Start A Spray Tanning Business

As people become aware of the risks of overexposure to the sun, many are looking for safer ways to tan. While there are plenty of tanning salons that offer the traditional tanning beds, over the past few years spray tanning, or airbrush tanning, has gained popularity. Starting a spray tanning business could prove extremely lucrative for an outgoing entrepreneur who is willing to learn operate an airbrush machine (or hire someone who is). Start-up costs can be fairly low, particularly if you start a mobile spray tanning business.


1. Determine if you will operate a mobile or fixed business. A mobile spray tanning business can save on overhead, but it means you will need to go to your customers. If you decide on a mobile business, consider setting up a booth at flea markets, fairs, beauty salons, gyms and hotels.

2. Incorporate your business if you will have employees. If you will operate alone, you may remain a sole proprietor. Contact your tax commission and health department about any permits and licenses that you will need, such as a building permit or sales tax permit.

3. Find your location. If your spray tanning business will be fixed, look for high traffic locales such as shopping plazas near universities and apartments. Your tanning salon should be convenient for customers.

4. Purchase your equipment. For a mobile business, visit for a complete mobile system that includes compressor, airbrush, tanning solution, eye and hair protection, and gloves. Also visit to purchase wholesale spray tanning supplies. You will also need a merchant account such as those offered by, in order to accept credit cards. Other supplies that you will need for your business include display cases for any accessories you may sell (such as lotions and sunglasses), invoice receipts, a cash register, signage, business cards, tropical plants and other supplies to help create your storefront theme.

5. Become knowledgeable about spray tanning and any FDA regulations. Take an airbrush training course. Some of your customers may be sensitive to the products you use. A training course can help you understand skin preparation, important ingredients and application of the solution. Visit for information on becoming certified.

6. Be friendly. Your location and the customer service that you provide will determine whether or not your business is a success. Being friendly and knowledgeable about your products will assure customers that you are a professional and ensure repeat business. Networking is extremely important in this industry.

7. Advertise your business on Google Maps, in local online directories, on bulletin boards at Laundromats, on college campuses and at grocery stores. Advertise on Craigslist, the radio and in newspapers. Offer coupons. Consider starting a website.