Self Employed Daughter Having an Issue with Client's Mother.

Updated on July 13, 2015
K.B. asks from Greenville, NC
26 answers

A little backstory first, for as long as she has known of it my oldest daughter has been interested in nail art. She has always had this as a hobby and about a year ago she said she wanted to start doing her own acrylic manicures, I don't live that she has fake nails but she pays for all the costs herself. For the last 9 months or so she has been charging girls for her to do their nails. She has set up a corner of her room for it and is pretty serious about her business. In March we noticed that she was starting to get a lot of people coming in for these manicures and started asking questions and she told us she charges a $25 flat rate for every appointment, and just does what ever the girls ask for. This past May she made all most $1200 doing prom nails.

Current problem, she did the nails of a friend of my younger daughter, a girl who has just turned 13 and the parent is livid. Girl lied to her mother saying the money was to go to a movie then came over and got her nails done by my daughter. This was Tuesday. On wednesday the mother called in a screaming fit demanding her money back and wanting to sue my daughter. My daughter apologized and offer to take the nails off for free. She did not tell me any of this happened until yesterday when she came to me crying because apparently this woman won't listen to reason, is demanding my daughter give her a full refund or she will be suing. My daughter doesn't want to give the refund as she feels none of this was her fault but is scared about being sued because her business doesn't pay taxes and is closer to friends paying friends for a services. The poor girl is terrified. I am livid that my daughters did not come to me immediately and I will punish them but I have no clue how to best help my daughter. She is 16 and was just trying to make money doing what she loved when she stumbled into this mess. Any advice would be appreciated, I will probably let her read the responses as well.

Sorry for such a serious first question!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Give the lady her money back, not because she's right, but because it's more trouble than it's worth. Then, shut the business down. She's not paying taxes and doesn't have a nail tech or business license. I know you probably view it as "she's just a kid!" But she's doing acrylics! If she wants to make a little money, have her do regular nail painting and designs (not cuticle cutting or anything that could cause infections) and look into the tax implications. When she's 18 she can get her nail tech license and do the full blown business.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Why would she not gleefully hand over the $25?
Cause that's what she should do.
I don't know what the laws are about this but if there are laws against this on minors without parental consent? She/you could be in deep Doodoo.
Aren't acrylics the stuff you can't breathe in? And she does this in her bedroom?

8 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

Give the lady her money back!! and pray that is all that comes of this. It doesn't matter what you or your daughter see this as because what she is doing could get her into a world of trouble. This isn't like cleaning homes under the table she is performing a service that requires licensing and has regulations that I am fairly sure she doesn't comply with. That woman can cost her way more than 25 bucks so give it back, get over it.

I just want to add after reading the next two answers, B brought up a very good point, you, personally, would be responsible for any settlement which brings me to the one above me, no, sorry, no lawyer would laugh at her. Any lawyer would take her case because operating without a license is a slam dunk, you cannot win and you knew she was doing it. It is 100% up to you to guide your daughter in these matters and you even let her do it under your roof. This is 25 bucks!! completely no brainer, give the money back and apologize. Your daughter may not think she was in the wrong for doing this girl's nails but she was very much in the wrong for doing anyone's nails. If the state gets involved she will be giving back all that prom profit and I am fairly sure she has already spent a huge chunk of it.

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Give the refund.
Consider shutting down your daughters business for right now.
Do you have any idea what sort of lawsuit you (that's right YOU - your daughter is a minor so they could come after YOU) could be hit with if one of her clients gets a nail fungus, has an allergic reaction or has other problems?
That's why there is such a thing as Nail Tech Insurance.
Improper sanitizing can spread hepatitis.
She needs to go to a nail tech school and get a license.
She's got a lot of get up and go - and that's a good thing.
But there are hazards she hasn't thought about.
She needs to do this legally.

We're not kidding - people DO SUE nail techs for infections, etc:

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well for starters, I love your daughter's initiative and motivation to earn money. BUT... She needs to do this legally.

She broke state licensing rules and it would be in her best interest to give 100% refund to this mom and pray the mom does not report her.

Then... If she's serious... She needs to get legit and fast.

IF this mom is still not happy, she can cause some horrifying consequences for your daughter... 1) running a business without a state permit, 2) running a cosmetology business with no official license ( possible judicial issue here), 3) no tax ID and she is not legally paying taxes for which she can be fined royally by the IRS plus other issues.

Don't try to win the battle on who's right here. You get your daughter legal now or she's possibly facing many fines for operating with no license, not paying taxes, not filing proper paperwork if she's running a "business".

