If you’re looking to start your own business in the beauty industry, owning a tanning salon can be a great option. Tanning salons offer customers the opportunity to achieve a sun-kissed glow without the exposure to harmful UV rays. Plus, with the growing demand for self-care and pampering, the tanning salon industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

But how do you start your own tanning salon from scratch? In this article, we’ll offer a step-by-step guide on how to get your business off the ground, from researching your target market and location to developing a solid business plan and marketing strategy. We’ll also provide tips on essential business practices and common dos and don’ts to help you avoid mistakes and maximize your success.

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Start Your Own Tanning Salon from Scratch

Research and identify your target market and location

Before you can start a tanning salon, you need to identify your target market and location. Who do you want to serve, and where is the best place to reach them? Consider factors like age range, income level, and lifestyle to determine your ideal customer base.

Once you’ve identified your target market, choose a location that’s easily accessible and visible to your audience. Look for a space with ample parking, good foot traffic, and proximity to other businesses that complement yours. Take note of any local competitors and assess the demand for tanning services in the area.

Conduct a market analysis to assess the demand and competition in the area

A market analysis is a critical step in understanding the viability of your tanning salon business. Conduct research on the local market, including customer demographics, purchasing behavior, and market trends. Take note of your competitors’ offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Use this information to determine the unique selling points of your tanning salon and develop a pricing strategy that reflects the demand in the area. Consider offering discounts or rewards programs to encourage repeat business and customer loyalty.

Create a business plan that includes pricing, services, and marketing strategies

A business plan is essential to guide your tanning salon’s growth and success. It should include details on your pricing, services, and marketing strategies, as well as financial projections for the first few years of operation.

In your business plan, outline the types of tanning services you’ll offer, such as UV tanning, spray tans, or a combination of both. Determine the pricing of each service and any discounts or package deals you’ll offer. Your marketing strategies should include both online and offline promotions, such as social media, email marketing, and print advertising.

Register your business and secure necessary permits and licenses

Before you open your tanning salon, you’ll need to register your business and obtain any necessary permits and licenses. This may include a business license, tax ID number, and health department permit. Check with your local government business bureau for specific requirements and regulations.

Purchase equipment and hire staff

To start operating your tanning salon, you’ll need to purchase equipment like tanning beds, spray tan machines, and cleaning supplies. Look for reputable suppliers and compare pricing and warranties before making a purchase.

Hiring staff is also an important step in starting your tanning salon. Look for employees who are knowledgeable about tanning techniques and can offer excellent customer service. Consider offering training or certification programs to ensure that your staff meets industry standards.

Develop a customer base and track your progress

Once your tanning salon is up and running, focus on building a loyal customer base. Encourage word-of-mouth referrals, offer seasonal promotions, and host special events to attract new customers. Use customer feedback to improve your services and keep track of your progress with regular financial and sales reports.

Tanning Salon Business 101: Essential Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Understand the legal and financial obligations that come with owning a tanning salon

As with any business, owning a tanning salon comes with legal and financial responsibilities. Make sure you understand the tax obligations, insurance requirements, and liabilities associated with running a salon. Seek advice from legal and financial professionals for guidance on managing these aspects of your business.

Learn about managing employees, inventory, and finances

In addition to legal and financial obligations, owning a tanning salon requires effective management of employees, inventory, and finances. Set clear expectations for your staff and create a system for tracking inventory and revenue. Use accounting software to keep detailed records of your finances and track business expenses.

Adopt safety and sanitation protocols to maintain a clean and safe environment for your customers

Safety and sanitation are critical in maintaining a clean and safe environment for your customers. Follow industry-best practices for cleaning and sanitizing your equipment, and train your staff on proper hygiene and tanning techniques. Invest in quality cleaning supplies and equipment to ensure that your salon is always in top shape.

Network with industry professionals and join relevant associations

Networking is an essential part of any business, and owning a tanning salon is no exception. Connect with other industry professionals at trade shows and conferences, and join relevant associations like the International Smart Tan Network or the National Tanning Training Institute. These networks can offer invaluable resources and support as you grow your business.

The Dos and Don’ts of Starting a Tanning Salon

Avoid common mistakes new salon owners make

Starting a tanning salon can be both rewarding and challenging. Avoid common mistakes like underestimating startup costs or failing to conduct a thorough market analysis. Plan for contingencies like unexpected expenses or slower-than-expected growth, and stay focused on your goals.

Implement effective strategies for customer retention

Customer retention is key in a service-based business like a tanning salon. Offer incentives like loyalty programs, discounts for referrals, or birthday specials to keep customers coming back. Use customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and respond quickly to address any concerns.

Understand the importance of customer service and the impact it has on your business

Excellent customer service is an essential part of running a successful tanning salon. From the moment a customer walks in the door to the time they leave, make sure they feel welcomed and valued. Train your staff on effective communication and dealing with difficult customers. Positive word-of-mouth referrals can make all the difference in growing your customer base.

Startup Costs for Opening a Tanning Salon: Budgeting and Financing Your Business

Estimate the costs of equipment, rent, utilities, marketing, and employee salaries

Starting any business requires careful budgeting and cost estimation. In addition to equipment like tanning beds and spray tan machines, consider expenses like rent, utilities, marketing, and employee salaries. Use a budgeting spreadsheet to track expenses and identify areas for cost savings.

Research financing options and decide which best suits your needs

Financing your tanning salon may require taking out a loan or seeking investors. Research traditional financing options like bank loans and credit cards, or explore alternative options like crowdfunding or personal loans. Determine which financing option best suits your needs and goals.

Determine your break-even point and develop a contingency plan

Your break-even point is the point at which your revenue covers your costs. Determine your break-even point and develop a contingency plan in case your business experiences unexpected expenses or slower-than-expected growth. This may include cutting costs or seeking additional financing.

Marketing Strategies for Your New Tanning Salon: Getting the Word Out and Attracting Customers

Develop a branding and marketing plan

Effective marketing is critical in growing your tanning salon business. Develop a branding and marketing plan that includes a clear message, consistent branding, and marketing channels that reach your target market. Use social media, email marketing, and print advertising to promote your services and attract new customers.

Use social media and email marketing to reach potential customers

Social media and email marketing are powerful tools in promoting your tanning salon and reaching potential customers. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share photos, promotions, and updates with your audience. Encourage customers to sign up for an email newsletter to stay up-to-date on your services and promotions.

Host promotions and offer discounts to increase customer engagement

Hosting promotions and offering discounts is a great way to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. Consider hosting events like open houses or offering seasonal deals, like a discount on spray tan services during the summer months. Use loyalty programs to reward repeat customers and encourage them to return.

Focus on building and maintaining positive customer relationships

Positive customer relationships are key in building a successful tanning salon business. From the moment a customer walks in the door to the time they leave, make sure they feel valued and appreciated. Encourage feedback and respond promptly to any concerns. Follow up with satisfied customers to thank them for their business and encourage repeat visits.


Starting a tanning salon can be a lucrative and rewarding business venture with careful planning, budgeting, and marketing strategies. In this article, we’ve offered a step-by-step guide on how to get your business off the ground, as well as essential tips for managing your salon and avoiding common pitfalls. Remember to focus on building and maintaining positive customer relationships, and always keep your goals in mind. With dedication and hard work, you can succeed in owning your own tanning salon.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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