If you are thinking of starting your own tanning salon business you may be wondering where to begin. The process of starting any business can seem daunting. Consider visiting some successful tanning salons in your area to discuss their day to day operations, start-up costs, and how much they charge for their services. This information can be a tremendous help in determining which direction you will need to go. If you are not comfortable with this approach, you can visit as a paying customer. Observe which signs or brochures are posted, what the costs for tanning are, how the beds are cleaned (if possible), what types of beds they use, and how customer service issues are handled.
The first step in starting any successful business is to create a business plan. A business plan can be as short as a few sentences or as long as a few paragraphs. First, determine what your goals are for your salon and how you want to effectively convey them to anyone who might read your plan. Try to think of any potential problems that may arise and how to solve them. You will also need to determine an organizational structure for your business (including titles and responsibilities). Another important factor that should be included in your business plan is the capital it will take to keep your salon going. Your business plan should be unique to your business and should evolve over time as your business evolves.
Another important factor to consider when starting any business, is financing. Starting a tanning salon can be costly so it is a good idea to make sure you have the proper financing in place. If you do not have the investment in place on your own, you may be able to qualify for a loan from a bank to cover the start-up costs. Banks will require some form of collateral and a business plan before they will consider your loan application. Often, individuals want to be involved in starting a business but don't actually want to participate in the day to day operations of that business. These individuals will invest money to get your business going in return for a share of the profits.
One of the most obvious things you will need to know about starting your tanning business is in regards to tanning beds. You will need to know how they work, how to care for and maintain them, which tanning beds are the best for the space you have to work with, and which beds will best suit your clientele. It doesn't make much sense to only buy one or two tanning beds unless you want a line of customers out the door waiting for their turn to tan. Be sure you have the money in your budget to invest in a few tanning beds. New beds can cost as much as $10,000 but you may be able to find used beds in good condition for around $1000.
Tanning beds require maintenance. New tanning bed lamp bulbs will lose up to 20% of their effectiveness after the first 50 hours of use. You will want to replace lamp bulbs regularly. Many tanning bed retailers offer charts that will help you keep track of the hours used by certain lamp bulbs and when they were last replaced. Your tanning beds will also need to be cleaned regularly not only to keep them sanitary and presentable, but to keep all of their parts in good working order. The myth that UV light will automatically sanitize your beds during each use is not true so for the comfort and safety of your clients, and to protect your investment, your beds should be cleaned regularly.
Educate yourself on tanning bed safety before you start your tanning salon business. You will need to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure the safety of all of your clients. You can help your clients avoid sunburns and skin damage by identifying their skin type and having clients that may be newer to tanning start with shorter sessions to reduce the risk of sunburn. Signs or brochures should be placed throughout your salon that provide information about possible UV damage and the risks of tanning. You must provide eye protection to every client. It is also a very good idea to have each client sign a waiver before tanning so they understand any possible risks.
Your new business will need advertising to attract clients. Renting the salon space and buying the equipment will take up a large part of your start-up budget so be sure to allot some money for marketing. You could place an ad in the local newspaper, pass out flyers, or even buy time on a local radio or television station. You could create a web site for the salon by registering a domain name & creating a web page. You can also place an ad online or post some information on a social network like Facebook. Just remember to keep anything posted online updated regularly.
Another cost to consider is insurance. All businesses should have commercial liability insurance which protects you and your investment against claims of property damage, personal injury, and other accidents. It is best to consult with an insurance agent in you area to determine what coverage is required.
You may also need to purchase tanning lotions, sunscreen, protective eye-wear, sanitizers, signs, a telephone system (if one hasn't been provided with the space rental), software for tracking sales and setting appointments, and furniture, among other things. Consider payroll costs if you will be hiring any staff.
For more information on starting a business, consider contacting your local Small Business Administration or Chamber of Commerce. For help on the web, try typing: "start tanning salon business" or "how to start tanning salon business".