16 Pros and Cons of Being a Nail Technician

Nail Technician

Watching as a nail technician transforms someone’s hands into a work of art is mesmerizing, and it is easy to want to experience that same level of creativity yourself.

On top of being able to express yourself artistically, you may also be fascinated by how many job opportunities exist for nail technicians.

The life of a nail technician does have perks, but you will also want to explore both sides of the coin to make sure that you will love this career.

Pros of Being a Nail Technician

1. You Get to Work Indoors

A nail technician may work in a salon, spa, or at a high-end resort.

Some work in salons that only provide nail services, while others work in places that offer other beauty treatments.

No matter where you land, you can enjoy working indoors where you will be likely to enjoy air and heating that keeps you comfortable.

You will also avoid having to worry about weather-related issues that could impact your work if you were in another profession.

2. You Can Show Off Your Style

The majority of nail salons encourage their employees and individual contractors to dress comfortably for their work day.

Although many technicians wear overcoats and laboratory-style smocks to protect their clothing, you won’t be forced to wear a stuffy suit or uniform.

Having the ability to choose your clothing lets you show off your sense of style, which can help you attract more clients.

3. You Will Be Able to Use Your Creativity

If you have got an artistic personality, then you have found a career that will let you indulge your creativity.

Technicians do best when they love taking the time to paint and shape nails to fit their clients’ preferences.

While many of your clients will want a classic manicure, you will also run into ones that ask for unique paint colors and patterns.

You can even learn how to add rhinestones, rings and other jewelry elements to turn people’s nails into an amazing work of art.

4. You Can Start Your Own Business

Many salons and spas encourage technicians to work as independent contractors.

This means that you pay to lease a space and essentially perform your work as a small business owner.

Being able to attract your own clients and make decisions about how you prefer to spend your day gives you greater freedom over what you do than you might experience in other professions.

5. You Might Be Able to Pick Your Hours

If you work in a salon or other environment that allows you to work for yourself, then you can also set your own hours.

This allows you to choose if you want to work weekends or opt out of taking clients on Mondays when you have other responsibilities to tend to.

Nail technicians also tend to work long hours leading up to holidays, but you will be able to take time off for that family holiday dinner since that’s when your clients will be busy showing off their new nails.

6. You Will Enjoy Seeing a Variety of Different Clients

A day in the life of a nail technician is never boring.

One day, you might be doing a set of nails for the members of a bachelorette party.

The next day, you might be doing nails for a regular client who needs to look their best for an executive business meeting.

Being able to work with a variety of different people from a diverse range of backgrounds keeps life interesting.

7. You Get Instant Gratification

With some careers, you may never see the eventual outcome.

For example, you might only work on one tiny piece of a big tech project.

With nails, you get to see the fruit of your labor right away.

Seeing a client pop a huge smile when you finish your work serves as an inspiration to just keep getting better at what you do.

8. You Can Start Working Without Going to College

For many people, a four-year degree just does not make sense.

You might prefer to start working as soon as possible to care for your family or start saving up for a house.

Depending upon where you live, earning your nail technician license can be accomplished within a few months to a year.

Being able to jump right into your career helps you to enjoy advantages such as being able to start putting money towards your retirement or an exciting vacation.

Cons of Being a Nail Technician

1. You May Get Tired of the Constant Fumes

Stepping into a nail salon instantly sends a waft of chemical odors your way.

Most technicians practice personal safety protocols by wearing masks that help to minimize their exposure to fumes.

However, this career might be tough for you to handle long-term if you have allergies or asthma.

If you still love the idea of painting nails, then you can somewhat mitigate this problem by choosing to work in a well-ventilated salon and choosing low-fume products.

2. You Will Occasionally Deal With Difficult Clients

Most people that you meet will be sweet and complimentary, but this is a customer service-oriented job.

Sitting face-to-face with a customer that complains a lot about either their personal life or your work is draining.

The good news is that you can often choose your clients, so you might be able to pass a negative one off to another technician that tolerates them better.

The downside of this might mean losing some money, but you can hopefully make it up by finding a more suitable client.

3. You Might Need to Do Your Own Marketing

The nail care industry is highly competitive.

Working in a busy salon is a great way to bring on new clients to your appointment list.

But, you might also find yourself competing with the other technicians in your salon.

Learning how to market your services online and using in-person methods is essential for growing your business.

However, some technicians find marketing tedious and feel like it is extra work that is hard to find time to focus on.

4. You Could Have to Work Nights or Weekends

As someone who works in beauty services, you will need to remember that some clients need to squeeze in their appointments.

If the majority of your clients tend to be busy professionals, then you will likely find yourself having to work in the evenings when they have left the office.

Weekend work is also common, and you might not have a choice but to take on clients during these times when you are still trying to build your clientele.

5. You Can Get Frustrated With Having Limited Skills

Many nail techs make the leap to earning additional credentials as they watch other professionals reel in more clients.

Working in a salon that also offers hair styling or facial services might leave you feeling jealous when you experience a downtime for nails but people keep coming in for other treatments.

Expanding your skills set is always an option, but it might not be for you if you have never enjoyed doing those other types of services.

6. You Are at Higher Risk for Arm and Shoulder Pain

There’s no way around the fact that doing nails is tedious work.

You might be able to skip heavy lifting and other forms of physical labor, but you will often find yourself sitting crouched over someone’s nails for long periods.

In addition to getting an achy back and shoulders, you might also develop eye strain from focusing so hard on doing such detailed work.

You will need to plan for a few minutes of time between clients so that you can do a few stretches and give your eyes a break, but you still might experience some annoying aches and pains.

7. You Only Have the Option of An In-Person Work Environment

With so many people embracing remote work, you might be a little irritated when you have no choice but to go to a physical work environment each day.

There is simply no way to do nails virtually, which means that you may also have to take time off from work when you are sick or exposed to someone with a serious illness.

The upside of this is that your house does not have to serve as an office, and going to the salon each day helps you maintain a better work-life balance.

Still, this might not be the career for you if you kind of like the idea of working from home.

8. You Will Need to Plan for Ongoing Training to Keep Your License

The majority of states require technicians to undergo continuous education courses to maintain their license.

Depending upon where you work, you might be required to pay for these courses yourself.

They also take time and effort to complete.

The good thing about this is that it just makes you that much better of a nail tech, but you can eventually start to dread having to keep up with license renewals and continuing education credits.

Pros and Cons of Being a Nail Technician – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Nail TechnicianCons of Being a Nail Technician
1. You Get to Work Indoors1. You May Get Tired of the Constant Fumes
2. You Can Show Off Your Style2. You Will Occasionally Deal With Difficult Clients
3. You Will Be Able to Use Your Creativity3. You Might Need to Do Your Own Marketing
4. You Can Start Your Own Business4. You Could Have to Work Nights or Weekends
5. You Might Be Able to Pick Your Hours5. You Can Get Frustrated With Having Limited Skills
6. You Will Enjoy Seeing a Variety of Different Clients6. You Are at Higher Risk for Arm and Shoulder Pain
7. You Get Instant Gratification7. You Only Have the Option of An In-Person Work Environment
8. You Can Start Working Without Going to College8. You Will Need to Plan for Ongoing Training to Keep Your License

Should You Be a Nail Technician?

The decision to become a nail tech is ultimately yours to make.

You will have to decide if you love the idea of working with clients who have a passion for beauty, even if some might get a little cranky.

While being a nail tech does require you to develop your skills, you also have the opportunity to engage in a profession that honors creativity and a passion for helping people feel their best.

Jamie Willis