Tips for buying or owning your own tanning salon

Going through the process of owning and operating your own tanning salon can be a daunting experience. Here are some guidelines and information to help you along.

Tips for buying or owning your own tanning salon

Type of tanning salons

Tanning salons are a type of business classified under the booming industry of personal services. Any individual planning to start a business must first decide on the type of operation. Businesses can be operated as a franchise, a home based business, non-franchise or as an on-site service.


Franchisees enjoy certain benefits that come with an established business. The business will probably be a reputable business, with a good name and a steady following of loyal customers. Franchisees can also depend on parent companies for support regarding issues like location, employee and management training, advertising and others.

However, franchisees will also need to remit a part of their sales revenue to the parent company as payment for the benefits provided. Also, a franchisee must stick to the rules preset by the parent company regarding the operation of the business.

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A business established at a commercial space, your own commercial business may require more advertising, and may include the possibility of having to offer specialized services at a specific location.


Operated out of your home, a home-based business is a great idea for those who are slightly apprehensive about a certain business since this type of operation only requires minimal cost and allows you to cultivate your ideas and see how it develops.

On site business

A mobile business can be great for people who want to work in an on-site working environment. These businesses can be great for hospitals, film sets and the like.



When looking for a good location for your salon, there are a few important things to consider, here are some of them.

Potential Customers

Finding and choosing the right location is crucial for the success any business. Be very critical when choosing an area for your business – finding the best spot is a great advantage for any business establishment.

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Demographics and Market Research

Research or hire someone to do a demographic analysis of the area you have chosen. This will determine the number of potential customers you will have. A demographic report may contain information on age, race, gender and the buying habits of your potential customers. The most successful businesses always have vast amounts of knowledge on their customers as well as their competitors. This information is essential in developing a good marketing plan.

Negotiating the Lease

Try to get the best deal possible when going through lease negotiations. Be clear on what you are asking for and know how to get it. Remember, every dollar you save on the lease means translates into more profit.

Regulations, Permits and Licenses

Regulations, Permits and Licenses

Contact the municipality, provincial or territorial governments as well as the federal government when establishing your own business. Consult the appropriate officials to determine the regulations that will cover your business.

You will need to comply with the set regulations issued by governing bodies to get the necessary permits and licenses needed to operate your business.


Any business should have an appropriate insurance coverage. This is essential for the continuity and success of your business. Find an agent familiar with your type of business and discuss the requirements needed for your type of coverage.

Here is a list of “must haves” in considering your insurance coverage:

  • Fire Insurance.
  • Liability Insurance.
  • Theft Coverage.
  • Dishonesty Insurance.

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Salon Layout and Floor Plan Design

Tanning Salon Layout and Floor Plan Design

Plan and design the salon’s layout before purchasing and installing any equipment. Here are some tips on designing the layout of your salon:

Use a simple design

This will keep the costs down.

Think comfort

Consider your client’s comfort level, as well as your own, when designing the layout. Remember that the tools and equipment that are most frequently used need to be very accessible. The products that can produce the highest profits should be placed at eye level of the customers.


Hire professionals or strike a deal with your parent company, in case you decided to franchise, to find the most experienced professionals to help with construction. These experts can keep things within budget and can complete the construction within a specified time limit.

Inventory Selection

Inventory Selection

The main focus of your tanning salon might be to offer the use of tanning equipment such as tanning beds. However, most clients might wish to purchase some tanning products like lotions, self tanners, hydrating creams, protective creams or tanning accelerators from your establishment. Get a good mix that can meet the needs of your target market.

Equipment Selection and Selecting Suppliers and Distributors

Consulting with distributors can be a big help in determining the right kind of equipment to purchase. Find a good distributor to supply you with all the equipment necessary for your tanning salon.

These distributors will usually send over some trained personnel to help you set up the equipment and may also provide set up and maintenance training for your own salon employees.

Advertising and Marketing

Determine the best marketing medium to successfully advertise your new business and draw in more customers.

Good marketing strategies are a critical aspect of establishing customer loyalty. You can choose to advertise through coupons, the internet, radio, television or via direct mail, however, great public relations and word-of-mouth advertising are the best and most affordable ways to promote a small business.

Remember to keep tabs on how your customers heard of your tanning salon – this information can be useful for future marketing and advertising strategies.