Chances are that you know a few nail technicians who have taken their business on the road. Setting your own hours, going to clients’ homes, blinging out your business vehicle—is this what going mobile means? Find out what to expect from these two nail technicians who have made the change: Tracy Thomas, owner of Tracy Thomas Mobile Esthetics in Halifax and Alison McGuire, owner of Total Body Esthetics in Thornbury, Ont.
The Power of Word-of-Mouth Advertising
Combined, Thomas and McGuire have been in business for 24 years, yet neither established their client base using traditional advertising. Thomas started her business when an existing client invited her to perform nail services at big parties. When word got out that she travelled, the referrals kept coming. “Referrals also help ensure that when I enter a new client’s home, I can feel safe about it.” As it turns out, it’s also been a great opportunity for men. “I’ve even gained male clients for esthetic services when someone referred her husband, and men like the privacy that a mobile salon can provide,” says Thomas. Now that her client base is growing, Thomas has created a website, so that potential clients can easily find prices and services.
Reach an Untapped Market
According to Thomas, “The biggest benefit of going mobile is going to new clients.” When a nursing home called her interested in finding out if she could offer services to seniors, McGuire decided to give it a try. “I’ve been doing manicures and pedicures for them for eight and a half years, and it’s the most rewarding job,” says McGuire. The advantage of going to clients also means that nail technicians can work just about anywhere. McGuire has co-organized a monthly “Manicures and Martinis” event at a local restaurant and created on-site manicures at weddings, while Thomas has offered pedicures for new moms and moms-to-be.
How to Stay Connected
Don’t let the lack of associates become a business setback. In an effort to keep her connections fresh, Thomas joined the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia. “As an association member, I can stay informed and know that I’m not alone,” she says. McGuire makes a point of regularly visiting a few nearby distributors. “By telling them about your mobile business, the sales reps can keep an eye out for what’s new,” she says. McGuire also signs up for classes offered by distributors and various manufacturers, which are usually online.
Checklist for Going Mobile
-Be sure to check with your municipal and provincial government, such as Canada Business Ontario and B.C.-based Inter-Community Mobile Business Licence Program, for mobile business license requirements.
-Keep your operation spick-and-span by adhering to sanitation standards set by Health Canada and your local health unit. For easy clean-up every day, try Accel Prevention Wipes, a ready-to-use surface cleaner and disinfectant.
-Display your certification and license credentials and health and sanitation inspection approvals—this raises the credibility of your business operations.