How I Managed a REALLY Tricky Group Booking

A few weeks ago, I messed up.

Someone had messaged me asking for this picture for herself and 3 bridesmaids. I quoted $55 and 30 min per person and gave the address.

She said she knew where I was and had been here before, which I took to mean she knew what to expect – me, in my home salon, charging $55+ for a Gel Manicure.

On the night, they arrived 15 min late, which was a big deal for me because I had clients after them and needed to be done on time.

The Bride sat down for the first set and… severe nail biter.


I said “Um… so just Gel Polish, right?”

And she said… drum roll… “No, we’re all Acrylic”



Cue massive panic while I racked my brain for a solution and, completely unable to hide my thought process and alarm, they talked about all leaving.

My biggest fear is people being disappointed in me. This Could. Not. Happen.

I said we would sort something out and that it was best we just start the first set and after much umming and aahing they agreed. We would do the Bride and a Bridesmaid who had driven an hour to be there that night and the other two would go elsewhere tomorrow.

They said “Still $55, right” …lump in my throat, massive anxiety, I say… “They’re not normally but I can make it work”

They said they thought there would be multiple Nail Techs. But they booked through Penny Lawler – Nail Artist Facebook Page! How many people do you think Penny Lawler is!

I don’t believe in shifting blame. I think that in EVERY situation you find yourself in, you had the power to avoid it.

I choose not to be frustrated with the client but to learn from it. Here’s what I could have done differently.

 Upon seeing the picture of Gel Polish I should have CONFIRMED “That is a picture of a Gel Polish Manicure, will everyone have long enough natural nails?”
 I could have CONFIRMED “Great, you’re booked one after the other at 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm and 7.30pm.

And here’s what I was reminded of –

When the panic first started, EVERYONE panicked. At one point I said “I’m so sorry, I should have confirmed” but this lead to a snarky comment throwing 100% blame on me a few minutes later.

The thing is though, by calmly managing the situation and focussing on finding a SOLUTION, we got through it.

At the end, all four of them were talking about hw AMAZING the 2 full sets were. They were SO HAPPY. And the snarky mean Bridesmaid from earlier came to me to pay for the others and expressed how good they were before asking how much to pay.

This was a surprise because they had said $55 earlier and I was resigned to that but I said “They’re normally $115, but I know you were expecting $55 so put through what you can but it’s really important to me, since we’ve never met, that you don’t think I’m trying to be a rip off artist. I’ve been doing this 10 years. I own a SCHOOL for Nail Techs. I thought because your friend said she had been here that she would know roughly what sort of prices to expect”

And this lady, who had been horrible earlier, said “No I can see that, those nails are amazing and I KNEW there was something wrong with $55 and four of us in 2 hours”

And then she paid me $75 per set.

No one that’s being rude or mean or snarky is trying to upset you. They’re responding to a situation and 99% of the time, you had SOME influence over how that situation turned out.

 Assess how you could have done things differently, always
 Focus on solutions solutions solutions

Man. What a day. But I got through it, and you will when it happens to you too!

– Penny

  • Post category:Business