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-   -   Can the small salon survive (http://tantalk.com/tanning-salon-management/2343866-can-small-salon-survive.html)

Grandpa 02-23-2005 11:43 AM

In this day and age of the "mega" salons, is their still room for a newly built 6-8 bed salon to survive. I'm not looking to be the next Warren Buffet or Donald Trump, only to earn a nice living.

sunnie side up 02-23-2005 11:58 AM

customer service is the # 1 seller if your great with people then you may do better than the big salons . Oh and make sure it's clean

ramcat 02-23-2005 12:03 PM

I've got a 7 bed salon and I'm doing just fine. Provide the customer service and you'll be ahead.

Kay 02-23-2005 12:10 PM

Offer something the big boys donít. We do body wraps and have an all-natural skincare line. Also you might want to look into a private label lotion line.

Soakinuptherays 02-23-2005 12:15 PM

110% YES!!!

Focus on the critical things:

1) Make sure you offer a great tan!
You do not have to have the best coolest looking beds, you do need to have great lamps that deliver a tan! The reality is beds are simply power sources for lamps!

2) Have great customer service!
You are an owner/operator, you will always be better than some hourly employee for a mega chain. Act that way! Make it personal!

3) Keep your overhead low!
You do not have unlimited capital. Think 3 times before spending every dollar. What can you do for less or do yourself.

4) Do not complete with the Mega salons.
Try not to sell the same lotions, they can buy them for less than you can. Your personal sales efforts will only send your customers to buy the same product from the mega salon at a lower price. Do not complete with them on tanning prices, you can not win. Set your price and live with it. Be happy it's yours!

dcjjp2 02-23-2005 12:17 PM

I agree with the additional services/products. One thing that we can all learn from the big boys is the big boy mentality, without losing the individual owner charm of a small business. I operate my business like I used to run my territory for the Limited Inc. when I worked for them responsible for close to 20 million dollars per year. You have to think big to get big. Just don't lose sight of what got you there. Your customers.

JeffinKC 02-23-2005 12:18 PM

Small salons have certain advantages over chains/franchises. You are not tied to any one lotion or equipment line. You can be competetive by offering niche products and services that they don't. You are able to give the customer better service and offer a more friendly/family atmoshere.

caribbeansun01 02-23-2005 12:37 PM

SUnnie Side Up & Ramcat are right. THese big boy salons lose the customer service and personal feel to a tanning session. They are all about the money, in and out attitude. The smaller salons offer more personal touches. Something like, "how was that vacation last month", "how did your daughter perform in the play last night", "is your eczema getting any better now that you've been tanning?" They may sound stupid out of context, but when you are building a rapport with tanners, they are vital to making small salons survive. Word of mouth spreads that you are the nicest and cleanest salon around, slowly but surely they will come flocking to your doors. If I wouldn't want to be treated like another client in a database so I wouldn't treat our customers that way. Remember names, faces, what type of bed they like, what lotions they like and your business will be better than the big boys.

My hairdresser tells me all the time that she enjoys our salon much better than "XYZ" down the street. We are much cleaner, our place is so much cuter, the girls know what they're talking about and she doesn't have to deal with the rudness at other salons. Big boy salons cheap you in a sense. My hairdresser went to "XYZ" down the street because someone got her a gift card. She had $60 on the card. She purchased a week and a packet of lotion. THe next time she came in, she only had $15 left. IT turns out that the girl working the counter had charged her gift card more money so that she could purchase a lotion. Unbelievable! I wouldn't have even thought that up. Big boys rip you off all around sometimes.

BEACH_BUM 02-23-2005 01:08 PM

We are a 6 bed salon and we can compete. Customer service is #1 priority w/ us. I have a lot of people who come to us after visiting mega salons where they work because the service stinks. I care about my customers and try to run a professional, friendly salon where people can pamper themselves and relax. You do not have to have a huge salon to be successful.

SunQuest91 02-23-2005 01:20 PM

I am the proud owner of a 3 bed salon, 4th bed is on its way, and I am earning lots of the competitions clients by TAKING CARE OF MY CLIENTS. I open on time every time, my salon is ultra clean and I get to know my clients on a personal level. I am not getting rich, but I am making a living. Word of mouth is the best advertisement I have.


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