Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Is Being A Mobile Nail Technician Viable?


Mobile Nail Technician
UK Mobile Nail Tech NailsbyLisa.com 
Here at the Nail Art Company we frequently get asked this question – ‘Is being a mobile nail technician viable?’ The short answer is of course yes. In this nail blog article we will examine and explore the 3 main career path options open to nail technicians and then focus on ‘Mobile Nail Technicians’ and the pros and cons associated with this choice.

What Are My Career Path Options In The Nail Industry?

Most people who aspire to work in the nail industry begin their chosen careers as newly qualified nail technicians, fresh from college, clutching a handful of qualifications with a plan and a desire to:

1. Work in a nail or beauty salon for someone else and gain some ‘real world’ experience.
2. Open A nail salon or nail bar.
3. Start up as an independent Mobile Nail Technician.

Where you are in your career and your level of experience may ultimately affect your choice. So let’s explore the three main options.

1. Get a Job in a Nail Salon & Work for Someone Else.

Newly qualified nail technicians with little ‘real world’ experience may prefer to opt for No.1 and choose to work for someone else. In terms of transition from training to employment it’s certainly the easiest path into the nail industry. The advantages of this choice are that you gain valuable experience in a nail or beauty salon working environment that also allows you to build your confidence whilst developing your client / business relationships and honing your nail application skills and nail art techniques.

As an employee you generally don’t have to worry about attracting new clients or the ‘behind the scenes’ running of the business. Hours are usually 9 till 5 and sometimes may include a Saturday.

There is little risk to you as an individual (except – possibly losing your job). You get paid monthly via PAYE and therefore don’t have to worry about accounting, tax, insurance, equipment and material costs, bills etc.

The experiences gained in this environment usually serve as a sound platform to a later decision to perhaps ‘go it alone’ and either start your own nail salon business or become a mobile nail tech sometime in the future.

2. Open Your Own Nail Salon / Nail Bar Business

For those with the experience, a little vision, some confidence, drive and a generous splash of financial capital, the dream option (No.2) is to open and run a beautiful, stylish and trendy Nail Salon or Nail Bar. This path will undoubtedly give you total control in terms of ‘EVERYTHING’ to do with the nail business. From developing your ideas, writing business plans, right down to choosing the colour of the tiles on the salon floor and where to place your logo on your business cards.

This road is not easy or cheap, but the rewards of owning your own business in terms of personal satisfaction, control, pride, prestige and of course greater financial reward is not without its price.

Of course with great rewards often comes great responsibility. Things such as finding and securing financial backing, accounts, insurance, bills, employment, training, materials, consumables, accountants, uniforms, equipment, advertising, finding new clients, licences, rates, data protection legislation, backing, hiring and employing staff, growing the business, legislation and legal compliance…. the list goes on and on.

Don’t be mistaken, as a business owner all this becomes your responsibility, and more importantly your financial risk should your new nail business venture fail.

Running a nail salon involves a lot more hours (and stress) than a 9 to 5 job and of course financial investment. But in return offers far greater rewards in terms of personal experience, accomplishment and hopefully greater personal profit.

But for those that have the experience and would like to grow but perhaps don’t have the financial muscle or the desire to shoulder all the responsibility and risk of running a full blown nail salon what are the options?

3. Go It Alone as a Mobile Nail Technician

Being a mobile nail technician is an excellent halfway house between working for someone else and owning your own nail salon business. You will essentially be self-employed with full control of your appointments and growing your nail business. You will potentially save a lot in set-up costs, investment and risk that you simply cannot avoid when opening a fixed address salon business.

However, you will still need to be compliant with business regulations and the law. The fundamental difference is the costs involved in setting up are much less than that of a nail salon and of course the dynamics of the business model. Instead of clients coming to you, you will go to them.

What’s Important When Setting up as a Mobile Nail Technician?

As with any new business venture you will be faced with many considerations when setting up as a mobile nail technician. The following are some pointers but there may be more depending on what you want to do.

Register Yourself as Self Employed with HMRC. 

Register yourself as a self employed sole trader with HMRC. It’s really quick and easy to do. This is important for many reasons including but not limited to:

Ensuring you’re registered for self assessment for tax and NI.
Obtaining business insurance.
Being able to purchase your salon products and consumables. (Many suppliers will only sell to nail techs that can prove they are a business and also have a genuine qualification.)

If you’re thinking of doing this as a side line without informing the authorities and you are discovered you will more than likely face hefty fines and possibly a prison sentence. So get off on the right foot and register yourself first.

As a Mobile Nail Technician You Will Need ‘Business Use’ Added to Your Vehicle Insurance. 

