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How Much Do Nail Salon Workers Make

Manicurist And Pedicurist Salaries

MY EXPERIENCE WORKING AT A NAIL SALON | What to expect, How much do I get paid, etc

The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists is $13.40. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.79, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.70.

The median hourly wages for manicurists and pedicurists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Personal care services $13.44

Although most manicurists and pedicurists work full time, some have variable schedules and work part time. Schedules may vary according to the type of establishment. For example, a full-service salon may require manicurists and pedicurists to work an 8-hour day. However, a boutique hair salon may require fewer work hours on a part-time basis. Longer work days are not unusual for self-employed workers. Weekends and evenings tend to be the busiest times for manicurists and pedicurists.

Your Salons Social Media

When used right, social media is a powerful marketing tool for salons. However, it can also consumer a lot of time without adding much value if used incorrectly.

This is why Ive put together a social media guide for salons here to help you get started with using social media to effectively market your salon.

Breaking Down How Manicurists Are Compensated

There are a number of different ways in which nail technicians are compensated. Some take advantage of more than one compensation method. These statistics were current as of 2013:

  • 72 percent of nail technicians in the U.S. earned their living through straight sales
  • 46 percent of nail technicians received incentives on retail sales
  • 6 percent of nail technicians earned part of their salary through a point system or rewards system

During the same period, nail technicians described their compensation system within their work setting:

Salon Owner: About 20 percent of salon owners did nails themselves and earned their salaries only from the services they personally performed, while 16 percent took a salary and another 4 percent worked out a home-based or mobile salon.

Booth Renter: Nearly 30 percent of all booth renters paid rent to the salon and kept 100 percent of their service fees, while another 25 percent paid a percentage of their service fees to the salon as rent.

Employees: 10 percent nail technicians who worked as employees received a percentage of their services fees but no salary, while 4 percent received a salary, 3 percent received a salary plus a percentage of their service fees, and another 2 percent were compensated based on their business volume alone.

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Occupational Employment And Wage Statistics

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

How Much Money Does A Nail Technician Make

Cost of gel nails

Before choosing to become a nail technician, it is important to know how much money you can expect to make, especially in your first year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the job outlook for manicurists and pedicurists is good, with an expected 16 percent job growth between 2012 and 2022. This growth is faster than the average, making it a lucrative option.

With completion of a specialty state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and the passing of the state licensure exam the only requirements, this is a career opportunity of which many people can take advantage. The amount of money you can expect to earn will be based upon any specialties, the location, your experience, and other factors.

The National Average

Nail technicians are those that handle manicures and pedicures in a salon, spa, specialty nail salon, in-home, or other locations. As a nail technician, you handle all the components of nail maintenance and beatification, including shaping, buffing, polishing, and applying fake nails.

Nail technicians are in charge of ensuring clients nails look great

You also will often be expected to massage the hands or feet during manicures and pedicures. According to the BLS, the 2012 national median pay in 2012 was $9.24 an hour, which adds up to $19,220 per year. However, the range of wages can be as low as $8.02 and as high as $14.42, depending on several factors.

The Location of Services

Full service salons typically offer manicures and pedicures

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How Much Do Spa & Beauty Salon Workers Make

The salary for Spa Workers varies greatly depending on what services they are licensed to perform. Massage Therapists make $41,400 per year on average with an hourly salary of $19.9. Skincare Specialists make $31,300 per year on average with an hourly salary of $15.1.

Salaries paid to beauty salon and spa workers are the highest among beauty services providers. This is because of the specific license requirements to perform these specific services.

How Much Do Hairdressers Make

Hairdressers make $24,800 per year on average. Their salary model is typically based on an hourly rate which is $11.9/hour on average. Barbers make $13.4/hour on average which is higher than the average Hairdresser . On top of the salary, hair stylists receives tip which can range from 15%-25%.

As you might expect, the salary for a Hairdressers is generally lower than for a Salon Manager or Salon Owner.

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Entry Into The Workforce

There are several factors influencing why so many immigrant women work in Korean nail salons. It often has to do with the fact that they do not have to be proficient in English in order to do their jobs, they get paid in cash, the hours are somewhat flexible, and if they are undocumented they will struggle to get a job elsewhere. They are often introduced to this work through family, friends, church members, or neighbors, though some do find work through ad sections in Korean newspapers.

Another reason nail salon workers join the industry is that they do not always have to become licensed. Depending on the state it can take hundreds of hours to get a license. Sometimes a worker has to have graduated high school, or have a certain level of English proficiency. Often the beauty schools only teach in English, making it difficult for immigrants to obtain their license. Despite this being illegal, many employers hire unlicensed workers anyway.

