Are you considering tanning salon operator training for your staff? If so, “buyer beware!” is the best advice this tanning magazine can give you.

Tanning salon owners are constantly being told why your staff needs tanning salon operator training and certification. You’ll hear that you need to have all your employees trained and certified. This helps protect you from being sued, and it gives your business and the industry a more professional image. You’ll also hear that training and certification is required in some states. All of these are great reasons to run right out and spend a bunch of money on the most expensive certification programs this industry has to offer, right?

I urge all tanning salon owners not to be so hasty.

It’s the people who sell expensive training programs that say this. Like the savvy salespeople they are, they’ll appeal to your fears and ego to encourage you to spend your hard-earned money on their programs. Some of these companies don’t have your best interests, or the success of your business, at heart. This is why it’s SO important for tanning salon owners to know as much about the tanning regulations in your state and the truth about training and certification. Ideally, you want to have this info before you spend money training your staff.

Here’s what the tanning industry’s purveyors of training and certification won’t tell you:

  1. Their training and certification programs often cost a lot of money. There’s a belief that because of the limited choices in programs, these companies can set the prices as high as they want.
  2. Most tanning salons experience a high amount of turnover, which results in a lot of money and time wasted on training people who don’t stay with your company. (Not to mention the time and money spent on the people who replace those who quit or were fired, and so on.)
  3. The average tanning salon employee only needs to know a few, basic things about the tanning process to work behind your counter. Much of the basic things salon employees need to know can be found for free online, or are common knowledge within the industry. Some or all of this material can be found online and perhaps at your local library.
  4. High-level tanning salon operator training is best provided to managers, general manager, and other employees who are likely to stay with your tanning salon for a long time.
  5. The average tanning customer won’t notice or care about a certificate hanging on your salon’s wall.

What Other Tanning Salon Owners Do

We spoke with several salon owners in non-regulated states. None of them bothered to invest in expensive training and certification programs for the majority of their employees. They cited the usual reasons – turnover, cost, and time – as reasons why they didn’t pursue this option. These tanning salon pros listed the basic requirements they have for employees to be able to work behind the counters at their salons.

Here are the basic elements of tanning salon operator training that UV tanning salon owners want their salon staff to know:

  • Understanding melanin production and the tanning process.
  • How to determine a client’s skin type.
  • How to follow the recommendations set by the manufacturers of the tanning equipment and sunlamps used in their salons.

For those who offer sunless tanning options, here’s what tanning salon owners in non-regulated states want their employees to know:

  • The basics of DHA and how it interacts with the skin.
  • The basics of whatever spray tanning machine the salon uses. This includes tanning procedures, cleaning, and maintenance.
  • If custom spray tans are offered, employees need to know the benefits of this versus spray tan booths.
  • Some form of basic spray tan certification for those employees who perform spray tans on clients. (Most salon owners use the training offered by the company that makes the spray tan solutions and/or equipment they use.)

“But my Tanning Salon is in a Regulated State!”

Is your tanning salon in one of these states? If so, you’re required to have some sort of tanning salon operator certification/training for each employee. Before you go sign up with one of the big certification programs, talk to the agency in your state that’s in charge of enforcing these regulations. Find out exactly what they consider “tanning salon operator training and certification.” In some cases, you won’t have to have everyone take an expensive, multi-tiered training program.

Find out exactly what your employees need to know by law then find an affordable way to get them certified. If you’re not sure, network with other tanning salon owners in regulated states to see what they do. There are several tanning salon owners groups on Facebook that are chock filled with people who are more than willing to give you advice. Remember: Don’t just take one salon owner’s word for everything! Seek a consensus, ask questions, and weigh your options before making a decision.

Your Tanning Magazine This Week

This issue of Sun Biz Weekly has some important information to share. First up is something that affects every tanning salon owner who’s had to challenge an unemployment claim. (That’s basically every tanning salon owner, right?) If you don’t want to pay unemployment to a former staff member who was fired for just cause, you need to read this week’s Ask a Tanning Salon Business Consultant. To lighten things up a bit, we have a humorous yet informative piece for anyone who offers custom spray tanning services. As always, you’ll only get these tanning business tips in Sun Biz Weekly. Enjoy!

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