In the movie Friday the 13th, Jason is a psychopath who sets out to destroy everyone in his path. For the tanning industry, J.A.S.O.N. is the months of July, August, September, October, and November. Statistically, there is some reason to fear this J.A.S.O.N. Most tanning salon owners ring up about 35 percent of their average annual revenues during these off-peak months. But that’s not even the scary part. What’s truly terrifying is that is that J.A.S.O.N. is mostly a monster of our own doing. Fortunately, these months present an opportunity for tanning salon owners to plan for their futures.
J.A.S.O.N. is a Mindset
For generations of tanning salons, there has been the mindset that most folks don’t care about color in the summer. If they do, they will seek it while attending soccer matches, T-ball, or other outdoor events. We seem to make up new excuses every year of why a significant percentage of the population craves beautiful healthy skin tones for when the snow melts, but gives up that look good/feel great responsibility over to the summer sun. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
J.A.S.O.N. is slow because some tanning salon owners and managers make these mistakes during this time of the year:
- Stop or severely decrease advertising.
- Go on expensive vacations.
- Spend little to no time analyzing sales results.
- Cut tanning salon hours.
- Make every excuse why they can’t do more business.
Maximize Your Business During J.A.S.O.N.
It’s this old tanning salon consultant’s experience that tanning salon owners and manager increase their revenue during the off-peak months. It’s also a great time to create a plan designed to earn more revenue during the next peak season. You do this by reviewing the ins and outs of the previous peak season in order to create a tanning salon business plan that will be a hit later this year. As with most things in business, your successful peak season all comes down to your tanning salon’s numbers and what you do with them.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!
With your sales numbers in front of you, any tanning salon owner can be their own consultant. On July 1, assemble your peak season sales results for the following categories:
- Total revenues
- Revenues per transaction
- Lotion revenues per transaction
- Dollars per individual customer
- Tans or total transactions
With those numbers in hand, ask yourself the following questions: “What did I do better than last year?” and “Where did my business go soft?” Answer these questions from the perspectives of your tanning salon as a whole as well as certain sales associates who were around both this year and last. You can’t improve your salon or staff if you don’t know how you did the previous year. Also, remember that employees needs goals for dollars per transactions and rewards for hitting them. Efforts that are recognized and reinforced are efforts that get repeated.
Consider Your Pricing Matrix
Is your pricing too high or too low? Having a super high per-customer average (PCA) might look like you have bragging rights, but it might also be that your prices are too high and you’re only capturing tanners who have the bucks to splurge. If I had to decide, I would take all the middle-class tanners and their middle class of salon investment than all the customers who spend $500 a year on tanning and associated products.
The old saw is true that if you sell only to the kings, you will live with the masses; but, if you sell to the masses, you will live like a king. A quick view of price effectiveness is the percentage of EFT membership holders at the top levels of pricing compared with the lower levels. If it seems like most of your tanners are kings, you might have pricing that’s missing a much larger market share of common, middle-class clients.
Let your staff help you beat the J.A.S.O.N. blues. Your employees often have a better handle on what your tanners think of your pricing versus that of your competition. The goal is to work with your employees on a pricing grid that seems easy for them to sell along with meaningful incentives. When employees see an easy path to tanning lotion sales commissions and EFT bonuses, they will sell the life out of them.
Good Luck, Tanning Salon Owners!
When it comes to facing down J.A.S.O.N., what you need is a different mindset. This “indoor tanning monster” only lives because we allow him to exist in our collective perceptions of off-season possibilities. Banish those old, fear-based attitudes then take the initiative to go after incremental sales and plan ahead using the tips above. Do this and you won’t have to take out another loan to pay for that big air conditioning bill at your tanning salon this August!