Buying a tanning salon is an enormous and life-changing decision. There are a lot of things to consider before you commit to the acquisition.
For example, you’ll need to confirm that the business is in a good location and has a solid customer base. You should also analyse its financial history, income and outgoings to ensure you’re buying a profitable business.
At ActiveSalon, we’ve owned tanning salons since the ‘90s – so we have a wealth of experience in the industry. In this guide, we’ll share the five most important questions to ask when buying a tanning salon.
1. Does This Location Get a Lot of Footfall?
The location of the salon is important for two reasons. First, you want to make sure that it’s in a good area with plenty of foot traffic. If it’s hidden away down a side street, it’s going to be harder to attract customers.
Location may also affect how much you pay in business rates. Business rates are based on a property’s rateable value, and while the rateable value depends on multiple factors, location is one of them.
The most obvious example is the typical high street, which has high business rates. You therefore have to find a ‘unicorn’: a location that has high footfall with low business rates. Be prepared to pay over the odds, though, if you find a salon in an ideal location.
2. Does the Tanning Salon Make a Profit?
On the topic of income and outgoings, you’ll want to ask the current owner whether the salon is making a profit. If it’s not, then you need to think carefully before going ahead with the purchase.
It’s possible to turn around a struggling business, but it will take time, money and effort. If everything about the salon is perfect apart from its current figures, the best thing to do is to discuss a more favourable asking price.
Alongside profits, you’ll also want to know about the running costs of the salon. This includes things like rent, bills, business rates, staff wages, and so on. The running costs will have a big impact on how easy it is to make a profit, particularly in your difficult first year.
3. What Equipment Does the Tanning Salon Have?
One key concern should be whether the salon has the tanning equipment that you’re looking for. Do they offer stand-up or lay-down beds, spray tans, UV-free tans? Do they have extractors, tanning tents, pop up cubicles? Do they use T-max manager to remotely control their sunbeds?
It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t have all the equipment you’re hoping for. But it would mean an additional expense on top of buying the business itself, which would make it harder to make a profit in your first year.
4. How Does the Salon Keep Track of Its Clients?
Ask to see how the salon keeps track of its customers. In the past, salons used to use client record cards, which were physical cards for customer records. They recorded things like Fitzpatrick skin type, details of past appointments and contact details.
Today, most salons use specialised tanning salon software such as ActiveSalon. This is a seamless way to store client details, manage bookings, send appointment reminders and so on. It makes day-to-day operations much easier.
If the salon you’re considering is using an outdated paper system, that’s something to bear in mind – although it need not be a dealbreaker. Upgrading from physical to digital management may take some time, but once the transition is complete, your salon will be much more efficient.
5. Is There an Established Customer Base?
Finally, you’ll want to ask about the current customer base. Ideally, you should choose a salon that has a healthy number of repeat customers. These are the people who will bring in revenue month after month and make your business sustainable.
If the salon doesn’t have many repeat customers, you’ll need to think about how you can attract new business. This will be difficult and costly, so it’s something to bear in mind when negotiating the price.
These are just a few of the questions you should ask when considering buying a tanning salon. With careful consideration, you can find the perfect business for you and avoid any potential pitfalls along the way.
Discover How ActiveSalon Could Boost Your Tanning Salon Business
Whether you’re buying your first business or expanding your tanning salon franchise, it’s important to start off on the right foot— particularly if your new business still uses old-fashioned client record cards. That’s where ActiveSalon comes in.
We’re proud to offer the UK’s leading cloud-based tanning salon software. ActiveSalon will help you grow your business, communicate with clients and ensure you’re complying with industry guidelines. Features include T-Max integration, comprehensive client records, appointment reminders and a customisable online booking system – accessible from anywhere, anytime.
Sign up for a free trial today and discover how ActiveSalon can streamline your tanning salon business. Call us on 0161 507 1598 or email email@example.com. For more information on owning a tanning salon – pros and cons, how ActiveSalon works, or anything else – take a look at our blog.
Loukas has been a part of the tanning industry since 2013; what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing! As a Director of SolarTrack Systems, his responsibilities don’t just include ActiveSalon, but a variety of different tools and packages.