This could be serious and you need to fix it STAT. Get legal counsel to guide you through the process

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

she's crying and 'terrified', but unwilling to refund the money?
this is a no-brainer.
the woman sounds like a nutbag, but why on earth doesn't your daughter just give her $25 back? she's making bank for a 16 year old with her own business (good for her!), so why risk being sued and have all the negative energy and drama?
and for heaven's sake, have her pay her taxes!
ETA after reading some other responses i have to agree, you're probably letting her violate safety laws by running that sort of business out of your house. those chemicals are toxic and require training and proper ventilation and licensing and so forth. so you're setting yourself up to be sued for way more than foregoing parental permission, which is serious enough.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Y'all are begging for anything from operating a business in a residential zone without a license to negligent homicide when her unsterile technique causes a fatal infection. MAKE HER STOP NOW!!! Give the girls mother whatever she wants, along with an apology and a new understanding of how wrong you and your daughter are.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please sit your daughter down and tell her that both of you can look on this, in the long run, as a positive thing - because it is a wake-up call that her hobby-for-cash needs a serious reboot as a legal, licensed and taxpaying business. She's good at nail art! Now she needs to:

Pay this mom back immediately and completely. Now. No discussions, no holding back any money to cover your daughter's supplies or anything. Your daughter will feel that this is unfair and basically rewards this woman for bad behavior, but if she's going to be a businesswoman, your daughter must put aside the teenager voice that cries "Unfair!" and adopt an adult perspective: Pay this woman to get her off your back.

Stop all nail work now, and do intensive research about what daughter needs to do to get trained and licensed in your state to do nails. This is a licensed business that involves health and safety regulations, and people can be prosecuted by the courts for operating nail salons without a license (it has happened in our state). Your daughter, thanks to this wake-up call, should shut down her work now and find out how to get trained and licensed (if she is old enough, and if state law requires her to be older to get licensed, she should be thankful she found that out and stopped doing it before she got caught and shut down and fined).

She should also find out the law on paying taxes. Don't make assumptions about "I only made $X, it's not enough to pay taxes on." Pay up or live worrying that the state and IRS could come after back taxes. It the honest way, the grown-up way, to start a business career.

She would probably be a big asset to a professional nail salon one day and should pursue that if she loves doing it. Be ready to help her get trained (it'll cost) and licensed.

For yourself, get much more involved here. The post indicates you've been hands-off about her business but she needs firm guidance about stopping for now and doing research. I'd TELL her to return the money and then sit down with her and write out an action plan for researching all she needs to research.She will resist because she's made good money at something that's fun, but it's time for her to be an adult about it.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The mother should be taking up most of this with her daughter, who lied. HOWEVER….and it's a big "however':

As others have said, your daughter is operating a business with no training and no certification and no license. She's using chemicals in an unventilated area, she has had no training in sterile techniques, and there are probably a dozen additional health code violations.

She's not planning on paying taxes on $1200??? You need to take care of this immediately. That's way more than friends paying friends - never mind your claim that this is "closer to" anything!

You've been negligent in supervising and advising your daughter. Give the lady the $25 back and get this business shut down or squared away legally before there's a major problem. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

In most states, nail techs are required to be licensed. It sounds like your daughter is not. What happens if one of her "clients" gets an infection? They won't sue your daughter, they will sue YOU because your daughter is a minor.

I would suggest giving the money back to Mom. No, she doesn't have to but I think your daughter and you could get in a whole lot more trouble than just $25. Next, your daughter needs to shut down her business until she goes to school and gets her license. She then should set up her business legally and go from there.

Your daughter sounds like she has the spirit and drive. She just needs to do it legally. Good luck.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I don't think she's required to file taxes unless she makes $10,000. It couldn't hurt to do some research and find out, but I don't think that will be as issue.

The mom is not going to sue her. She's just trying to scare your daughter. Still, is this really worth the $25? I would seriously think about telling your daughter that, while this mother is being ridiculous, it would be wise to simply give her the money and chalk to up to the cost of doing business. Sometimes it's worth it to just give in to an irate customer.

I would also cut your daughters some slack. Not really sure why you're upset with the younger daughter. The older daughter could have come to you sooner, but I'm not really sure it's such a bad thing that she tried to handle it on her own. She's 16. There are many things she really can handle on her own, and she did come to you. She's learning. Try not to be too mad,

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

All of the legal issues aside, which, by the way, you should absolutely look into, the first rule of customer service is that the customer is always right. Service industry studies show that one unhappy person will tell at least 10 people about their experience while happy customers rarely tell anyone at all.

Even if your daughter's business is above board, which it is probably not, she should still give the refund. She should also apologize for the misunderstanding, and assure the woman that it won't happen again, and then make sure it doesn't.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I like Nora's answer.

Talk to your accountant - you don't want that part to blow up in your face.

Look into cosmetology school - Southern Yankee makes great points. If your daughter is doing more than painting nails (using clippers, pushing cuticles, etc.) infection is a possibility.

