How To Get Fat Tips!

I once had the same client go from tipping me $3 every manicure appointment to $5. It may not seem like much of an accomplishment but it meant the world to me at the time. (My typical tip for a $25 manicure was $5.) First, I didn’t take it personally that she only gave me $3. She was a nice enough lady and came in regularly for services. Over time I listened to what she was looking for. I literally had to go against what I was taught. She didn’t want the entire nail polished, instead she wanted me to leave a thin naked line on both sides of each nail. She also had other weird quirks but finally one day the $5 tip came and it became a regular thing. This is just one example – here are tips:

  1. This should go without saying but is probably the most often missed: Ask questions and listen to what the client wants.
  2. Master your craft: be humble enough to consider you could use improvement. Take extra classes, watch videos, practice and ask for feed back from family and friends.
  3. Go above and beyond for customer service such as giving directions as to where to put coat and jewelry, and getting beverages. If they have trouble bending over, take the initiative to put their socks on for them.
  4. Remember everything. Remember what you talked about the last time he or she came in. Remember to remind them to put jewelry back before polishing begins. Remember what color they got last time and the names of their kids. You get the point.
  5. Shut your big fat mouth if they don’t feel like talking. And stop asking them questions about their work – they’re here to relax not think about their stressful job!
  6. Make suggestions for colors and solve a problem for them.
  7. Be grateful: Always say “Thank You So Much” when they hand you the tip and without looking at the amount.
  8. This is the last tip for a reason: Upgrade the clients services. You should always treat every client like they are a rock star. If they are a single mother on food stamps or the producer of a major Hollywood film – treat them like they are important. Obviously, when you upgrade client services the tip percentage is also likely to increase but, not if your customer service, performance and attitude sucked.


Christmas time is when I got the largest tips. Often my regular clients would leave me $100 tips. I believe they did this because:

  • I had developed real genuine relationships with them by doing all of the above consistently.
  • I gave each one of them a small present which was usually something related to nail or skin care. I did not do this in order to bribe tips out of clients, however, one instance a client left me a $50 tip and then after I gave her the present she threw down another $50.

On the opposite side of the spectrum I worked with a girl who put signs up on her walls reading “gratuity is appreciated.” She sucked at her job, and by that I mean her facials were subpar. She did not go the extra mile or put the effort into mastering her craft. She would come in the lobby of all places, and complain about clients tips. Not thinking for a moment that maybe complaining only made her look bad because obviously her skills were lacking. She would complain to the reception staff about making sure they remind clients how much the service cost and ask how much they wanted to leave for a tip. Seriously – despicable.

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