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Old 01-22-2015, 10:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

Starting a new business, no matter if it's a restaurant, hair salon, hardware store, tanning salon etc...is very risky. Customers are fickle, and don't like to adapt to change, even if it's for the better.

I have compiled a list of things I learned the first year of opening a tanning salon that I hope will be useful and/or start a conversation on other's experiences and soon-to-be salon owners worries and questions.

1. Don't do what the other guy across town is doing.
This is self-explanatory. At first, we set our prices a little lower than a chain 5 miles across town. Huge mistake! What works for them, doesn't work for us. We don't even have the same bed lineup. We brought in a lot of clients, but we weren't really making any money. Things are better now that we have restructured our pricing.

2. Don't devalue the product that you are selling.
Be prepared to know why a package or lotion costs what it does. Why would a client purchase a $100 lotion over a $40 one or why would they purchase a certain package? We needed to be prepared to know the distinct differences in all of these things and we practiced them. There is nothing worse than a client asking a question that we didn't know the answer to.

3. Have something for everyone.
We have all kinds of packages- eft, 30 day, week, sampler, single session, etc... Very rarely do we lose a client due to the fact that we don't have something they are looking for. We also carry a wide variety of products in all price ranges.

4. Do it right the first time.
Electrical and HVAC are so important- be prepared because it is very costly, but waiting and putting it in later will cost even more. We have more than enough of what we need, and are so grateful we did it right away.

5. Be prepared to be married to your business, and when you are able to hire staff, make sure that they see your vision.
Yes, I am here at least 6 days a week. If I'm not physically in the salon, my thoughts always are! I made sure I hired staff (especially a manager) that understood what I want. Customer service ALWAYS comes first. The salon must be impeccable at all times. I love to play jokes and have a good time too- having fun at your job is important, but the staff always know my expectations.

6. There is a difference between educating and badgering.
We always educate- teaching is important. Most clients don't or won't know something unless we tell them. Chasing people or making them feel like they are obligated to buy something every time they come in is awful and clients will dread coming to the counter. (This has happened to me personally). Are lotions important? Sure they are. Badgering them every visit, especially when they just purchased one is a real turnoff.

7. Keep it clean and be nice.
It's a pretty great feeling when someone comes in and tells me how beautiful the salon is and how clean it smells, and they love coming here because we are so knowledgeable and friendly. They WILL refer their friends and neighbors based on this alone.

8. Get your name out there!
Facebook, twitter, text clubs, websites, etc... are very important and cheap means to spread the word. Also become part of the community. Donate to causes, including your time. People will respect that you care about your community. The more that you are seen the better, and there are a lot of ways out there to do that without a huge expense.

9. Adapt!
Change happens every day and it is up to all of us to accept it. I met another salon owner over the weekend that has been in business for over 17 years and has never even considered adding spray tanning . She gets calls on it every day, but is scared to add it. I am heading over there within the next month to help her get started.

I read these forums almost every day, and a lot of what I see is other owners complaining that the "tanning days are gone". I don't believe this to be true. We have had great success (location is key) with clients of all ages. Is spray tanning picking up in popularity? You bet it is. I have clients that just come in and spray tan once a week for the convenience. They are still considered a "tanner" to me.

I do, however, believe that "just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come" is true. The first year was hard, that's a fact.
Hope this was useful!!!
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

thx
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

If people truly believed that tanning was done, then this forum would be empty. Because you have only been in the industry for a year, you do not have any perspective on where the industry has been, and what it was like 20 years ago.

That is where the debate is; some believe that the industry is in decline, some believe that it is just evolving naturally. The data however, is on the side of the former.
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

I think the attrition is commensurate with interests in tanning. and I believe, if you offer a good product, and run a good business , you're gonna make it
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

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Originally Posted by Hot Tan View Post
I think the attrition is commensurate with interests in tanning. and I believe, if you offer a good product, and run a good business , you're gonna make it
"Making it" has to be defined. Running a salon, working your a_ _ off 60-70 hours a week to net 50k -60k is not making it to many. 20 years a go, we made more money and worked less. The industry was fun.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

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Originally Posted by peach2 View Post
"Making it" has to be defined. Running a salon, working your a_ _ off 60-70 hours a week to net 50k -60k is not making it to many. 20 years a go, we made more money and worked less. The industry was fun.
Peach, I came into it late, when I was a kid, I spent hellufalot a time in Venice beach( I'm in LA) and then tanned in salons as well, with no regard to pricing, It was just an impulse... I had to be dark, and I didn't care what I had to do to get it. having been in the Army stationed in Schofield Barracks Hawaii, tan was in; at least for me.

I came from Commercial real estate and Insurance and while I had fun, owning a brick and mortar is what I am wired for, having owned numerous restaurants in the past.

This said, I think every industry has taken a "hit" not only tanning, but we have different force working against us compounding the slide.

I believe in the product, my weight lifting was plagued with muscular pain and I tried everything,sups, pre workouts, protien sups, post workouts diets, paleo, akins, the onlything that allowed me to lift the same as when in my 20's was vitamin D, , via the sun and interval training in said sunlight and when it's not there supplements...I am sold for life that what I am doing is very necessary for humans to thrive. it's a done deal

I like working, I came out of semi retirement and for decades barely worked more than 15 hours.

The more I do this Salon stuff the more I like it, so from my perspective...it way cool...building the business, live and die by my own doings or undoings

Last edited by Hot Tan; 02-07-2015 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Tan View Post
Peach, I came into it late, when I was a kid, I spent hellufalot a time in Venice beach( I'm in LA) and then tanned in salons as well, with no regard to pricing, It was just an impulse... I had to be dark, and I didn't care what I had to do to get it. having been in the Army stationed in Schofield Barracks Hawaii, tan was in; at least for me.

