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tanning salons

interested in buying a tanning salon. what do you think

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Answers (4)
Julie A. Barnes, CPA
Small Business Exchange, Inc.
Travis County, TX

Hello Pat and Don,

Don is correct - as far as I know, there are no definitive studies about the safety of tanning salons. It's not my intention to discourage anyone who might be considering the purchase of this kind of business. That's precisely why I prefaced my previous answer with "this is only my opinion". One of the greatest advantages of owning your own business brokerage is the freedom to decide what and with whom you want to list.

For example, after consulting with a 'green' dry cleaners, I discovered that the industry has some dark clouds on the horizon concerning possibly carcinogenic chemicals. I'm not a scientist and I don't know exactly what's going to transpire in that industry in the future but I sure wouldn't want to sell a dry cleaners - only to have the new owners fail.

I figure there are plenty of brokers who will take up the slack in either industry and I'm not saying that they are wrong - I'm simply saying that I have the luxury of listening to my instincts - whether they're steering me in the right direction or not.

Don, I always enjoy reading your posts - it's quite possible that you have a lot more sense than I do - you certainly make a lot of sense to me!

As usual, please feel free to visit my blog: - I would love to receive some comments - or even critiques about the advice I offer.

Julie A. Barnes, CPA
President, SBX, Inc.

Nov 2, 2009
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The BAF Group LLC

The interesting thing about tanning dangers is that the most recent round of them apparently was from a study that was done about ten years ago or so, and was proven to be worthless. The writers of the study themselves, apparently agreed that the findings were largely flawed. The results of this study appeared in the news just a few months ago again, for some crazy reason, and it was treated by a lot of people as current news, rather than as the old hat it really was.

This is not to take Julie's comments lightly. Sometimes, where there is smoke... But no one - to my knowledge - has written a definitive study on the absolute link between tanning lights and cancer, although there is suspicion on a number of fronts. But do you not list mobile phone stores for the same reason? Again, I am not knocking Julie for her beliefs, and she well may be far more informed and correct than I. But taking the mobile phone example: Where do we draw a line? (Julie, I would welcome further comment.)

Some - but not all tanning operations make a huge amount of money. They can be very good business, but you need to seriously consider the health side of the issue. How weighty is the evidence that suggests health hazards? What is your own ethical outlook? People know there is a far stronger cancer concern to sunbathing, but how many people avoid lengthy exposure to the sun? If they are willing to take the risk that your responsibility, or theirs; or a shared responsibility? And, from a business perspective, what are the long term liabilities for you, as a tanning salon operator?

Nov 2, 2009
Julie A. Barnes, CPA
Small Business Exchange, Inc.
Travis County, TX

Hi Pat,

The following is only my personal opinion, however, as a business broker, I do NOT list tanning salons - call it a social conscience or self interest. I can't imagine that folks will continue to bake their bodies given the many health warnings.

Now - if we're talking about a salon that offers full body sprays of dye - that's a different story unless I wake up tomorrow and discover that there is something harmful in that spray. Wouldn't surprise me but I've always loved to sport a tan so - until I hear otherwise - I think an investment in this kind of tanning spa should be a good one.

Please fee free to contact me if you have any questions and I would also encourage you to visit my blog: for advice on how to buy a business.

Good Luck!
Julie A. Barnes, CPA
President, SBX, Inc.

Nov 1, 2009
Jon Holmquist
Edgemaster Model 400 sharpener
Marion County, OR

Depends on your location and your bankroll. Need at least 10 beds, Low rent and dynamite staff.
Plus, always the posibility that another health warning could come out that would scare people away from your business. Other than that, it has to be fun to be around all those beautiful people.
Good luck, Jon at Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening

Oct 31, 2009