HOW TO BECOME A MOBILE NAIL TECHNICIAN
by Philippa Oakley
The health and beauty industry is currently expanding at a rate of knots not seen before. The main reason for this rise is because people are taking a greater pride in their appearance and, as fashion changes, so do the accessories and treatments available.
A nail technician in the UK can expect to earn between £12,000 and £20,000 a year, with the most experienced technicians earning around £25,000 or more. As a nail technician, you have the flexibility to work when and where you choose. You can work in a salon or a spa, on a cruise ship, in a gym or you can set up on your own. Many nail technicians also go on to teach at colleges, like Jo Cura, or in beauty salons. Others work exclusively in the fashion industry, maintaining models’ hands for photo shoots or working in television and theatre.
It is an incredibly flexible career and has no age barriers to entry. Many people become nail technicians as a second or third career. It can be studied either full-time in as little as a week, or part-time. You can study at home or at a college. Both the studying and the job itself easily fit in around school hours or around other careers. It is a skill that can be learned relatively quickly and one where you can soon earn back the fees from your course.
TIPS FOR BECOMING A NAIL TECHNICIAN
To help you, think about what your motivations are for considering a new career as a nail technician. Are you looking for a part time job that will fit around the needs of your family? Perhaps you are hoping to travel. Maybe you would like to enter the health and beauty profession, but you are not absolutely sure it is the right move for you, so training as a nail technician would be a good starting point? Keep these motivations clear in your mind, as these will form the basis of the type of training that will be most suited to you to start your new career.
What do Nail Technicians Do?
Nail technicians are health and beauty professionals who are responsible for the clients’ nails. In general this can be split into four main areas:
- Health and Safety of Clients
- Nail Artistry
Health and Safety of Clients
As a nail technician you are responsible for the health and safety of your clients whether you are treating them in a salon, your home or their home. You need to keep all your equipment clean and sterilise equipment regularly. You will also need to check the health and condition of your client’s nails and advise on appropriate after-care. You will be using a wide variety of chemicals in your work and you need to ensure these are stored safely.
There is no single ‘right’ route into the profession; you need to choose the best fit for you, your circumstances, the time you have available and your finances. Let’s look at a couple of options that are available to you in more detail.
Contrary to popular belief, apprenticeships are not only for the young school leaver. In fact, apprenticeships are open to everyone over the age of 16, whether they have worked before or not. If you want to train in a new career and can find an employer willing to take you on, you can become an apprentice.
There are two levels of apprenticeship offered in Nail Service: an intermediate apprenticeship and an advanced apprenticeship. Apprentices can earn anything from £80 to £170 a week. You can find details of the apprenticeship scheme here: www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
You may however decide to opt for a nail technician college course. There are many different ones to choose from; however, here are just a couple of examples to give you an idea of what is involved during the course.
On this course you will gain theoretical and practical knowledge in:
- Anatomy & Physiology of skin, nails, bones, muscles and circulatory systems
- Nail Art
- False nails (Fibreglass , Acrylic and Gel nail systems)
- Health & Safety
- Salon skills and employment standards
- Promoting services and products
- Customer care
Most colleges have salons on site where you will learn and practice your skills.
You can study this qualification at many local colleges of further education as well as at a wide variety of private colleges and online. If you want to enrol at a local college, you will usually need to have a minimum of 4 GCSEs including English. At a local college this course normally costs around £500 for a 34-week part-time course, with 6 hours study a week. In addition to this you will need to purchase a nail kit (around £150), study books and pay exam fees.
When you study at a college you will get to practice in a fully equipped salon on real people as well as other trainees. In addition to this, most colleges also arrange work experience with local salons too.
Some nail institutes and private colleges also offer Level 2 NVQ in Nail Services. With these colleges you can study for the diploma full-time in five weeks. The costs for these courses are around £1,300 plus VAT and the cost of your nail kit, which varies from college to college. Private colleges also offer a variety of part-time intensive courses too, some running over several weekends and others over a few hours a week. Prices for these courses vary considerably depending upon the speed with which you want to complete the course.
There are no minimum entry requirements at the private colleges. However, depending on where you study, you might need to arrange your own work experience in order to gain the salon hours you need to qualify.
Some online colleges also offer the NVQ Level 2 via a mix of onsite and distance learning. On these courses you will need to find willing volunteers to allow you to practice your skills and whom you can photograph for your portfolio.
Once you have trained to become a nail technician you may decide to set up your own mobile nail technician business. If you do then there will be many things to consider. Let’s now answer some of the more common questions we receive about becoming a mobile nail technician.
How Many Hours Will You Need to Put into Your Business
This is entirely up to you, but you will have to put more hours in at the beginning than at any other time. So even if you intend to only work part-time, you will find that you need to work many more hours at first to get your business off the ground.
You will need to leaflet drop areas to get your name out there, which can take some time. Plus you will need to work on your site and come up with ways to attract as many clients as possible, such as offering an opening week special – which you will need to get into the local press so people know it is happening.
Even when your business is up and running you will need to spend on average ten hours a week on maintaining your business: doing your record keeping, accounts, admin and most importantly marketing your business.
How to Maximise Your Income as a Mobile Nail Technician
The best way to maximise your income is to offer additional services such as:
- Mini manicures and pedicures,
- Nail parties (incredibly popular with girls aged 8 – 12)
- Wedding nails
- Luxury manicures and pedicures
- Selling nail care products
Selling Products to Make a Profit
As a qualified nail technician you can purchase your nail varnishes, removers, boards, files, lotions etc. at wholesale prices. You can then sell these products onto your clients at retail prices to make a profit.
Customers do not like a hard sell, but they might be persuaded to purchase a lotion or varnish if you recommend it to them as a way of maintaining their manicure, nails etc.
To learn more about getting qualified as a nail technician and also setting up your own mobile nail technician business we recommend that you obtain a copy of our how to become a mobile nail technician book.
This informative and educational book has been created by Philippa Oakley, an expert within this industry. The book will teach you how to become a nail technician and also how to start your own mobile nail technician business. The topics and information offered within this book include:
Chapter 1 – what is a nail technician?
Chapter 2 – types of treatment offered by a nail technician
Chapter 3 – what does it take to be a successful nail technician?
Chapter 4 – how to get the qualifications you need
Chapter 5 – careers as a nail technician
Chapter 6 – what services should you offer if setting up on your own?
Chapter 7 – setting up at home or your mobile nail technician business
Chapter 8 – financial awareness and guidance
Chapter 9 – how to attract clients
Chapter 10 – marketing your business
Chapter 11 – customer care
Chapter 12 – gaining great feedback
Chapter 13 – expanding into other areas
Chapter 14 – useful resources for the nail technician