Ultimate Guide: How to Start a Tanning Salon Business

Opening #1:

If you’re thinking about starting a tanning salon business, you’ve come to the right place. The tanning industry is one of the most lucrative industries out there, with millions of people seeking that perfect sun-kissed glow. But starting any business takes work, dedication, and a good plan. In this article, we’ll take a look at some key steps to getting your tanning salon off the ground so you can start making bank.

Opening #2:

Have you ever walked into a tanning salon and thought to yourself, “I could do this better?” Well, now’s your chance to prove it. Starting a tanning salon business can be a challenging, yet highly rewarding venture. With the right mindset, strategy, and tactics, you can build a successful salon that provides a valuable service to your community, while earning a steady income. In this article, we’ll explore the essential steps to starting your dream tanning salon.

Opening #3:

Do you have a passion for skincare, a talent for sales, and a knack for creating unforgettable experiences? If so, starting a tanning salon business might be the perfect career path for you. Tanning salons are more than just a place to get a quick tan; they’re a haven for those looking to rejuvenate their skin, boost their confidence, and escape the stresses of daily life. In this article, we’ll show you how to turn your passion into a profitable business by laying out the groundwork for a successful tanning salon.

Market research for a tanning salon business

Before starting a tanning salon business, conducting thorough market research is crucial for its success. Market research helps in analyzing the current market trends, customer preferences, and competition in the industry.

Here are some aspects to consider during market research for a tanning salon business:

  • Target market: Identify the ideal customer base, i.e., the age group, income level, and preferences, which helps in designing services and marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Location: Find an area with high foot traffic, accessibility, and where demand for tanning salons is high. Also, assess the competition levels in the area to evaluate the potential for success.
  • Services and pricing: Study the price range and services offered by competitors in the area. This helps set reasonable prices and offer unique services that differentiate the brand from competitors.
Key questions to consider during market research: Importance:
What is the demand for tanning salons in the area? To evaluate the potential for success and profitability in the area.
Who are the target customers? To design services and marketing strategies that appeal to the ideal customer base.
Who are the competitors and what services do they offer? To identify areas of opportunity for differentiation and setting competitive pricing.

Thorough market research helps determine the feasibility of starting a tanning salon business, identify target customers and their preferences, and set prices and services that give the business a competitive edge.

Writing a Tanning Salon Business Plan

A tanning salon business plan is crucial to the success of your tanning salon. It gives you a roadmap to follow, helps you identify potential challenges before they arise, and ensures that you have a clear understanding of your financial goals and how you will achieve them.

When drafting your tanning salon business plan, it is important to include the following:

  • Executive Summary: A brief overview of your business and its objectives.
  • Company Description: A detailed description of your tanning salon, its location, services, and target market.
  • Market Analysis: A thorough analysis of the tanning salon industry, your competitors, and your target market.
  • Business Strategy: A detailed description of how you plan to operate and grow your tanning salon.
  • Marketing and Sales: A description of your marketing and sales strategies, including how you will attract and retain customers.
  • Financials: Detailed financial projections, including startup costs, revenue projections, and profit and loss statements.

In addition to these key elements, it is important to tailor your tanning salon business plan to your specific goals and needs. For example, if you plan to secure funding from investors or a bank, you may need to include additional information such as your management team, a detailed breakdown of your startup expenses, and any existing contracts or agreements.

Remember, your tanning salon business plan is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated as circumstances change. By following these guidelines and creating a comprehensive plan, you will be well on your way to running a successful tanning salon.

Determining the startup costs for a tanning salon

Starting a tanning salon business might seem like a simple enough venture; however, like any business, there are startup costs involved. Determining these costs can help you plan out your investments and create a budget that you can work with.

So, what are the startup costs involved in opening a tanning salon? Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

Equipment costs

  • Tanning beds – Depending on the quality and quantity of beds you choose, prices can range anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 or more per bed.
  • Spray tan machines – Prices for these machines can range from $2,000 to $8,000, depending on the brand and quality.
  • Other equipment – You’ll also need items like chairs, tables, towels, cleaning supplies, and more. These costs typically range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more.

Lease and utility costs

The next significant cost to consider is your lease and utility costs. Your location will likely be one of your most significant expenses. The cost of leasing a commercial space will vary depending on your location, but you may be able to negotiate with the landlord.

Additionally, you’ll need to consider the cost of utilities like electricity, water, and gas. Speak with the utility companies in your area to get an estimate of the costs you can expect to pay.

Marketing and advertising costs

To ensure that your tanning salon business is successful, you’ll need to advertise your services and connect with your target audience. You’ll need to factor in the cost of developing a website, social media accounts, traditional marketing, and advertising campaigns. Marketing and advertising costs can vary dramatically, so be sure to set aside a budget that allows you to reach your target audience effectively.

