Researching a Training Provider

We understand that researching Permanent Make Up Training is a minefield that can leave most people more confused than when they started.

Who to train with?

Which package is going to be best for me?

Should I stay local or travel for the right trainer?

What’s a reasonable price?

Are the reviews genuine?

Etc.

During our time as a PMU Training Academy, we’ve heard all kinds of horror stories as well as being asked repeatedly by people who have already trained if they can retrain with us as their original academy didn’t train them correctly then fobbed them off when they needed support.

For the above reason we’ve decided to compile a list of questions/things you should be looking out for when choosing who you’d like to sculpt your future with.

  1. Location

This isn’t as important to some people as it is to others and will come down to your personal situation. If you’ve found what you feel to be the perfect academy for you and it ticks all your boxes but it’s a 5-hour drive, we recommend arranging accommodation and making the journey. Most training courses will be a maximum of 5 days initially so you’re not away from home for very long when you consider your return on investment covers the rest of your working life. Some people want the closest training to them for comfort and convenience, but you could be massively limiting yourself unless you’re one of the lucky ones who has a decent facility on their doorstep.

  1. How many students will be on the course?

If you’re looking to train in beauty this isn’t as important and can sometimes be advantageous to have 3 or 4 girls on the same course as you can share knowledge & tips as well as modelling for each other which generally makes for a more relaxed and pleasant experience. When it comes to PMU however your training must be one to one. There is so much to learn in a relatively short space of time that the only way to ensure the best possible outcome to the student is 121 training. We have ourselves been on training courses with more than one student and if one person isn’t quite getting it as quickly as everyone else it slows down the whole class.

  1. How is the training conducted?

People learn in different ways and this falls into 3 different categories. Reading, Hearing and Doing. It is important that all 3 of these areas are always covered in your training and with someone to hand in case you get stuck.

Some people can read a set of instructions and it’s ingrained into their grey matter for the rest of their lives. This can also be said for people being told what to do but other people such as myself will only learn from doing something.

You want to check that your training will include study from literature which you will take home at the end to reference if needed. Your teacher doing a demonstration to show you as well as telling you how and why we do things the way we do and finally practice pads and a live model for you to do yourself, so we’ve covered all three ways to learn and you’ve been able to fully digest the information.

  1. Timeline

For us we believe that the timeline should be as follows: 3-5 days training in house with us (how many days is dictated by which PMU course you’ve selected) to cover the foundations in PMU, from here you will go away and complete your portfolio so you can be signed off. From there you can come back to use and do your advanced course a day at a time when it suits you. This way we can cover everything you need in order to go home and start working on models for your portfolio, but we don’t give you too much information that you feel overwhelmed and lose confidence.

Some training providers break the course down and you will do all your theory work from home then several months later you will visit them to do your practice pads and models for one or two areas of the face then go back a third time to do the areas you’ve missed.

This is wrong for so many reasons. First of all, by the time you visit your trainer you will have only covered one way of learning (reading) and that was several months ago and without a trainer on hand to ask questions when you got stuck which you definitely will. It also doesn’t make sense that when you finally get there you only train in brows and lips but not eyes. This is a waste of your time as you will have to go off and complete models for your portfolio but can’t offer all the treatments and then must do eyeliner later when you’ve just been half signed off.

This method is the biggest complaint we get from students who have trained elsewhere and now want to come to us. Can you believe that some people pay £10-15k to train then in 12 months’ time have such little confidence yet so much invested that they’re prepared to spend that money again with a different provider just to get the training they were promised in the first place?

  1. Ongoing Support

What kind of ongoing support is offered? We believe that lifetime is the only answer here. The reality of it is most people don’t need lifetime support and once they’ve been signed off a few years they won’t need us for anything but isn’t it nice to know back up is always around the corner should you need it?