She has the drive to be an entrepreneur in the TRUE sense. She's already done it. Support this drive. Make sure she gets an education in business/entrepreneurship in addition to nail tech.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Fisrt, do not punish your kid. She didn't deliberately do anything wrong.
In the future, I would sugest that she insitute a policy that anyone under 18 must have a parent present to ensure that they have permission.

The woman is going to sue your daughter for $25? That's insane.
But if she just wants to get her off her back, tell her to refund the money so the harpy will shut up and go away. And have HarpyMom sign something saying that the money was refunded.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You need to find out if doing nails for a SET FEE without a cosmetology license is legal. I think she is supposed to be certified for this. I remember when I used to go to a beauty school and have my nails done by the students there. Their instructor monitored their work.

I had a friend who did HAIR out of her house. I cannot remember a lot about it, but there was an issue of her charging a set fee instead of accepting what the client wanted to pay.

Your daughter is a minor, and she's doing work on minors. She has never learned how to make sure clients don't get infections. She hasn't studied how to properly sanitize her equipment. I'm pretty sure that isn't okay, including having a set price for her work (not asking for what they want to pay.) And doing nails on a 13 year old without the parent's permission? Nope.

Tell her to pay the mother. And go find this stuff out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Have the other mother sign a release for this refund - you may need backup later on.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I think that everyone is being a bit harsh on your daughter. I would be proud that she had enough motivation and drive to do this. It speaks a lot to her character that she was able to establish this business at just 16. That being said, I think others are right that she probably needs to get some training and a license to be able to do this. Step up and help her enroll in night classes to become a licensed nail technician.

The other mother is being a witch by putting all of the responsibility on your daughter and none on hers. At 13, this little girl knew very well that her Mom would not want her to get fake nails...otherwise she would not have lied about going to the movies. Your daughter should return the $25 and chalk it up to a lesson learned. Like others have said, this is not worth the hassle. The mother should have called you rather than threaten your daughter.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would have your daughter refund the money to that wacky mom right away to stave off any trouble.

Then I would send your daughter to school so she can learn the right way to do nails w/o causing infection. Also, so she has that license to fall back on in the event of any future problems.

Then I'd look into getting her licensed.

I don't think I'd have her do it out of your home anymore because if something happens you don't want to be held responsible. And since you are the homeowner you have more to lose. Just cover your bases, look into things & be sure to safeguard yourselves. Other than that I applaud your daughter for being an entrepreneur (sp?)!!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

This is not just friends getting together and painting each others nails. She is 16, sells her service and is making an income. She is charging enough to make a profit so yes, it's a legit job.

That being said, the mom is a whack-a-doodle if she thinks she can sue over this. MAYBE if the daughter had an allergic reaction that caused physical harm. Then she could sue for more than the return of the $25.

"Technically" your daughter is right about it not being her problem the kid lied and said she was going to the movies instead. BUT if it's going to get the whack-a-doodle off her back, I would give back the money. I would also maybe think about not doing nails of girls under 16.

Looks like she has a good future ahead of her. Congrats for that. I hope she doesn't get into trouble and will get some training and check into getting a business started that is legit. She is putting herself at risk and if she's making enough its reasonable that she may need an insurance policy to protect her. She could also be considered a "home business" and your homeowners policy may not allow that and could be putting you guys at risk as well. Some things to think about. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

She needs to give the money back and you need to stop her from doing this business. YES, it is fabulous that she has drive and is doing something good with her time, but I'm sure this is illegal on so many levels.

My daughter is an AMAZING baker, literally people would pay for her things and have offered several times. We don't let her sell them though. Why? She isn't licensed by the state nor does she pay taxes. If someone wants her to bake something, we let them buy the ingredients and she does the work. If she wants to make it a business she will need to go the legal route. Please, do this with your daughter!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Based on the clientele she has already generated, get her in a trade school so she can properly do her job. There is more to it than making pretty nails.

If she were an adult, I would say she do business with a minor and must unwind the transaction. I am not sure what your law says about minors doing business with minors. Most laws say that you cannot bring something unlawful in the court. Your daughter is unlawfully running a business. Therefore, I would say she should return the money and move on, as in, never do that young ladies nails again.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

So a 13 yr old went behind her mother's back and got her nails done instead of a movie and the mother is screaming about it? She'd be laughed out of court. She's been offered a free nail removing, but I think a refund is bullying a 16 yr old girl over a parenting issue between her and her DD. I like Nora's letter. If it had not been your DD and her DD went to a salon, they would not be offering a refund for services rendered. Since your DD is only 16, the only reason I'd consider a refund is to get her off your back (which is why she's a banshee...) and I'd make sure your DD gets it in writing that she's giving a refund in good faith so that woman has nothing to come back to her for. Your DD didn't tell you because she was trying to take care of her own business. I wouldn't be angry about that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

I would request a meeting between you, your daughter, and the other mother. Sit down and discuss what happened and why she feels like she should be refunded the money. Let the woman vent. There is no minimum age requirement for a mani (this is Not a tattoo we are talking about). If the girl had gone to a salon, the same thing would have happened. The fault lies entirely with the 13 yr old (possibly your younger daughter, did she know of the lie?).

