If you’re tired of being chained to a chair and love the idea of owning a mobile nail tech business, the time is right. People are busy – really swamped in some cases – so taking your tools and skills on the road is a great way to break the monotony of a shop while attracting on-the-go clients. Plan to book appointments at client’s homes and you’ll enjoy a perk that other nail salon owners will envy: no rent.
Weigh the pros and cons of launching a mobile nail tech business. With no shop to keep open during regular business hours, you can work on your own schedule and you won’t have to furnish, pay utilities or maintain a retail facility. On the other hand, it’s not as easy to attract clients without a bricks-and-mortar salon and some folks may be leery about having a nail technician come into their homes. Importantly, you could put your personal safety at risk when entering the homes of strangers.
Set up a traveling nail salon on wheels. Think creatively. Large tool chests favored by mechanics to store everything from wrenches to bolts come in all sizes. They withstand wear and tear nicely. Stock a unit with necessities purchased from your local salon supply store: polishes, lotions, nail tools, acrylic supplies, towels, soaking bowls, drying sprays and other nail care necessities. Keep a knockdown portable nail table and chair in your vehicle just in case there’s no workstation available to you.
Learn a simple, computer-based accounting or database program like Excel to manage your client lists, receipts, expenditures, supply lists and other data necessary to run the business end of your mobile nail tech enterprise. You’ll need a clever name, business cards, letterhead and a separate insurance policy that covers you while you’re out and about servicing clients in addition to the coverage you already have on your auto.
Put together a grassroots marketing plan to keep expenses down. There’s money in numbers, so consider focusing your efforts on places like retirement villages, office buildings, social clubs and other locations that offer opportunities to work on the nails of multiple clients each time you stop. You can offer discounts, for example, to an office manager who sets up five lunch hour appointments or give her a free service if she books eight or arranges a walk-in, after hours service for sign-ups. Book bachelorette, girls nights out and even teen pajama night parties.
Continually monitor all aspects of your business if you want to expand your client base and stay top of your game. Keep your state certification license current. Take classes to stay up-to-date on cutting-edge nail care techniques, products and designs. Offer perks to people who refer you to build your client base. Dream big. Work as hard growing your mobile nail tech business as you would a salon and you could find yourself managing a fleet of mobile nail technicians -- each with your logo on her car -- down the road.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.