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TIPS for first time buyers

One of the things most new salon owners find most frustrating is not knowing the things ‘I wish I knew before I bought.’  Here are five things you may want to find out before purchasing a tanning bed for your business.

  1. See The Products. Visit your supplier’s showroom to see the beds and meet the people!  Depending on the size and number of salons you open, you may invest tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in tanning beds and equipment. There are a lot of low quality beds on the market, and unfortunately you can’t always judge tanning bed quality from a photo in a brochure or a picture on the Internet.  You can also get a feel for the people you may be doing business with by spending time with them and seeing their business in person.  It is a must to see the tanning beds in person, and meet the company that sells them. 
  2. Don’t Buy - Invest! Tanning beds are one of the most important investments a salon can make, as they are central to your operations.  Consider revenue potential, maintenance costs, down time, customer satisfaction and re-sale value.  Discount brands often have less revenue potential, higher maintenance costs, lower re-sale value and lower customer satisfaction ratings.  Top brands actually have a following, and flagship beds can create an excitement and buzz that brings in the savvy tanning leaders, with all of their follower friends.
  3. Consider Financing. When you want to buy the best, consider financing your tanning bed investment. For example, $25,000 in equipment cost will equal out to about $16.00 a day when you finance. The minimal added cost to your fixed overhead will be far outweighed by the benefits of having top-notch equipment. And leasing allows you to have better cash flow: you are matching your expenses to your revenue inflows. Many salon chains grow faster than others because they use financing to fund expansion. While the cash buyers may wait three years to pay themselves back, the smart investors are focused on opening a third store!
  4. Check Out The Service Department! Many companies reduce their overhead by not providing service after the sale, especially when they are located in a state that is far away from you. Ask questions like, “Do you have local service?” If they say yes, ask them to provide names and numbers, then call! The quality of your supplier’s support and technical staff is critically important. After all, every moment your beds are down, you lose revenue. Also find out if their service personnel are inexperienced or true experts that can keep your salon running when you encounter a problem. And, how fast can they really respond when you need them?
  5. Check References. Don’t rely on just a claim from a salesperson. Ask to speak to a few of their customers. Ask to talk with customers that have been in business for at least five years, so you can get a better indication of how they take care of customers over the long haul.