Airbrush tanning is increasing in popularity. The work is fun, income is great and it is rewarding to be in the beauty industry and getting to meet so many new people. Many salons now offer a mobile service and many techs starting out choose to be a mobile service only. A benefit of that is that they do not have to pay any rent or lease out a space, So it is a very cost effective option (with the exception of fuel)
I personally started out as a mobile only service. I traveled all across 3 counties 7 days a week and even in the evenings. It was a lot of trial and error to come up with a system that worked well for me to haul all my equipment. Trust me it was difficult lugging all that stuff ( especially up stairs) and there was many things that I learned. So I wanted to share some spray tan tips to help you all with the process and maybe touch upon some things you might have not though about when starting your mobile airbrush tanning service.
This is the first thing that I talk about when I train or mentor new spray tanners. Many don’t even think about this but it should be your number one priority. I am not trying to scare anyone but we do live in a world today where this should be a concern & it is important to take safety measures. Especially for a female going into a strangers home or hotel room. Here are some measures and precautions that you should take when scheduling a mobile session
1) Google the person. See if the address they give you matches up to them . Check them out on Facebook to see if they exisit ( I know not everyone is on FB but many are)
2) Speak to them on the phone and get a feel of them. If you get any odd feeling then do not book the appointment. Remember..you have the right to refuse service and always go with your gut. It rarely never fails.
3) Do a reverse lookup of their phone number also to see if they are who they say there are. It may not be 100% accurate ( for example if a cell phone is in another persons name) but I do this and it works pretty good. I personally like the iphone app Lookup+
4) Know where you are going. Map out the location prior, use google earth as well so you do not get lost. If you are uncomfortable bring a friend or family member with you.
5) Provide a family member, co worker, roommate or significant other the address & client information prior to your appointment. This way they have it in case of emergency.
6) When you get to your appointment, go to the door to introduce yourself but leave your gear in the car! This is something I always do. Do not walk up to the door with your spray tent and all of your equipment. This provides a logical reason for you to have to walk back to your vehicle. This way if you get a bad feeling & sense that something is not right you can just get back into your car and leave! if you are standing at the door with all of your things then it can be awkward and you might not know what to so.
Hotels are an exception ( plus many have valet parking) so judge accordingly. If you are very nervous about spray tanning someone in a hotel room bring someone with you or do not book the session. You can also ask someone to call you at a certain time to check in and give a code word to make sure everything is OK.
7) Carry mace or another form of protection. I know many techs that have their concealed weapons permit or take a self defense course.
Hopefully you will never be in a situation where your safety is at risk. But knowledge is power.
What to carry your equipment in:
I went through a few different systems when starting out and kept changing it up. Here are some ideas for consideration and maybe one of them will work for you.
1) Supermarket shopping cart- ( The metal ones that fold up) This is what i started out using. I know some techs use this as well and can even get creative blinging it out. There is also a cover that can be inserted inside to keep the cart contents concealed.
2) A sewing machine case. You can put a small HVLP machine in that to conceal it and it has wheels.
3) Duffel bag with wheels or a small suitcase.
4) Cargo totes. I love the ones that you can get from 31 gifts & I use this system now. I had mine embroidered with my company name and got additional pieces to match, such as an insulated tote that I use to carry my solution.
Track your miles
This is crucial come tax time! You want to have everything properly documented. I can not stress this enough. Keep a note pad in your car or use an app for your phone, Whatever you do is fine just do not forget to do this.
Do not forget the liability insurance. It is not very expensive and will provide piece of mind. I have heard many stories on how techs dropped solution all over the floor or their machine got over spray on the carpet or rug etc. Make sure you are covered, Hopefully you will never have to use it but at least you will have it.
Bring a backup machine
The last thing you want is to have an equipment malfunction when out on an appointment, (Especially if it is a large bridal party) Not only will you look unprofessional but you will lose revenue & damage your reputation if you can not finish the session. Could you imaging tanning someone and in the middle the gun breaks or the machine overheats and turns off? That would not be good, so I always have a backup machine in the car and carry a backup gun. You can not plan a problem and this way you will always be prepared. You do not need anything expensive, just something is better than nothing in a pinch.
I hope you have found some of these tips helpful. If you are just starting out it is a very exciting time for you and wish you all the best of luck in this amazing industry! Happy tanning…Xo Melissa
Melissa Weinberg is a spray tan expert & founder of Perfect Glow Sunless & Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty. A luxury line of professional spray tan solution and self-tanning products. Her products are used by professional salons and spas all over the world. She also offers 5 star rated training programs and business coaching through her Perfect Glow Sunless Spray Tan Academy.