Starting a Tanning Salon Business
Step 1 – Site Visits Consult with successful tanning salon owners in your area. Visit their salons and discuss with the owners and/or managers day-to-day operations and start-up costs. During your visit, be sure to check out the salon including the reception area, restrooms, and tanning booths. Take note of how much they charge for their services.
Step 2 – Business plan. Create a business plan. A plan is crucial to achieving success. Be sure to address the following:
- Franchise or non-franchise salon
- Location information and description of the tanning salon business space
- Financial Analysis including start up budget, operating budget and five year plan
- Start up capital
- List of equipment, products (booths, lotions, protective eye wear, safety signs and notices), replacement lamps for your booths
- Staffing requirements and job descriptions
- Build-out plans for the location
Step 3 – Secure your start-up capital. Research cost involved with starting a tanning salon. Be sure to consider less obvious things like voltage boosters for tanning booths, insurance, business sign wiring, and any special licensing required. Budget for at least 10 to 20 percent more than you think you will need for hidden costs that you may not foresee, so you are not caught short after making your initial investment.
Look to local banks for additional capital. You will need a form of collateral and solid business plan to be considered. If you are unable to secure a bank loan, look for investors to help you get started or even form a partnership and split the profits.
Step 5 – Choose a location. Be sure that your tanning salon is in a highly visible location with good signage opportunities.
Step 6 – Obtain Insurance. To operate a business, you should have commercial liability insurance. You should also have some sort of umbrella policy to cover in case of an accident or injury on the premises. Consult an insurance agent to find out insurance requirements in your area.
Step 7 – Buy equipment. New tanning booths range in cost from $12,000 to $19,000 depending upon exposure time and bells and whistles. Certified pre-owned tanning booths are a great option. Beware… there is a difference between used and certified pre-owned booths. Used tanning booths can be much less expensive, but may also need maintenance. If buying used booths, you may need to replace all of the bulbs before the booth is ready for commercial use. Look to certified pre-owned booths where a manufacturer will stand by the equipment. Make a list of equipment you need and prices for each unit. Look into purchasing a start up kit offered by some manufacturers. You will also need to buy safety placards and other required signage to be used in your salon.
When choosing equipment consider the difference between stand up tanning booths and lie down beds. The great benefit of a vertical tanning booth is you can fit three tanning booths with attached dressing rooms in the same size area you need for one tanning bed and changing room translating to more clients per hour and more profit!
Step 8 – Assess your staffing needs. A tanning salon needs at least 2 people on duty at all times — one person for reception and another attendant to show people to tanning booth.
Step 9 – Advertise your tanning salon. Build your website as soon as possible and list your opening date. Put up your sign as soon as you secure your location and put an “opening soon” banner underneath or near it. Write a press release to the local newspaper’s business news editor, and start print advertising about 15 – 30 days prior to opening.
Step 10 – Grand Opening. Make sure your tanning salon is spotless and functioning properly before you open to the public. Consider having an opening for friends and family about a week before you open to the public. The run-through will help ensure that things go well when you are open for business.
Opening a new tanning salon?
Let Sun Capsule fit you with the Start Up Salon Collection. These collections include the necessities, booths, lotions, protective eye wear, and required posters to get your salon up and running fast and profitably!
Get your Sun Capsule today. Contact us to get started.