If she goes to a lawyer, she would be laughed out of their office. If you have any lawyer friends, I would consult them and ask of they would be available for you to call during the meeting if it goes bad.

Be prepared to negotiate. Perhaps offer to let the younger girl work off the money. But I would not dimplygive the money back. This woman is either prone to hysterics or is a bully. Either way, giving in is the worst road to take.

On the tax issue, she should at least keep records of the income and see if she needs to file taxes. Most kids starting their own small business (like mowing lawns or lemonade stands) don't come anywhere near the tax threshold, but $1200 in a month is a lot of money. She is better off starting on the right foot.

P.S. I am assuming she just paints the nails and not the whole trim the cuticles etc. that a full mani would entail.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

FIRST - since she is new to doing this as a profession she hasn't been doing it long enough TO pay takes, but she SHOULD pay taxes on the money this tax year no matter what, especially if she is making that much money (good for her btw!) Paying taxes at her age is super easy, even as self employed. She will have to do a schedule C but turbo tax makes it super easy. ((If she did do this last tax year then just pretend she didn't, ok?))

SECOND - as her guardians, since she is a minor, YOU are legally responsible for her taxes being filed, so don't blow it off

THIRD - she provided a service, the service was paid for, she has no reason to refund any money and it would not hold up in court for a $25 fee. Filing fees for the parent would be three times that much at least so not something the parent will legally pursue, trust me on this. Your daughter must stand her ground and I suggest she write up a letter ((I'll write a sample one below)) and have it delivered by certified mail that says this person must stop harassing her. If they still harass her then she should file an order of protection with the police.

SAMPLE LETTER - "Dear Ms. X, On June 20, 2015, Suzy came to my business and wanted her nails done. I completed the service as ordered and was paid my fee of $25. As a business owner I have no obligation to refund money for a service that was rendered to the standards expected by my client. My client was Suzy, not you, therefore I will not refund any money. A business owner does not have a legal obligation to ask a client where they obtained their money and has no obligation to refund money because of any related issues to how the money was obtained. Please stop all further communications with me, my business or any of my employees. If further harassment is continued I will be forced to get an order of protection. Sincerely, Super Smart Nails owner/operator Molly Money"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First of all, the mother sounds like a sick nut. But being a mom I can understand feeling betrayed. If it wasn't a woman with a daughter I would think it was my nutty sister who threatens everyone about everything.
Next time anyone who is young or that your daughter knows needs to get a letter of permission. About nasty mom:
Buy her some movie tickets.Or give the money back only because she is a big b word that has no life and ask her to stay away from your daughter or you will file and order of protection.
Plus check your state for what the minimum amount is that you can make before you start filing taxes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

This irate/irrational mom is mad that her 13 year old got fake nails without permission and probably even more so that she lied to get the money from mom. Mom may also be concerned that infection is possible. That mom really should be upset with her daughter not yours. However, she's just mad right now and is misdirecting most of her anger and trying to bully your daughter. Would she really sue of $25? It's not like your daughter didn't provide the service but was paid.

I would suggest that your daughter be prepared to give back at least half (possibly all the $25) and chaulk it up to a learning experience. While your daughter is a minor, she is also running a business. She should go to the mom (you should go with her) and tell the mom that she understands that she didn't give her permission for her daughter to have her nails done and certainly doesn't condone the daughter not using the money as she thought it was intended; however, you daughter simply provided the requested service. The price was reasonable and accepted by the daughter and she had no prior knowledge of the deceit. State that even though she provided the service as requested, as a peace offering, would refund her half the fee and remove them if the mother desires them to be. I say half because your daughter took her time and supplies and provided the service. If the mom is still acting up, look at your daughter and say "honey, it's obvious that she's not going to be reasonable and is taking her anger out on you instead of her own daughter so just go ahead and give her the full $25 this time".

Your 16 year old is running a nice business, mostly for friends, and it's saving them money. It's a win/win. That said, I'm betting that just like here in DE, she needs a license to legally "do nails" (beyond just painting). I took Cosmetology in school and a few girls got their nails license before we were even done so I would suggest you look into that for your daughter...sounds like a great fit. If she continues to do her own business, advise her to have a policy of parental consent for anyone under 16 (or maybe even 18 if she doesn't know them very well).

As for taxes, if she's gonna being making money like that (especially on a regular basis) she definitely needs to claim it.

For the comment that the "customer is always right"...the customer was perfectly happy with services provided and the price paid. The customer's mom is mad that customer lied and received the service. Not the service provider's fault!

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