It is only applying to regular nail polish. Even if you’re in a rush, let your polish air dry before running out the door. Hang a bit for 5-10 mins. Or you’ll end up messing with the polish and cost your nail tech and yourself more time. Would you mind not doing that?
There’s this one lady who managed to mess up her nails not once but six times (yes, I counted). It winds up costing her way more time than if she could sit still under the dryer for just a few minutes. Lol.
It was nearly 25 minutes in total for her to dry the nails. And each time she messes up, she has to wait additional time as the last layer is wetter.
For some nails, I had to take them all off and reapply from the beginning. I honestly felt sad for the lady than being annoyed. What could she possibly be right now? That she has to beat herself up to a timer.
If you’re in that big of a rush, pay extra to get Gel polish or come back during the day, we’d be happy to apply polish then. We’re not going anywhere.
Mindfully ask, especially if it’s your first time, or if you’re ticklish, or something unclear on the menu or something that we need to be aware of, your unique conditions, or any additional services will cost you extra, etc. It’s in your rights to request such information.
Some shops will try to cover up these extra add-ons, just so you get ripped off when you pay, but most shops will be upfront about their services.
Should you trim your nails or shave your legs beforehand?
The answer is that you don’t have to.
I have customers who have leg hair longer than mine. Lol. And I honestly don’t care. It’s their body, and it’s their life, not mine.
Most women who come to the shop have leg hair, and they don’t shave them. There you have it.
You don’t have to be sorry about not shaving; it’s okay. You don’t have time to do it. We don’t have time to judge you either. We get none out of it, so it doesn’t bother us that much.
I have some customers who don’t even shave for their husbands or boyfriends, but they always shave before coming to me. Aw, my little heart!
Suppose you get one of the premium pedicure packages. In that case, it’s better not to shave beforehand because it’ll give you a closer shave when you hit home due to the extra exfoliation. That’s the theory, or that’s how I like to tell people, so they don’t feel apologetic about not shaving their legs. Lol.
Also, if you don’t trim your nails, it’ll be easier for us to shape and file them appropriately.
I have a traumatized experience working on this 86-year-old lady. She hasn’t got her feet done in a lifetime. She was in a wheelchair when she came in, and her nails were as long as my fingers. I’m not joking. I bumped into her in Walmart about five weeks after or so, and she could walk with a cane!!! I couldn’t tell you how much my heart lit up. Like wow, you know how big of a difference that makes just from trimming somebody’s toenails?
If there weren’t her whole family around, I’d sneak a picture.
My boss, Tracy, and I both worked on the lady at the same time. We charged her $40 for just doing the regular pedicure because it took 2 of us. Usually, the basic price is $25. I broke my big clipper on sight. It was a speechless moment. Lol.
I threw my medical brush for Tracy to take out the gunk in between her toes. The lady yelled in agonizing pain because the gunk, after 86 years, becomes a part of her body now.
I was just like, “I ain’t doing that, Tracy. It’s your shop.” Lol.
You don’t have to trim your nails, but please don’t let them grow out that long.
Lift your legs
When I do your feet, I have to lift your legs because, sadly, your feet are attached to your legs. Amirite?
I have to use my scraper tool with one hand, which left me with one remaining hand.
It depends on your average weight; one leg is about 30-80 lbs. If you can’t even lift one of your legs with your own weight, what makes you think I could lift with one arm? Lol.
I’m shy of 101 lbs. Most clients are 1.5-3 times my weight.
Even weight lifters train an hour or so a day. I can’t be doing that for 10-11 hours a day because I’m not Deadpool.
I injured my lower back before because of that. When I lift someone’s leg, I have to twist and turn to get all the spots underneath, and that’s a disastrous position. Most nail techs have lower back/shoulder pain for that reason.
People come to a shop for pedicures because they can’t bend over to do their feet, find it hard to do their own, etc. Whatever the reason is, if you can’t bend, I can’t lift either.
So kindly try to lift your legs using your body weight if you do pedicures; we’ll support your foot/leg as much as we can. But you must help us as well. You help me help you.
I also wear gloves and have bazillions of liquid on my gloves. It cuts down my grip to absolutely zero, which attaches that extra weight I can’t hold.
Try this exercise at home, have a big glass of about 50-80 lbs, put two different kinds of soap on it, wear latex/nitrile gloves, juggle it, and try not to slip and break the glass. You’ll find it incredibly heavy over a few minutes for some reason, even if you can lift way more than 100 lbs at the gym. Why? Because it’s slippery when wet. JK.