Lifetime ongoing support isn’t really designed for people to come back and sit in on a course in 10 years’ time although this is available to you should you wish. It is designed to not put a time limit on students as we find this causes unnecessary stress if they feel like time is running out and after let’s say 24 months, they’re out on their own with nobody to turn to. That is the outcome with some providers who will then go one step further and offer you further ongoing support but for a monthly fee.

  1. Do you get a kit provided and is it adequate?

At this point some people get bogged down a little too much with the wrong questions. A lot of students come to us and the only question they have is what machine do they get in their kit. They don’t want to know anything else, just which machine it is. This is usually as they’ve been looking online and reading in forums and generally trying to run before, they can walk as is human nature and I’m certainly guilty of this myself.

It is important to check that you get a kit and that the kit is more than enough for you to complete to your portfolio work. The machine should have been carefully selected for its purpose which is two things. 1. It’s easy to work with, light and forgiving for a beginner. 2. It takes universal cartridges. When we trained, we were told our package included a machine worth £2500 and it was one of the very best on the market. How appealing does that sound when you’re about to embark on a career change and someone offers you the very best equipment in the game? The reality of it was the machine was clunky, hard to use, needed an expensive annual service, was actually only worth a couple of hundred pounds and it locked me into one brand of needle. Guess who was the only distributer for that needle? Yep, the training academy who supplied me with it who also did everyone a huge favour and hiked the price of the needles up from a couple of pounds each to around £40 for a box of 5. The needles were also NEVER in stock so PMU artist around the country had to come together on Facebook to swap and share needles in order to get by.

The most important question about your kit should be, does the supplied machine take universal cartridges? Don’t worry about anything else for now.

  1. Reviews

This one may seem obvious to say check the reviews but there is more to it than that and it’s surprisingly difficult to work it out. It should be simple right? What do the reviews say? But we’ve found through talking to students that have trained elsewhere that if they’re happy they’ve left a review but if they aren’t happy they haven’t left a review because they don’t want it to be awkward when they go back for any ongoing support. A don’t bite the hand that feeds you sort of situation. Unfortunately this makes the visible reviews online a bit useless. We have 5 star reviews across the board so this point potentially goes against our academy but hopefully the takeaway from this is that we are honest and want what is best for you regardless of whether you choose us or not.

Our suggestion here is possible would be to try and speak directly with a training academies previous students and get the truth on how they feel. Chances are if they tick all other boxes on this list and have positive reviews then this step isn’t necessary but I’m trying to cover all bases here.

  1. Who regulates the academy and who is their insurance with?

Believe it or not some academies aren’t regulated, accredited, or hold the relevant insurance. You will pay significantly less to train with them, but they cannot sign you off which means you cannot practice PMU. Again, we have students who have trained somewhere and paid 30% less than the going rate only to find out that despite them now have some knowledge of PMU they cannot actually perform it, nor can they call themselves a PMU artist.

Training providers must have a regulatory body who governs them, for us it is ABT. They must also have full insurance to cover both themselves and you when training if something were to happen. The last thing you want is an issue with a model and to suddenly find out you’re liable. It’s happened more than once.

  1. Do they offer you any additional help or advise?

So what we mean by this is obviously it is the job of a training provider to train you in PMU and that’s pretty much it. Some academies will go a little further and some will go to the ends of the earth to help you become your very best.

I will use us as an example, we not only train you in PMU in a way that is tailored to you as an individual but as mentioned above we also offer ongoing support for life. On top of this we are only a call/text/email away should you need anything, and we will help advice you when it comes to social media, marketing, google, web design, your local council and getting signed off, the list goes on.

