Spray tans – also known as “sunless tanning” – isn’t just a trend limited to the cast of Jersey Shore, it’s entered the mainstream spa and beauty industry. People are turning to spray tanning for getting that sunkissed look.

According to statistics from Statistia, self-tanning is now a billion-dollar industry and growing, raking in over one billion dollars in 2017. Transparency Market Research also found that the demand for self-tanning products continues to grow. They’re predicting that nearly $5.5 billion worth of self-tanning products will be sold globally by the end of 2026.

All of this makes opening a spray tanning business a great idea! So if you’re reading this congrats, you’re moving in the right direction! This guide will walk you through exactly how to turn your idea of starting a spray tanning business into reality.

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Find Competitors in Your City

As spray tanning rises in popularity, so does the idea of opening a spray tan business. It’s likely that you will have either direct competitors (other spray tan businesses) or indirect competitors (tanning businesses or stores that sell self tanner) to work against. So before you start your business make sure you consult the local market and identify your competitors.

The goal isn’t to scare yourself, it’s to identify how you can beat out your competition. How can you differentiate yourself? That’s what you need to find out!

Consult with an Accountant and Legal Professional

A spray tanning business is typically a lower cost endeavor than opening something like a nail salon, because the nature of the products means you can be mobile and don’t necessarily have to have a physical location. However there will be start up costs and it’s important that you understand any liability you might incur, as well as figuring out which business entity you’d like to be! 

Banks don’t hand out business loans without proof of income, so it’s important to involve a financial professional in the early stages of your business. They can likely save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Then you need to decide your business type! Consulting with your financial advisor and lawyer will help you decide. If you don’t want to pay for them to actually file the paperwork, check out Legalzoom or a competing service for cheap filing help. 

Build out Your Business Proposal

Now that you have the financial and legal paperwork squared away, it’s time to start your business proposal! According to the Small Business Administration, you don’t have to stick to an exact outline when writing your business plan. Instead they want you to focus on using sections that make the most sense for you! Most commonly business plans include some of the following sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, management team, service / product line, marketing / sales, funding requests and financial projections. Regardless of what you include, make sure to write clearly, concisely and proofread your work! 

Create Your Branding & Marketing Strategy

Your brand is more than just a logo: it’s the heart of your business identity! It can be tempting to cut corners and just whip up a quick logo, but consider investing in your brand from the ground up. Many small businesses and startups are strapped for cash, but you can find many affordable freelancers on UpWork.

Your branding includes your messaging, tone of voice, how you present your brand and attract customers. At a bare minimum you’ll need: a logo, a social media account and a simple website. Ideally you’ve also built out a messaging strategy and brand values. From there you will be able to move onto your marketing strategy and begin to acquire customers.

Pro Tip: List your spray tan business on ClassPass for free and get your business in front of a new audience.

Secure a Location or Decide if You’re Going to be Travelling

Not all spray tan businesses have a brick and mortar – many are travel based. This means that you’re mobile! People can book with you and you drive to their location. This is a very popular business model in states without inclement weather. Regardless, you’ll need to figure out if you want to be fully mobile or invest in a store front. If a full building lease isn’t in the question, look at renting space from another salon or spa!

Open Your (Metaphorical) Doors

After all of this legwork it’s finally time to get started! Good luck out there.