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Old 05-30-2013, 05:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

We tend to speak in generalizations which doesn't really help people much. Trying to be all things to all people in my opinion is a recipe for disaster. Your average entrepreneur will never be able to compete with a big box franchise operation straight up.

I buy good serviceable equipment in the 8-10 old range, and I do not obsess about HP and other expensive units that require gobs of HVAC and power. I keep my costs low; therefore I can price myself below big box competitors and still keep a decent profit margin. I have clean but not luxurious facilities. That has been a formula for success for me for 21 years now. I compete successfully with some of the biggest names in the tanning franchise business.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

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Originally Posted by peach View Post
We tend to speak in generalizations which doesn't really help people much. Trying to be all things to all people in my opinion is a recipe for disaster. Your average entrepreneur will never be able to compete with a big box franchise operation straight up.

I buy good serviceable equipment in the 8-10 old range, and I do not obsess about HP and other expensive units that require gobs of HVAC and power. I keep my costs low; therefore I can price myself below big box competitors and still keep a decent profit margin. I have clean but not luxurious facilities. That has been a formula for success for me for 21 years now. I compete successfully with some of the biggest names in the tanning franchise business.
Peach...where in GA are you located?
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

Thank you all for the feedback. Just to clear up what I was saying...I'm not "banking" on the fact that the HS is literally in my backyard, but it certainly helps. Let’s face it, they will still tan. I can agree that maybe not all of the employees at the hospital will tan, but again being near a large hospital that has lots of employees certainly won’t hurt. I guess what I was getting at is that I'm not in some secluded area. There is potential to pull a lot of business in at this location. As far as having lower prices, in no way will I be "cheap", just slightly lower than my closest competition. I plan on offering the best service, best products at a slightly more reasonable price (that’s all). My plan was to keep the equipment that is there just making sure I replace the bulbs and keep what I have working efficiently. I will be adding Airbrush to my services (which is not offered at my competitor) so I think that will help as well. Again, thank you all for your opinion.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

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Originally Posted by SunPerf View Post
Thank you all for the feedback. Just to clear up what I was saying...I'm not "banking" on the fact that the HS is literally in my backyard, but it certainly helps. Let’s face it, they will still tan. I can agree that maybe not all of the employees at the hospital will tan, but again being near a large hospital that has lots of employees certainly won’t hurt. I guess what I was getting at is that I'm not in some secluded area. There is potential to pull a lot of business in at this location. As far as having lower prices, in no way will I be "cheap", just slightly lower than my closest competition. I plan on offering the best service, best products at a slightly more reasonable price (that’s all). My plan was to keep the equipment that is there just making sure I replace the bulbs and keep what I have working efficiently. I will be adding Airbrush to my services (which is not offered at my competitor) so I think that will help as well. Again, thank you all for your opinion.
For the most part people tan near where they live not near where they work. As far as pricing do not under cut the competition. Simply have membership and package options that offer something for every tanner not just the value shopper. Offer a great product and have a leader for new tanners that will expose the tanner to the great new salon. Your price structure can make or break you.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

I find that interesting that people generally tan near where they live, because I've always tanned near where I work that way I have the ability to go before, after or during my lunch but maybe thats just me. Thanks for the feedback it is appriciated
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

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Originally Posted by SunPerf View Post
I find that interesting that people generally tan near where they live, because I've always tanned near where I work that way I have the ability to go before, after or during my lunch but maybe thats just me. Thanks for the feedback it is appriciated
I think that it works both ways-sometimes people go to a tanning salon that is better, friendlier even if it is not close to them. Sometimes the location to where they shop helps. That would be the ONLY reason to pay the ridiculous rent that you pay to locate close to a Walmart or Publix. I operate a stand alone store in a bad part of town that has great traffic counts close to a big affluent residential area and do well there.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

