5 Powerful Tips For Getting Faster As A Nail Tech

5 Tips For Getting Faster Doing Nails

Is a simple manicure still taking you two hours? Are one-color extensions still dragging out close to the 4-hour mark?

I want to be clear. I don’t agree with 30-minute gel manicures and extensions in 1 hour. Still, I do believe in time efficiency to increase your income potential.

No matter what, even if your manicure is fabulous, appointments that are too short are sure to be rushed. No two ways about it. if you’re a premium-priced nail tech, feeling rushed will hardly ever sit well with your clients.

Today I want to share 5 tips for getting faster for maximum time and money efficiency.

Kokoist Certification coming up…

Before getting started today, I wanted to tell you about our upcoming Kokoist Japanese Gel Nail certification. It is happening in just a few weeks, and you’ll learn things like:

  • Kokoist history and beginnings
  • A thorough product debrief (so you know the exact details of your products for best use)
  • Step-by-step application of everything from a simple one-color manicure
  • Modern nail art techniques 
  • Advanced gel nail application like extensions (free-form and Gelip!). 

If you want to be in the know further, you’ll want to sign up for the waitlist (AKA our VIP list). This is the last call to sign up for this VIP list, where you will get exclusive perks and announcements for signing up. You can do that quickly right now by pausing this reading and signing up so you don’t forget.

Alright, back to today’s topic!

So while being lightning-fast can make your client feel rushed… being too slow may also not sit well with your client.

There does need to be a happy medium so that your clients re-book you and that you are not dragging out a $60 service for 3 hours.

And hear me out. I speak from experience.

I will be the first to tell you to take your time and be thorough. Quite frankly, if you had to choose between an instance of a set of simple nails taking 3 hours vs. one that fell off in 3 days, I will take the 3-hour situation any time. Your client will most likely give you another chance (especially if she knows you’re just starting out) if her nails lasted 3+ weeks and were beautiful vs. them having come off in 3 days.

That client is unlikely to return if the nails have come off that soon. So use this to relax and relieve the pressure of getting super fast when you’re just starting out.

And suppose you’re currently in the time range of 1 hour to 2.5 hours for completing your services. You’re in good shape, so relax and keep doing what you’re doing because you will naturally get faster. Naturally, it will happen. It takes a little bit of time, so be patient and gracious with yourself.

If you happen to be within this time frame of 1-2.5 hrs, and you’re still wondering if you’re taking too long, what you’ll want to do instead, is to consider your pricing. Most likely, you feel this way because you feel like you should be making more, so your speed may not have much to do with it.

Imagine. If you’re charging $30 for a single-color gel manicure, you’re taking 90 minutes. Well, that is a little low. If your application is tip top, bump that price gradually until you get to an hourly of about $60 or whatever salary your bills call for.

5 tips for improving your time as a nail tech:

Tip #1: Repetition.

Repetition creates fluidity. Do not reinvent the wheel for every nail service.

Let me ask you this: a client comes in with gel on for her rebalancing service… quick! Tell me, what is your first step? You should know as fast as you dial your passcode to get into your phone.

After analyzing the nails, I know that my first step for rebalancing is to ask the client if she will be keeping her length. After that, I grabbed my efile and removal bit; from there, I knew every step to get me to a finished set of nails within 90 minutes. Yes, even extensions, but because this is not a competition, I did book 2 hours for these, as they are free-form, fully customizable extensions…

Perhaps you’re new in this business and are like ok. Repetition sounds fantastic, but how does that happen if I don’t have enough clients to book myself to get that practice?

I’m glad you asked.

You can put tips on a stand and rehearse your steps; your nails don’t even have to be perfect! Simply taking yourself and even talking yourself through the steps of this assignment would be highly beneficial.

If your budget permits, I would encourage you to buy a pair of silicone hands but not any kind! In fact, I’ve bought silicone hands before, and they are too heavy or too stiff to work with. 

My favorite silicone hand and mechanism is the Portuguese Manufacturer, Aleana Hand (code PPN5 for 5% Off). They are light, the most realistic, and the magnetic mechanism to twirl them around is like no other.

They are an investment indeed, but if a small discount serves you, you can use code PPN5.

Tip #2: Listen more than you talk during appointments.

This is the case for any relationship, but that’s a whole nother country song.

When your client comes in, greet her, of course, but acknowledge her conversation by affirming you’re listening and contributing a small response.

