How to Open a Tanning Salon

How to Open a Tanning Salon. Starting your own small business is no minor undertaking. This is a full time plus overtime project. Buying a franchise may be less labor intensive; but the costs can be prohibitively expensive. Starting your own business from scratch may not cost as much, but there is much work to be done that a franchise has already taken care of. A happy medium is opening your own tanning salon. Read on to learn more.

Find the best location that you can find. Location is truly everything. You can have a wonderful product, but if no one can get to it, you cannot sell a single one. Although the better locations will usually command a higher price, it might just well be worth the extra money for a clean store front, plenty of parking and access to other businesses along the same strip.

Create a business plan. This is essential, especially if you are needing to take out a loan or searching for investors. You must have a business plan to start. The basics of this plan include all of the costs of doing business--lease, utilities, maintenance and other expenses along with the revenues that you anticipate within your first three years at minimum.

Call the utilities. Do not take the landlord's word on how much your utilities will run you. Remember, he is trying to make a sale. Call the utilities and ask for the average monthly bill over the last year. Consider the business before you if there was one, as they may have used more electricity than normal, for example.

Measure the internal area square footage of your building or space. Calculate unusable space (structural elements, heating duct work, walls) and measure against the area square footage to get your net area square footage. This will tell you how much room you have to work with and how many assets you can squeeze in.

Consider the area you will need that is not a revenue generating space. This includes an area for storage of cleaning chemicals, a break room for employees, a utility room for cleaning water, washers and dryers. Don't forget about the front desk and waiting area. You will also need plenty of seats for the waiting area.

Calculate the remaining area that you will have for your revenue generating assets. These are your tanning beds. You will now have an estimate of how many and at what cost to put into your business plan. Tanning beds do not take up much space and are relatively maintenance free, save for changing a bulb or two. Their costs will be relatively low.

Research what permits, if any, are required and how much they cost. You will also need to calculate in the costs of inspections as well.

Remember to add in the cost of advertising. Customers have to know that you moved in, so you will need to advertise to generate some business. You will also need to estimate how many, if any, employees you will need to hire. Calculate their wages, worker's compensation and their benefits, if any.

Present your business plan to your business partners or the bank for the loan. If you are fortunate enough to not need either of these, then you have your estimated costs of startup ready and can go shopping.

Watch the paper for auctions and the classified section for tag sales and personal sales. You may find some great buys on tanning beds from any of these sources. If you insist on buying only new beds that are the latest and greatest, use the Internet to find the least expensive sources.

Secure the property, move in, advertise your grand opening and enjoy your new tanning salon business.


  • Consider organizing your business as an LLC. This will save you in liability claims if that ever happens to be a problem.


  • Do not under-insure your business to save a few bucks. You never know what kind of crazy or frivolous claim someone will make. Make sure you are covered.


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