Tanning salon start-up should be researched.
Starting a tanning salon can be a painless process.
So you're wanting to start a tanning salon but you have no idea where to start? There are many things to consider before making the big decision to open any business but there are special considerations on how to opening a tanning salon that are not so apparent.
Determine the location and need of a tanning salon. Study the competition. Are they always busy? Is it hard to get an appointment? Are their prices competitive? You don't want a business in an already overly saturated area. Most people who work go to the tanning bed before work, on lunch breaks and after work. So it's a really good idea to have a tanning salon close to location that has a large amount of workforce. For example near a large hospital or near an industry park. Near a high school or college is another good choice. The parking space should be a factor as well. No one wants to tan where parking will be an obstacial and chore.
Credit: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1512852 Betty Longbottom
Now you will need an estimate of a start-up cost and will need to do some math to see if the business would be profitable. Commercial beds can range from 5,000 to 35,000 each. You will defiantly want to shop around for the best prices. Some places even rent really nice commercial beds, this might be an option if you are wishing to upgrade your beds often. When shopping for tanning beds please do not go direct first. With some companies that you get a quote with they will block second parties who sell their brand of beds, from selling to you. So this means if you could have gotten the bed from the second party cheaper it's just to bad. You want to make sure that what ever you buy that you can keep your prices competitive and still come out ahead. Buy beds that are easy to service so you can change the tanning bulbs and do the cleaning yourself. This will save you a lot of money. Please be aware that when you get into the bigger beds they may require tons of space or exhaust systems. You can always start small and build up to bigger commercial tanning beds later.
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You will need to look up your state laws on tanning beds. Some states require no special permits or restrictions. This means you can basically run a tanning salon however and wherever you choose. Some states only have minimum requirements which includes getting a permit at the health department and the having to carry consent of parent cards for minors. However in some states, if not most you have to be certified. If you are required to be certified, you must use the recommended bulbs in your tanning beds (this means you can not use stronger tanning bulbs than recommended) . You will also be required to have control of the timers on your beds from a master board. Some insurance requires this even if your in state that doesn't. It is also a good idea so people don't restart the beds. Tanning certification can be obtained from the American Tanning Institute. They have a website.
You will also need to get a federal EIN number, state tax number and see if there are any special permits or business licenses for your local government for your tanning salon.
Now in a tanning salon most of the profit comes from the sales of tanning lotions and products. When choosing a tanning lotion company to buy from please shop around. This is a very competitive market and they are willing to do just about anything for your business. You should be expecting, depending on the size of your orders, to receive at least a 30% discount on all tanning lotions. Learn all you can about the products you sell. Learn the differences and effects of tingle , bronzers, accelerators, etc... Being knowledgeable with the products will earn you sales. Body jewelry, purses and accessories do well in tanning businesses.
Be prepared to sign a lease if you plan on renting. Find a place that has a short lease. You don't want to have a business that goes belly up and here you are in the first year of a five year lease. Some leasing agents will work with you if you just say that you really feel uncomfortable signing for five years. If they will give you year then you will decide if you can take it on five. However, no strip mall or other location that does all the interior remodeling for your tanning salon will never agree to a short lease. The set up for a tanning salon is really pretty simple. You just need divider walls that are really basic to separate the tanning bed rooms.
You will have to carry insurance which is not horribly expensive but it isn't cheap either. You also need signature consent forms and keep them for everyone, not just minors. Adults will have to sign for themselves and guardians will have to sign for minors. This however, can vary from state to state. Check with your state for age and consent laws and requirements. If your state doesn't have age restrictions, you can set your own policies for your business. It is best to have a minimum age set. If you don't, there will be someone wanting to sign up their 8-year-old for tanning. The insurance and consent forms will help cover you in case of a lawsuit.
When setting up your tanning salon, you should make a set of rules that will apply to every client that visits your shop. It's important to not make exceptions. You can always use the excuse that your insurance or business agreement doesn't allow the exceptions. One problem I always faced in my tanning salon was people expecting me to watch their children, or clients wanting to take their children into the tanning booths with them. It's too difficult to run a business and babysit. I also don't feel that it's safe for small children to be close to the tanning bulbs. If you don't set rules on this, before you know it, you'll be running a daycare rather than a tanning salon.
Upon opening advertising should be done. However, tons of money should not be dished out. From my experience with tanning, word of mouth and having visible signs in a great location is the best means of advertising. You can also use social networking and offer coupons to your first clients for referrals. Family and friend days are great marketing techniques. Another way to really promote a tanning salon is to do one free day a week or month to get people coming to your location. The cheaper beds, level 1 can be free, while you can offer your other beds at a discounted price. However, keeping the beds clean and the tanning bulbs hot will keep be the way to gain repeat customers.
I learn the hard way how to start a tanning salon. I hope that people looking to open a tanning salon can benefit from these tips.