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-   -   Ten basic tips to opening a salon. (http://tantalk.com/new-tanning-business/2322465-ten-basic-tips-opening-salon.html)

MJ 03-10-2002 05:22 PM

1. Location,Location,Location.

2. Lease negotiation is a must.
Buildouts, free rent, etc..these and more are available if you ask.

3. Choosing the decor, atmoshere that you WILL BE SPENDING ALOT OF TIME IN SO YOU BETTER LIKE IT! As well as not to be too girlie, or too stark. Themes are often over done. Try a gender friendly atmosphere.
guys get uncomfortable in GIRLIE salons.

4. Choose the right beds, research them and the companies. Having different levels of tanning can be an important part of your income.(upgrades)

5.Softwear choose one you are comfortable with try them all.

6. Pricing SHOULD be established before you open. Please do your homework.This is a large varible. It will make or break you.
After you chose your beds , check with your comepetitors and compare there beds to there prices. Most undervalue there tanning. YOU DON'T have to and SHOULDN'T. Just remember it is easier to go down then it is to go up.

7. Lobby/retail/waiting areas
Please be sure to have the room to grow. and if you choose to add a nailtech in the future. The lobby/waiting area should be comfortable and not an after thought. It is the first thing customers see when the walk And first impressions speak volumes to the potential client.

8. Merchandise/extra income, such as lotion, suits, what ever you carry make your choices wisely do not over order. check out trade shows, tips from other salons online or just see what your competitors are carrying.

9.Staffing, Hire sincere people well groomed At least at work Uniform shirts work well.Educate them on tanning , lotions and customer service,as well as the importance of cleaning. Simple rule "If it is dirty clean it"

10. Stay informed keep reading and posting on TanTalk. read the many threads/post and get more details on the topics listed above and many more from advertising to dealing with disgruntled customers.

Good Luck!!!

"A small salon, but not for long"[ This Message was edited by: MJ on 2002-03-10 17:32 ]

MJ 03-10-2002 05:30 PM

It really should be 11 basic tips ..
Save, save, save for slow season!

tangirl 03-10-2002 06:39 PM

If you have the opportunity to talk to another salon owner before you do you buildout ask them what they would do differently.

I would make room for a mop sink. I would also have colored grout, so I wouldn't have to get on my hands and knees to scrub white grout anymore.

JeffinKC 03-10-2002 08:27 PM

MJ, this is a great post everything you said is 100 percent true. I just wanted to add that when you choose who you will buy your lotions and equipment from. Make sure they are willing to spend some time with you educating you and answering any questions you may have. When you are spending up to 6 figures opening a new salon it is scary and you should make sure you have not only a distributor but a partner.

Bronze Star 03-11-2002 03:15 PM

May I also suggest a few more things.

Make sure that your personal life can support the enormous stress and change this type of endeavor will bring. This will effect personal relationships on many levels. You will need to dedicate many hours over and above what is demanded of a traditional career. Spouses and children will be effected by the amount of time you will need to dedicate.

Make sure you have a good support system. Find a friend or colleague in the tanning industry that can serve as a mentor to you. Someone who is not a competitor that can offer you sage advise, wisdom and counsel.

MJ 03-11-2002 10:31 PM

ohhh so right Laurie, how did I forget that one???
Make that 12 basics facts..lol
any one have a thirteenth to add?

Tamar 03-12-2002 06:37 AM

Get in to this industry for the right reasons. Learn all you can about tanning and lotions, get certified. SINCERELY care about your clients health and well being and the money will come.

Kimmee 03-12-2002 09:05 AM

I have found a great mentor here....

Her name is riotanmann:)

I owe her lots!

hugs hugs

Bronze Star 03-12-2002 09:10 AM

I found several mentors here... Bober96 aka Linda from Suntanning.com and buntanner aka Mitzi. There are a few others that when they post, I read their every word or we hang together at trade shows. Some mentor others and don't even know it.

MJ 03-12-2002 09:28 AM

At this point in time in a small way everyone is my mentor.I seem to learn something new everyday here.
I would like to thank Chris, Thanks for all the advise and support!! ;D

Tamar 03-12-2002 10:31 PM

Yes, I'm mental too. Oh, you said mentor! Thanks to EVERYONE at Tantalk, love you guys! Without you, I'd be GONE...

neon 04-27-2002 03:01 PM

Can anyone give any good ideas or suggestions on #11, budgeting. This is my first year and I'm a little nervous about my first slow season. What can we do now? what should we have already done? And how can we do all of this as well as trying to add to and grow your salon for the next busy season? Not to mention paying for the debt we gained just by opening?