  1. Are there any potential charges down the line?

So this is something we’ve only recently been faced with ourselves and I honestly couldn’t believe it. We got a call from someone who had trained with someone and wasn’t happy with anything they had (or hadn’t) received and now wanted to train with us. The conversation brought up many, many issues but one of them was that despite this student paying 3 times more than what she would have paid at any other training academy she had now also been sold into paying £200 per month for ongoing support in the form of online literature she could access to reference as and when she needed. The main issue with this was that the information was very out of date and hadn’t been adjusted in years (you’ll come to realise this industry moves very quickly) and that it didn’t include anything to help with social media despite being marketed to the student partly to help grow your business and appeal to a wider audience. I guess basically this bullet point is just to make you aware of what some people will try to sell to you that you absolutely don’t need. Just be careful and question everything that doesn’t quite sound right. If the training provider is getting frustrated or annoyed with your questions then they most likely have something to hide.

  1. Is the price of the course in line with the industry?

Some people naturally think that if one training school is charging way more than everyone else, they must be the best and as I’ve mentioned above, their reviews will sometimes seem to back this up. This is rarely the case. It’s like everything we face in life as consumers, the most expensive isn’t always best. The best marketing and the most expensive goes hand in hand. The companies charging considerably more than their competition are using that extra income to fund huge marketing campaigns which attracts them more business and you’re paying for that. The downside to this aside from the obvious is that these companies have way too much interest, and their standards slip. What happens if you have problem with your phone/broadband or similar and you call the very large provider and threaten to leave them or give a bad review? They couldn’t care less and will generally call you bluff. Imagine if your provider was a 5-man team from your local area? They would do everything in their power to make it right for you.

  1. Is the course plus VAT?

If you’ve done your research (and at this point I hope you have) you will have an idea of what the average sort of price is for the course you’re interested in give or take a couple of thousand here and there. Make sure that VAT isn’t on top of the advertised price. Let’s say 5 academies are advertising a Gold package at £10,000 but then the provider you’re most interested in is £10,000+VAT they will most likely tell you VAT is deductible and not to worry about it. This is the biggest red flag I can possibly warn you of. VAT is only deductible if you’re VAT registered, 99.9% of PMU students are not VAT registered unless you already have a successful salon, and this is to add to that. The training academy knows that, but you will pay the money then when you try to claim it back and you’re told you can’t they will feign ignorance and claim they assumed you were VAT registered. I feel confident in saying most training providers don’t operate this way and but unfortunately, I know for a fact that some do.

  1. Response time and quality of the response

When students sign on with us, we always ask them why they chose us to train with us. For as many possible answers they could they give they usually say it’s for two reasons (this is after they’ve narrowed it down to a handful of potential PMU academies).

1 is you responded to my enquiry very quickly and 2 is your response was tailored to me and answered my questions. We get told how when they’ve contacted other training schools, they didn’t get a response for hours or even days and when they finally did it was just a link to their website or a basic price list.

If this is the amount of thought and effort, they put into getting your business then why would the actual training be any better.

  1. Does the trainer fill you with confidence?

This is the last point I will make and if you’ve made it this far then well done because this has gone on much longer than I intended.

When you speak to your trainer on the phone before officially signing on, some people won’t, but we do recommend it. How do they make you feel?

Do they simply answer your questions? Maybe all their answers are exactly what you wanted to hear? Or do they fill you with confidence that you’re making the right decision and make you feel comforted that you’re not doing this alone and they’re there for you?

Again, this is massively important. Most people will be attempting this alone and it’s terrifying to say the least. If you feel your trainer has your back, your best interests and is there for you no matter what, ultimately that is more important than anything else I’ve written above.

If you have asked/researched all the above and you’re happy with the responses, then you will be on the right path to working with an academy you can trust and has your best interest at heart. There is a frightening number of trainers who are only looking to take your money and don’t care about the quality of what they offer nor how you’re left feeling once they’ve kicked you out of the door.

If you have any questions regarding the above or you’re generally just looking for advice, feel free to contact us at training@melissamurphy.co.uk. You don’t have to be considering us as your training provider for us to want to help, we simply don’t want to see anyone else lose money and confidence in the industry we love.

Thank you for reading our blog post and good luck going forwards…….

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