based salon.

nail salon table

Working from a salon


Renting a table in a developed salon with an existing clientele can be very enticing for a newly graduated nail technician. Especially when you have little to no clients of your own, and wishing to build your own client base from scratch. Things that salon owners like to say are that they get a lot of traffic and walk-in clients. That their clients are on the lookout for a nail technician, that when you work in a hair salon more people will make use of your services, as it’s convenient for them to do their hair and nails at the same time.

All of these promises are great, but a lot of times they’re just that, promises. Salon owners will conveniently “forget” to mention that many clients may not want to do their nails; many clients will already have nail technicians of their own. Many people will be sceptical of a newly graduated nail technician, especially in the day and age we live, where nail technicians are easy to come by. Some salons might also not be quite as busy as the owner would like you to believe.

It’s true that working in a salon with a client base can be beneficial for your own business, as you will get a lot of exposure that way. If the salon owner promotes you to her clients and get her own nails done by you, the clients will be more likely to give your services a try. The salon owner might even be willing to run specials which include a client doing their hair and their nails for a set amount. This is a good way of attracting new people. Just know that word of mouth is your biggest advertisement.

Working with other technicians

When renting a table in a nail salon, working with other nail technicians is also another topic to consider. It can be good to work amongst other people in your field of work, as they can teach you valuable things and show you new techniques. Unfortunately women can be quite nasty with each other, so they might also see you as a threat and won’t want to teach you anything. So this can go both ways.


There is also the factor of cost. When you work in a salon you will have to pay to be there, whether it is a set monthly amount, or a percentage of each set that you complete. Having this extra expense in your budget every month can be very hard when you’re just starting out as a nail technician.

Working for someone else

When you work in a salon nothing will ever truly be yours. You will still be answering to someone else, and working on their terms, in their business. I personally like being a nail tech because I can be my own boss. It is a very nice feeling to have your own space where you call the shots, an area that you can decorate as you see fit, and where you can do as you wish.

working from home section image

Working from home

I personally work from home, and will honestly never go back to working at someone else’s salon. This is however my personal preference and may vary from person to person.


One of the biggest motivators for me to break away and work from home was the cost of renting a small space in an existing salon. I was just starting out, so I really had almost no clients. I had to start from scratch to build up my reputation and get my name out there. The salon was charging me quite a bit, and I initially thought that I would be able to handle the cost, seeing that I was told the salon had many clients who would like to do their nails.

Unfortunately for me, this was not the case. The salon was not half as busy as I was told it would be. And many of the clients already had nail technicians of their own. I worked there for two months, after which I decided to start working from home.

I saved so much money, and I never had to worry about rent at the end of the month, especially when I had a slow month. I feel more comfortable seeing that it is home based, I can relax in between clients. I also save gas money seeing that I don’t have to drive to my destination every day.

Space and exposure limitations

The reason I didn’t just work from home from the start was that my space is very limited. I also had the fear of not being noticed, as I thought I would be in an established salon.

Thankfully when push came to shove my tiny space was perfect for my business. I worked really hard in making it my own. I advertised as much as possible and started creating an online presence for my business. It wasn’t long before people started coming in, and they started being my living advertisements. Word of mouth was the main way I was able to generate new clients, organically.

Your own boss

I can decorate my space how I please, and I don’t have to answer to someone else. My success depends on myself and not the input of a salon owner. If I don’t want to work a day I don’t have to answer to someone else.

Working from home however still has some down sides. I am solely responsible for everything that happens in my business. If we have a power outage or any other issue, I have to deal with it alone. I create my own advertisements and don’t have the backing of other technicians or hairdressers. I carry the burden of product and maintenance costs by myself.

starting your own salon

I started my business from scratch.

Here is a post on how I did it.

When starting out you’ll need some tools and equipment, this is a list of products I recommend investing in.

Looking through all of the pros and cons, I will still not trade working from home for working in a salon. Each and every person is different however, and you should make the decision for yourself. Experiencing it first hand was the best for me, as I could make a choice based on my own experiences.

Just know that creating a good reputation for your business will take time, patience and a lot of hard work. Don’t be too hard on yourself when clients don’t come flooding in the first month. One day you’ll realize that you are fully booked, and you will be able to look back at all of the progress you’ve made.

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