By Kathy Hingan

PACKING FOR MOBILE NAIL SERVICES (house call tips and tricks!)

*note: I may receive a commission off of select links*


Hi! I'm Katie Masters aka @nailthoughts. When I first started to do mobile nail services, I was so lost with what to pack for my mobile nail salon or how to even go about it to make sure I’m doing everything the “right” way.



Good news is, there is no right way, there is just what works best for your and your specific nail service supplies list. But you can always use some guidance on where we need to start so here are a few things I have learned along the way and tips on how/what to pack for your mobile nail service! If you are looking for some of the stuff that I use for my house calls, I created a house call section in my amazon store HERE.


1. Have a checklist! 

It is BEYOND important to have a checklist. Why? I mean so many reasons, but the main one is so you don’t forget anything when you are packing your mobile nail pack in a rush or you’re tired, whatever! There will definitely be a time that you forget something no matter how organized you might think you are if you don’t have something to keep you in line.



I forgot nail files for a house call once it was so devastating and embarrassing. Having a mobile nail service checklist in a little plastic sheet to mark off with a dry erase marker will ALWAYS keep you on track no matter how fast you are packing your nail pack. You will always be set up for success. If you need some help on what to actually put on your mobile service checklist, you can download the one that I created for free and adjust it completely to YOUR needs and services so you can just leave that stress behind. We don't need to add any more anxiety to our work! Let this just ease your mind.


2. Pack everything! 

Continuing on our checklist conversation, you gotta pack everything on your checklist. I know you might think it will make your life easier if you just pack what is necessary, but in reality, there are so many things that can go wrong with that. Your client might think they know what they want, but 9 times out of 10 they will change their mind once you get there.



Another thing is, especially if they are new clients, they might not even know exactly what to ask for or even know what they have on their nails! I’ve tried asking people what they have on their nails so I can better prepare for the appointment and I’ve gotten responses like “red tips”. Tips of what?? Acrylic? Gel? Nail polish? Press ons?

You truly never know what you will be working with so it’s the best decision to prepare for ANYTHING! Another final point to this is, what if you get another call while you’re there? What if their friend is over and they want nails too? Pack everything, and pack double the tools! You don’t want to be left stranded feeling like you let your client down because you didn’t pack certain supplies! 


3. Don’t be too reliant on outlets!  

When it comes to house calls and mobile services, you have no idea where you are going to be set up. I have done services in kitchens, living rooms, offices, backyards, and many, MANY floors. You want to have as much freedom and flexibility as you can with your equipment because outlets might not be super accessible wherever you might be!



Of course you can pack an extension cord to help you just in case, but my best piece of advice is to invest in cordless and rechargeable equipment! I went from extension cord galore and having to unplug and rotate equipment to the outlets, to literally doing nails in a backyard with zero outlets and complete freedom because I have cordless everything!! And by cordless everything I mean a cordless/rechargeable electric file, LED lamp, and desk light!

Here is the link to my portable electric file.

Here is the link to my portable LED lamp.


portable led lamp for nails

4. Pack a light to see!   

Speaking of lights, lighting is SO important for nail services in general but ESPECIALLY for mobile nail services. It can be broad day light out but I can promise you, that house will still be dark. The lights in the ceiling are just not enough to be able to properly see your product application and any missed spots. Trust me on this one. You need a portable light. This is the one I use from Amazon and it even has a couple different settings for brighter vs. warmer light. And best news ever, it's rechargeable!!!



5. Invest in storage containers!

Something that has made my my life so much easier is storing all of my most used gel in containers in my drawers so it’s easily transferrable from drawer to luggage and luggage back to drawer. Essentially what I mean is, my gel products are always technically packed so I never have to hand pick my colors and waste so much time during my packing/unpacking. Here are some examples of what I mean:



I bought a 10 pack of these containers for all of my potted gel. They easily stack in my drawer and my luggage so I don’t ever have to handpick my potted gel colors again! I also don’t have to worry about them flipping upside down! Here is the link to them on Amazon.



Next, I have this specific nail polish storage container for all of my gel collection to stay in place during travel. It’s also super cute and aesthetic so that’s a plus. *note that it does not fit more oddly shaped gel bottles like the rectangular ones, etc. Here is the link to it on Amazon.


nail thoughts gel polish  gel storage container


gel nail polish storage container


And finally here is my Youtube video for even more details on what I pack in my bag and all the info on my luggage etc! HAPPY PACKING!! HOPE THIS HELPED!



  • I have been thinking of offering mobile services, and this is just what I need to help navigate being a traveling tech.

    LaKisha on

  • I was wondering if you could link both the luggage you use please :)

    Janet on

  • Great tips for easy to carry mobile nail services. Thanks for sharing help links to buy the required stuff at affordable prices.

    Jitendra Gautam on

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