Much like any other business, there’s a lot that goes into running a tanning salon. For instance, you’ll need to learn how to effectively brand and market your salon to your customers. You’ll also need a thorough understanding of sunbed safety and maintenance – as well as knowing how to track your sales and keep clients’ details safe.
Whether you’re thinking of starting a tanning salon business or you’re a current sunbed shop owner, you’re in the right place. At ActiveSalon, we’ve owned tanning salons since the ’90s and know exactly what goes into it. In this guide, we’ll share five top tanning salon tips to help your business succeed and grow.
1. Appeal to Your Target Market
The first step to opening a tanning salon is to identify your target market. This involves conducting research into the tanning industry in your area and understanding who your clients are.
Most of your customers will likely be white women aged 18-39. However, this may vary according to your location. As part of your research, visit your competitors and establish:
- What marketing methods do they use?
- Who does their brand appeal to?
- How much do they charge per minute for a sunbed session?
- What kinds of retail products do they sell?
- Do they offer any other treatments, deals or bundles?
- How do they treat their customers?
Once you know this, you’ll be well placed to create a strong brand that reflects your target demographic. You’ll also be able to offer your services at a competitive price.
Finally, customise your marketing techniques accordingly. For example, if your clientele are mostly young women, you might focus your efforts on social media campaigns. If you offer something that your competitors don’t, be sure to highlight this in your advertising.
2. Service Your Sunbeds Regularly
As a tanning salon owner, one of your main responsibilities is to maintain and service them regularly. Not only this important from a safety perspective, but it’s also vital for customer retention.
Keeping your sunbeds clean and functional will create an excellent impression on your clients. Poorly maintained sunbeds will have a knock-on effect on your revenue if they result in a sub-par tan, or suddenly stop working.
Proper sunbed maintenance involves:
- Replacing UV lamps regularly and evenly (at around 80% of their lifespan)
- Regularly inspecting and cleaning every part of the bed, checking for damage or malfunction and replacing parts when necessary
- Sanitising the sunbeds after each use using manufacturer-approved products
When buying a tanning salon or sunbeds, establish whether servicing is included. Check how long the warranty period is and how to contact the manufacturer for technical support. Ideally, have your sunbeds professionally serviced at least once a year.
3. Follow Sunbed Safety Laws and Guidelines
An important thing to learn about how tanning salons work is that there are strict laws and guidelines surrounding sunbed use. These exist to help protect the safety of your clients and staff.
If you break any of these laws, you could face prosecution or even be forced to close. So, it’s crucial that you familiarise yourself with sunbed safety legislation. Some key points to remember include:
- You must not allow anyone under the age of 18 to use a sunbed, or to enter a room containing a sunbed (‘restricted zone’)
- Your sunbeds must not exceed 0.3 watts of UV radiation per square metre
- You must dispose of spent UV bulbs in accordance with HSE guidelines on hazardous substances
- Sunbed users must wear eye protection (e.g. goggles)
You must also complete a risk assessment and control any health or safety risks ‘as far as is reasonably practicable’. This may include providing regular staff training and assessing clients’ skin type before allowing use of the beds.
Tanning salon software, such as ActiveSalon, is a useful tool for ensuring compliance with industry guidelines. For example, the system will prevent anyone under 18 from making a booking.
4. Use Special Offers and Discounts Wisely
Search for tanning salon business tips and you’ll find a wealth of ideas for discounts, special offers and deals. While these can be useful for attracting new clients and boosting revenue, it’s important to use them wisely.
If you offer too many discounts or run promotions for too long, you could end up devaluing your brand. Your clients may become accustomed to receiving heavily discounted sessions and come to expect lower prices as standard. This could then mean that you struggle to sell courses at your usual rate, as customers will wait until a deal is on before making a booking.
On the other hand, you don’t want to steer clear of special offers entirely. Used sparingly, they’re an effective way to drum up interest in your salon. For example, offer a 20% discount on all courses booked in the first week of January or a free upgrade to clients who refer a friend.
5. Invest in Good Tanning Salon Software
Running a tanning salon successfully depends upon offering your clients a professional, streamlined experience. You’ll need to store and organise client details securely, keep track of upcoming bookings and manage your stock if you’re selling retail products. Crucially, you’ll also need to understand your business – such as which products and courses are the most popular, and which marketing campaigns have been most effective.
If you’re serious about running a profitable salon, you’ll need to invest in quality software. ActiveSalon, the UK’s leading purpose-built tanning salon software, can help with all of the above and much more. A good system will save you time, money and hassle and give you the tools you need to grow your business.
Try a Free Trial of ActiveSalon Software Today
If you’re looking for the best tanning salon software in the UK, ActiveSalon is the perfect solution. Our cloud-based system stores your client details securely in accordance with GDPR. Access the database from any location, with records updated in real time across all of your branches.
ActiveSalon can help you provide a truly smooth client experience with automated appointment reminders, credit tracking and T-max integration. Set up discounts, e-mail and SMS marketing and referral rewards within the system and track your sales history to see your best-selling products and courses.
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.