To travel to and from your nail clients you will probably require the use of a car. Any travel that is related to your nail business activities is considered ‘business use’. So if you wish to remain covered in the unfortunate case of an accident during your business activities you will need to have notified your vehicle insurance provider that you intend to use your vehicle for business purposes as well as domestic social and pleasure.

The onus is always on you to update your car insurance provider of any changes in circumstances and it’s vital you do otherwise you will not be insured whilst visiting your clients when out on your rounds. In the majority of cases this will not actually add anything to your insurance premium but in the cases where it does the cost is usually negligible.

Ensure That You Have Public Liability Insurance. 

Business insurance is important and a key requirement that’s equally applicable for a mobile nail technician. For example, imagine for one moment that you’re at a client’s home; blissfully delivering beautiful CND Shellac nails and you accidentally knock a brightly coloured glitter infused nail polish on to your client’s new cream pure wool carpet. Think for a moment how you will break the news to your client that you don’t have insurance?

So you deliver the bad news. What’s the likely outcome? Well, you will probably be ejected out of your client’s home and sued. Your hard earned reputation will take a dive and ultimately your new nail business will suffer. So make sure you get your insurance in place and don’t wait until it’s too late. Shop around to get the best deals – However to get business insurance your insurer will ask for proof of formal beautician training and a qualification such as a BTEC, HNC, or HND certificate from a recognised training establishment such as a college of further education.

Mobile Nails Technicians - Who Are My Customers?

In my experience as a mobile nail tech my clients come from all walks of life. But there are three core reasons why they wanted a mobile nail technician and why they sought my mobile nail services. The majority of my clients like most of us have a job and work 9 till 5. Consequently they find it difficult to get nail appointments that suit their busy schedules and availability.

Another large proportion of my clients have a family and children, which again limits time and availability and makes getting a nail appointment difficult because of arranging child care and getting time off.

The remainder of my clients are elderly or may have a disability that makes getting to a nail salon difficult or impossible.

Why Are Mobile Nail Technician’s Popular - Its’ All About ‘Convenience’

Whatever the reason there is a common thread though all my different client groups that makes being a mobile nail technician extremely viable. It’s ‘convenience’. By being mobile you’re offering your clients convenience in terms of; you come to them, at a time that suits your client, often offering out of normal hours appointments. And I can assure you from my personal experience there is a market for mobile nail technician services out there.

What Are The Personal Benefits of Being a Mobile Nail Technician?

In a nut shell – Flexibility, you are free to organise your own appointments to suit your schedule and lifestyle. This is especially beneficial if you have a young family. This is one of the main reasons I chose to become a nail technician. I also enjoyed the personal levels of service that I offer to my nail clients.

Reduced Start-up Costs

When you haven’t a lot of capital to start a nail business saving on all the expenses of having a brick and mortar nail salon can be all that you need to start and launch your business.

Business Coverage

Being a mobile nail technician means that you can cover a greater range and therefore area than a fixed address nail salon. I personally recommend a 3 to 7 mile radius from your home. Of course you can set this to your own preference. However beware that travel costs are expensive and that the further you go the more it costs you in time, fuel and therefore expense. You will need to factor this into your nail service prices.

I hope you have enjoyed my article on the benefits of becoming a mobile nail technician and find it of some use. Please feel free to link to this article and please plus+1 it and recommend it on Facebook by 'Liking Us' or Share it on Twitter!


  1. Really thinking about. Doing this need a lil more advice

  2. Being a mobile nail technician is indeed challenging and yes i do agree that you need to be flexible especially with time. west perth nail technician are doing the same too.

  3. The advantages of this choice are that you gain valuable experience in a nail or beauty salon working environment that also allows you to build your confidence whilst developing your client / business relationships and honing your nail application skills and nail art techniques.
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  8. Good read. I'm looking to start a mobile nail service, so this is helpful!

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  10. What level qualifaction do you need to become a mobile nail tech?

  11. What level qualifaction do you need to become a mobile nail tech?

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  13. Is it possible to be a business owner with qualified nail technician's? Also, is their any known requirements to provide these services in Nursing Homes, Rehabilitation Centers? Thanks

  14. To clarify, Im interested in starting this type of business because my mother has had her regular pedicures monthly for as long as I can remember. She recently had back surgery and has been in a rehabilitation center for over a month with a extended duration due to complications. She's over and over concerned about her toes and missing pedicures. She's required to sit in a wheelchair 6 hours of the day. Even though I am not licensed and wouldn't dare try however when I looked for a mobile nail grooming company I found none. I think not only would it be a great thing to do for women stuck in my moms position but a good business endeavor.

  15. Thank you very much for keep this information.