In most retail environments, industries are market segmented according to customer incomes, and preferences, not the industries themselves. Some customers do not want or need the Cadillac tanning treatment and do not want to pay the Cadillac prices. In many salons, especially the big box franchises, you cannot buy a single visit. You cannot buy a month even by itself, and in many of them, you must buy their lotion. A lot of people resent the lack of choice, and choose salons that provide their needs, without any extras that they do not want to pay for.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

Tanning is a niche business, therefore it makes little sense to carve out a niche within a niche. Being able to accommodate every type of tanner is your insurance against circumstances out of your control. To alienate any part of the tanning population because you do not offer the type of tanning they are looking fore is not a good idea. Yes there can be markets that may not need HP tanning however that does not suggest that you could not increase sales by having it. When you say only having the systems I have works for me is based on the fact that you do not know what a different mix will do for your business because you have never tried it. If you only have low pressure equipment, low pressure tanning is all you can sell. Partial service tanning salons creates business for full service tanning salons. Independent salon operators can compete with large chains because you are only competing with salons within a certain radius of your salon.

Another thing to consider is the indirect business that comes from a broad equipment mix.

However you operate your salon or what ever your equipment mix is, if you are happy with your generated income, good for you. However if you in fact want to maximize income potential in most markets you must be full service.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

When I say people tend to tan near where they live, that is not absolute. The largest percentage of people tan near where they live so they can tan in the evenings and weekends. When choosing locations you must consider this. If you are looking at a location that is predominately business based in the market, you are going to have a problem. This is an area where large chains have an advantage that allows tanners to tan at any location. They are likely to have a location near work and home.

There are always exceptions to the 3 mile radius and tanning near home, however when evaluating a location it is best to evaluate a location based on homes in the market. It is really about making the best decisions. To say I have kind of a nice salon with really old equipment and no high pressure but tanners are happy with my salon is naive. The minute a tanner is exposed to a higher standard of tanning it is very hard to except anything less. It is about offering the best tanning experience. All salons can tan you if the change lamps, however the perception of the tanner is that the better experience gives them a better tan.

If you have accurate information you can make better decisions as an operator.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Re: Honest Opintion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Underhill View Post
When I say people tend to tan near where they live, that is not absolute. The largest percentage of people tan near where they live so they can tan in the evenings and weekends. When choosing locations you must consider this. If you are looking at a location that is predominately business based in the market, you are going to have a problem. This is an area where large chains have an advantage that allows tanners to tan at any location. They are likely to have a location near work and home.

There are always exceptions to the 3 mile radius and tanning near home, however when evaluating a location it is best to evaluate a location based on homes in the market. It is really about making the best decisions. To say I have kind of a nice salon with really old equipment and no high pressure but tanners are happy with my salon is naive. The minute a tanner is exposed to a higher standard of tanning it is very hard to except anything less. It is about offering the best tanning experience. All salons can tan you if the change lamps, however the perception of the tanner is that the better experience gives them a better tan.

If you have accurate information you can make better decisions as an operator.
This is a great debate; the more information that is available, the better in my opinion. However, it is easy to say that you should cover every base in the tanning genre; but the reality is that many salon owners are limited in their ability to do that. That is, HP is a very expensive add on. In most cases, you have to upgrade your electrical, and HVAC just to get in the ball game. Then, the expense of the equipment and it's maintenance adds to the cost. These beds are huge and take up large amounts of space. Finally, you must be able to get a high dollar per visit from at least 25% of your customer base to justify it from an investment point of view. And quite frankly, you can get comparable results from a good 32 bulb 160 watt VHR bed that does not require any of the above expense. I could see someone easily spending $50k just to get 1 HP bed online. That is a lot of money for the average salon owner.

I also do not think that when a person tries an upgrade bed, that they automatically think that no other equipment will do. In fact, I have many customers who do not like bells and whistles like facials, so they probably wouldn't like HP either. I am not against HP, just think that it is not a given that you should try to be everything to everyone. People become millionaires by creating niches within niches-what is a cupcake bakery or an organic produce market? a niche within a niche. The whole Apple empire began as a niche within a niche.
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