Average Nail Technician Salary and Wages

October 11, 2013

Are you interested in a career as a nail technician? If you are, you probably want to know how much you can make. We crunched some numbers and did some research, and came up with the average income that nail techs make–and some ways to make sure that you’re one of the top earners in the field.

The exact average income for nail techs is a little difficult to come by. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for manicurists and pedicurists was $19,650 per year, with an hourly wage of around $9.45 per hour. Because many manicurists and nail technicians do not report their tips (and tips can be a sizable part of a nail tech’s income) and many nail techs only work part-time, some others estimate that the hourly income is more like $15.52 an hour, which would put the annual income at around $30,000 a year. That’s pretty good, and that income can be increased even further if you’re willing to do some advertising, and get creative with your marketing efforts.

How Can I Make More Than the Average Nail Tech?

How much you can make depends a lot on how ambitious you are. Many nail techs are employees of a salon, with a set annual salary, but many others rent their booths from the salon for a weekly or monthly rate, and after they pay that rate, they keep all the money they make from clients for themselves. That is an AWESOME way to do things, because it allows you to be your own boss, and set your own prices and hours.

So how can you get more clients to come to your booth? You can be as creative as you want. You can visit local women’s groups and offer group discounts if ten women from the group come to your booth. You can go to local colleges and pass out coupons to get “butts in the booth.” You can start a Facebook campaign targeted at people in your area to come in and make an appointment. That’s the thing–when you rent your own booth, your success is up to you.

Some Facts about the Nail Tech Industry

If you’re worried that you will go to nail tech school, become a manicurist, and then find out that all the jobs have dried up, you can rest easy. The nail industry is BOOMING, with $4.7 billion spent on nail services annually. According to Nails Magazine’s annual market research review, there are some really interesting facts about nail tech jobs and nail technicians:

  • there are over 355,000 specialists and counting according to 2011-2012 data. That is a tremendous number of people, and it’s probably on the smaller side, when you consider that there are probably nail techs who work so few hours that they aren’t counted in the national data.
  • 97% of nail technicians were female. If you a guy and you’re interested in a career as a nail, you should be able to stand out!
  • 46% had been doing nails for more than ten years. Why is this relevant? Because it means that nail techs often enjoy long and successful careers.
  • 25% of nail techs graduated from college. This is another great statistic–the people who are drawn to become nail techs are a varied group of women.
  • 48% of nail techs are of Vietnamese background, 42% are caucasian, 6% are African American, and 4% are categorized as “other.” Another interesting statistic. Many of the Vietnamese nail salons are located in California, but there are also many Vietnamese nail salons in New York, Florida, and New Jersey.
  • 56% work in a nails-only salon, 29% work in a full-sevice salon offering nail services, with the rest working at home, in mobile salons, at schools, or “other”. Finding work in a nails-only salon can be a very easy to way to gain excellent experience, and more than half of the nail techs in the United States do so.
  • 55% rent booths or own salons, 14% are employees, with the rest being students or “other”. Again, the most popular choice is to work for yourself and rent your own booth.

“I Love What I Do”

Most people who become nail techs do so because they love the work: they enjoy interacting with people, making people look beautiful, and they love working with their hands. That’s a pretty special thing–many people go to work and they don’t like (or even hate) what they do. The nail techs we’ve interviewed said that they love the work, and the people they get to know on the job become like family to them.

Nail techs make a decent salary, and for the ones who are truly ambitious–the income can be unlimited!

Category: General Info, Salary Info

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