5 Factors For Pricing Your Nail Services [Japanese Gel Fundamentals Series #08]

Ok, I was a little back and forth on this last episode. 

I thought… Should I culminate this Japanese Gel Nail Fundamental Series with the obvious next step of gel nails, which would be removal or should I do something even more exciting and talk about pricing.

I have a hunch that you will be the most excited about pricing, and I actually also already have a couple of gel removal videos in circulation, including one here on YouTube, so just come back and click the right top card after watching this episode if you need to learn how to properly remove your Japanese gel nails. Remember most Japanese gel is soft gel so you’re just going to file it thin and wrap in a small amount of acetone.

Alright! Super excited about this episode!? Are you?

First off. I’m going to go ahead and give you access to my Pricing Cheat Sheet.


In this 2 page download [which before this episode, was only exclusively available to our Master Gel Nails Course students, I detail my methodology behind pricing your services competitively and why all of your services should be booked at 90 mins.

Again ultra special so do not click away before picking it up using the link in the description box below.

So let’s start with this conversation first…

If you offer services varying in time you will have a hard time gaging your “hourly” rate.

For example, let’s say you are not a niched down tech and you’re offering everything… regular nail lacquer manicures, 3 different pedicures, gel polish manis, hard gel and acrylics.

Wow, that is a lot!

Do you know what’s crazier than this menu though? The fact that this was actually my menu when I first started, and I am sure it is someone’s currently also. And when my menu looked like this, and yes it could be super fun putting your menu together, my pricing was pretty much pieced together based on what the salons near me were charging for these services. And I know for a fact that many of you are currently in this scenario.

And here is why pricing your services this way can be super hurtful to the independent stylist. This is because in 1 hour that salon can crank out at the bare minimum, at least 2 times the amount of services that you, an independent stylist, can. Most salons with more than 2 technicians are structured to increase sales via volume. Meaning the more clients they can get in the greater the income.

The independent stylist is not structured or capcitated to work in this way. The independent stylist goes 1 client at a time. But here is the kicker… even when you’re going from one appointment to the next you may be really tempted to go into full robot mode, get all of your services done within 45-60 mins so that you can get 8-12 clients in per day. Ouch!

And here’s the thing if this is you… stop. This is not a successful approach to business as an independent stylist. I know it for a fact, been there-done that. You will burn out so quick and even worse, cause harm to your body. You work so that you can live, not the other way around.

So what do you do? Perhaps you’re like Paola if I say, No, I am saying no to my income, and my bottom line.

I want you to stay with me if you are in this predicament.

If you are getting this kind of demand… 8-12 clients a day, two things can be happening.

#1 Your prices are super low, or 

#2 You’re really good at what you do

And it can definitely be a combination of both.

You have to keep it real with yourself and ask yourself… which one is it?

If you consider yourself to just be an average tech, and have no desire to stand out and do the best work that you possibly can, I don’t know… to me the physical pain of being a nail tech is not worth it and I would just look for a less physical job. Again, I know from experience the shoulder and upper back pain is intense and it lingers. You most probably won’t be able to shake it off in a weekend or months time off of work, so the key is to really avoid it by working smarter not harder. Just not worth the $25 per hour for me.

But I’m willing to bet that you’re actually really good at what you do.

If you’re telling me you can’t shake off these clients, they won’t go anywhere else and they will wait for you to get in your schedule. Then they are most likely there because your work is that exceptional, and if so, it is time to give yourself a raise.

If you’re nervous, start with $5, THEN you’ll really see who’s just there because you’re “cheaper” than someone else. Because a $5 raise for yourself, should not be offensive to any one, especially if you haven’t given yourself one in a while, and especially in these times. And in another 6 months or the next year increase by another $5 or $10 depending on how low your prices are. In that free download where I show you my prices I give you a specific number to aim for as an hourly rate for an independent nail stylist. If you’re doing it all yourself, wearing all of the hats, you deserve every penny of that income.

Now up until now this has all been pep talk… but DEFINITELY real talk. And that is because I really want you to think of YOURSELF. That means you, your body, and well being because unlike other service-based jobs I often told myself and my peers… in this profession I (you) come first.

And I mean this health wise. If I am in pain or encounter a work related injury because of bad ergonomics and overload of work, I simply cannot give the best service.

Real talk beauty friends, so now that I have your attention…

These are the 5 factors I take into consideration when pricing my gel nail services.

Factor #1 Are you a solo tech. Do you operate independently. Are you in charge of all of the costs of running the business including rent, supplies, bookings, etc., etc….

It does not matter whether you rent a suite or just a little small corner in a salon, working by yourself, for yourself is the #1 reason you owe it to yourself to charge premium pricing.

Factor #2 Have you found your niche? Meaning is there something you specialize in?