Decor and interior design costs

Creating an interior that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional is crucial for any tanning salon. To that end, you’ll need to set aside a budget for decorating your space. Additionally, you’ll need to purchase things like furniture, fixtures, and display items. These costs can vary widely depending on your design choices.

Item Estimated cost
Painting and Flooring $2,000 – $5,000
Furniture and Fixtures $1,000 – $5,000
Decorative Items $500 – $2,000

Starting a tanning salon can be a profitable business venture if you know what to expect in terms of startup costs. Understanding these costs can help you create a realistic budget and ensure that you have the money to cover your expenses and set your business on the path towards success.

Location selection for a tanning salon

Choosing the right location is key when starting a tanning salon. Your salon’s location should be easily accessible and visible, with ample parking space. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a location:

  • Demographics: Choose a location where the target demographic for tanning salons is located. This demographic includes young adults and teens, typically from middle to upper-class households.
  • Competition: Analyze the area for existing tanning salons, including their business concepts, pricing strategies, and operating hours. If there are already established tanning salons nearby, consider a location where you can offer something unique that sets you apart from the competition.
  • Accessibility: Consider the accessibility of your potential location, keeping in mind the convenience of transportation to and from the salon for your clients. Ensure that the location is close to main roads and highways.

The location should also offer adequate space to accommodate your salon’s needs, including the tanning beds, reception area, restrooms, storage, and office space. It’s also important to consider renting versus owning a property. Renting a space can be beneficial for start-ups, offering flexibility in location and growth options.


Choosing the right location for your tanning salon can be critical to the success of your business. Consider the demographic, competition, accessibility, and space when deciding on the right location. Remember, having a convenient and accessible location helps to attract more clients and contributes to the growth and profitability of your business.

Tanning Equipment Selection and Maintenance

As a tanning salon business owner, one of your top priorities is providing your clients with the best equipment to ensure that they have a positive experience. Selecting the right tanning equipment for your salon is crucial to your success. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Budget: Determine how much money you are willing to spend on tanning equipment. Keep in mind that investing in quality equipment will save you money in the long run.
  • Type of Tanning: Decide whether you will offer UV tanning or sunless tanning. Each requires different equipment and maintenance.
  • Brand Reputation: Look for reputable brands that offer quality equipment and reliable warranties.
  • Customer Demand: Research the type of tanning equipment that is most popular among your target market before making a purchase.
  • Space: Consider the size of your salon. Make sure the equipment you select will fit comfortably in the space and will not be overcrowded.

Once you have selected the right tanning equipment for your salon, it is important to properly maintain it to ensure it stays in optimal condition. Here are some tips for maintaining your tanning equipment:

  • Clean equipment regularly: Use a mild disinfectant solution to clean your equipment daily to prevent the buildup of bacteria and maintain optimal hygiene.
  • Replace bulbs regularly: UV bulbs should be replaced after 400 to 500 hours of use to ensure a consistent and effective tanning experience for your clients.
  • Maintain temperature control: Keep the room temperature between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent overheating of the equipment and ensure client comfort.

Tanning Equipment Maintenance Checklist

Creating a maintenance schedule will help you keep track of the upkeep of your tanning equipment. Here is a sample checklist:

Task Frequency
Clean tanning beds with disinfectant solution Every day
Replace UV bulbs Every 400 to 500 hours of use
Check temperature control settings Weekly
Rotate tanning bed positions Monthly
Inspect equipment for damages or malfunctions Quarterly

By following this checklist and properly maintaining your tanning equipment, you can ensure that your clients have a safe and enjoyable tanning experience, and your equipment will have a longer lifespan.

Hiring and Training Tanning Salon Staff

One of the key elements to your tanning salon’s success is the quality of your staff. The right employees can make a positive impact by providing excellent customer service and maintaining the salon’s equipment. Here are some tips for hiring and training tanning salon staff:

  • Effective job postings: Write clear job descriptions with necessary qualifications and requirements. Post the job on job boards, social media, and in your salon.
  • Questioning process: Develop a list of questions to ask during the interview process, and ensure that they relate to the job. Questions should cover experience in salon industry, customer service, and sales.
  • Training programs: Develop a comprehensive training program that covers all aspects of the salon, including equipment operation, customer service, and sales. You may want to consider hiring a professional trainer for this purpose.

Additionally, it is important for your staff to remain up to date with new industry trends and practices. Consider offering regular training sessions and opportunities for staff to attend industry events to learn about the latest techniques and equipment. Providing ongoing education can help your staff feel valued, and enhance your salon’s reputation as a high-quality tanning provider.

Overall, hiring and training staff is crucial to your tanning salon’s success. By finding the right employees and providing them with necessary skills, you can ensure that your salon runs smoothly and your customers feel valued.