Moral of the story? Please lift your foot/leg on your own while we help to support them during the pedicures.
Don’t bring foods
I know sometimes you try to squeeze in and save time by munching on something while we’re working on you, but it’s a no-no.
I can’t count how many times I try to do someone’s fingernails, and they transfer all that salt from their fries to my hands. I gotta say I love fries, but this is not how I like it. It’s messy, and it’s gross. Also, all that oil will mess up your polish and make them chip faster and harder.
Although, if you do pedicures, I don’t think we mind if you bring food. Because it’ll be a while until you finish, and if you’re doing your fingernails afterward, you should wash your hands by then. But still, it’s a grey area.
Don’t come in at late hours
Since the job requires a great deal of attention to detail, we suffer a lack of lightning source when the sun goes down, making it incredibly hard to focus.
In addition, it strains my eyes when I have customers coming in at closing hours when all I see is the shadow from the lights above me, even if it’s still bright outside. But once that cheeky sun goes the opposite way, it’s a no-go zone for me.
Let me tell you one thing. Greedy nail owners will take you most of the time. And because of this, they create such a bad habit for customers.
For instance, our shop closes at 7 pm; they’d still take you at 7:30 pm. So we end up working extra hours without getting paid OT or even paid 100% commission for the service. Yup.
I fought this with both my bosses over the course of three years. Thank God they now politely ask if we take customer A if they come late. Sometimes, not all the time, though. Before then, nuh-uh.
Before the pandemic, we closed at 8 pm, and I was still working at 10 pm each night. This is sorely one of the reasons nail techs don’t last long in their shop.
If we refuse to work, some consequences usually end up in a bitchy episode, or you’ll receive an attitude that night or the following day. Again, you can call us; as I said above, the owner will still receive you.
It’s just, guys, it’s very impolite to come in late; there’s a closing time for a reason.
You can’t order specific foods 30 minutes before a restaurant closes because the kitchen staff needs to clean while the rest get their remaining customers out the door.
You’re enforcing lousy behavior and bad habits in this industry if you come late. Don’t give in to that!
I don’t ever spend a rush job of 10-15 mins doing your nails like other techs; I spend 45 minutes to a whole hour or more, aka 3 times what a normal tech would do (if they ever).
So why would you even come in 18 mins before the shop closes? Think about it. What could you do in 18 mins?
I understand for some folks; they only last a few minutes, so they think 18 is plenty. But I last much longer than that, honey.
I don’t take your sorry; it’s not enough. I work 10-11 hours/day, six days a week. What is your excuse?
Even essential workers have more days off than me; there’s no reason you can’t come in for an hour or two early.
Make this rule of two for me. If shop A closes at 7 pm, the latest hour you can go is 5.
6 pm if you’re doing some quickies like eyebrows, either fill on your hands or a quickie pedi if you’re getting some lewd actions later during the night, but not both hands, feet.
If you do everything from head to toe or have any premium services, be there at 5 pm or sooner if you can.
I’ve seen my boss’ customers who come in the shop for over 20 years show up at the exact closing time and still be bitchy about it that the woman has to wait 12 mins.
While I do feel bad for Tracy, I don’t at the same time. She needs to teach her customers manners. Manners matter.
Is it okay to tip? How do you go about it?
It is a more sensitive topic. And of course, it varies from shop to shop. So I’ll paint a very generic view and leave the rest to your judgment.
But tipping, though not required, is greatly appreciated for any customer service job, including ours.
There’s a flat 15-20% VAT (value-added tax) on everything you buy in my hometown, and that counted as tips sometimes. Service jobs even get tipped on top of that. However, if you’ve ever traveled to Asia, you’ll see that you don’t mind spending most of your money on tipping because the service is (excuse my French); holy shit, it is damn good. It’s nothing like kat in the US. Trust me.
A general rule of thumb is 15-20% of the service you receive. If you feel that is too much, then count the numbers $5, $10, $15, etc., and everything else in between. Don’t be afraid of tipping odd numbers. We love you regardless.
Many people don’t realize that nail techs only take home 60% of the service you paid for. Say, you pay me $40 for a pedicure; I only take home $24.
Owners say it’s for paying the supply and whatnot; the supplies are relatively cheap. Plus, they buy everything in bulk, even tanking the prices down.
