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    Industry • Best Practice

    The Owner's Guide to Nail Salon Prices: How Much Should You Charge?

    Finding the right pricing structure is a balancing act between profit margins and customer satisfaction.

    You’re on the way to building your nail salon empire. You’ve got the location, staff, and all the supplies you need to start pampering clients with manicures and pedicures. There’s just one thing left: How much will you charge?

    Nail salon prices are tricky to nail down, especially since salons operate on razor-thin margins to stay competitive. Charge too much, and your clients won’t be able to stomach the cost; too little, and you’ll struggle to stay afloat. Finding a balance that fits your salon’s location and keeps everyone happy is critical to success. Read on to learn about the nail salon prices you should expect to charge and ways to bundle services to improve margins.

    Nail salon prices and services

    Typically, nail salon prices are an average based on time, labor, and supply costs. These prices may fluctuate depending on the size and type of business, as well as the location — a resort spa in Los Angeles will likely charge more for these services than a small nail salon in the midwest. Prices also do not include gratuity.

    Manicures

    Standard manicures begin with a soak in soapy water or a moisturizing liquid to clean the skin and ready nails for trimming. Then, technicians clean, clip, file, and shape nails to the desired length, then push back the cuticles to even the nail. Polish is then applied by request. Some salons also provide a paraffin wax treatment as an add-on service for clients looking for a premium moisturizing experience. Others may bundle it into a deluxe manicure package.

    Cost: 

    • Manicure: $15-$25 

    • Add polish: $5-$15, depending on treatment

    • Add paraffin wax treatment: $8-$15

    Gel polish manicures start like a standard manicure but offer a different type of polish to coat the nails. For a gel manicure, technicians apply several layers of gel polish to the nail, then cure each layer under UV light. 

    Cost: $25-$35

    French manicures offer a similar experience to a standard manicure, but nails are then polished with a translucent white or pink color and finished with a solid white polish on the nail tips.

    Cost: $30-$40 

    Deluxe manicure services (also known as a spa manicure) vary by location but usually take longer to complete than a standard manicure and provides a more private and relaxing experience. Deluxe manicures often include one or more of the following: 

    • Exfoliation to remove dead skin

    • A paraffin wax dip to make skin extra soft

    • Deep-tissue hand massages

    • A renewing mask to moisturize

    Cost: $30-$50

    Acrylic nail treatments are one of the most popular nail salon treatments, primarily due to how flexible and customizable they are. Acrylics use a combination of liquid monomers and powder polymers and form a hard shell when bonded to the top layer of the nail. 

    Acrylics can shape long or short nails, extend the natural length of the nail with acrylic tips, or be applied like a polish as an acrylic overlay. Clients can also opt for a natural look or express themselves with various colors and designs.

    Acrylic nails require regular upkeep to look their best; salons can schedule acrylic in-fill appointments and even provide repair services for cracked nails.

    Cost: 

    • Short nails: $25-$40

    • Long nails: $30-$50

    • Nail extensions: $20-$30

    • In-fills: $25-40

    • Repair: $5-$10 per nail

    Pedicures

    Standard pedicures offer a similar level of service to standard manicures. Clients are seated in cushy leather chairs and soak their feet in warm soapy or lotion-infused water — some salons even have small tubs with whirlpool-like jet streams that simultaneously clean and massage feet. 

    Salon technicians take special care to clip and shape each nail, then finish up the procedure with a pumice stone to remove any calluses and dry skin from the bottom of the foot. Clients can request nail polish during a pedicure for an additional charge. Some standard pedicures also include basic foot and leg massages.

    Cost: 

    • Pedicure: $30-$40

    • Add polish: $5-$15, depending on treatment

    Gel polish pedicures apply gel polish and UV treatment to toenails after a standard pedicure. 

    Cost: $40-$50

    French pedicures provide a standard pedicure along with the same translucent base and white polish tips as its manicure counterpart.

    Cost: $45-$55 

    Deluxe pedicures (also known as spa pedicures) add a bit more luxury to the standard pedicure experience. Additional services may include:

    • Exfoliation to remove dead skin

    • A paraffin wax dip to make skin extra soft

    • Longer foot and leg massages

    • A renewing mask to moisturize

    Cost: $45-$65

    How to bundle services

    As you can see, the type of service and cost can vary significantly. If you’re repeatedly only selling the basic manicure or pedicure service, you’ll notice your profit margin-to-time spent ratio is much lower than it should be. Nail salons should always be looking for ways to encourage add-ons and upsells to boost the profit margin each service.

    Bundling services into discount packages is a great way to increase value for the client while generating additional revenue. Many salons and spas attach a 15-20% discount on a bundle of standard or deluxe manicure and pedicure services to encourage clients to take advantage of the salon’s total offerings. Then, technicians can perform both services seamlessly — like giving the client a foot soak while filing and shaping nails — to reduce the time spent on both services. The client gets a good deal while feeling pampered and relaxed, and you’re maximizing your dollar-to-time ratio. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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