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Starting A Mobile Spray Tan Business
Airbrush tanning is hugely increasing in popularity. With skin cancer on the rise and people being more health conscious, many are choosing spray tanning to get their glow on!
Why start a spray tan business? The work is fun, income is great and it is very rewarding to be in the beauty industry getting to meet so many new people! Who wouldn’t love to perform a service that makes their clients feel glowy and fantastic! I have had countless clients tell me that my tans make them feel amazing and boost their self confidence. Many salons now offer a mobile service due to the need and many techs starting out choose to be a mobile service only.
There are some great benefits of starting a mobile spray tan business & here are few :
- You do not have to pay any rent or lease out a space. Retail space can range from $400 per month to over $3k + in some regions! So it is a VERY cost effective option (with the exception of fuel)
- You can control your own hours and service times. This is great for people that want a great part time or side gig!
- Many people are too busy to get to a salon or have children and cant hire a sitter. So coming to them is a fantastic and convenient option for them.
- Mobile is a “luxury service” and can be priced accordingly. Depending on the region some mobile appointments start at a rate of $65 +
- The need for mobile service is increasing. Due to busy work schedules many people just can not get into a salon at normal business hours so this is a great option for them to get their beauty treatment.
- Many women are holding “girls night in” parties. This is very popular also even in more rural areas or smaller towns where there is not much to do.
- Mobile spray tanning is easier for many bridal parties! Many times bridesmaids and wedding guests are traveling and there is a lack of transportation ( or they not familiar with the area). So they love mobile spray tanning so they can book someone to come to their hotel to spray everyone as a group.
How much money can you make?
This is an average guide to get an idea. Just like anything in life you are going to get what you put into it. But the income potential for mobile spray tanning can be fantastic!
*Please note that this is not even counting group sessions or bridal parties. I have made a few hundred dollars in one appointment doing group tanning or spray tan parties!
The profit margin for cost per tan is excellent! Here is an average example on your profit margin based on product alone!
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 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 along the way. So I want 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.
Get a business license
Even thought you are not renting retail space no matter what city you live in you need a license to operate any type of business. And also check with your county ordinance as well. Business licenses are very inexpensive and you must have one. I encounter many techs that do not get a business licence. This is not legal and you need to do things legitimate or risk getting shut down or incur fines.
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. There are so many cute ones that you can get from Thirty One 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.
This is a very important topic 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 to even see the house view 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. That is because it provides a logical reason for you to have to go back to your vehicle. This was if you get any bad feelings & feel that something is not right you can just get back into your car and leave! Hotels are an exception (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. Maybe 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.
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 or their machine got residue on the carpet or rug etc. So make sure you are covered, Hopefully you will never have to use it but at least you will have it.
What machine to use and get a backup
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 can lose revenue 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.
I am always getting asked what I feel is the best machine is to start off with. I love this one as I have personally used it plus it is a workhorse as well as lightweight so it is perfect for a mobile spray tan business! This is a fantastic machine when you are first starting out and so inexpensive. You can always upgrade if you need too ( then this can be a backup machine)
You can view product information here http://shop.yourperfectglow.com/Maximist-Spraymate-TNT_p_56.html
Supplies you will need
Here is a basic list of what you will need to start a mobile spray tan business. You might need more depending on your set up but here is my list of basic recommendations:
- Business License
- Business cards
- Spray tan machine
- Spray tan tent
- Gear to transport your mobile equipment in
- Extraction fan with filters
- Backup gun ( recommended in case of malfunction during a spray)
- Shower caps
- Disposables ( g strings, robes or bras)
- Baby Wipes (To wipe palms of hands after the spray tan)
- Nose plus
- Face masks
- Paper towels
- Sticky feet
- Prep spray
- Barrier cream
- Towels (for the bottom of the tent) or use disposable dog wee wee pads
- Index cards ( For client cards or use an app)
- Retail Aftercare (Lotion, tan extender, body wash)
- Business Facebook Page
- Business Instagram account
- Loyalty cards
Also not taken into account is the extra income you will make on selling retail aftercare to your client!
Perfect Glow Sunless offers fantastic 5 star spray tan training for anyone looking to start a mobile spray tan business!
Online, hands on training and mentoring packages for you no matter where you live! Visit https://learntoairbrushtan.com for more information and where we are coming to next
If you are just starting out starting your mobile spray tan business this 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 the creator of Perfect Glow Sunless & Melissa Weinberg Tanning & Beauty. A premium 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 is also a South Florida spray tan expert and offers online and in person spray tan training. For more information visit http://learntoairbrushtan.com for more course information.