Here’s a table with the list of training areas for tanning salon staff:

Training Areas Description
Equipment operation Teach staff how to use the tanning beds and equipment safely and effectively.
Customer service Guide staff on how to handle customer inquiries and complaints, and how to build relationships with clientele.
Sales Provide training on how to sell tanning products, packages, and memberships, as well as how to treat sales leads and follow up effectively.

Investing in the right staff and training them appropriately is crucial to the success of your tanning salon business.

Developing marketing strategies for a tanning salon

Marketing is an essential component of any business, and a tanning salon is no exception. Developing marketing strategies for a tanning salon involves identifying the target market, understanding their needs, and developing tactics to attract them to your salon. Here are some tips to help you create effective marketing strategies for your tanning salon:

  • Identify your target market: Begin by identifying your target market. Are you targeting young adults, fitness enthusiasts, or anyone looking for a good tan? It’s crucial to understand the needs of your target customers and develop marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Create a website: A website is crucial for any business to showcase its services and products. Your website should be user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and provide all relevant information, including pricing, services, and operating hours. You can also use your website to offer online booking and discounts for new customers.
  • Social media marketing: Social media is an excellent platform to promote your tanning salon. Develop a social media strategy that includes posting engaging and informative content, running social media ads, and offering discounts to your followers. You can also partner with influencers who can promote your salon to their audience.

Developing effective marketing strategies for a tanning salon requires creativity, consistency, and a deep understanding of your target market. You should always be open to new ideas and remain flexible to adapt to changing needs of your customers.

Here is a table to help you get started with developing your marketing strategies:

Marketing strategy Description
Social media marketing Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your tanning salon and offer discounts to your followers.
Email marketing Establish an email list and send regular newsletters to your customers. Offer discounts and promotional deals to attract more business.
Referral program Create a referral program and offer incentives to your customers who refer new business to your salon.

With these marketing strategies, you will be on your way to attracting new customers and increasing your revenue.

Creating a Pricing Strategy for a Tanning Salon

One of the most crucial aspects of starting a tanning salon business is creating a pricing strategy. The right pricing strategy can attract more customers and ensure steady revenue, while a faulty one can ruin your business. Here are some tips on how to create a pricing strategy for your tanning salon:

  • Understand your target market: Before setting prices, you must conduct market research and understand your target market. For example, if your salon is in an upscale area, you can charge higher prices as your target audience can afford it. However, if you are located in an area with young adults or students, you may want to set lower prices to appeal to them.
  • Consider your operating costs: It is essential to factor in your salon’s operating costs while setting prices. These costs include rent, utilities, equipment, and employee salaries. If you are new to the business, you may want to set lower prices initially to attract customers and cover your costs.
  • Offer competitive pricing: Look at your competition and see what they are charging. Try to offer a similar pricing structure, but with added value to attract customers. For example, provide complimentary goggles, towels, or tanning lotion to differentiate your salon from others.

When creating a pricing strategy, you must decide which pricing model to use. There are typically two pricing models in tanning salons:

  • Time-based pricing: This pricing model charges customers based on the time they spend in the tanning bed. This model is ideal for customers who want to tan for a specific duration, and it allows the salon owner to charge different rates based on the bed type and duration.
  • Session-based pricing: This pricing model charges customers for a set number of sessions, regardless of the time they spend in the tanning bed. This model is ideal for customers who plan to tan regularly and allows the salon owner to offer discounted prices for bulk sessions.

Example Price List

Below is an example price list for a tanning salon using the time-based pricing model:

Bed Type 10-Minute Session 20-Minute Session
Bronze $8 $15
Silver $10 $18
Gold $12 $20
Platinum $15 $28

When setting prices, ensure they are flexible. You may want to offer discounts during slow hours or off-peak seasons to attract more customers. Make sure your prices are visible and easy to understand and encourage customers to give feedback and suggestions.

Overall, creating a pricing strategy requires an understanding of your target market and competition, your salon’s operating costs, and pricing models. By offering competitive, flexible, and value-added prices, you can attract more customers and build a loyal clientele.

Legal requirements and regulations of a tanning salon business

Starting a tanning salon business is more than just acquiring the necessary equipment and renting a space. There are legal requirements and regulations that must be followed to ensure the safety of clients and employees, and to avoid any legal issues that can potentially harm the business.

  • Business license and permits: Before opening a tanning salon, it is important to obtain a business license and all of the necessary permits for the location. The requirements for these documents vary by state and locality, but it is vital to research the specific requirements for the area where the salon will operate.
  • Insurance: Given the health risks associated with tanning, it is essential to carry adequate insurance to protect the business from any liability. The salon should have both general liability insurance and professional liability insurance to safeguard against accidents or injuries that may occur on the premises.
  • Employment law compliance: Salon owners must comply with laws that govern employment, including minimum wage, overtime, and anti-discrimination laws. It’s important to research these laws and make sure all necessary policies and procedures are in place to comply.

