Is Opening a Nail Salon Profitable?

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The shifting American economy has many professionals rethinking their current careers and asking themselves: Is opening a nail salon profitable? For anyone seeking an answer to that tough question, then you’ve come to the right place. Booksy Ambassador Jeany Perez is a 20-year industry vet who’s ready to give answers, share experiences, and offer keen advice. 

When Jeany was still a teenager, she first started her career in the industry by working for her father inside their family-owned hair salon. Although the business owner gene was there from the start, it took Jeany a few years to find her true calling and open Unity Boutique Salon, her Central Florida based business, which offers an upscale experience and specializes in showcasing the individual style and character of each client who walks into the space. 

During the past two decades she’s worked as a licensed aesthetician, certified nail technician, and salon owner. She’s featured her creative designs in NAILS Magazine and shared live, on-air tips as an OPI Brand Educator for HSN and FOX Good Day Orlando. Despite her demanding schedule, she still finds the time to educate and mentor beauty professionals. 

Keep reading to answer the question: Is Opening a Nail Salon Profitable? Find out how much a nail tech makes in today’s market. Learn why researchers predict that the nail industry will continue to grow. And hear loads of tips from Jeany, a dedicated entrepreneur who has fully mastered the art and science behind running a successful nail salon.


Is Opening a Nail Salon Profitable?  

It’s no secret that clients are spending record amounts on nail services—despite the two most recent economic downturns. According to industry professionals, consumers spent 8.3 billion on nail industry services in America from 1998 to 2018. But what does that mean for seasoned nail techs and industry newcomers who are considering opening their own nail salons? 

“You have to ask yourself, do you want to be on Park Avenue? With the power of social media, you’re able to market yourself, even if you’re not on Main Street,” Jeany said. She elaborated by stating there’s a number of different directions for someone who wants to open a nail salon. And many of those directions can be profitable, because of the diversity within the industry.

To understand profitability, potential business owners should figure out whether or not they want to start their own business by renting a booth in an already established salon or working in a private salon suite. Alternatively, a nail salon owner could open the doors to a fresh, new space by renovating a building. And yet, a business owner could also build from the ground up.

Despite the different ways to open a salon, Jeany said successful business strategies are the key to profiting. For example, cross-selling is a technique that she uses to encourage clients to buy both services and products, which generates more revenue. Inside her boutique, clients can book a host of nail services, in addition to aromatherapy scalp massages, makeup application, and VIP-style private events. She also sells nail products and clothing accessories. 

How Much Does a Nail Tech Make?

Over the years, Jeany has mastered the art of running a business, managing a team of staffers, and profiting during two of the most turbulent periods of recent American history. The housing crisis in 2008 gave her confidence. And the COVID-19 pandemic showed her how to continue to spread her wings, despite being challenged to keep the doors to her nail salon open. 

For Jeany, the nail salon industry is near and dear to her heart. But it’s also a career that’s helped her profit well beyond what she initially expected. Because of her success, readers may want her to answer the question: How much money does a nail tech make? And she firmly believes that aspiring nail salon owners need to first decide upon the exact kind of business they’d like to run. From there, they can start to crunch numbers, she said.

“Location is extremely important as far as walk-ins for a lot of nail salons. Within the past few years, nail salon suites have also become very popular. Is location important to them both? Absolutely. And do you offer quantity or quality? Some of my staffers take on three people and make up to $800 in one day. Other nail techs take ten clients in a day and make less,” she said

Jeany continued by clarifying. Although her staffers can make up to $800 in a day—that number is a little high. For an average nail tech, making roughly $500 in a day is a more realistic number. But that number could change depending on the region of the country where the nail tech is working, the location of the salon, and the type of business the nail tech attracts. 


What are Common Nail Salon Expenses?

Expenses is another important topic to cover when answering the question: Is opening a nail salon profiltable? Jeany said gaining experience from a mentor can help with understanding expenses. And that’s because obtaining a business license, attending cosmetology school, purchasing insurance, renting or buying a space, and employing staffers can add up quickly. 

“My dad took me under his wing early on. Learning from someone who had a lot of experience—it’s the best investment you can ask for,” she said. Knowing the ins and outs of running a business put Jeany ahead at an early age. But that kind of knowledge can come from different sources, especially a qualified mentor, she said.

Despite the help a mentor can offer, some costs related to opening a nail salon are pretty straightforward. Expect to spend anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000 to purchase an existing salon. And it’s about $100,000 to $500,000 to build a salon from the ground up. Furnishing and designing a space will depend on the style of the business owner. But that can range between $10,000 to $30,000. 

With regards to equipment, manicure stations generally cost between $200 to $800 each. But those stations will shelve most of your polishes, brushes, and tools. Another staple for nail techs are pedicure chairs, which range from approximately $2,000 to $7,000 each, while drying lamps cost somewhere between $25 to $300 for professional UV or LED drying lamps.

How Can Booksy Help?

Jeany provided a host of thorough answers to the question: Is opening a nail salon profitable? But the final piece of advice that she gave, involved activating online booking software. Since a big part of profiting as a business owner involves attracting and scheduling customers, it’s important to know that Booksy does a great job of helping with both of those areas, she said. 

With regards to marketing to customers, Booksy offers several different solutions. The Booksy Marketplace is designed to help industry pros better advertise themselves and showcase their skill sets to new and returning customers. New clients can easily gain insight into the vibe and feel of your nail salon, then scroll through a list of reviews that will encourage bookings.

The Social Post Creator is another great way to market your business, so you can maximize profits. This feature helps with communicating information, engaging loyal clients, and ensuring social media posts stand out in all the right ways. It also helps with engaging online traffic, because Booksy providers can use the Social Post Creator to publish eye-catching digital flyers online with this in-app tool that’ll turn online followers into clients. 

“The nail industry just has so much potential. There’s so many different hats that you can wear if you have your license and plan to be a business owner. You just have to choose the route that’s best for you. Because the opportunities are endless and so is the amount of money that you can make—depending on your work ethic and drive,” Jeany.


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