Running a Tanning Salon: Equipment and Supplies You’ll Need

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What do I need to open a tanning salon? If you’re thinking of starting your own sunbed shop, you may have asked yourself this question. Before you can open your doors, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tanning salon equipment and supplies.

As the majority of your revenue will come from sunbed sessions, your tanning beds will be your most crucial investment. However, you’ll also need a variety of cleaning supplies, safety equipment, décor and furniture. And of course, to manage your bookings and take payments, good tanning salon software is essential.

In this guide, we’ve put together a list of all the most important sunbed shop equipment and supplies. Read on to discover exactly what you’ll need to run your own tanning salon.


When it comes to tanning salon equipment, choosing the right sunbeds is crucial. Horizontal tanning beds are the most common, but require more space. Stand-up tanning booths can help to save space in smaller salons.

You can either rent your sunbeds or buy them for around £3,000 – £8,000 each. You can find them (and other tanning salon equipment) for sale online – many are available on hire purchase.

To save money, sunbeds can also be bought second-hand. However, make sure to check the UV lamps – as per UK tanning safety guidelines, they cannot exceed 0.3 watts per square metre.

Sunbed Timer System

A good sunbed timer system is a crucial investment when setting up a sunbed shop. Timers allow you to control the length of each tanning session, ensuring your clients aren’t over-exposed to UV radiation.

T-max timers are widely used in the industry. There are many different models available, each with different features, so do your research before you buy. You should also invest in T-max manager, a front desk control unit that connects to all of your timers.

Good tanning salon software, such as ActiveSalon, integrates seamlessly with T-max manager. This allows you to control your sunbeds remotely, using any computer, smartphone or iPad

Hygiene and Safety Supplies

Many of the most important tanning salon supplies revolve around health, safety and hygiene. You will need a good supply of:

  • UV goggles (disposable or reusable): according to the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010, you must ensure that all sunbed users wear protective eyewear
  • Sunbed pillows for your clients to rest their heads on while using the tanning beds
  • Tanning lotions: although optional, many salons provide tanning lotions for their clients to use while they tan – this helps to moisturise the skin and prevent dryness
  • Sunbed cleaning solution to sanitise your tanning beds or booths after each use
  • Towels in case your clients wish to wipe down the sunbeds
  • Cleansing wipes to allow customers to freshen up after their session
  • First aid kits to have on hand in case of accidents and emergencies

You’ll also need some general cleaning supplies to keep your salon sparkling, such as a vacuum cleaner, mop and disinfectant.

Retail Stock and Shelving

Many tanning salons stock retail products to upsell to customers after their sunbed session. This is a great way to make your tanning salon more profitable. Best sellers include tan accelerators, after-tan moisturising lotions and UV tanning goggles. However, you could also sell sunglasses, swimwear, cosmetics and other beauty supplies.

You’ll need some retail shelving to neatly display your stock. Wall-mounted shelves are ideal for small spaces, and can double as extra storage for tanning salon equipment and supplies. You could also set up a display cabinet near the till, to tempt customers as they’re waiting to pay.

Tanning Salon POS System

An essential piece of sunbed shop equipment is the POS (point of sale) system – necessary for taking payments and tracking sales. They are designed to integrate with your cash drawer and/or card reader, and some can even process online payments.

ActiveSalon tanning salon software comes with a built-in quick POS system, as well as many other useful features. You can use it to view daily sales reports, manage your inventory and even see which employees have sold the most products.

Furniture and Décor

A stylish and welcoming environment is key to creating a good first impression with your customers. Some examples of furnishings and decorations you could use include:

  • Comfortable sofas and chairs for the waiting area
  • A water cooler or drinks machine
  • Potted plants
  • Floor lamps
  • Wall art, such as framed pictures, posters and mirrors
  • Signage to direct customers around your salon
  • Privacy screens
  • Vases of fresh flowers
  • Scented candles or reed diffusers

Choosing a cohesive theme for your tanning salon décor will help to create an atmosphere, whether you’re aiming for tropical holiday vibes or a relaxing, spa-like feel.

Tanning Salon Management Software

Before opening your tanning salon, you’ll need some way of organising your client records and managing your bookings. In the past, salon owners would use a paper-based system, stored in a filing cabinet. Fortunately, there are now various software options available to make your life easier.

With ActiveSalon’s comprehensive, GDPR-compliant database, you can access your client records with the touch of a button. Keep track of customers’ contact details, skin types, signed disclaimers and more. You can even schedule automated appointment reminders to help prevent missed bookings. Plus, as it’s cloud-based, ActiveSalon is compatible with any device – with instant data syncing across all locations.

Start Your Free 3-Month ActiveSalon Trial Today

If you’re setting up a tanning salon, ActiveSalon can help. Our secure, cloud-based software contains everything you need to run, manage and grow your business.

For the same price as a cup of coffee a day, you’ll receive unlimited access to all of ActiveSalon’s incredible features. View and amend client records, see upcoming bookings, manage your inventory and more – on any device, anytime. Connect to T-max manager to control your sunbeds remotely, or view daily sales reports with the built-in POS system.

Start your no-obligation trial today and enjoy ActiveSalon for 3 months, absolutely free. For more information, give us a call on 0161 507 1598 or email

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