Moreover, beyond the legal requirements, a tanning salon must comply with certain regulations regarding the health and safety of clients. Many of these regulations are implemented by state and local health departments.

For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the disposal of tanning lamps and bulbs, which must be properly labeled and stored. Additionally, it is mandatory for a tanning salon business to provide eye protection for clients and to inform them of the risks of indoor tanning before providing the service.

Regulations Explanation
Sanitation and hygiene Tanning beds, booths, and ancillary equipment must be kept clean and hygienic to prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses, or fungi that can cause infections.
Staff training Tanning salon employees must be trained to accurately assess a client’s skin type and to provide appropriate recommendations for the duration of exposure to UV rays.
Age restrictions Some states have laws that prohibit minors from using tanning equipment, while others require parental consent for underage clients.

By understanding and complying with all legal requirements and regulations involving the operation of a tanning salon business, entrepreneurs can avoid potential legal issues and create a safe, clean, and worry-free environment for their clients.

Identifying potential competitors in the tanning salon industry

Before launching your tanning salon business, it is important to research and identify potential competitors in the industry. This step will help you to understand the market trends, customer preferences, and the overall competition that you will be facing.

  • Survey the surrounding area: Conduct a survey of the area where you plan to open your tanning salon business. Identify the existing tanning salons in the area and their strengths and weaknesses. This will give you an idea of what you are up against and how you can offer something unique.
  • Check online directories: Check online directories such as Google Maps, Yelp, and Yellow Pages to find tanning salons in your area. Browse through the reviews to get an idea of what customers are saying about them.
  • Visit competitors: Visit the tanning salons in your area as a customer to observe their operations. Take note of their equipment, pricing, customer service, and marketing strategies.
  • Attend trade shows: Attend trade shows and industry events to get an idea of the latest trends in the tanning salon industry and to network with other professionals.
  • Do market research: Conduct market research to identify your potential target audience. Assess the demographics of your competitors’ customers, and evaluate what they need from a tanning salon. Identify any gaps that you can fill.
  • Look out for new entrants: Keep an eye out for new entrants in the tanning salon industry. They could be a potential threat to your business and you may need to adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • Research online: Research online to identify any potential competition in nearby areas. Don’t limit your perspective to physical locations; consider online competitors too.

Once you have identified your competitors, you should create a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), which will help you to create a strategy and identify areas you need to focus on in order to stand out from the competition.

Below is a table to help you identify various aspects that you should consider when conducting a SWOT analysis of your competition:

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
Strong brand name Outdated equipment Filling a gap in the market Market saturation with competition
Unique customer experience High pricing New technological advancements Change in government regulations
Excellent customer service Limited opening hours New target markets Recession or economic downfall

By identifying potential competitors, conducting SWOT analyses, and understanding the market trends, you can create a business plan that will give you a competitive edge and help you to succeed in the tanning salon industry.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Start a Tanning Salon Business

Q: How much does it cost to start a tanning salon?

A: The cost of starting a tanning salon can vary greatly depending on location, size, and equipment. A small salon may cost around $50,000 to start, while a larger one could cost upwards of $200,000.

Q: Do I need any special training to start a tanning salon?

A: While there are no specific requirements for starting a tanning salon, it is highly recommended that you take classes or courses in business management, equipment operation, and tanning safety.

Q: How do I choose a location for my tanning salon?

A: Look for a location with high foot traffic, ample parking, and accessibility. Your tanning salon should be easily visible and convenient for clients to visit.

Q: What equipment do I need to start a tanning salon?

A: Basic equipment needed includes tanning beds, spray tan booths, ventilation systems, and safety equipment such as goggles and disposable items, like tanning nasal plugs.

Q: How do I market my tanning salon?

A: Utilize a mix of traditional methods such as flyers and posters, as well as digital marketing such as social media campaigns, email newsletters, and website optimization.

Q: What are some legal considerations when starting a tanning salon?

A: Be sure to obtain any necessary licenses and permits, comply with safety regulations, and have liability insurance to protect yourself and your business.

Q: How long does it take to start a tanning salon?

A: The timeline for starting a tanning salon will depend on various factors such as location, equipment installation, hiring staff, and marketing. It could take anywhere from several months to a year or more.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Joining Us!

Starting a tanning salon can be a rewarding business venture with the proper planning and execution. We hope these FAQs have helped answer some of your most pressing questions. Remember to do your research, create a detailed business plan, and stay compliant with all laws and regulations. Thanks for reading, and we hope you visit us again for more helpful business insights!