In some cases employers make new employees pay to get the job and to be taught how to do manicures.

How Much Do Nail Salon Owners Make

Nail Technician Salary – How Much Money Does a Nail Technician Make?

Nail Salon Owners make $58,000 per year on average. Nail Salon Owner salary ranges from $40,000 to $75,000 per year for most Nail Salon Owners. Nail salon owner salary varies depending on the salons location and how well managed the business is .

Well soon go through how a Nail Salon Owner can improve the salon business and earn more money.

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Adding More Salon Revenue Streams

To add significant growth to your salon business, you should not only focus on the incremental improvements you can make to your existing business.

You should look at the different ways that your salon is making money today and consider adding new, additional, income streams to your salon.

When you have multiple sources of income, youll not only grow your business faster. Youll also reduce the risk that your business would fail.

As if one income stream goes down, another one can compensate.

To learn more about different salon revenue streams and how you can find new ones, I recommend you read my article where I go through the salon revenue model here.

What Are Top 10 Highest Paying Cities For Nail Salon Jobs In California

Weve identified 10 cities where the typical salary for a Nail Salon job is above the average in California. Topping the list is Sunnyvale, with Santa Rosa and Vacaville close behind in second and third. Vacaville beats the California average by 25.3%, and Sunnyvale furthers that trend with another $9,849 above the $27,126.

Significantly, Sunnyvale has a very active Nail Salon job market as there are several companies currently hiring for this type of role.

With these 10 cities paying on average above the average for California, the opportunities for economic advancement by changing locations in the Nail Salon jobs category appears to be exceedingly fruitful.

Finally, another factor to consider is the average salary for these top 10 cities varies very little at 13% between Sunnyvale and Daly City, reinforcing the limited potential for much wage advancement. The possibility of a lower cost of living may be the best factor to use when considering location and salary for a Nail Salon role.


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What You Need To Learn

No matter how fun the idea of running your own nail salon may seem, at the end of the day you need to make your cash register ring as often as possible if you want to make it profitable.

To make it all happen, there are quite a few things that you need to learn. Keep in mind that you need to give it all some time. Theres no room for impatience or thoughts of getting rich overnight. Your business has to run like a well-oiled machine, smooth and easy.

How Much Money Can A Salon Owner Make A Year

How Much Do Nail Techs Make?

Beauty is a $445 billion industry from cosmetics and skincare to hair and nail salons. The average woman spends about $44 per haircut, with some services like double-processes and color corrections exceeding $350 per visit. The average woman who gets her nails done every two weeks spends about $1,345 a year on her manis and pedis. If you’ve got some creative flair and a passion for beauty, you may want to open your own salon because it’s undeniably lucrative. Unlike hairdressers who rent a chair from an already existing salon, salon owners have the ability to take their finances into their own hands.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hairstylists make a median wage of $24,950 but tips are also a huge portion of their income. Salon owners make an average of $41,000 a year.

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Nail Technician Job Description

Most people know that nail technicians are also referred to as manicurists, but nail techs are pedicurists, too. Whether a client requests a manicure, pedicure or both, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a nail technician’s job is to strengthen and beautify nails by:

  • Consulting with customers about available and appropriate services
  • Moisturizing and massaging hands and feet
  • Trimming, filing and buffing nails
  • Applying nail polish
  • Promoting nail care products

Most nail technicians work in independent salons or those that are part of a spa, hotel or resort. More than one-quarter are self-employed, and some of them even make house calls for customers who crave convenience.

How Much Can You Expect To Earn As A Nail Technician

As a nail technician, tips can vary between 15%-25% of the total bill. According to our research, 90% of customers tip nail technicians. These tips make up a portion of the average nail technicians pay, which is around $13.30/hour.

According to US News, the overall median salary for a nail technician is $23,230. The states that have the highest median salaries are as follows:

  • Minnesota $36,580
  • District of Columbia $31,430
  • Wisconsin $30,720

The states that have the lowest tips and salary are Alabama and West Virginia which have a median salary of $18,824 and $17,799 respectively. These lower salaries reflect the lower cost of nail technician services, which in turn lead to lower tips in proportion to the total ending bills.

Tipping for nail technicians can be broken down with two main items: manicures and pedicures. Manicures on average bring about $3.50 in tips per session, but this varies depending on the state, customer, and salon type . Pedicures on the other hand tend to be more expensive and bring in around an average of $6 per session in tips . Research also shows the fluctuations in how much experience can play a role in getting more tips and higher wages. In the chart below, the commission refers to the tips that can be received by a nail technician per year. The ones who display aggressive marketing and larger brand presence via social media can receive up to $24,240 a year in tips!