I came from Commercial real estate and Insurance and while I had fun, owning a brick and mortar is what I am wired for, having owned numerous restaurants in the past.

This said, I think every industry has taken a "hit" not only tanning, but we have different force working against us compounding the slide.

I believe in the product, my weight lifting was plagued with muscular pain and I tried everything,sups, pre workouts, protien sups, post workouts diets, paleo, akins, the onlything that allowed me to lift the same as when in my 20's was vitamin D, , via the sun and interval training in said sunlight and when it's not there supplements...I am sold for life that what I am doing is very necessary for humans to thrive. it's a done deal

I like working, I came out of semi retirement and for decades barely worked more than 15 hours.

The more I do this Salon stuff the more I like it, so from my perspective...it way cool...building the business, live and die by my own doings or undoings
Even for those of us who have been in it for 20 years or more, it gets in your blood; I understand that. No matter how difficult it gets to do it, most of us want to stay in it as long as we can. There comes a time however, where the economics just doesn't make sense,no matter how much you love it.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

Quote:
Originally Posted by peach2 View Post
Even for those of us who have been in it for 20 years or more, it gets in your blood; I understand that. No matter how difficult it gets to do it, most of us want to stay in it as long as we can. There comes a time however, where the economics just doesn't make sense,no matter how much you love it.
Every man has gone through their ups and downs, wins and losses, and human tragedy not financially related, blown relationships... sometimes we are richer, sometimes we are poorer, pursuit of greener pastures leading to set backs. sometimes nothing make sense, living on social security and needing medicaid is senseless...it all just is. fly your best sortie
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Tan View Post
Every man has gone through their ups and downs, wins and losses, and human tragedy not financially related, blown relationships... sometimes we are richer, sometimes we are poorer, pursuit of greener pastures leading to set backs. sometimes nothing make sense, living on social security and needing medicaid is senseless...it all just is. fly your best sortie
Spoken like a true airman! e4 USAF 1975-79 AFSC:Air traffic control
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What I learned during the first year of owning a tanning salon

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimb3107 View Post
Starting a new business, no matter if it's a restaurant, hair salon, hardware store, tanning salon etc...is very risky. Customers are fickle, and don't like to adapt to change, even if it's for the better.

I have compiled a list of things I learned the first year of opening a tanning salon that I hope will be useful and/or start a conversation on other's experiences and soon-to-be salon owners worries and questions.

1. Don't do what the other guy across town is doing.
This is self-explanatory. At first, we set our prices a little lower than a chain 5 miles across town. Huge mistake! What works for them, doesn't work for us. We don't even have the same bed lineup. We brought in a lot of clients, but we weren't really making any money. Things are better now that we have restructured our pricing.

2. Don't devalue the product that you are selling.
Be prepared to know why a package or lotion costs what it does. Why would a client purchase a $100 lotion over a $40 one or why would they purchase a certain package? We needed to be prepared to know the distinct differences in all of these things and we practiced them. There is nothing worse than a client asking a question that we didn't know the answer to.

3. Have something for everyone.
We have all kinds of packages- eft, 30 day, week, sampler, single session, etc... Very rarely do we lose a client due to the fact that we don't have something they are looking for. We also carry a wide variety of products in all price ranges.

4. Do it right the first time.
Electrical and HVAC are so important- be prepared because it is very costly, but waiting and putting it in later will cost even more. We have more than enough of what we need, and are so grateful we did it right away.

5. Be prepared to be married to your business, and when you are able to hire staff, make sure that they see your vision.
Yes, I am here at least 6 days a week. If I'm not physically in the salon, my thoughts always are! I made sure I hired staff (especially a manager) that understood what I want. Customer service ALWAYS comes first. The salon must be impeccable at all times. I love to play jokes and have a good time too- having fun at your job is important, but the staff always know my expectations.

6. There is a difference between educating and badgering.
We always educate- teaching is important. Most clients don't or won't know something unless we tell them. Chasing people or making them feel like they are obligated to buy something every time they come in is awful and clients will dread coming to the counter. (This has happened to me personally). Are lotions important? Sure they are. Badgering them every visit, especially when they just purchased one is a real turnoff.

7. Keep it clean and be nice.
It's a pretty great feeling when someone comes in and tells me how beautiful the salon is and how clean it smells, and they love coming here because we are so knowledgeable and friendly. They WILL refer their friends and neighbors based on this alone.

8. Get your name out there!
Facebook, twitter, text clubs, websites, etc... are very important and cheap means to spread the word. Also become part of the community. Donate to causes, including your time. People will respect that you care about your community. The more that you are seen the better, and there are a lot of ways out there to do that without a huge expense.

9. Adapt!
Change happens every day and it is up to all of us to accept it. I met another salon owner over the weekend that has been in business for over 17 years and has never even considered adding spray tanning . She gets calls on it every day, but is scared to add it. I am heading over there within the next month to help her get started.

I read these forums almost every day, and a lot of what I see is other owners complaining that the "tanning days are gone". I don't believe this to be true. We have had great success (location is key) with clients of all ages. Is spray tanning picking up in popularity? You bet it is. I have clients that just come in and spray tan once a week for the convenience. They are still considered a "tanner" to me.

I do, however, believe that "just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come" is true. The first year was hard, that's a fact.
Hope this was useful!!!
I think this is money in the bank.....
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