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How to start your own nail business

Do I need to be qualified?

There is no specific qualification you need to take to be able to start a nail business. However, you will need to get insurance and many providers do require proof of qualifications in order to cover you.

So, while you could in theory be a self-taught nail technician, it is not recommended. A proper nail course will cover all the essential elements you will need to know, from properly applying nail enhancements to a high standard, to hygiene, health and safety and client care.

The courses below offer you on completion the opportunity to be able to apply for insurance so you are able to legally set up your nail business.


In the UK, it is strongly recommended that any self-employed nail tech or business is covered by insurance.

There are a few types of insurance to consider when starting a nail business:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Employers liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Personal accident/sickness insurance

Public liability insurance is the most important when starting a new nail business. It covers all accidents that could occur during your treatments, whether a client experiences an allergic reaction or hurts themselves on your premises.

Employers liability insurance is a legal requirement if you have any employees – which perhaps isn’t as likely if you have a new business.

If you are investing in your own salon premises, consider property insurance to protect it against any unpredictable damage. If you are setting up your nail business at home or are working mobile, getting insurance to cover loss of earnings due to sickness or injury is also a good idea to ensure you aren’t left out of pocket.

Name your business and register

Do research, you need to make a memorable name! Have a look at local competition and think about a catchy name.

If you are just doing a few nail sets for friends in your living room, you probably don’t need to register yourself as a business.

But, if you are ready to start growing into a fully profitable nail technician, you will need to keep track of your earnings and ensure you declare them for tax.

When just starting up, many nail technicians set themselves up as a sole trader. This means you are now self-employed and personally responsible for all of your businesses finances.

To do this, you need:

  • A national insurance number
  • A record kept of all your incomings and outgoings over the financial year
  • To send a self-assessed tax return every year
  • To pay income tax on your profits

However, remember that this only applies when you start making over £1,000 from self-employment. So, be sure to keep track of your businesses finances so you know when you reach this point.


For nail businesses, the best form of marketing is social media and Instagram in particular. The great thing about nail businesses is that they are very visual by nature. So, leveraging Instagram to your advantage can help out, too. Do your best to create and share content as frequently as possible, creating a portfolio of your work.

Nail technician courses