In addition to allowing your feet to soak before you do your pedicure, consider the possibility of using a foot softening treatment. You can often find such elixirs at beauty and body shops. They tend to be a little pricey, but they’re helpful when you need more tractable toenails and calluses.
Your first task during a pedicure is to remove all traces of old nail polish, if any. Separate your toes with cotton balls. Then dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover, and use a circular motion to swab each toenail clean. Be sure to wash your feet thoroughly afterward, to move any lingering traces of polish remover.