MJ 04-27-2002 03:21 PM

Here is a link to help you with Budgeting..
(It is in the salon owners forum, For Salon Owners that haven't yet signed up to get access to that forum..
Please do so. There are many posts in there that could be very benificial to your salon! )
I will post more on this later.. Kinda swamped lately..
Anyone else have a few tips?

COCONUT 08-09-2005 10:48 AM

this is a good post for all that are thinking of opening a salon.

Steve Underhill 08-11-2005 10:47 AM

There is a great deal more to consider than these 10 rules, but letís expand on these.
1. Location: Evaluating a location is the foundation of a successful salon. Things to consider are; parking, accessibility, visibility, available electrical service and most importantly the targeted demographic population in a 3 mile radius. Based on your demographics and chosen marketing program you can project with a great deal of accuracy your potential income.

2. Lease negotiation: There many ways to create a favorable lease. There are variables with each location. The trick is to evaluate the initial terms offered by the landlord. There is a great deal more cash assistance available when the space is new. When it is a space that has already had a tenant it is best to ask for things that don't require the landlord to spend money. Be creative, you can ask for things that will benefit you well into the lease term. Always make sure there is enough electrical service available. If there is additional cost to get required service to the building, find out what the cost is before you start the negotiation process.

3. Choosing decor: Packaging is one of the most important aspects of a successful salon. Packaging is what sells your product. The sale is made in the lobby, not in the tanning rooms. Your salon should reflect a buying environment not a selling environment.

4. Choosing the right beds: this is typically where most new salon owners make a mistake. You must create distinct levels of performance in your salon. Wide performance separation between levels is of great importance. Use of base equipment should be sold based on value not performance. Basic 100 watt 32 lamp systems w/o facials is the way to go.
Keep performance and separation in mind when choosing your level two and three systems.

5. Software: Make sure you buy the support contract.

6. Pricing (Marketing Program): This is again very important to the success of your salon. Remember that your equipment is tools to support youíre pricing. Your price structure must be determined before you start looking for a space or choosing equipment. Pricing is more than how much you charge to tan. A properly structured marketing program is like a map to a location with very specific directions that will support your final destination.

7. Lobby/retail/waiting area: See choosing decor

8. Merchandise: You can't sell out of an empty wagon. Look like you are in the business of selling lotion. Display your products so tanners can touch them. Lotion companies will train your staff to sell lotions. If a tanner can't steal it they can't buy it. Keep this in mind when you display your products. Your lotion sales should be 18% to 30% of your tanning sales.

9. Staffing: Never hire someone that has worked at another salon, you will spend all of your time trying to break bad habits. Everything your staff knows about tanning you should teach them. If you have a bad employee it is your fault. Always have a structured comprehensive employee training manual and use it. It is the only way to create a consistent transfer of information.

10. Stay Informed: Be aware of your source of information. Do not take advice from a salon owner that is struggling. There are as many good sources of information as there is bad.

BigLeo 08-14-2005 09:15 PM

Make sure that you have a business plan for your new salon. Salons don't run themselves. You need to establish goals and objectives, developed a marketing plan, position statement, and marketing strategies and programs to launch the grand opening, target customers, advertise and promote the salon. You will also need a set of financial projections that you can use as your budget. Make sure that you make realisitic assumptions for sales and know your operating expenses. Cashflow is very important in the tanning business os make sure you know your breakeven point. I would recommend TanPlan. They have the best software for preparing the financial projections for a tanning salon. Be prepared to work very hard to realize your dream and make your salon a successful enterprise.

West Side Tanner 09-03-2005 06:13 PM

Read the Entire TanTalk website, 5x before you ask a question.

mr belvedere 09-04-2005 07:10 PM


Neon Beach 09-04-2005 07:14 PM

Top Ten Things You need for A Successful Tanning Salon:

10. Money
9. Money
8. Money
7. Money
6. Money
5. Money
4. Money
3. Money
2. Money

And the Number one thing you need to succeed........ ~drum roll~

1. More money, that you don't have to pay back to anyone!!

mr belvedere 09-04-2005 07:19 PM

#13. Have a fool-proof back-up plan.

Neon Beach 09-04-2005 07:36 PM

That's Welfare isn't it??

MATT A 09-04-2005 07:41 PM

On 2005-09-03 18:13:00, West Side Tanner wrote:
Read the Entire TanTalk website, 5x before you ask a question.

LMAO Good One

vegeman 09-04-2005 08:46 PM

Open a strip club instead same idea but with better benefits.

Neon Beach 09-04-2005 08:50 PM

Aaaaaaaaaaah! The good old days!!

