If you have a passion for giving clients nails they love, but don’t want the overhead of owning a salon or renting a booth, starting your own at-home nail tech business might just be the play for you!

With more and more folks working remotely or starting their own businesses from home, the work-from-home trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

And there’s no reason why nail techs can’t ride the wave, too.

But how do you start your own nail business? And what do you need to know before setting up shop as a nail technician from home?

In this blog, we’ll break down how to become a nail tech from home — covering everything from your at-home setup materials to the licenses you need to get started.

Got specific questions? Feel free to jump ahead! 👇

Do You Need a License To Do Nails at Home?

Before we get into what goes into being a nail tech from home, we need to talk briefly about a very important step: licensing.  

Do you need a license to do nails at home?

In short: Yes. If you are charging folks to work on their nails, even from your own home, you still need a license. 

While there are different regulations for each state, all states require a license or certification to work on nails professionally. 

So, first things first: get your nail tech license before you start accepting clients.

How do you get a license to do nails at home?

Again, licensing and certifications vary by state, but most states require proof of training, followed by a state exam. 

Here’s a short list of what’s typically required to get your nail tech license:

  • Be at least 16–17 years old, depending on your state
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Education with a cosmetology program approved by the state
  • Written test and/or practical exam
  • Licensing fee

How to Become a Nail Technician from Home

Once you’ve completed your training and received the proper license or certification, you’re ready to start building your at-home nail tech career! 

First step? Make sure your business is legal — which means you’ll need to…

Acquire the Proper Permits to Run a Business From Your Home

Just like your nail tech license, each state will have different regulations when it comes to running a business out of your home. 

Any nail tech looking to run a business out of their home will need to check with their state’s Board of Cosmetology to double check all the requirements.

Do you need a business license? 

Yes, you’ll also need to look into setting up your business legally, which means acquiring the proper business license for your state.

If it will be you running the show alone, you’ll qualify as a sole proprietorship. 

A sole proprietorship comes with its own requirements for working from home and may include everything from health and safety requirements to health insurance

Draft a Business Plan

Before starting any business — even an at-home businesses — you need a solid game plan. A thorough, researched business plan is crucial to success. 

While there are tools out there to help you draft a full business plan, the key points to consider are: 

  • Clear business goals
  • Steps outlined to achieve those goals
  • Business costs

From there, you’re ready to conduct market research to learn more about the need for a nail business in your area.

Research Your Market

Market research is up there as one of the first things you should do before opening a business. The more you can learn about other salons in your area, the better you’re suited for success in your own salon.

When researching, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are my competitors in my area?
  • Are there already nail salons nearby?
  • What makes them successful?
  • What are they missing that I could provide?

Being able to answer these questions gives you a leg up and gives you insight into how you can improve upon salons in your area. It also gives you info to help make your salon unique!

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Gather the Materials You Need to Set Up a Nail Salon at Home

When you’re first starting out, there will be plenty of supplies you’ll need to get things rolling. Some items will be one-time purchases that you’ll continue to use, such as lamps, but there are also ongoing purchases to be aware of as well. 

One-time purchases could include:

  • Lamps
  • Nail files
  • Brushes
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Towels

Ongoing purchase may include:

  • Office supplies (files, folders)
  • Various nail polishes
  • Face masks
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Hygiene products

Bonus: How to Promote Your Nail Salon Business

Marketing your new salon business and growing your clientele might seem like a scary task when you’re first starting out. But there are plenty of simple, inexpensive ways to gain traction in the beginning.

Here’s our quick list of pro tips for growing your salon business! 

1. Build a website and portfolio

First, you need a place for new clients to find your business! If they’re searching online for nail salons in their area, you want your business to be there waiting. 

Plus, it’s the perfect place to showcase your work! 

Pro tip: Don’t miss our free guide to designing a salon website that is sure to help attract more business! 

2. Find an online scheduling app

Tons of potential clients in your area are booking appointments online daily, so having your business in front of them makes it easy to start snagging new clients!  

There are a ton of great scheduling apps out there (Schedulicity included!), so be sure you do the research to find the one that’s right for you.

We even have a full breakdown of the best scheduling apps to help you make your decision!

3. Show off those marketing skills

With a website and a scheduling app in place, you’re ready to start marketing your business. Here’s where to start…

  • Social media: Set up new Facebook and Instagram accounts specifically for your business. 
  • Local advertisement: Create your own business cards to share around town. And hey, if there’s a salon in town that doesn’t offer nail services, drop your business card off with them to help spur traffic!
  • Google and Yelp: Don’t forget about Google and Yelp when it comes to getting the word out there about your new business. Create a Yelp page and set up your Google Business listing to help clients find you there as well. 

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