So you like nails. Maybe you’re the one in your friend group who always proposes mani-pedis for group outings, who loves to explore the boldest and prettiest new nail designs every few weeks, or who just takes such good care of your nails that you haven’t had a hangnail in years.
Or maybe you like the potential of making a lot of money in the nail business. This is a profitable industry that doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon.
According to Globe Newswire, the global nail care market is set to reach $11.6 billion by 2027, so it looks as though there is major growth in sight.
If you’re interested in getting a piece of that market, then you may want to consider opening up your own nail business.
It may seem like an intimidating undertaking, but with the help of this how-to guide, you’ll be on your way to making money with a nail business.
The Easy Parts of Starting a Nail Business
Let’s start with the fun stuff. Well, maybe not fun, but easy.
Here are the easy parts of starting your nail business.
Choosing your services.
Some basics are offered at all nail salons, so you’ll want to have them at yours as well. They include things like manicures and pedicures. Those are standard and should be the first two services you consider for your business.
However, there are others you may want to add on that opens up the potential to make more money. This includes things that are currently trending. Right now, gel nails and gel extensions are very popular, so this trend is an opportunity for you to get more customers and thus make more money.
Massages are another option. Some nail salons offer massages as an add-on to a manicure or pedicure, but you can also offer them as a completely separate service.
Waxing is a service you also often see at nail salons, so consider adding that to your list of services.
When it comes to creating prices for your services, you must offer competitive pricing. Take the time to research other nail businesses in your area to see where their prices stand and how you can compete with them.
Implementing scheduling software.
You may have some walk-ins for your nail business but many people who get their nails done regularly prefer to schedule an appointment. This way, they ensure that they get the nail tech they want, and they also ensure they don’t end up waiting in line for an hour to get their nails done.
To help you in creating a smooth scheduling process for your customers, your nail techs, and you, consider implementing scheduling software such as Booksy.
Booksy allows your nail customers to self-book their appointments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the app. This means that you can save time and money on dealing with phone calls and texts to schedule appointments. It also provides you with an easy way to see how busy your salon is.
In addition to helping you streamline the process of appointments, Booksy also works to reduce no-shows and late cancellations by letting you show your customers your cancellation policy before booking and allowing them to prepay. It keeps client credit cards on file so they don’t have to enter their information in every time (this is a highly underrated bonus).
You also gain access to marketing tools such as:
- Message blasts
- Social posts
There are different pricing options offered by Booksy, which we will cover below.
The Difficult Parts of Starting a Nail Business
If only owning a nail business was as fun as creating art on people’s nails! However, the truth is that it takes a lot more work than that, and not all of it is fun or easy.
But by going in with the right information and the right approach to tackling the tough parts of starting a nail business, your chances of success are much higher.
Here is one of the tough things you’ll run into with starting your nail business: developing a business plan.
Just the word “plan” may make many people want to run and hide. But a business plan is arguably the most important part of any business, including your nail business.
A business plan serves as the foundation upon which you build your business. It outlines all the goals and expectations of your business so you have a roadmap of where to go and what to change if things don’t seem to be going the way you planned.
Below are the most important things to include in your business plan.
- Target customer. What type of salon do you want to open and who is your target audience? Are you looking to create a more upscale business or something more casual? With this information, you can create your prices, your products, your services, and the design of your salon.
- Competitors. Knowing what your competitors are doing is important so that you can choose the right services to offers as well as what prices to set them at. Look at nail salons in your area as well as online businesses that are in the same industry and may be doing things a different way.
- Services. Decide what services to offer and how much to charge for them.
- Location. Pick whether you plan to rent or buy a space for your nail business and where the best location is for your business and your budget.
Step 1: Create the Business Plan
As discussed above, the business plan is the most important part of your nail business and is the place to begin your venture.
If you are not comfortable with creating a business plan yourself, you may want to hire someone well-versed in writing business plans to help you with it. Because this is such a crucial piece of your business you want to ensure that it is done correctly, even if it costs you extra money.
Step 2: Get Permits and Licenses
To legally run a nail business, you must get licenses and permits.
The specific licenses and permits you need vary from state to state, so be sure to look at the requirements for the state that you’re establishing your nail business in.