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How Much Do Hair Salon Owners Make

Hair Salon Owners make $75,000 per year on average. Reported Hair Salon Owner salary ranges from $14,500 to $385,00 per year but most hair salon owners fall into the $70,000 to $175,000 annual salary range. The Salon Owners salary depends on location and how well managed the salon is.

The highest average hair salon owner salary is in San Francisco which is 51% higher than U.S. average. Also Beauty Salon Owners make $75,000 per year on average which is not surprising as they typically offer similar services .

Salon Salaries: 4 Payment Structures For Your Staff

NAIL SERVICE PRICES – How much to charge – When to raise your prices – NAIL TALK – BUSINESS
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The most important factor for any salon isnt its location, atmosphere, or marketing. Its the stylists you hire to make your clients happy. Im sure youve noticed that your clients often return to see a specific stylist in your salon. Youre lucky to have your team and the best way to go about showing appreciation is by paying them fair salon salaries. Not to mention, a great team who have loyal clients can help grow your salons revenue.

Many salons vary in how much they pay their stylists, as well as how they go about setting up their pay systems. We explore the pros & cons of each of the different methods of paying your staff. Hopefully youll soon have a better understanding of whats best for your salon salaries.

Note: While most of the information in this blog is applicable to salons around the world, the figures come from Australian statistics. If payment structures work differently in your country, please let us know!

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Treat Your Clients Right

  • While doing your clients nails, try to get to know them on a personal level. This helps you to deliver excellent customer service!
  • Remembering clients names and their preferences will make them more inclined to come back to you
  • Try to get referrals and have incentives for clients to come back to you.
  • You can offer half off nails/free pedicures after a certain amount of visits/dollars spent. People love rewards!

Nail Technician Education Requirements

These job responsibilities may look deceptively easy, but a nail technician also must follow health and safety protocols and learn how to work under sanitary, if not pristine, conditions. This is why most states require nail technicians to undergo training before taking an exam before obtaining a license. This license also must be kept current to continue working in the industry.

Requirements vary from one state to another. But in Illinois, for example, says that aspiring nail technicians must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have completed at least 10th grade
  • Graduate from a nail technology program that includes at least 350 hours of training and coursework

Understandably, most applicants are eager to know how long it might take to complete such a program. The answer depends on whether you go to school part time or full time, meaning that it could take as little as four weeks to several months. To find a program that best fits your lifestyle, it pays to explore programs offered at community and technology colleges and cosmetology schools as well as those offered online, Vocational Training HQ says.

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Where Can You Work As A Nail Tech

A nail technician can work in many different settings. There are the more familiar ones, such as a nail or hair salon, and others that may surprise you:


Whether standalone or within a gym, health center, or hotel, many spas contain nail stations.


Large airports around the country sometimes have small nail care stations where patrons can get manicures or pedicures before or after a flight.

Cruise Ship

If you have a sense of adventure, you might consider working on a cruise ship! These ships usually offer guests nail services on board.

Nail Tech Instructor

If you enjoy what you do and want to educate others, why not bring that passion to teaching? Additional education and experience in the field may be required to be an instructor in a nail tech program, per your state.

Doctor’s Office

You might be able to find work helping patients with specific health issues in a podiatrists office.

Some nail techs choose to operate their own salon or mobile business, too.

So How Much Do I Need To Tip

How much money does a nail salon owner make

OK, so now that you know a bit more about the nail industry and what your manicurist actually takes home after youve been prepped, polished, and sent on your way, its time to discuss the main event tipping.

Heres the gist: The general guideline for tipping is 15 to 20 percent of the service cost, says Jodi RR Smith, an etiquette consultant and founder of Mannersmith.

Then, if you are supremely pleased, you can tip more, or if you are disappointed, you may tip less, she says, adding that you can apply that rule of thumb whether you are tipping on a mani or pedicure.

Dantzler agrees, adding she recommends tipping based on 20 percent of the total cost of your service, taking time spent, design intricacy , and performance into consideration when deciding on a final tip.

Dont get me wrong you dont have to tip if you arent satisfied with the service, Dantzler says. But if you are happy about your nails and the nail technician did a good job, you should tip.

And if you are displeased with your service, make sure you take a minute to discuss the situation with a manager, Smith says. Dont just flee without tipping and not explain why.

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