I specialized in Japanese Gel Nail services. Others have specialized in pedicures only. Others in natural care meaning no enhancement services. Others with gel on natural nails only. And the reason why you’re specializing is because you are exceptionally well at what you do.

This is important because, just like a doctor who is specialized say, in the area of the heart, the brain, the eyes, etc., they will charge more generally than a general practitioner. So too, can you charge a premium price for your services as a specialist in something.

When it comes to doing nails. You cannot be a general practitioner. And if you are, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage, trying to master it all. Salons with multiple stylist can handle the burden of offering it all.

I believe that all nail technicians, in training or pro, have a service or 2 that they are exceptionally well at, and can hone in on it and charge more for.

Factor #3 Duration of services

If you offer it all. So many different products and services as an independent stylist, income predictability is going to be hard. Keeping a tally of what all your nail products and how often you actually need to restock, or if all of these services take you different amount of times and you’re not matching that with your hourly based wage, which we will talk all about in a little bit.

Your service duration should also include a buffer to allow you to disinfect after each client and often a quick break for you.

Factor #4 Product cost

Here I am talking more about disposables rather than the nail products you use to apply your nails. Frankly when you apply your products with control your nail products last a long time, and it is almost impossible to lose out significantly by using any brand of products. For me I worked with the products that gave me consistent long wearing results, regardless of price. And yes I opted for the more expensive stuff like Bio Sculpture and Japanese Gel.

What was really cool about Bio Sculpture was that those that did their research to find you using Bio Gel, did not mind paying you an upgraded price for it. So there are times when clients will opt in for your higher priced services because of them being a luxury brand.

But again I think that the cost of disposables and disinfection is actually higher than that of the shelf life of your nail products, so do try and shop for bargains and bulk pricing on these items.

Factor #5 What is included in your services?

This one is actually a biggie for me. How many times did you walk into a nail salon, saw the base price, and when you came out, that price had increased $5-$10 because of the add-ons through your service. Yep. sucky. I also confidently priced my services 

Lastly I want you to consider one last thing before recapping the 5 pricing factors. Whatever amount of money you charge for your services, your nails better last. There is little to no room for nails to fall off, chip, lift, or any other service breakdown.

Because as I say, when your nails stick… so will your clients.

So by narrowing everything down to the 5 factors to consider for pricing you should be able to gage a target very specific dollar amount, per hour that you should be making.

Again the 5 factors that go into pricing:

#1 The fact that you’re an independent stylist

#2 Specialized in one area of nails

#3 Know the duration of your most popular service

#4 Disposables or disinfection protocol and supplies

#5 Specifics of what is included in your services

This is where it literally is going to pay to be particularly good in one area of nails or to offer something different than what everyone else is offering. 

One of the reasons why I was able to find success after niching down to Japanese gels.

I’d say the first year of doing so I made approximately $70k, the next $80k, and after that pretty much 6 figures after including my teaching wages was because I had become super niched down to the art of doing nails using soft gel only.

I was able to charge premium prices, and minimize the amount of products I actually needed to do nails.I could pretty much travel with a little carrying case and do all of my services. The biggest thing obviously being my curing unit. So think of yourself right now… What services do you offer? How much products do you actually need to do your services. Can you niche down?

Japanese gel allowed me to do all of my gel manicures, gel pedicures, gel overlays and extensions. I did everything with soak-off gel only.

Alright now this concludes our current series on Japanese Gel Nail Fundamentals.

As a thank you to you, my loyal viewer and subscriber, I am going to give you FREE access, FOR A LIMITED TIME, to my upgraded paid masterclass all about honing in into all that we talked about today including my journey, which was really more of a struggle to finally find my niche. I’m also going to show my 6 “Figure Earner” Calculator which will allow you to plug and play and see what numbers you need to make 6 figures or $100,000 a year as an independent stylist. It is a super fun exercise. (The code is UPGRADEDMC, pick up the course here.)

In this masterclass I also show you how much money I made on tips, because when you take care of yourself first (remember that!) you are truly able to serve your clients with the best nail services, and they know that your care for them is genuine and their biggest gratitude is shown via that little bit of extra money they leave with you after their service.

I always was ok with the idea of being priced and not expecting tips, but it was wonderful to see client’s generosity when they did.

This is a limited-time code (UPGRADEDMC), so make sure to use it and watch this free training ASAP. That code is in the description box.

Either way, thank you so much for having joined me in this series. I Hope you enjoyed all of the episodes. I’ve put them all together for you in a playlist. You can click the link below to catch up if you haven’t watch them all.

I will still be publishing videos weekly, so make sure you’re part of our email club or you’ve hit the bell icon next to the subscribe button below to get a notification as soon as our next video is published.

Last week’s video was all about the top 3 popular Japanese Gel Nail Art styles make sure you click that thumbnail to watch it next if you haven’t.

I’ll see you next here next week. Bye for now.

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