Are Tanning Salons a Good Investment?

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The UK tanning industry is a profitable and competitive niche to explore. By investing in a solid marketing strategy and good tanning salon software, any new sunbed shop can achieve success.

If you’re thinking about buying or opening your own tanning salon, you may have some questions. For example, are tanning salons still profitable? What services should you offer? Are there any licenses or regulations to be aware of?

In this guide, we’ll address these queries and more. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about starting a tanning salon.

Are Tanning Salons a Good Investment?

First things first: are tanning salons still profitable in the UK? The answer is yes. While artificial spray tanning has its fair share of supporters, the sun-kissed look associated with natural tanning remains unwaveringly popular. Living in a cloudy country, many of us turn to sunbeds to achieve that healthy-looking glow.

There are between 3,000 and 5,000 tanning salons in the UK, with more and more opening every year. Millions of people use sunbeds on a regular basis – around 10% of the adult population, in fact. Provided you understand how to market and run your business, tanning salons are undoubtedly a good investment.

How Do You Open a Tanning Salon Business?

Starting any new business venture can be a lengthy process. There’s a lot to do before opening your doors. To open a tanning salon, you will need to:

  • Register as a limited company and employer
  • Set up accounting
  • Find business premises
  • Rent or buy equipment (e.g. sunbeds) and learn how to use and maintain it
  • Purchase insurance
  • Brand your salon: choose a name, logo, colour scheme and so on
  • Hire and train employees
  • Choose and set up your salon management software
  • Create a website and social media presence

While not mandatory, you should also consider becoming a member of The Sunbed Association and following their code of practice.

Do You Need a License to Run a Tanning Salon?

Before you start trading, you’ll need to know how to run a tanning salon in accordance with UK regulations.

Tanning salons in the UK do not require a license. However, you may need to register with your local authority and adhere by their guidelines. You will also need to follow all relevant laws. For example:

  • You must not offer sunbed sessions to under-18s
  • Customers must wear protective eyewear
  • Sunbeds must not exceed 0.3 watts of UV radiation per square metre
  • Dispose of used sunbed tubes in accordance with hazardous substance laws
  • Follow GDPR rules when storing clients’ personal information

Tanning salon software, such as ActiveSalon, can help you to comply with industry regulations. For example, the system will automatically block anyone under the age of 18 from booking a session.

What Makes a Successful Tanning Salon?

To understand how to make a tanning salon successful, get to know your target market. This will help to guide your branding and marketing decisions. You should also research your competitors to ensure you’re pricing your sessions attractively.

Any new tanning salon business will need a solid marketing strategy. As your clientele will be primarily young women, digital marketing may work well (e.g. social media campaigns).

To guarantee long-term success, customer retention is crucial: you’ll need to offer patrons an incentive to return. For example, you could send out special offers or discount codes to past customers. Having a digital client database will make it easy to identify and contact anyone who hasn’t visited your salon recently.

What Services Should a Tanning Salon Offer?

As a tanning salon, UV tanning beds will be your primary source of revenue. You can give customers the option of booking single sessions or longer tanning courses. Offer block bookings at a lower price per minute to tempt clients into spending more.

Some tanning salons also provide other beauty treatments such as spray tanning, teeth whitening and waxing. While not strictly necessary, this could help your salon appeal to a wider target market.

You can also stock retail products (e.g. tan accelerators, lotions and moisturisers) to upsell to clients. A computer system such as ActiveSalon can help you manage your inventory, identify top-selling products and track sales trends.

What Is the Best Way to Manage Your Tanning Salon Clients?

Learning how to manage a tanning salon means organising your client records efficiently. The best way to manage your tanning salon clients is through tanning salon software. This allows you to store, search and retrieve customer details quickly and easily, from contact information to upcoming appointments. It comes with many useful features, such as:

  • Transaction history
  • Records of any disclaimers signed
  • Unlimited staff logins
  • Tiered user access
  • Cloud-based backups
  • Automatic appointment reminders

Tanning salon software simplifies every aspect of client management. For example, when clients book a course, the system will automatically calculate and display their remaining credits.

Kick-Start Your Tanning Salon Business with ActiveSalon

If you’re opening or buying a tanning salon, it’s vital to invest in a good management system. ActiveSalon is the UK’s leading software designed specifically for tanning salons.

With ActiveSalon’s comprehensive digital database, you can store and access your client records instantly from any device. Keep your customers up to date with automatic appointment reminders, SMS and email marketing. ActiveSalon can even integrate with T-max manager and other hardware, helping you provide a smooth, professional service.

To explore everything that ActiveSalon has to offer, sign up for a free trial today. Call 0161 507 1598 or email support@activesalon.com for more details.

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