GO mobile | Pocketmags.com

5 mins

GO mobile

With an increasing number of techs branching out alone, we ask the experts about the pros and cons of mobile nail work and how to make a success of it

Mobile nail techs are increasingly in demand. If you’re transitioning from working in a beauty salon or homebased set-up, going mobile can offer more flexibility, lower overheads and, ultimately, more freedom.

However, there is a lot to consider before going mobile, from ensuring you have the correct kit, to managing your own finances and getting the right insurance.

Being a mobile nail technician gives you the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you choose. It can easily fit around other jobs, making it a good choice if you’re looking to make extra income.

Once you’re qualified, you’ll have your own business, working in a hands-on, creative role – perfect if you like to work independently and are self-motivated.

However, the biggest downsides can be a lack of job security and a lower average salary than in some other areas of the industry. According to data from careers site How to Become, mobile nail techs usually earn between £12,000 and £20,000 a year, going up to £25,000 for more experienced technicians.

Remember: being your own boss also means spending (unpaid) time managing your finances and various admin tasks. However, another upside is that many nail techs go on to rewarding roles such as educating in colleges or salons. Others land session work, looking after the nails of models or celebrities for television, fashion or photoshoots. As a mobile tech, you’re responsible for the health and safety of your clients. As well as keeping all your equipment clean and regularly sterilised, you will also need to check the health and condition of your client’s nails and advise them on appropriate aftercare.

How to get bookings

Analyse your service radius and make sure you focus on working within a certain area, charging extra for clients who live outside that radius to ensure you don’t spend too many hours on the road and rack up too many overheads in travel expenses.

Even if you’re planning to work as a mobile nail tech part-time, be prepared to put more hours in at the beginning than at any other time to get your business off the ground.

To get your name out there you can do everything from a local leaflet drop and adverts in the local press, to setting up a website and launching a social media campaign. To attract as many clients as possible, you may want to offer an opening week or month special.

Metta Francis, founder of mobile nail business Nails By Mets, says building a great website was key to her early success: “I spent a lot of time building my website and learning SEO (search engine optimisation),” she explains.

“Back then, social media wasn’t such a big catalyst and many first-time clients found me by simply Googling and looking for a mobile nail technician/nail artist. This was a massive win for me as it created credibility, simply by having a professional-looking website and Google reviews.

Encouraging clients to leave reviews and spread the word also helped me build my client base.

“INSTAGRAM STORIES and Reels or TIKTOK VIDEOS that show the process before and after TEND TO BE THE BEST-PERFORMING POSTS. Photos also create a brilliant GALLERY/PORTFOLIO that clients can refer to„

“I would network at events Nails by Mets were booked for too, which led to more industry events. I did a number of test photoshoots to build up my editorial portfolio, which led to session opportunities also.”

Make sure you’re also on beauty booking websites if they serve your area. With many of these platforms, you can set up a business page for free and a commission is taken from every booking made via the site. Others charge a flat fee to join and some are free. There are loads of sites out there now but a few to check out as a starting point are Fresha, Treatwell, Ruuby, Beu and Prettly.

Word of mouth is also key, award-winning manicurist Roxanne Campbell of Revarnish London says. “Once you do a brilliant job the customer will become a loyal, regular client and tell their family and friends about your company.

This will create a domino effect and it’s free.”

If used effectively, social media can be a powerful (and free) tool to market and advertise your business, attracting new clients and ultimately growing your brand.

Francis explains that social media is “often used as a search engine now for clients looking for nail art or bridal nails, for example”. She adds, “I try not to spend so long on social media but it’s all in the planning. Content generally needs to be interesting, high quality and show off your best work.

“Instagram Stories and Reels or TikTok videos that show the process before and after, and even showing yourself, tend to be the best-performing posts. Static posts and photos also create a brilliant gallery/portfolio that clients can refer to.”

How to make retail sales

As a qualified nail technician, you can purchase a range of products, including your nail varnishes, removers, boards, files, and lotions at wholesale prices. You can then sell these products on to your clients at retail prices to make a profit.

“Always discuss aftercare with clients during their service,” Francis says. “This creates a nice introduction to the retail products you offer. Make sure to focus on how the products you sell help solve your client’s issues too.”

Campbell adds: “Make sure you use amazing products that sell themselves. If the product is great and your clients see results, they will buy it multiple times.”

Francis recommends using testers or demos during the treatment “so your client can touch, smell, and familiarise themself with the product and feel the results for themselves”.

She adds, “Don’t just restrict yourself to in-person clients.

Talk about retail products on social media and offer advice to your followers. Focus on a problem they may have – for example, cracked heels – and a product you sell that helps alleviate or solve it. Have an online link so they can purchase directly – this really opens up your retail sales to everyone, nationwide.”

“Customers do not like a hard sell, but might be persuaded to purchase a product if you recommend it to them as a way of maintaining their manicure.”

This article appears in July 2022

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July 2022
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