ETS Tanning Bed Blog
Updates from ETS Tan insiders. Covers tanning bed technology, tanning salon owner news, tanning bed maintenace and more.
Tag >> tanning salons
Missouri will be joining the ranks of 16 states that are considering legislation to limit or ban teens’ use of indoor tanning salons
. Legislative proposals range from requiring parental consent, to requiring a doctor’s note, to outright banning of minors.
This is in addition to the 29 states which already have restrictive indoor tanning laws for teens on the lawbooks.
Proponents of such limitations say it’s for the protection of minors, much like the cigarette sales laws. But opponents disagree – arguing this goes too far. “You cannot regulate everything in this world,” says one state senator in Florida who voted against such bill when it came up in his state. “I suppose we could say the same thing and outlaw tanning on the beach.”
If you're considering making the switch to stand-up tanning beds or outfitting your salon with a few stand-up models, keep reading for an overview of the benefits of these versatile, fast and cost-efficient machines.
No Pressure Points
On a tanning bed, the tanner lays on a flat or slightly curved acrylic, meaning the flow of blood is inhibited to certain pressure points (like the shoulder blades), a phenomenon that can affect how these areas tan. And because the tanner is lying flat, certain parts of the body are not exposed equally to the UV rays affecting the uniformity of the customers tan. In a stand-up tanning booth there are no pressure points and the entire body can be exposed to the UV rays with the help of built in handles that allow the tanner to easily keep the arms raised during the tanning session.
Shorter Tanning Times
Stand-up tanning booth tend to have faster tanning times than their laydown counterparts. The ETS Tan 756V is an 8-minute stand-up booth
, making it perfect for tanners who are pressed for time. Stand-up tanning booths in many salons are considered higher level tanning units and can return higher revenues.
Stand-up tanning booths take up less floor space and can return more revenue per square foot however each salon will need to determine customer demand and offer tanning booth options accordingly. ETS offers three levels of tanning booths that can easily match up with tanning bed levels offered so that the salon can offer both options at three levels.
Most stand-up tanning booth models (and ALL of the ETS Tan stand-up booths
) come with optional add-on dressing areas eliminating the need for rooms and the cost that come with them.
Comparable, if not Lower Pricing
Here at ETS Tan, our top-of-the-line stand-up tanning booths sell for around $19,000 with our smallest model priced at $9000. With the same number of lamps as the laydown units, they're either priced similarly or, in some instances, lower.
Finding a tanning salon isn't an easy task. It's not like picking a restaurant or grocery store. Going to the most popular one is an option, but if you like to tan at certain times of day, chances are everyone else does too, so you're either stuck waiting or have to find a different time of day.
Remember, this is a place you're going to visit a few times a month. You want to find the best one that fits you, so there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
It Starts With the Staff
The salon staff will make or break a salon. Are they friendly and outgoing and willing to answer your questions? Or are they sullen and unfriendly, and huff whenever you need something? The salon staffers should be knowledgeable about their equipment, the best lotions to use, and can tell you about your skin type and design a regimen just for you.
Did they take the time to understand your needs and budget, or do they want to fit you into their one-size-fits-all package?
What About the Tanning Beds?
There are four basic levels of tanning beds. Does your salon have at least three of them? Do they have more than one of each type to avoid scheduling backups? We've come a long way from one type of tanning bed, so hopefully your salon has too. It's important that you rotate between tanning beds to achieve and maintain your tan.
Get a tour of the place, and take a look inside the beds. Be sure to ask questions. Are the beds clean? How often do they clean them?
After every use. Wrong:
Anything less.) Do they provide protective eyewear?
Basically a good salon will be able to answer yes to all of these questions. They'll have a number of different tanning beds, they'll have sanitary eye protection, they'll clean the beds after each use, and of course, the staff will be friendly and professional.
The short of it is if you're not happy with the salon, move on to the next one. The most popular or the cheapest salons are not always the best fit. You may get lost in the shuffle at the popular salons, and you'll get what you pay for at the cheapest. It's your skin. Make sure you're happy with what you get.
A few months ago, we discussed a few ways to bring college students to your tanning salon, using things like Freshmen Welcome Packs, On Campus Bulletin Boards, and Free Weekly Papers
These are great techniques, and we can't recommend them enough. But don't forget, most of these students are so plugged in to social media and the Internet, you're missing some valuable channels if you ignore the online world. Here are a few places you can find and attract college students.
- Facebook is one of the most popular social networks out there. You can find friends you went to high school and college with, join causes and nonprofits, or become fans of bands, actors, and even companies. Have your employees sign up for Facebook and friend the people they know from the local college or university. Twitter
- We talked about Twitter a few weeks ago as a way to reach customers.
College students are using Twitter like crazy, and it's a fast and easy way to send out messages to your Twitter followers. Let clients set appointments through messages, or send out your own messages like "We have a cancellation for 7 tonight. First to respond gets it." Text Clubs
- Companies like Connective Mobile
give you the ability to create opt-in text clubs. Send out messages wishing people a fun Spring Break, good luck with finals, and even special promotions you offer. (Make sure to balance the non-commercial/friendly messages with the commercial ones. See the important note below.) A lot of restaurants are using text clubs as a way to make special announcements, like "1/2 price appetizers from 5 - 7 tonight" to their text club members. Text clubs and Twitter are a great way to make customers feel like they're part of a special, elite group, which increases their loyalty.
