Most technicians coming out of nail school are eager to get experience, to master their craft and build a healthy and profitable business. The biggest question is whether to rent space, get paid via commissions, hourly or join a team based pay company. We are here to breakdown the pros and cons of each.

Renting Space

Renting space is just that. You rent the space, provide all of your product and also are in charge of your schedule, clients, taxes and money management. No one else will do it. for you.Nail Tech Advice: to rent or not to rent? The plus side to joining a fairly large salon, and renting space with the extra traffic is that it may not take all that long to build a good clientele, because usually the other people renting space try to support each other by referring clients to you and vice versa. Even though 100% of the cash flow is coming to you, you need to have a budget in place. You need to ensure you have the cash flow to continue to buy your supplies, replace any tools that may break down, taxes, and a security fund in case anything happens. With that said, if you decide to move, your clients are your clients, so you can give them a call and whoever decides to follow you will. On average you can expect to lose 20-30% of your clientele every time you move. So staying put is going to help you in the long run.

Hourly/Commission Based

Hourly/Commission based is a great way to also build a clientele on a budget. The owner will supply everything for you, tools, product etc. There may be an adjustment period if the new place uses a product different than what you may have been trained with, but overall most products are pretty straight forward, easy to use and easy to get used to. The most common percentage for a commission is 30-50% plus tips, the owner is taking 100% of the risk, not only are they providing a place for you to work, but they also have product cost to cover, insurances, accounting costs, running costs etc. You will need to do a little bit of advertising for yourself, but if you have a good employer they will help spread the word and get you busier. Now if you ever up and move the products will stay put, you can ask your employer if they would like to bundle products/equipment to sell, but don’t count on that.


This another great plan when you are new to the business. You are working with a team where everyone helps everyone. They usually have a full schedule and will help get you busier by booking clients with you, as well as providing proper training and guidance to perfect your craft. This type of pay is hourly + bonuses. The bonuses are usually done on a quarterly basis and if you meet requirements of your performance evaluation you receive a certain percentage of profits from that quarter based from the entire team efforts, which means a bigger payday for you, so if you start out making less then minimum wage, don’t fret! You should be receiving 100% of tips and the bonuses will help top up your pay. Nail Tech Advice: To Rent or not to Rent? If you are the type that would prefer to go to work, do your job and go home and don’t want to worry about ordering product and all of those fun adult-like things, then hourly, commission or team-based pay would be a better fit for you. Sometimes you just need to get out there and try different ways to see which is the perfect fit for you, or you may be one of the lucky ones, the first place you work may be your last and that is flocking awesome!
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