West Side Tanner 09-05-2005 12:07 PM

What would be the "better" benefits?

vegeman 09-05-2005 08:37 PM

Nothing better than having a bunch of guys coming in and spending $8.00 for a glass of coke. Oh and the chicks.

BigLeo 09-11-2005 10:57 PM


Your ten most important steps to opening a tanning salon forgot one very important step: MONEY. Make sure you have sufficient capital to invest in a tanning salon. Make sure that you have sufficient capital for startup capital expennditures (equipment, buildouts, etc.) and also working capital. Working capital should be sufficient to get you through your first year of operations and into year two. Don't quite your day job and don't let your spouce quit their job unless you can afford to do this. Don't depend on lenders to bail you out.There is a limit to how much lenders will allow you to borrow and for petes sake don't get yourself so much in debt that you are so highly leveraged that when the slow season comes you can't meet your lease or loan payments. I hope that this helps.

West Side Tanner 09-12-2005 01:13 PM

On 2005-09-04 19:14:00, Neon Beach wrote:

Top Ten Things You need for A Successful Tanning Salon:

10. Money
9. Money
8. Money
7. Money
6. Money
5. Money
4. Money
3. Money
2. Money

And the Number one thing you need to succeed........ ~drum roll~

1. More money, that you don't have to pay back to anyone!!

bronze it 09-12-2005 02:45 PM

money , no its a tanning salon every thing is free who needs money.

tanthisbak 09-12-2005 04:53 PM

definetly forgot the extra money to pay bills in the slow months. the banks won't do that for ya.

RiveraTan 09-15-2005 08:58 PM


My wife and I just bought our first tanning salon and one thing that was needed was new carpet, so instead of spending out of pocket cash we financed through the company for 1 year no interest. This gives us time until we hit the boom season, we will then payoff that balance and able to get what was needed done. I have enjoyed all the tips, I really like MJ's. Thank you

Boomarangs 12-04-2005 08:35 PM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
hello everyone! I am very new to this, so bare with me also I hate Computers. I have been soooo slow the area is great for future business but we need it now. I am big on advertising but what kind works the best?

MJ 12-04-2005 09:23 PM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
AHH the memories.. I was naive was I not?? LOL
All valid recomendations to add to the list boys and girls.

Feel free to make a new on I think if we tried itthe number of tips to do it and do it right would be in teh neighbporhood of 30-40 ..JMHO

Leo darling that was a given...
You don't go shopping for big ticket items without teh means to afford it in place do you?
Even if it is lbusiness loan, Thru refinancing your home, a from a family/friend loan or money you have saved. Without money or AT the very least good credit why would anyone consider it.

I would however follow this advice...I believe it was west side tanner that said

More money, that you don't have to pay back to anyone!!
wow it was neon..west side only quoted it.GOOD one neon! :wink:
than go to step one....IMHO

natomastan2 12-05-2005 01:25 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
Get a lawyer to review the any docs before signing.
Never sign personal guaranties from Lease process your business LLC or corp but you personaly must pay Stay away from this kind of lease. Most vendors do not have this lease only the slimmy ones.
The lease Lease Process has is called high and **** water (re my lawyer)...Purchaser is fu##ed can't go after the leasing company even if they know the manufacture criminal and the leasing company knows they had problems. Cost over 20k to go after the manufacture.

COCONUT 12-05-2005 10:16 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
good reading..

eileen 12-27-2005 07:03 PM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
Hi everyone, we've now been opened 3 months and I personally think this site has been a huge help. I would put tantalk in the top ten for sure. MJ, your list is excellent, Thank You.

Steve Underhill 01-01-2006 06:16 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
I would like to expand on these ten rules. While there are many additional things to address or consider when opening a salon lets address these ten.

1. Location is important however for different reasons than you might think. A tanning salon is a destination business so it is not as important as you might think to be at the newest most expensive center with large anchor stores. It is much more important to find a location that has the needed supporting demographics with easy access to the center, plenty of parking and visibility is a plus but not a must. There must be available electrical power or the availibility to add additional power. You must also be aware of the nighboring businesses. It is not a good idea to be right next door to restaurants particularly restaurants that have very strong and destinctive smells.

2. Lease negotiations are very important and can save you or cost you alot now and in the future. Don't think for a minute that the landlord needs your business, they don't. In fact I was just interviewed for an article in the Shopping Centers Today magazine that disscussed whether a landlord should lease to any tanning salon other than a franchise or chain. The concern is knowlege of the tanning industry and ability to succeed. It is not good for the landlord when a business fails. This is why having a consultant if you are new to the industry is a good idea, it gives you credibility. There are a lot of things that can be negotiated in a lease that you may not think of. Asking for the landlord to do your buildout is not typically going to work. It is better to ask for things that are not going to require the landlord to spend money. On the other hand a new space that has never been occupied has buildout money available. It is all about knowing what to ask for and when.