Except for me, I spend the premium price for all my stuff; I’m not using the generic brands we bought at nail supply stores. I’m just extra. Lol.
That’s another of my work code. If you treat me right, I’ll treat you well in return. It explains why your polish lasts a very long time because of my product treatments.
Even the gloves I use are nitrile (indicated by blue, purple, black), practiced in hospitals and tattoo parlors. Everyone in town uses latex gloves (yellow tint), which are like $80 for ten boxes. I pay a whopping $190 for ten boxes during and post-pandemic. Lol. Those are just the gloves; I have a full cart of premium stuff—rip wallet.
Hence I call nail owners greedy. Like a few days of work or a week could have paid for my whole month supply with that 40% commission.
Because this industry is lucrative for salon owners, it becomes such a bad habit and a standard now to do that to their nail techs. 40% commission is enormous IMO.
If you don’t rent, 60-40. I feel like a hybrid kid because I buy the majority on my cart as if I rent, but I suffer the commission. Lol.
If a different nail tech is fixing your nails or does anything extra on you, you could tip them if you’d like, especially if they don’t charge you.
If it were me, I wouldn’t bother charging you because there were chances I could be playing on my phone or did nothing at the time. So I’d be happy to help if the one supposed to be fixing your nails is busy. Some techs will charge you, though, FYI.
One thing to be sure of is that the tip isn’t already included in your check because some salons add that by default. So you wouldn’t be charged twice.
And if you’re in doubt if that tip is going to be split for ABCD reasons (some shops do this shit), have some cash on hand to make it rain on your nail techs.
Plus, it is to be sure it goes to whom you’re intended to tip because who knows what funny business is going on in each nail shop. Lol.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any cash; tell the receptionist/cashier the amount of tip you’ll leave for nail tech A, nail tech B, etc. Otherwise, we split them evenly if more than one person is working on you. Or plainly ask your tech(s) how do you go about tipping?
I have some customers who give me tips like it’s the sex trade. Lol.
They call me in, look left/right to make sure our spot is safe, whisper me lightly, roll the bills in their hand and give them to me quickly. It’s so adorable!
I also have customers that tip me 95%-120% for my service. If they have an $85 service, they will tip me at $80.
But guys, it’s not much about the amount of tip money. Because frankly, $2, $3, $5 still counts; it adds up at the end of the month. Still, it honestly makes me feel appreciated for the work I’ve done, and I cherish that feeling a lot.
If you’ve ever come to me, you know that I don’t rush, ever, even if all the other techs take turns to yell at me.
I remember I was this close to having tears in my eyes the first time they gave me a 100% service tip. And it was one of those bad days with bitchy customers. It was really unexpected. So I was just like, dude, why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve it?
While both of these etiquette shitting posts are lengthy, they’re accurate and described in fun, light language, which I sincerely hope wouldn’t offend many people.
I also hope you gather a lot more knowledge about the dark corners of the industry and some of the difficulties nail technicians face each day. So you could treat your techs better next time you see them around.
Appreciate us; we’re here to help. But, please don’t treat us like some sub-humans or slaves, especially those who can’t speak English well. We’re already overworked and underpaid; we don’t deserve more of those behaviors.
I have a BA degree in another branch; I shouldn’t be working as a nail tech, you’d think. Maybe I shouldn’t, but maybe I do. I learn a lot more about people’s behaviors and discipline than I’ve ever done in my past careers. And I feel like it sets me up for greater things later in life.
We come to this profession by chance, by fate, by marriage, or by other means.
I wasn’t fond of this job when I got started. Then, I remembered I drank two of the 20-pack beer a week to get by my bosses and other nail techs shouting at each other and customers daily or me being yelled at by things that were not even my faults.
I was stressed and depressed that I got home 2 hours late from work daily. Before the pandemic, it was like 72+ hours a week; I barely got time for myself.
Not gonna lie; I’m actually one of those folks that are thankful for the pandemic. Because it changed people’s perspective a lot, and my work hours got cut down at least 12 hours a week. That’s a shit ton.
But yeah, I learned to love the job with the time and with my fantastic regular customers. Otherwise, dealing with random bitchachoos daily is stressful enough. So the least you can do is take some of the burdens away from us by just being nice as a human being vs. another human being, and we’d be very thankful.
Working as a nail tech is like working in the ER, minus the blood and adding the drama; we don’t need more stress.