The Sunless Tanning Business

Airbrush tanning is potentially the most profitable service a salon or spa can offer. The start-up costs are minimal and are recouped quickly. Plus, the service is fast and easy to perform.

Airbrush Sales

Offering a service that is in high demand can drive new business through the doors. In addition to new business, existing clients may want to add airbrush tanning to the other services they already receive, thereby creating additional revenue.

  • The service is fast. An application takes approximately five minutes with an additional five-minute dry time. This allows for several appointments in a single day.
  • For tanning salons sunless can add to their client base. Since tanning salons are typically seasonal, spray tan clients can sustain business throughout the slow season.
  • Hair & makeup salons as well as day spas & medi-spas that add airbrush treatments to their list of services can increase repeat business as well as potentially add new clientele to your existing base.
  • Mobile airbrush businesses allow you to work flexible hours and make a fantastic profit.

Airbrush Profits

The profit margin from airbrushing can far exceed any other service the business currently offers. Electricity used in a regular tanning salon can sometimes cost more than the charge for the service. Salon and spa services take time (sometimes over an hour), leaving the room and technician unavailable during the service.

With spray tanning your business can make a $40 sale in just 5 minutes. The solution cost for full-body applications is as low as $2.10.

  • One ounce of solution costs approximately $1.05. The cost per ounce does vary depending on solution used.
  • The average mark-up for an airbrush session is over 1000%, based on $40 cost to the customer.

Two to three ounces of solution is enough for a full-body airbrush. Each gallon of solution can airbrush up to 50 bodies.

Getting Started 

  • Start up costs can run as low as $736.00 for a unit, tent and solution. Sixteen airbrushes (based on $40 per session) will pay off your initial investment.
  • Anyone can start a spray tan business. There are no special class or certification requirements. Airbrush services can be offered through a storefront or as mobile business.
  • Requires minimal space. A 6 foot by 6 foot space is big enough to airbrush.

Don’t have a room? Don’t panic! Get creative with the space you have. Many tanning salons and spas have been able to create a space using a variety of options.

  • The Sol Potion Airbrush Stage is perfect for any room, even those designated for other services, storage or supplies. The Airbrush Stage can act as a room divider or as a backdrop to prevent overspray from direct contact with stationary walls. This unit is lightweight, portable and easy to store when not in use.

GO MOBILE! Clients feel comfortable in their own homes. Offering a service that goes to the client is very appealing. However conducting a sunless treatment in a shower/tub may not be the perfect setting as it may difficult to airbrush the calves and feet. Plus you don’t want to leave a mess for your client to have to clean. Our airbrush tent is the perfect containment for an application in your clients home. The open top allows for plenty of light and ventilation. The spacious inside makes application and clean up easy.

Why Add Spray Tanning to Your List of Services?

Spray tanning is a service in high demand yet still difficult to find. It is a cost effective source of revenue for your tanning salon or spa. For a nominal cost, adding sunless to your current list of services can potentially skyrocket your sales. Our professional products, equipment and training information give your salon or spa the edge it needs to succeed in the UV free tanning industry.

Depending on the salon or spa, the price for full body airbrush treatment ranges from $35 to $100. Based on our research, the average salon and spa charges between $40 to $60 for a treatment.

Price Per

The projected sales in this table are based upon a 5-day work week. These are average numbers for established airbrush operations.

Common New Sunless Business Questions

Airbrush tanning is a hugely profitable and popular service that is in demand.  As a salon or spa owner or entrepreneur you may have several questions. This section may help you to answer many of those questions.
What is spray tanning?
Spray tanning, is a personalized service that results in an all over tan instantly. Airbrush tanning is the fastest growing UV Free alternative for clients who cannot or will not traditionally tan or are simply looking for instant gratification.
Why is spray tanning so popular?
Clients are looking for a personalized service that will give them a flawless tan that looks natural. People who cannot tan or have skin concerns but still want that bronzed glow are looking for alternative methods to achieve it. The Mayo Clinic has cited that sunless tanning is a practical alternative to traditional UV tanning.
Why expand my menu of services?
For today’s entrepreneur, expanding services to stay ahead of large chain businesses and to maintain profitability has become a primary focus. A personalized service, such as airbrush tanning, offers a salon or spa owner the means to provide a quality service that sets his/her business apart from the large chains.  In addition, spray tan services, when implemented well, can be the most profitable services a salon offers.
Why offer spray tanning instead of having a spray booth?
Sunless tanning is a personalized approach to achieving an all-over tan instantly. Airbrush tanning is a treatment applied by a trained-certified technician. The technician will use an airbrush applicator to apply professional sunless tanning solution in a specific choreographed set of steps designed to the body being airbrushed. The active ingredient that creates this appearance is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is derived from natural sugar cane, which interacts with the proteins and amino acids on the outer layer of the skin to produce a brown color that lasts for several days. Airbrush tanning is applied by a trained-certified technician.
Why should I offer spray tan services?
Demand + Supply = Profit: Airbrush tanning is in high demand. These services are a cost effective source of new revenue for your salon or spa. For as little as $736.00 you can add airbrush tanning to your current list of services and watch your sales grow. Our professional spray tanning products, equipment and training information give your salon or spa the edge it needs to succeed in the sunless tanning industry.
Why choose Sol Potion?
Sol Potion® is considered a pioneer in the airbrush tanning industry.  We create, supply and offer expert knowledge of sunless tanning solutions, related skincare, equipment, supplies, and application technique.  We are committed to providing high quality products that are easy to use and give beautiful results.   By continually examining trends within our sector through use of our working lab, we are able to provide the ultimate sunless experience to the end user.  Our staff closely monitors every aspect of sunless from skin type compatibility and application technique, to skincare effectiveness and customer satisfaction.  Our goal is to exceed the demands of our clients…and yours.
What things should I consider when starting a new spray tan business?
If you are you planning on starting a new sunless business, there are a few things to consider when creating a business plan.

