How to Open a Nail Salon in Your Home

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If you’re wondering how to open a nail salon in your home—well, you’ve come to the right place. About three years ago, Booksy Ambassador Lila Bellemare was asking herself that very same question. At that time, she was confronted with the challenge of how to keep her booming nail business alive, despite the fact that she needed to cut business costs during the pandemic.

Today, her at-home nail salon named Bellabuttonz is running smoother than ever. And it’s no secret that working from home has become more popular in the beauty industry. Professionals like Lila love taking advantage of being able to run their own businesses without the hassle of renting salon space, commuting back and forth, and leaving the comfort of home.

For Lila, opening an at-home nail salon wasn’t just about making life easier. It was also about earning more income, taking advantage of added privacy, and being able to carefully select the equipment and products that her clients would enjoy the most. Her loyal clients love the personalized touch that Lila is able to bring to every session, while she creates works of art.

Take a few moments to learn from this eight-year industry veteran and Valentino Ambassador who successfully created an at-home nail salon. Read the steps she took to ensure that her business would profit. Find out why she recommends that other nail techs take the following steps, which will help them earn more income by reducing a number of overhead costs and working in their very own space.


Opening an At-Home Nail Salon

Lila said that anyone taking steps to open an at-home nail salon should start by considering the space where clients will sit and enjoy their services. For Lila, that meant making her basement more welcoming to clients. She wanted to give clients a relaxing space to enjoy their services, while still making sure that her personal life would remain separate from her business.

“I have a finished basement with a nail room inside. It’s a separate workspace from the rest of my house. And it’s all done really nicely with my equipment, salon chair, a television, decorated walls, and a bathroom, so clients don’t have to go through my house. That’s a little bit better than somebody walking past where my kids play, while I’m doing nails in the kitchen,” she said.

Working as an at-home nail tech still means that new clients will come into your home, Lila added. But she uses the Booksy software in an innovative way to make it easy for her to vet clients and ensure she always feels safe. Lila has an active Booksy Profile, but she doesn’t publish her home address online. That way, when a new client books, she can speak with them to ask a few questions before inviting them into her workspace.

“I can work freely while people book. And when a new person books, we will talk via email where I basically do a short interview before I accept their appointment. So, I get to decide whether I want to take them or not. But that's only for new people,” she said. “Being an at-home nail tech isn’t nearly as scary as it may seem, where you’d expect to have 1,000 different strangers coming into your house. Most of my clients I've known for years now.”

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

For industry professionals wondering about creating a healthy work environment when it comes to learning how to open a nail salon in your home—Lila has a host of great advice. When it came time for her to make the decision to become an at-home nail tech, she was motivated by the freedom she would have to create her own schedule and adjust it, as necessary.

“I love my independence. And I love being able to do what I want when I want,” she said, adding that being more independent helps her foster a healthy work environment. Although Lila keeps consistent work hours, she has the power to make exceptions. Lila is able to schedule her day and ensure that she closes the door to her at-home salon at around 7 p.m. But if a loyal client wants her to extend her hours for an added fee—Lila gets to make that decision.

Despite the fact that being able to set her own schedule is great for a healthy work environment, she also took steps to set positive boundaries that clients respect. Specifically, she doesn’t allow clients to bring guests. And that includes children. Despite the fact that Lila has three young children herself, she makes sure they stay upstairs while she works.

Lila also uses the scheduling features on Booksy to ensure that she has enough time to decompress during breaks. “When I set up my schedule, I give a good amount of time to each person. But I also give myself time between clients. The most I take is two clients back to back,” she said. As a master level nail tech, more intricate designs requiring detail can run up to four hours. So, it’s important for her to have time between sessions to prepare for the next client.


Earning Licenses and Education

Licenses and education are also important topics to consider when answering the question of how to open a nail salon in your home. Know upfront that the specifics with regards to earning a license will vary from state to state. But even with an at-home nail salon, the owner may be required to have a state-issued cosmetology license and a general business license.

For the most up-to-date information, check your individual state requirements. Find out if you’re required to attend an approved beauty school. Also know that in some states, graduating from an apprenticeship program may suffice. Lila herself earned a cosmetology degree and understands that path isn’t for everyone. But Lila recommends learning as much as possible through continuing education programs and independent practice—two of her best teachers.

Continuing education classes, state license renewal fees, and complete cosmetology programs will all vary in regards to cost. But despite the differences in prices, most nail tech programs cost somewhere $3,000 to $5,000, including textbooks and supplies.

Buying Nail Equipment, Products, and Furniture

In terms of nail equipment, furniture, and products those costs aren’t very different when it comes to opening an at-home nail salon versus renting or owning a traditional salon space. “As a nail tech, you usually have to buy all your own equipment. So, if you're already working at a salon, then you probably have your own things. But it all depends on what kind of nail tech you are,” said Lila.

For example, a manicure station can cost anywhere from anywhere $200 to $800. Though, that station will shelve your polishes, brushes, and tools. Pedicure chairs are another staple that comes with a hefty price tag ranging from about $2,000 to $7,000.

“I always had my own stuff, but my lamp alone cost about $475—I use a UV lamp, and I use a really good one. My duster, my Valentino Duster, is essential. I believe that it cost about $400. My efile was about $475. And product, oh God, I could go on endlessly on how much I spend on quality products,” Lila said, adding that nail products can easily cost up to $200 per month.

Furniture and design are two other costs to take into consideration for anyone wondering how to open a nail salon at-home. But those costs relating to furniture and design depend mostly on the tastes and style of the business owner. Lila said that a simpler design esthetic can cost about $10,000. But luxurious furniture and design for an at-home salon can cost much more.

Activating Online Booking Software

Another important matter to consider to help answer the question of how to open a nail salon in your home is scheduling software. Lila needed a consistent way to help eliminate no-shows and last minute cancellations, So, she turned to Booksy. Lila charges clients a percentage of a service upfront and applies a cancellation fee to reduce no-shows or last-minute cancellations.

“My clients pay 50% of the service, just to book an appointment. I'm sorry but $5, $10, $15, or $20 is not enough for them to never miss an appointment. They pay 50% of their appointment while they book. And thanks to Booksy, my cancellation policy is clear. You have two days to cancel or reschedule, if not, then you lose your down payment,” she said.

Without No-Show Protection features, she would have loads of no-call, no-shows because clients need to feel a commitment to consistently honor their bookings and because they don’t understand that side of the business, she said. And Lila isn’t the only provider who uses No-Show Protection features. In fact, it’s helped thousands of business owners stay on track.

Another feature that Booksy offers that Lila recommends to anyone opening their own at-home nail salon is the Message Blasts. That’s because all providers have droughts, especially when it’s not the busy season. And Message Blasts can help providers overcome slow periods.

“So I like using the Message Blast to contact all of my clients at once. I can send out deals or information about my holiday hours or check-in on clients who haven't been around for a while. And those clients say to themselves, ‘oh, I miss Lila. Let me book an appointment.’ That helps me pad my bookings and bring in extra clients during my downtime,” Lila said.


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