Talking during an appointment will significantly slow you down. It absolutely will.

Do not feel obligated to converse back. Obviously, if the client has a question for you, answer it. You’re a listener when she comes in, not a conversation starter.

Most importantly, you’re a nail stylist, not a psychiatrist, so be careful not to absorb more than what you want to hear.

If a topic of conversation does not sit well with you, or let’s just say it is too personal… Try saying something like, “I’m so sorry you are going through this; why don’t we change the conversation. This appointment is too short for you to miss out on this pampering for yourself.”

I would personally be empathetic. In other words, be considerate and think. “Oh My God, this could be me, and wow, she trusts me enough to share this with me; I also have to think of my well-being, and I don’t want to absorb her situation, so let me kindly shift away.”

Tip #3: have all of your materials within reach.

If you have to get up and get your supplies at any time, you are slowing yourself down by not only getting up but also by interrupting your focus. 

It’s easier to keep an engine going and quickly change a gear, speed, or function while it is already going. Rather than stopping that machine (in this case, your brain) from reactivating, making it remember where it left off.

Every essential material should be within arms’ reach. My table set up, even now, is set up so that I do not have to get up for anything when I want to start recording. Light button, microphone, camera, they are all within reach.

In the same manner, my implements, files & buffers, gels, efile machine, etc., were all within arms reach so that I at no point broke my focus.

This is highly effective, and I encourage you to analyze your space and make it as efficient in this manner as possible.

Tip #4: Do not switch tools often while performing your service.

There are a few techniques I won’t switch into when doing nails, even though they work. You might jump into new things or trends because EVERYONE else seems to be doing them, but in actuality may improve your service by only a tiny percentage.

The two techniques I won’t give into during a nail service because they only make a marginal difference is

#1 adjusting my application with a second tool. In one of my application training, I was trained to use a liner brush to adjust my apex. But picking up and dropping an instrument is a form of distraction, AKA a way to break your focus and rev up your engine once again.


#2 Unless absolutely necessary, use more than 2 efile bits to conduct my service. So I try, try, try to use only one diamond bit and one removal bit, maybe two removal bits depending on the amount of product to remove.

And if you are using more than 2 diamond bits for cuticle work, consider this an upgraded service, so do also consider bumping your price.

Tip#5: Do not soak off nails!

This tip will probably be a bit more difficult for you to implement, and that is because it requires training. But just FYI, I teach you this technique in both my MGN and EEM courses. You can go to my website to see if these are open when you are done reading this or this link.

Soak-off gel, as you know, is my specialty, but one of the things I struggled with the most once I fully committed to it was getting faster at my soak offs. This was primarily because a soak-off time varies from client to client. Depending on the chemistry of their nail, or maybe I had to use a few adhesion tricks last time they were in, so the gel will just not budge with the acetone.

Soak-off removals eat away at the clock like nothing else. You simply cannot be aggressive because the clock is ticking. Talk about a quick way to lose a client… by damaging her nails or having her experience pain at her nail appointment.

So I had to find a way to make this time factor with soft gel a non-varying time thing. 

As they say, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” and I thought, you know what? I’m just going to remove the entire gel nail with my efile.

I eased into this by assuring myself that if I see any significant damage as I’m efiling it away, just slow down, take my time, or stop altogether.

And so I went removing the gel product entirely with a ceramic bit. This type of bit is necessary (Click here to see my recommendations and use code PPN10K for 12% Off). I was astonished at how minor damage was after entirely removing 95% of the product with an efile.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have created more damage with a soak-off removal than with my efile and ceramic bit doing a full strip.

I had already been doing nails for years and was acquainted with an efile. I truly believe you need some training before attempting this. (Uhm, may I suggest efiling course, EEM!)

But seriously, a total game changer! 

Once I mastered entirely removing with an efile, I never soaked off another client’s nails!

And there you have them…

My 5 tips for getting faster as a nail tech.

I hope you got a ton of value today on getting faster. These very 5 tips made me get not only faster in my services. Still, they helped get me more consistent results with my gel nail applications. I genuinely believe that the above 5 tips for getting faster as a nail tech can improve your time significantly!

You can do other little things to get a little faster, like investing in two curing units and not working with dull tools when it comes to your nippers and efiling bits, but these 5 tips are drastic!

If you have a friend that can benefit from this episode, please share this post with them!.

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