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The spray tanning industry is currently a $5 billion industry with more than 28 million customers as estimated by the American Academy of Dermatology. These figures are projected to increase significantly given the number of people moving away from outdoor sunbathing due to the effects of direct sun rays.

The shift from traditional tanning to indoor tanning presents a great business opportunity for anyone with a keen interest in tanning. 

Let’s look at how to start a spray tan business and what is needed of you for the business to be up and running.

Research

Take your time to research as much as you can about the tanning industry. It’s important that you learn and understand what business you are getting into. Check out those already in the business and strive to learn a thing or two from them. It is from this research that you will know what to address in your business plan.

Target market

You must first define who your target market is otherwise you will waste time and resources trying to sell to everyone. While everyone may seem like a client, not everyone needs or wants to tan.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the biggest market for indoor tanning are the caucasian women aged between 15-29. The same study shows that 59% of college students, 27% of teens, and  35% of adults use indoor tanning. Females being the highest number of users in all these categories.  

With these figures, you can easily carve out a niche for yourself. Remember to be as specific as possible when defining your targets. For example, you may want to target “female professionals between the ages of 30 and 40” or “stay at home mums in the high-end suburbs”. 

Competition

It’s crucial that you know who you are up in arms with in the industry so as to position yourself better.

You will be competing for the same clients with traditional tanning salons, mobile tanning businesses as well as tanning enterprises like yours.

While competition will be certainly fierce, it will be good in keeping you on toes with the latest tanning trends, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Pricing your tanning services

Pricing will vary greatly with who your target clients are. If targeting high-end clients then your charges will be as high as even $300 per tan. If you particularly are looking for a large number of clients then you may charge a lower rate so your customers can afford your services. Some charge as low as $20 a tan.

Aside from the demographic, your location, the quality of products you use, and your skill level will dictate how much you charge.

Inventory needed

The biggest investment you will make as far as inventory is the spray tanning machine. Other than that you will also need disposable clothing, extraction fan, nose plugs, shower caps, barrier creams, solutions (in varied colors), clean feet gloves, and baby wipes.

Licenses and permits

You will need to apply for business licenses and permit. Aside from the tax identification number and license, you may need to get specific licenses for a tanning salon. However, this will depend on whether or not it’s a requirement in your State.

You may also need to get certification from licensed tanning training institutes and insurance to protect you from any liabilities.

How to market your spray tan business

There are various ways to market your spray tan business but the best advice I will give you is to know where and how to find your target clients and then use the best media to reach them.

For example, if targeting professional women between 30-40 years, having a website is more than necessary. Other ways include social media like Pinterest, email marketing, digital ads like Facebook and Google ads, business cards among others.

Also, make great use of networking and word of mouth, these two are the most powerful.

Mobile Spray tanning business

I find a mobile business model a great start for a total business newbie. With a mobile spray tanning business, you have no overhead costs to worry about. You simply operate from your home and go to the client’s home, office, or hotel when they need your services.

If you are tight on start up costs or wish to start the business as a side hustle, this is great model for you. Depending on the performance you can then slowly transition into a storefront business.

Being mobile means that you get to charge pretty well for your time and since clients don’t mind paying for convenience, the figures will favor you. You can charge even higher for clients who are way out of your location. 

Being mobile also allows you to be flexible with your time. You can venture into other things even as you grow your business.

Conclusion

A spray tanning business is a profitable business with great potential. And with the shift from suntanning to sunless, there is bound to be lots more growth in this industry.

The best thing is its not capital intensive unless you want to set up a high-end enterprise. You could just operate it from home and do house calls until you have made enough to get a studio.

Before you fully commit to starting the business, its important to do thorough research on the industry, target market, and competition.

Piece of advice- invest in quality equipment and solutions. Your clients will be repeat clients only if you give them quality from day one.

 

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