One important note: Avoid blatant
commercial messages like "We're having a sale on tanning packages this week only!" Today's social media users don't respond well to commercial spam, and will stop paying attention to you altogether if you do. Instead focus on the relationships with the people, and they'll become interested in who you are as much as what you do. This isn't true for text clubs, because that's what they're for. But social media users are about the conversation, not commerce. Make them like you with what you have to say, and they'll come to you for what you offer later.
Installing tanning beds is one of those details whose timing is critical. There is actually a bad time and a good time to install tanning beds. Finding the right time can make everything go smoothly, keep installation times short, and can even save money. A bad time can result in damaged beds and delayed openings.
Installing a bed while the building contractors are still working is risky. It's just smarter to have the contractors doing their finishing touches, or even finished, when the beds are installed. If installers show up too early, and have to work around the contractors, it can actually take longer than waiting until the contractors are done.
If contractors are still fixing drywall, installing the floor, or painting, the tanning beds can be damaged. We've had clients who ended up with paint on their beds, drywall dust, and even dents and scratches.
One of our customers, who's opening his third salon, understands what it takes for a smooth installation. He makes sure to have everything ready for us, and as a result, his installations are the smoothest we usually have.
Everything in his new salons are nearly complete – rooms are drywalled and painted, the electricity is on – which ensures his contractors and our installers are not disturbing each other or waiting for others to finish. The installers can actually get done in a single day, rather than working for a day-and-a-half. This saves installation costs, and makes sure his salon opens on time.
We understand the eagerness for new salon owners to get their tanning beds installed. But it's more beneficial to have everything in place rather than to rush and risk damage to the beds. By making sure everything is completed before the installers show up, you can reduce the risk of damage, and keep extra costs at a minimum.
Yesterday, we talked about how tanning salons can get started on Twitter. Today, I want to give you some ideas on how you can use Twitter to grow your tanning business.
CoffeeGroundz, a coffee shop in Houston, Texas, is credited with having one of the first commercial transactions on Twitter. It all started when one of their regulars sent a direct message (DM) to the shop for a breakfast burrito pickup. Since then, they have turned their Twitter presence into a regular communication method with their customers, even holding a special Twitter meetup (called a Tweetup) that not only let their regulars meet with each other, but brought in big sales that day.
So how can you use Twitter to grow your business?
CoffeeGroundz tapped their regulars for their efforts, so start with yours. Ask them if they're on Twitter – if they're not, get them on it – and start following them. Send out regular Tweets to your clients, and build the expectation that you use it regularly. When that happens, your clients will start communicating with you too.
Once you've built up a Twitter following, and are using it on a regular basis, here are some ways to use it.
- Send out announcements, sales, and special offers to your followers. ("Special Twitter sale: Refer a new member, get 2 weeks of free upgrades.")
- Send out cancellation notices to fill a spot: ("We had a spot open up from 3:30 - 4:00. First DM gets it.")
- Forward articles to your followers about the industry, tanning techniques, and things that might affect them (this is where it pays to get to know your clients).
- Create a "message-ahead" program. Let clients DM you for appointments and cancellations.
- Use GroupTweet.com to create groups of clients. Maybe you can communicate with your premier members with one message, regular members with another, and a third to occasional members.
- Run Twitter-based contests where the winner gets a special prize. ("Tell us your most outrageous vacation story, win a free bottle of tanning lotion."
- Make sure you send Tweets that are actually interesting to your clients. While it's good to have 1-on-1 conversations with your followers, if that's all you're doing, your followers will get bored. Get a personal Twitter account if you want the personal conversations.
- On the other hand, participate in group conversations with your clients. See if you can stimulate conversations between them, and build a community of Twitter tanners (Twanners? Why not?). (Asking questions to your followers, like the outrageous vacation example above, will generate this conversation.)
- Use a program like Tweetdeck – a Twitter client that sits on your desktop – and keep it open all the time. If you have an iPhone or BlackBerry, there are special Twitter clients for them too.
- If your clients are going on vacation and putting their tan to use, encourage them to Tweet photos to you via TwitPic , and retweet them to all of your followers. This will help build your community.
If you can build your Twitter following, you will have made your tanning salon a special place to be for your clients. The more they feel a sense of belonging – a sense of community – the more they'll stay involved. Occasional clients will become regulars, regulars will become premier members, and they'll refer their friends.
That's a great ROI for a free application that only lets you send 140-character messages.
Twitter has been in the mainstream media for the last several weeks, which means it has probably reached its tipping point. It was on Charlie Rose last night, on our local FOX station this morning, in the New York Times, and a lot of other mainstream media outlets.
Tanning salons are in a great position to take advantage of social networking tools like Twitter. Twitter is an important way for people to communicate with a lot of people quickly and easily. By typing a 140-character message, you can ask questions, provide information, tell people about books or articles you're reading, and even make plans with friends.
You build up your readers – called followers in the "Twitterverse" – by following them, and they'll follow you in return. Pretty soon, you have a small community of people with shared interests, geography, or relationships. Then, when you send out a message, your followers will see it, and respond. If they write a message back, their followers will see the response. It's like instant messaging in a crowded room.
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