How to Start a Spray Tanning Business

Having a beautiful tan is a summer tradition for many. With atmospheric changes and increased UVA/UVB exposure, however, a natural suntan isn’t always a healthy thing to have these days. Going to a tanning bed can be equally unhealthy for the skin. If you know how to start a spray tanning business, then you’ll help people to look good, feel good, and avoid the dangers that excessive UV exposure can bring to the skin.

Before you get started, you’re going to need a few things in place right away.

  • A solid business plan that tracks goals from the 1 year mark up to potentially 10 years out so you can quickly respond to changing conditions.
  • A license from your governing commerce agency that allows you to conduct business in your community legally.
  • A marketing plan that effectively communicates the positives of your business and the problems that you can solve for people.

Once you have these items in place, you’ll be ready to follow these additional tips.

1. Learn how to segment your local market.

There will be people who jump at the chance for sunless tanning all year long. These will be your faith, most reliable customers that will give your revenues a good foundation. Then there will be people in your community who never visit your business. What you’ve got to do is learn which subgroups are going to be attracted to your business. These are called “customer segments” and each segment will have unique needs that must be met for them to come do business with you. Show that you can meet the needs of each segment and you’ll have the best chances for success.

2. Know about the licensing structure for your community.

What many new business owners don’t realize is that there are several tiers of government that may all require you to have a license in order to conduct business. In the US, you generally need to have a state business license at minimum. Some cities may require a city license. You may need to pay a fee for both. State and city sales tax licenses may also be required. A third tier, at the county level, may also have licensing requirements. Make sure that you meet every requirement before you make a sale of services.

3. Your company may be required to meet certain health codes.

Because you will be applying a spray tan, there may be specific health regulations that must be met regarding your product. You may need to prove that you have private environments for people so that they are not exposed to strangers. You may need to prove the safety of your product as well. Sometimes a health department will require a license, while other times you’ll need to have an inspection certificate instead.

4. You will need to have a retail location.

A spray tanning business will need to be placed in a commercial zone, which means it will be virtually impossible to run one out of your home. You’ll want to secure a retail location that has a high yield of foot traffic. This type of business might be more of a destination business instead of a spontaneous purchase, but you can still pull in walk-in traffic with the right spot. Look for corner locations, a space near retail units that are popular with young men and women, or even consider a low-cost mall location. Make sure the condition of the building can accommodate your equipment.

If you’re just going to be doing airbrushing: then you can potentially run your business out of your home. You may be able to setup an administrative office, but you’ll likely need to visit the homes of your customers to get the product applied.

5. Think about the structure of your equipment.

Is it better to start a portable spray tanning business? Or is it better to provide a full service presence that includes automatic equipment? The answer to this question depends on three specific variables.

1. What are your skills when it comes to applying a spray tan?
2. How much capital do you have on hand right now?
3. Is the size and zoning of your commercial location suitable for large equipment.

If money is a problem, then a portable spray tanning business is your best choice because the equipment will be the cheapest. Look for basic equipment in your price range or invest in used or refurbished equipment so that you can reduce the overall amount of capital you’ll need to invest. Don’t forget to take depreciation on any of the equipment you may need to purchase.

6. Marketing will set you apart from other tanning business.

Your natural customer base who wants spray tanning products just needs to know that your business exists and they’ll become your customers. Those who only get a few spray tans throughout the year are a more difficult proposition. Not only do you need to establish your overall presence, but you’ll need to stay at the top of their mind if you have competitors in this business space. Use brochures, light local media advertising, and even consider some door-to-door marketing efforts.

7. Go social.

Your spray tanning business will ultimately be a social business. That means having an active social networking presence makes a lot of sense. Get yourself setup with a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and consider being on Pinterest as well. When prospects engage with your business, then make sure you further the relationship by communicating with them as well. By creating a warm and welcoming social environment online, you’ll also be communicating the idea that this is what you’ll provide at your place of business as well.

Knowing how to start a spray tanning business ultimately means knowing how to apply tanning products in a safe, consistent manner. If you have the skills to apply a great spray tan and the capital to get the equipment you’ll need, then follow these tips and you’ll be able to create a small business that can sustain you for the long-term financially.

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