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A nail technician provides nail treatments including manicures, pedicures and nail extensions. Nail technicians have an option to trade in a variety of ways including running a home-based salon, providing services at the client’s home or renting a chair in a beauty salon.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business as a nail technician, this is everything you need to know. 

Qualifications and skills needed

To become a nail technician, there are no legal requirements to hold a specific qualification. However, some local authorities may require you to hold a massage and special treatment licence. Depending on the circumstances, you may need other licences. To find out more, check here.

While you might not need a specific qualification, to attract customers and show your knowledge in the industry, you must be professionally trained. You should also consider investing in regular training to improve your skills, stay up to date with current trends and new techniques used in the industry. 

When it comes to running a business, there are a few skills you need to have or learn:

Administration and time management

Once you start your own business, you aren’t only responsible for creating nail art, you also need to take and manage bookings. You can choose whether you want people to ring you or use online appointment booking apps. Depending on that, you might need to improve your communication skills, so you sound professional and welcoming when speaking on the phone, or you might need to spend some time learning how to use new software, so you don’t miss any appointments.

Time management is also very important as you need to make sure you don’t accept more bookings than you can physically handle. You need to create a strict schedule that would allow you to perform your best as well as have breaks in between appointments to tidy up, sanitise your tools as well as have some time for yourself.


Another important skill to have is bookkeeping. As a nail technician, you spend money on equipment. If you’re renting a chair at a salon, you also need to pay rent. If you travel to clients’ homes, you spend money on travelling. On top of that, you also receive payments. You need to make sure that you record all the costs and income as well as keep the receipts. 


No matter how good you are at what you do, you also need to make sure people can find you. Think about why people should choose you instead of any other nail technician. Do you use some new techniques? Do you have years of experience? Shout about those things that make you different!

If you feel like you don’t have the skills you need to start your own business, we can help you with that! Here at EMS, we offer one-on-one support with experienced business advisors as well as workshops for those making their first steps into self-employment.

Why should you start a business as a nail technician?

You can make people happy and confident

For some people, getting their nails done is equal to getting a big makeover. It boosts their confidence and brings a smile to their face. And the best part – you are the reason they feel that way! 

You also get a chance to be a part of peoples’ best moments and special occasions such as birthdays or weddings as well as help them relax when they’re going through something difficult. 

It’s never the same

While you have your regular customers, you also get to meet new people every day! Also, different customers want different treatments and different nail designs, so your days are never the same.

It allows you to be creative

If you’re a creative person and are looking for a career that would allow you to express your creativity, being a nail technician could be the right choice. While some people prefer simple, one colour nail designs, others want something extraordinary. Some might even come in without knowing what they want, so you get a chance to surprise them! 

It gives you freedom and independence

As a nail technician, you get to choose your own working hours. If you wish you could work around your other responsibilities, for example, only in the evenings and weekends, this business could be the best choice for you. A lot of people are looking to get their nails done after they finish work but not every salon offers long opening hours. So this is a great opportunity for you to attract those customers!


The prices charged depend on many different factors. Different nail treatments, products used as well as technician’s experience and local competition influence the price. Some technicians offer discounts and loyalty schemes to reward their regular customers. However, it’s important to remember that even if you offer some type of discount, the final price still needs to cover all the costs as well as make a profit. 

How to promote your business?

Use social media

People love seeing examples of nail technicians’ work before deciding whether they want to use their services. Using the right social media platforms and sharing good quality content can make your business very successful. To increase engagement, consider sharing different types of content. While pictures of videos of your work can attract new customers, sharing content such as tips and advice on how to take care of your nails at home shows your knowledge, builds trust and make your existing customers feel better about using your services. 

Get reviews

Reviews are a great way to promote your business without doing anything yourself! Ok, ok, we’re lying… you need to make sure your customers write those reviews! Encourage your happy customers to write a review or share a picture on their social media.

Register with an online appointment booking services

These days, people prefer booking their appointments online. It lets them do it at any time of the day and see the technician’s availability straight away. Also, if you register with platforms such as Treatwell, it increases your chances of attracting new clients. If someone goes on the app to book an appointment, they might discover your salon. They can also see your prices, availability, read reviews and book appointments without even contacting you! 

Try to get referrals

Try to contact the managers or owners of spas or beauty salons that don’t provide nail treatments. If any of their customers ask if they know any trustworthy nail technicians, they might refer them to you.

Disadvantages of being a nail technician

Clients can be difficult

While you meet some amazing people and might even make new friends, some clients can be… a little bit crazy. Complaining about every single thing or simply being rude, some people can really ruin your mood or even your day. So it’s important you know how to deal with people like this and not take everything personally.

Many people cancel their appointments

The beauty industry is probably the one with the most cancelled appointments. Some people cancel only a few minutes before or don’t turn up without any notice, which means you can’t find another customer for that time slot. This creates a risk of not making enough money to make a profit. To avoid a situation like this, try to think of other ways to minimise the risk of cancelled appointments. A great option is to charge upfront – either a full amount or a deposit. Give your clients an option to cancel, for example, up to 12 hours before to get a full refund. If they don’t cancel by that time, even if you can’t fill in the place, you still get the money.  

You need to do all the other, not so fun business stuff yourself

When you’re an employee you don’t need to worry about tax-paying or doing monthly bookkeeping. When you run your own business, you need to spend extra time sorting these things out for yourself. 

Now that you know what you need to become a nail technician and the pros and cons of being one, you can decide whether it’s something you want to do. If you need any help and support setting up, we’re here to help!

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