The 7 things you need to know when buying a sunbed

The 7 things you need to know when buying a sunbed

Published on 11th July 2016

According to a survey conducted the daily mail, the UK sunbed industry has risen by 80%. For any beauty vendor, the benefits of having sunbeds in your salon are obvious. However, before you have a sunbed installed, there are several factors you need to consider.

1. Are you sunbed ready?

Is your  premises ready for one or more sunbeds? Most commercial properties are fitted with a standard 240V or single phase electricity supply. Single phase supplies are suitable for premises that will mostly be running lighting and heating with a few other appliances. If you’re going to be running more than one sunbed at the same time you’ll likely blow the fuses in your property – not good.

To cope with running multiple sunbeds you’re premises will have to be upgraded to a three phase electrical supply, which is a common way of alternating power generation. However, rewiring your premises can be pricey and can take up to 8 days to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the premises.

2. Can you afford the running costs?

Like any electrical product, the running costs for each model varies. It’s important that you do your research and find sunbeds that you can run without draining too much of  your revenue or your capital. Though you’ll want to provide the best possible service for your customers, it’s vital that your business lives within its means – so here’s a formula for working out the running costs:

(Sunbed’s specified V/Watts x (energy cost per hour x hours of use) x number of sunbeds) = Total usage cost

It’s also worth noting that tube lamps may require replacing after around 500 hours. But given the popularity of the tanning services, you can easily recover maintenance costs.

3. Will you buy or lease?

If your business is tight for cash and you don’t have the capital to pay for equipment outright, then a lease is exactly what you need. A lease allows your business to run pieces of equipment, attracting customers and generating revenue. For a specified length of time, you’ll make manageable monthly payments. By having a regular revenue and a loyal client base, these monthly payments shouldn’t dip into your capital.

Depending on the arrangements with your supplier, you may have the option of buying the equipment at the end of the lease. If you do intend to eventually own the equipment you’ll have have to pay the asset’s VAT upfront. This must be paid before you can receive the equipment. If you don’t intend to own the equipment then the asset is classed as tax exempt. However, you’ll still be required to pay VAT on the monthly payments for our services either way.

Also, at the end of the lease, you’ll have the ability to upgrade should you decide to renew – making leases a popular finance option among many beauticians.

4.  Do you have all the safety information you need?

Earning the trust of your clients is vital for your salon. It’s important that you’re open and honest about the risks of treatment and your service’s safety procedures and guidelines. If you’re transparent and clear about your services and offer to spend time reassuring them, they’re more likely to enter a sunbed and recommend you to friends and family

5. Wondering how to attract customers?

Whether you’re a new or well established beautician, keeping customers interested and coming through the door can be tricky. With sunbed services in such high demand, the benefits of running sunbeds in your salon is apparent. Of course, you’ll have your loyal customers, but what if you want to extend your sunbed services further? There are ways you can attract customers, but will require creativity and expenditure.

Advertising is key. It’s all about making your presence known through social media, online advertising and magazine ads. Upon attracting customers inside, encourage them to sign up for email alerts and monthly newsletters that’ll inform them about events, deals, discounts and other related news.

Offering free samples, first-time customer deals and demos is a great way to attract new customers. It’s perfect for reassuring customers about the safety of your sunbeds and letting them know more about the range of services you have on offer. Of course, this will mean accepting an initial loss for the possibility of more customers.

6. Have you considered management software?

It’s worth noting that customers will require different UV intensities depending on their skin type. It’s important to know and adjust to their requirements so to avoid permanent skin damage. To accommodate these changes and manage them accordingly, installing data management software is essential. Examples of similar systems can be seen in GP surgeries and dentists. Some beautician specific examples are Meevo and Salon Tracker, but even more can be found at Capterra.   

7. Are you up to date with the latest sunbed news?

To keep up with the latest news and developments consider joining sunbed specific clubs and associations. The Sunbed Association (TSA) is one example that works to improve the image of the sunbed industry and encourage reputable practice guideline. Being linked to such associations will boost client confidence and help your salon gain access to recommended insurers, marketing materials, information on safety procedures and training resources.


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David Harrison

David Harrison

Content writer
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