3. Choosing your decor. Packaging is the most important element for success. I look at a salon as though it is a $100 bottle of lotion. Packaging is what sells the lotion and the lotion must deliver the promise that is made by the packaging. The packaging of your salon is what sells the tanning and the the actual tanning process or your equipment must deliver the promise made by your packaging. Rember the sale is made in the lobby not the tanning room. It is not the tan or the destination that sets you apart from the competition it is the trip or your packaging. You must create a buying environment instead of a selling environment. Packaging or the lack of is a major reason for salons failing.

4. Choose the right beds. The real issue is choosing the right mix of equipment. While improper attention to packaging is a major reason for salons failing, improper equipment mix is the number one cause for salon failure. Before you choose equipment you must know very specifically how you are going to market your salon and price your tanning packages and memberships. Equipment are the tools for making your marketing program work. The wrong tools will not get the job done. Distributors will always sell you the most expensive equipment they can without any consideration for your marketing stratagies. Don't fall into this trap. Know exactly what you need before your start shopping for your equipment. Always buy equipment manufactured by a company that has a long track record of quality performance and most importantly customer service and support. You must understand the different levels of equipment and where they fit into your marketing scheme.

5. Software. This is a major issue. Support and the willingness of the software company to assist you while getting set up is important. Not all software will support all pricing structures. The software must support your price structure. You can't adjust your pricing and packaging so your software can opperate it.

6. DON"T CHOOSE YOUR BEDS AND THEN DECIDE ON PRICING. You must establish your pricing first and now you are ready to choose the proper mix to support your marketing. Be aware of your competition but don't make decisions based on what the competition is doing. Have a solid proven plan and stay with it.

7. SEE #3

8. Merchandise, Create a relationship with a product distributor that will guide you through the process of stocking the best products for your market. Work with companies that will provide sales training to insure a high level of sales. Work with a company that will take back products that are not selling or will make sure you are properly trained to get them sold. A good rule to live by. As a tanner if I can't steal it I can't buy it. Make lotions accessable get the products into the tanners hands. This is one of the eliments of creating a buying environment.

9. 9. Staffing. Have a comprehensive Employee Training Manual. This will insure consistant transfer of information. Make sure the manual is constantly updated and is a regular part of the training process. Monthly sales training meetings are manditory. I beleive that salons should only be staffed with female employees however this is a matter of a salon owners choice. Uniforms, education, knowledge is a very important part of your packaging. You can never tell how well a potential employee will turn out to be. Hire who you like give them the extensive training that is needed to be a great employee and if they do not fit the needs of the salon replace them. Training is constant.

10. Stay informed. Knowledge is power. Stay informed, keep your employees and tanners informed. If you educate your tanners they will spend more and stay with you longer.

While this is just a handful of rules it is a start.

Jancy 01-01-2006 08:11 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
You guys forgot what happens if you buy a existing salon:

Add this rule: don't let the previous owner off the hook. Be sure that you understand what he is telling his employees and be sure that if you intend not to hire them that you have a plan. Employees who are disgruntled do things like tell the customers they are leaving and PO the customers. Employees do things like damage the salon in ways that are not seen during your walk thru before you accept the keys to the business. Employees can harm the goodwill of the business so be sure that you have details in the business purchase outlined so that you can recover financially if the goodwill is harmed.

A lot of us have been there and had that happen to us. And don't forget, sometimes the competition is worse than a disgruntled employee.... they'll come and damage your salon in ways you can't imagine. All in the name of business... and preventing you from making a buck.

MJ 01-01-2006 11:35 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
Good points steve--
Jancy when purchasing an existing salon---or closing( as a seller)
just remember attorneys are a necessary at closing and final walk thru--
Thank Gahd I mine was there--it solved a lot of problems that came up later.

You can cheap out on cleaning products, work the shifts yourself to save money, and shopparound for discounts--but when it comes to attorneys...that is a must!!
You will pay dearly if you do not have one to read your papers, prepare them and be at the final walk thrus. JMHO

House of Tan 01-02-2006 03:55 AM

Re: Ten basic tips to opening a salon.
Good points Steve, but I think you are way wrong about Female employees only. I have been in hundreds of salons as well, and set up over 10, owning three personally. I have seen top producers and they are almost always male (if all other varibles are equall).

WOMEN hate WOMEN, and that is the cold hard truth. If (and that is a big IF) you can find a good looking guy who is professional and won't stare at the customers boobs and butt. They can out sell a female counterpart anyday, this is becuse you are catering to 80% women.

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