  • Create a business name that is catchy and easily describes your business.
  • Create a business logo for use on stationary, signs, etc.
  • Register your business name with your municipal and state agencies.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Get business cards.
  • Choose your location. Will you be operating a mobile business or brick and mortar?
  • Check to see if you need business insurance.
  • Set up a business phone.
  • Create a website or blog site.

Want to add sunless to your services, but don’t know where to begin?
Sol Potion® has done the work for you. Our airbrush tanning products and equipment are salon tested. There is no question that you and your clientele will be satisfied. In addition, our staff is available to assist you with training and support information.
Does my staff need training?
A common mistake made by many new technicians is that airbrush tanning is simple and anyone can do it. This can be costly to your reputation.  Performing an airbrush application is truly an art. Sol Potion® will train you and your staff the art of airbrush tanning. Our application technique makes learning to perform a perfect spray tan easy. Your application technique is the key to your success. Gain an advantage over your competitors by becoming a Sol Potion® certified airbrush tanning technician. See our airbrush training information to find out how you can become certified as a spray tan technician.
What type of spray tan training is best for my business?
In order to give a perfect airbrush application there are specific techniques and details that must be mastered. Training and certification can be the difference between a great result and a lost customer. However, choosing the right training and certification for you and your staff is critical to your success. The key to choosing a method of training is deciding what your training needs will be:
  • Has your staff been airbrushing but need a refresher course?  If so, a training DVD may be the answer.
  • Do you learn better at your own pace?  If so, the training manual, DVD and online test may work best for you.
  • Do you learn better with an instructor who can give one-on-one attention and answer all questions you may have.
  • On-site training with a skilled professional trainer may be for you.
Don’t be fooled by inexpensive mass training sessions taking place at insanely busy trade shows or large group seminars.  These types of training will not give you and your staff the attention needed to truly master the art of airbrush application.  
How does the sunless tan appear?
The active ingredient in sunless solution, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), works with the amino acids on the skin and air to create the brown appearance. Example: If you take a bite out of an apple and leave it for a while the acids in the apple combine with air to create a natural reaction resulting in a browning affect. This reaction is similar to what takes place with the DHA, air and the amino acids on your client’s skin.  The solution absorbs into the skin cells and the air activates the solution creating the appearance of a tan.
What type of sunless solution is right for my customer?
Sol Potion® offers five levels of professional spray tan solutions in our Signature Line. Our solutions can be used as is or blended to create your own signature beauty bar of colors. All solutions contain U.S. pharmaceutical grade ingredients and Eco-cert validated DHA and preservatives. Sol Potion® solutions are made in the USA and are cruelty free.
How do I decide what color spray tan solution is right for my client?
The decision on what level solution to use on your clients will depend on their skin type. Refer our Business Forms below for free forms that will assist you with choosing the appropriate solution level. Make sure to ask first time clients about their tanning goals and any problem areas they hope to address.
Are you interested in Private Labeling Sol Potion solutions?
Sol Potion® does offers private label options for our sunless solutions and skincare line. To learn more contact Sol Potion® representative at (800) 764-4080.

Business Forms  (Downloadable)

Need a registration form but don't have one? Sol Potion® has a number of forms below available for you to download. From client registration forms to technician cheat sheets these are available to you free of charge.
You will need Adobe Reader to view these. If you do not have Adobe Reader click here to download a version. 

Airbrush Client Registration and Legal Guardian Waiver

Airbrush Client Registration and Legal Guardian Waivertips.pdfThis form serves several purposes:

Client Registration
Client Waiver
Parental Consent
Technician Notes

While parental consent is not required for people under the age of 18, some businesses may wish to have an under 18 policy.  This form explains the policy and requires parent signature.

Airbrush Client Registration and Waiver

Sol Potion Airbrush Client Registration and WaiverThis doubles as a client registration and waiver.  There is also an area for technician notes.

FDA Recommendations for Spray Tanning with DHA

FDA Recommendation for Spray TanningTo ensure that your staff and customers are familiar with the FDA DHA advisory, we have created a downloadable form that may be printed and displayed at your counter.

Quick Tips for a Beautiful Tan

Quick Tips for a Beautiful TanThis form gives your clients’ some basic tips on how to prepare, what to wear and how to care for their airbrush tan.

Skin Type Assessment

Sol Potion Skin Type Assessment FormThis form should be used as a reference for the airbrush technician.  It gives a basic description of skin tones and what Sol Potion® solution will work best.  Keep in mind all Sol Potion® solutions can be mixed to create your own beauty bar of shades.

What to Expect During Your Airbrush Session

What to Expect During Your Airbrush SessionThis printable form details what the customer can expect to take place before, during and after their airbrush session.

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