How To Start A Tanning Business

June 29, 2018 216 views

Image of a woman in a Tanning Salon

A Quick Overview of What’s Involved in Owning and Operating Your Own Tanning Salon

A tanning business is normally opened as a storefront salon. Though there are tanning beds operated in homes, it is not typical and not recommended due to health regulations.

There are certain liabilities concerning client safety, and it is better to operate where there is plenty of space and adequate personnel to monitor the tanning bed use.

You need to purchase equipment and supplies that are safe and effective. Your salon should present a stylish yet sanitary appearance.

Tanning caters to those who desire to get a tan as safely as possible. Most people are too busy to lie outside in lawn chairs, and many don’t live in climates conducive to tanning most of the year. Yet a lot of people want tans year-round.

This opportunity can be successful as long as you have enough initial capital to purchase the necessary equipment.

Skill Set:
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:

Common staff positions needed to run some businesses

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

Typically, tanning salons are open seven days a week and after normal business hours.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Tanning beds
  • Timer system
  • Heat lamps
  • Spay tanning system
  • Sanitizing equipment
  • Washer and dryer
  • Towels
  • Sunscreens
  • After tanning lotions
  • Protective glasses
  • Miscellaneous supplies such as eye-protector pads
  • Stereo systems for each room
  • Cold and hot beverages
  • Sample tanning oils, creams, and aftercare lotions
  • Essential Office Equipment
  • See Our List of General Retail Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

You must have a business license and insurance and a health certificate.

In addition, check for any local or federal regulations that govern new tanning salons. Some states have specific regulations listed at their Chamber of Commerce websites or with local business information websites

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

Bare essential – It will take a sizable initial capital outlay to start, with once decent tanning bed some inventory and operating expenses your looking at around 50K. It’s important to buy high-quality commercial tanning beds.

Tips & Considerations:
  • Find out all you can about the trends in the industry.
  • Know your competition: in particular, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Visit many local tanning salons and take note of how they operate. Write down things you like or dislike about the business. See what kind of competition you will be up against.
  • One good thing about is you can set up your tanning service anywhere, including your home or at your client’s place (mobile tanning service.)
  • The conventional idea of a tanning salon is electric beds irradiating clients with ultraviolet light. It isn’t technically impossible to set up at your house. Tanning beds and stand-up tanning booths are sold for home use, after all.
  • The time customers are allowed to stay in the tanning bed must be limited for safety reasons.
  • Finding customers will require ongoing advertising expenses. You can buy expensive advertising in the yellow pages if you can afford it. You can also try cheaper advertising venues including classified ads, and coupon books and fliers that inform people about your new services while offering special deals to attract new customers.
  • You should post your fliers in places where typical clients can be found. These include beauty shops, beach clothing retailers, fitness clubs, and beauty supply, retailers.
  • There are many tanning salons already open, but as more and more people find they don’t have time to get a tan outdoors, there is plenty of opportunities still available.

More than 12,000 spa locations across the United States generate total revenue of $11.2 billion. That number is poised to grow as more people, especially men, discover the joys of pampering themselves and looking good.


A busy salon with eight tanning beds can expect to gross $200,000 per year. That can equal $60,000-65,000 net in your pocket.


Equipment and Supplies:

Buy & Sell Used Tanning Beds & More


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