I know most of you play with your nails, maybe your friends' also. Maybe you have been polishing and artsing your nails for decades! Maybe its a new-found hobby. But how many of you have entertained the idea of making money...playing? You can offer art to anyone, you don't need a license for that! But if you are interested in offering natural nail care or enhancements, most states require a license. On that note, your first step is to look up your state's Department of Regulatory Agencies, easily found through Google, and determine if you need to head back to school! Once you know whether school is in your future, you can then find out the required hours for your state.
Then its on to researching schools. Some offer various separate programs, so you can just meet your hours for a manicurist license. Some, however, only offer one full course for a cosmetologist license, which is longer, more expensive, and for those who want nothing to do with hair or skincare, very frustrating! Research is KEY!
When I went to school, Colorado's required hours were 314, so it was 'quick n dirty'! While most states have similar requirements, DO find out for where you live or plan to live. Often, these licenses are NOT good state-to-state! FYI, some states do not require a license at all!
I started playing with my nails at about 7 years of age...obviously a long standing love :) When I started doing nails for money, I was not required to have a license, and I was slow. So, 26 years ago, my full sets were only $20.00! Rebases were only $10.00! My prices now, with my experience, sanitation practices and product knowledge, are $55.00 for a full set of pink and white acrylics; $35.00 for a backfill, (when I rebase and fill their white/color tips); $45.00 for a full set, shined or polished; $35.00 for an acrylic overlay; $25.00 for a basic rebase. I offer student discounts, for we all know students tend to be far past broke :) I never did, and likely never will, charge for broken nails; I don't charge extra for shortening or french polish. My prices are flat and fair; I do not nickle-and-dime my clients! I make sure that any extra charges for art, acrylic colors and shellac are known up front! In this industry,we offer a service, and we need to let our clients know they are important and are being treated fairly. Customer service is HUGE!
Researching shops in your area goes hand-in-hand (haha) with researching for your education! Checking salons from the discount places, (typically Asian, assembly line shops) to the high-end spas will help you determine your price scale, your competition and what the best services are for you to offer. The number one best way to do this type of research is to book an appointment. While this can be costly, it is the best way to determine the level of customer service, talent, cleanliness and prices that are common in your area. If you book an appointment for a pedicure, watch for true sanitation practices; ask what they use to clean the pedicure bowl, and if they clean after EVERY service...after all, if you plan on putting your feet in it, it had better be clean! If you book an appointment for a nail repair, watch for the care of their implements and files...if its not clean or you're not comfortable, LEAVE! Never feel obligated to stay or pay if you are not comfortable...you wouldn't tolerate that from any doctor!
I'm going to wrap here...but please ask any questions you may have! I will try to post part 2 Friday June 8!