Entrepreneur’s experience: Starting a pedicure and manicure business

Nuwagaba while painting a client’s nails at the salon in Remera. / Joan Mbabazi.

Idi Nuwagaba is one of many young people trying to make a living from practical skills. Having worked in a hair salon before in pedicure and manicure since 2002, he had no doubt that it is the kind of job anyone can do, whether educated or not.

He is a nail technician offering various services, like manicures and pedicures, hand and foot massage, nail repair, applying nail enhancements like gel and acrylics, and creative nail designs such as polish design and nail jewelry.

Perhaps, he noted that the nature of the business is it has growth potential depending, depending one’s capacity and ability to support client’ increase over time.

With his passion in salon work, he opted for a course in hair dressing, facial, pedicure and manicure.

Nuwagaba first worked in a Kimironko-based salon. He was eager to do what it took to win customers. He even met clients at the comfort of their homes, at any day. At the time, salons were very few.

Regardless of how many clients he worked on a day, at the end of the month, he would receive his set monthly salary. This encouraged laziness amongst different workers which led the owner of the salon to pay on percentage depending on the number of customers an employee worked on.

With time, he bought working equipment, and all he needed was a small space to rent in one of the salons around Kigali as the number of his customers grew with time. He started working with customers from the comfort of their homes.

Unlike before when customers just came to salons without appointments, now it is different as he had his daily clients who call in to place their appointments.

“Whenever a customer calls to make an appointment, I note it done in my book so that I don’t forget. In case they don’t make it to the salon in time, I remind them so that schedules don’t collide,” he said.

The prices range from Rwf 2,000 to Rwf 10,000 or more. On a good working day, he can even get 10 customers or more, depending on the season.

He noted that weekends attract more clients as there are functions like weddings and people are less busy.

Nuwagaba who now works with Ekirezi Salon Remera, said, the most ideal way to make money in the trade is to have your materials and seek for a small space in a salon to work in. That way, you can either negotiate with the owner of the saloon whether to pay for the space, or the percentage of your earnings you will pay them depending on the money made per day or month.

How to be a nail technician

“Of course, to be a nail specialist, training is necessary to gain skills required to deliver professional nail services, apprehend nail care, and gain insight into managing the safety and sterilization of equipment,” he said.

He further noted that the training should also comprise of business skills, so as to have an idea of setting up one’s own business effectively, and respecting all the legal and taxation requirements.

Why this kind of job?

With the population growth and desire to by people to look good, Nuwagaba explained that one is assured of customers every day.

He also noted the business doesn’t require much capital to start.

What pulls clients?

He noted that following up on clients to know their views about the services offered to them, excellent services, customer care, safe environment and clean equipment draws and retains customers.

The nail expert also noted that to be successful one needs to study the market around them and the business competitors, the services being offered, their strength and weaknesses, their market prices and their customer services available in the setor.

Nuwagaba stressed that this guides on setting up a strategy on how one can outshine their competitors and ensuring customers choose your services. 

What kills this business?

He said that unprofessionalism, regardless of whether the client has noticed or not, lack of adequate equipment and use of fake products are some of the reasons that cause loss of clientele.

Lacking direct marketing he explained is among the reasons a firm could fail if customers are unaware of specific services the business offers.

What to consider before starting this business?

The nail expert also added that starting a nail business needs a business plan, it requires one to ponder on the following questions: How much profit can a nail salon make? How does a nail salon make money? Who is the target market? How much will customers be charged? What are the initial and operating costs? How do you want to define your brand?  How will you establish your web presence? How will you keep customers coming back? How will you promote and market the nail salon?


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    


Follow The New Times on Google News