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Old 12-27-2004, 08:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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I am moving to a new town in about 6 months and my husband and I have talked about starting a business. I think that a tanning salon would be the perfect fit for me!! I guess you dont get much newer at this!

My first question (and there will be more!) is how do I find out if the area I am moving to is a good place to do this? I imagine that all of the prep in the world wont do a bit of good if the area isnt good!? And if it is good - then what do I do?? I would like to start the business this summer/fall.
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Old 12-27-2004, 08:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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All joking aside,Take a full year to research. Even after that you will have questions,as any biz,dont just jump in.
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Old 12-27-2004, 08:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well first i suggest research the area..Research Research Research..check out competition.research more..read read read..research..and get ready for some hard money times!!its not an easy business. its seasonal..so be prepared.Good Luck to you.
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Agree with Bob - don't start this summer/fall, wait until the following year. Too much to do, to do it right.

THIS year:
1. Move to your new town, go to every tanning salon in a 10 mile radius of where you think you might like to open. Tan on several (all?) of their beds and go a minimum of 5 times so you get a "feel" of what the place is like. Make notes - what you thought was good (bed quality, staff, their sales approach, cleanliness,...) and what you would do differently/improve. Is there room for a new "competitor"? If not, pick another area (nearby) and do the same 10 miles around there.

2. Be storing up finances. If you go SBA loan, will need 20% down. Expect to start with a minimum of 50K in your own cash. Make friends with a local banker. Make sure your credit is all A+ (start NOW to make sure no deliquent bills, not big open balances, etc)

3. Get subscriptions to tanning magazines and start reading. Tanning Trends, Looking Fit, Island Sun Times and Tan Today to name a few. Again - keep a journal and take notes/rip out pictures/articles to help you organize your thoughts.

4. Go to the Tanning show in Vegas in June. Look at all the equipment, go to all the seminars (the ones you pay for, and the lotion seminars for free). Listen, learn, observe. Plan to go to Nashville in the Fall as well.

5. Start looking at commercial real estate in your area. Look into the going rates. For tanning, I've seen as low as $4/s.f. and as high as $30-35. Very hard to make it work if more than about $20/s.f. unless you have a MAJOR salon (my opinion), and the lower the better (assuming still good drawing area with good demographics). Look at demographics for the area (want mostly white, females ages 16-50 with decent incomes), traffic counts, parking accessibility, what they'll give in build-out, etc. Electrical and HVAC are important - need 400-800amp service minimum, and 10-15 ton AC minimum (depending on salon size). You'll usually have to pay to upgrade - but cheaper to do in a new build out usually then retrofitting an existing building.

6. Work on a business plan. Talk to others on-line, ask if they'll share (I will). Figure out all the overhead (rent, utilities, inventory, business loan, advertising, ...) and determine how many beds and at what capacity you'll need to make it all work. In general, my opinion, hard to make it in less than a 10 bed salon in most markets anymore. Be able to grow to at LEAST that big (even if you start with a few empty rooms).

7. Meanwhile, be busy in your town meeting people, networking, going to chamber of commerce meetings, women's club, the gym, etc. The closer you get to deciding to open a business, the more networking you want to do to start getting the word out. Look for future "partners" - cross promote with a travel agency, pizza shop, hair or nail salon, exercise facility,...

That should keep you pretty busy the next 12 months. Then, plan on finalizing your decision to move forward. Ideally, most people think they want to open by Thanksgiving to cruise right into the busy season. Opening other times of year is fine, as long as you have plenty of cash reserves to tide you through the slow season. Personally, I like a late summer open to give you time to build clients and get the "bugs out" during the first three - six months (run crazy specials to get them in the door to try you!). But plan on a minimum of 6 months from when you find "the spot" you want until you get the lease negotiated, get permits and all, get the build-out done, all inspections and finally OPEN - so give yourself that lead time before YOUR desired "open for business" window.

Good luck!! Check back in - and feel free to PM me with specifics if you want.



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Old 12-30-2004, 06:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Education is your best friend. Learn as much as possible before and after you open.
Get Cert. by at lease 2 certifying bodies. Most of all understand how the $$$ works in this industry. There are Months where there is no $$$.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Like the others have said, do research and work on stashing away cash. I didn't do much research before I opened, I thought about it and jumped, like within 3 months from when I decided to open a salon, I was open. Then the hard part came along - I had to learn what the heck I was doing while I was trying to train employees and teach my customers. Then the season quit and I had no cash in reserves - this was bad, real bad - but I survived and I am learning more all the time, this May will be my third year in biz. It still ain't easy, I have to "work" myself out of a hole, but I can see daylight and I'm on my way out. this is a great site, you will get lots of info on here, just read and read alot!!! Good Luck!!!
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