Most states require that you have a state-issued cosmetology license as well as a general business license. You may find that your state also asks you to have zoning permits as well as an employee identification number for tax purposes.
Step 3: Get Business Insurance
There are a few different types of insurance you want to get if you are opening a nail salon.
General Liability Insurance
This is the standard insurance you need for your nail business and it covers things such as:
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense
Though you are not legally required to get general liability insurance, you are operating your business in a very risk manner if you don’t. If you opt out of general liability insurance and end up getting sued by a customer, you may find yourself paying hefty fees that can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The average cost for general liability coverage for a nail salon in the United States is less than $750 a year and that gives you $1 million in general liability coverage. The price varies depending upon where your business is located, your deductible, the number of employees you have, and more.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
This type of insurance is required by all states to carry, but you can opt for different levels of policies.
This type of insurance covers any medical treatment and lost wages for an employee who got sick or injured while on the job.
Commercial Property Insurance
If you decide to buy the property for your nail business, you are required to get property insurance to protect your business. Even if your nail business is operating in your home, your homeowners’ insurance will not cover the portion of your home used for business. Thus, you need this separate insurance to protect yourself.
Property insurance covers not only the property itself but all items that your business owns.
You may also want to get business interruption insurance that helps you to recoup a portion of the money you lost if your business was stopped due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood.
Commercial umbrella insurance may be another one for you to consider so that you can be covered above and beyond the limitations set by your standard business insurance policies.
Step 4: Find Scheduling Software
Before you open your doors and let business start pouring in, you want to take some time to find the right tools that will help you run your nail business smoothly.
One such tool is the scheduling software Booksy.
This software was built to provide solutions to all sorts of problems that you may encounter with your nail business. It simplifies many of the processes you’ll be dealing with including:
- Calendar and appointments
- Business management
- Payment processing
- Marketing tools
- Bottom line protection
- Complete front desk collusion
- Diverse revenue streams
- Notifications and reminders
- Customer app
- Integration with Google, Instagram, and more
Managing your business is much easier with the help of Booksy because it helps you with things such as staff scheduling, client information, documentation, and more.
A Booksy subscription costs $29.99 per month per user and any additional staff member costs $10 per person per month. However, that is only applicable to the first nine employees. After the ninth one, there are no additional fees.
You can opt to add on the Booksy Boost which helps you to attract new customers by marketing your skills. This is something done by the software that may lead you to increased exposure, higher ranking in the Booksy search engine, higher customer retention, and more. The price for this is a one-time commission fee that is per each new client.
If you want to try out Booksy before you commit, you can do this risk-free with a free trial.
Step 5: Set Up Accounting
Keeping track of your expenses and your income is a crucial part of your nail business. And this is not something you want to assume you can do by hand because we are here to tell you you can’t.
And, you don’t need to. There are great options for online software to help you keep track of all the finances for your business. Or, if you’d like to take accounting off your plate, then you can hire an accountant to handle your business finances for you. If your budget allows for it, we recommend going the accountant route simply to ease your stress about incoming and outgoing money.
In addition to getting an accountant or setting up accounting software, you also want to open a business checking account so that you can keep your business and your personal finances separate. This will make things much easier when it comes time to do taxes, whether you’re doing them yourself or hiring an accountant to do them for you.
Step 6: Build a Presence
With most of the inside parts of your business ready to go, it is now time to think about the external parts: what people see. We don’t mean the way your salon looks (though that is important). We are talking about your presence, specifically on the internet.
A business website is a non-negotiable when it comes to your nail business. It doesn’t need to have a lot of frills. It can be a one-pager with basic information and how to get in contact with you if someone is interested. You can get as complicated and creative as you want, or you can keep it simple and minimal if that is more your style.
You may want to think about setting up social media accounts for your nail business, especially Instagram and TikTok. These are both highly visual platforms and the business of nails is also highly visual.
Share photos of the nail art that your techs create for more exposure and the chance to get new customers. This also allows your customers to tag you in their posts so that friends and family can see your work.
TikTok provides an opportunity for you to gain additional exposure to new customers with videos showing how nails are done at your salon, as well as other services that you offer.