Spray Tanning Business Opportunity

Thinking about starting a mobile, at home or salon based spray tanning business? Start here.

This page contains information for those who are seriously interested in adding sunless spray tanning to their salon or those considering opening a spray tanning business. Service perks, additional profits and training resources are all discussed here in a guide to gain the most benefits from the sunless spray tanning opportunity.

Superior Application

The spray tan has exploded within the last decade, opening a new door for the tanning world with a sunless spray tan that cannot be duplicated by foams, lotions or aerosol sprays. The spray tan is highly valued and is incredibly popular amongst the movie, TV, and wedding industries.


If you are starting a tanning salon, tanning business, or are looking for a new service to add to your current business, spray tanning is a can't miss opportunity. With it's low entry cost, quick learning curve and the huge popularity of spray tanning, it can be a much more affordable option than spending thousands of dollars adding tanning beds or spray booths. A complete spray tanning unit with all the supplies needed to get started can be purchased for just hundreds of dollars, and a wide selection of equipment choices for your specific needs are available. (Check out our Tanning Kits Buying Guide.) Put simply, with the incredible business potential that can be gained, can you afford not to offer this service?

Spray Tan Basics

The typical spray tanning solution is a composed of two "tanning" agents. The first is an immediate bronzer, simply a dye to serve as a color guide for the tanning technician (to see where they have/have not sprayed) and to give the skin some immediate color. Most of this bronzer will wash off during the first shower after tanning. (There are solutions, referred to as clear, that do not have this ingredient.) The second agent is DHA (dihydroxyacetone), an FDA-approved external use compound that reacts to the outermost layer of skin to produce a tan. Depending on the solution being used, a DHA tan becomes fully developed in 8-10 hours with the first shower recommended after 12 hours. These ingredients are the base for spray tanning solution, however, since other ingredients and directions will vary slightly it is always important to read the tanning solution labels before buying or spraying them.

Education and Training Resources

The Tanning Store provides multiple resources to provide you with the knowledge to present a professional, educated image to your clients. The The Spray Tanning Manual (of which this page is a part) covers the basics of tanning in a format that is easy to read, interpret and relocate. We make our best attempt to keep this information clear and updated so you can get the best knowledge available from these few pages. This manual also includes instructional videos for spray tan techniques and upkeep procedures that are better understood visually. And of course, our Customer Service experts are just a phone callaway.

Three Steps to Making More Profit

There are three basic, easy steps to achieving a long-lasting sunless spray tan: exfoliation, tanning and moisturization. In business terms, each step provides the opportunity for an additional profit.

Step 1: Pre-Sunless Spray Tan Preparation
Start With a Good Foundation

The color given to skin by airbrush tanning appears through the reaction of DHA with the outer surface cells of the skin. This leaves the longevity of the tan subject to the natural renewal cycle of a person's skin, which is obviously not the same length of time for everybody. However, exfoliation can be a key process in ensuring the longest lasting tan available for any particular individual, preparing the surface of the skin to provide a good base for the airbrush tan to set. Typically, this exfoliation is done the night before the tanning session, or just before the client leaves home for the tanning session. As a business, take the advantage of this profit opportunity presented by this step by offering a wide array of exfoliating products for resale on your shelves. As with any business, the greater the selection, the more interest your client gives to your product selection looking for a suitable item for their tastes. Check out our selection of pre-sunless and exfoliation products.

But what can be done with the unprepared client or a walk-in customer? We carry a few products that are specifically made for the unready client in the forms of a spritz or wipes. While these don't contain the dermal exfoliating beads of an exfoliant wash, they do remove oil, perfumes, perspiration and deodorants which can cause major problems in the final results of a tan. Both these products are easy to use and the client can be predominantly cleaned in a matter of a few minutes. While this rather unexpected process can squander some time, the use of the skin prep products can support a higher service charge.

Step 2: The Sunless Spray Tan
Spray Tan Business Costs

The recommended amount for a typical airbrush application is about 2 ounces of solution per client. At this rate, a quart of solution would result in 16 applications, a half gallon would be 32, and a gallon would be 64. The Tanning Store offers tanning solution in varied sizes covering an array of different budgets. For a gallon size, we have a range of solutions from less than $100 to about $150, which would mean the cost per application with most expensive solution would be just $2.34 per client. However, keep in mind that many technicians have difficulty sticking strictly to the 2 ounces suggestion, spraying closer to 3 ounces. As this may be a necessity for larger clients, restraint in general will result in fewer issues and a lower cost.

We are proud to offer a number of quality solutions from the leading manufacturers Vani-T, Norvell, Aviva Labs, Sjolie, and St. Tropez. Although all have the basic ingredients of every tanning solution produced, our selection allows for finding the best suited solution qualities and options for individual clients. Carrying multiple solutions with contrasting benefits in a spray tan setting can be an easy way to distinguish a business from its competition.

Deciding how to charge for spray tanning sessions can be an important part in determining the growth of your business. Local market conditions are to be considered and, ultimately, supply and demand will determine at what amount those local market prices are set. Many questions need to be answered before choosing a price for your tans. How many competitors do you have? What is the income level of your area? Is it a resort area or an area close to the beach? The price range is typically between $25-$50 per session, perhaps more in an exclusive area. Many gimmicks or strategies can also be considered such as opening sales, starter packages, tanning parties, facial packages and bundle packages which can include exfoliants and moisturizers. Remember, it is always important to excite a potential customer and catch their eye in this demanding and popular market.

Spray Tan Equipment

Too many salons and tanning service businesses sabotage their new service with shoddy equipment. The Tanning Store's Salon Series equipment line is built around the premium Naked Sun, Aura and Fuji brands. The Naked Sun brand works well and sport a clean, elegant, technical design - not a spartan, industrial appearance - helping the technician and business owner to project a professional image. Our brands provides a more personal environment free of disruption and conductive to conversation. We discount these brands of equipment, so before you buy check with us. For the same money elsewhere spent on a cheap, loud, stocky-looking unit, you could have one of our premium brands.

Step 3: Spray Tan Aftercare
Moisturization and Maintenance

It's hard to overemphasize the importance of proper moisturization in extending the length of a spray tan. Hydrating skin every morning and every night is recommended throughout the life of the tan. Two classes of tan extenders exist, distinguished by whether they contain DHA. Both types can be effective for their purpose and can be used together or separately. DHA moisturizers usually contain 3% or less DHA and are effectively "light" sunless lotion. (In comparison, a full strength sunless lotion may contain 5-8% DHA.) Having a low concentration of DHA allows these moisturizers to be used daily to maintain or deepen the tan color. DHA extenders can have a drying effect on more sensitive skin and some technicians feel more comfortable recommending a regular tan extender for daily use. Knowing the utmost importance of this final step, we offer a great selection of post sunless tanning products.

Still Debating?

Spray tanning is a service with exploding demand that only requires a low investment with techniques that can be mastered in a relatively short time. The Tanning Store supplies products that are effective, professional and competitively inexpensive as well as providing you with the resources needed to perfect your new tanning techniques. You'll know you are presenting the finest professional products available.

At The Tanning Store, every season is tanning season!