Once you’ve decided on the equipment, supplies and solution you plan to use for your sunless business, you might be wondering whether you need to pursue training. The answer is absolutely!
A common mistake made by many new technicians is assuming that airbrush tanning is simple and anyone can do it. This can be costly to your reputation. Performing an airbrush application is truly an art. When a professional ice skater takes to the rink, their movements look effortless and flawless. It makes the spectator feel as if they could get on the rink themselves and perform a triple toe loop. Three seconds onto the ice, an inexperienced skater will realize it is not as simple as it appears. The same concept holds true for performing an airbrush.
In order to give a perfect airbrush application, there are specific techniques and details that must be mastered. Training and certification are not licensed requirements. However they can be the difference between a great result and a lost customer. As we all know, a bad reputation spreads faster than a good one.
Choosing a Company for In-Person Training
There are several sunless tanning companies that offer specialized in-person training. You want to choose a company that has the application expertise to train your team to perform a flawless, beautiful airbrush. Some factors you should consider while doing your research are:
1. Is sunless training part of the company’s expertise? Spray tanning has become such a hot service that non-sunless companies are beginning to offer airbrush solution and products as part of their catalog. This does not mean they are training experts. When reviewing the company’s training programs, make sure to investigate their training expertise. Ask questions such as:
a. How is their training different from their competition?
b. How long have their trainers been airbrush technicians?
c. Have their trainers provided this service to paying customers?
The goal is to hire a trainer that can not only teach you the technique, but can help prepare you for real-life scenarios that you may encounter as a technician.
2. What does the company’s program cover? There are several aspects of the sunless tanning business, not just the technique. The trainer should show you how to work with the applicator and explain how DHA works. In addition, they should teach you the proper way to educate your clients on how to prepare and care for their sunless tan. The trainer ought to offer tips on troubleshooting issues you may encounter.
3. Where is the training course held? Training can be conducted in a classroom setting, at the sunless provider’s headquarters or in the technician’s place of business. There are several benefits to having a trainer come to your place of business. Being trained in your own environment allows your technician(s) to learn with your equipment. A good trainer will make suggestions on how to optimize your airbrush space, making it more comfortable for the technician and client.
Most companies will offer a certification of course completion. Certification instills confidence in the technician and will prove to the clients that the technician has completed a course specific to spray tanning.
Web and Video Training
There is a lot of information on the Internet that allows a technician to see how to perform an airbrush. If you have spent any time on You Tube, you may have seen video after video of technicians demonstrating how to airbrush. Unfortunately, you will see a lot of what we call “airbrush hosing." This is where the technician is haphazardly spraying the client with no regard to the areas they are covering. This is not the technique you want to emulate. Keep in mind that clients can go to a spray booth for a general application “hosing" technique; you are providing a specialized service that garners top dollar.
Videos are another option for training. These are usually a less detailed version of onsite training. Some companies will offer a training manual to accompany the video. This is nice to have as a reference when you are not near your computer or television. Keep in mind that videos and manuals cannot replace a live trainer who can tailor the training specific to your needs. Nor do they critique your technique to ensure you don’t develop bad habits.
At the very least, airbrush professionals should complete an online certification program that provides educational information about the sunless-airbrush process and components. This type of training is accessible 24/7 and can be done at the technician’s own pace. Although it is not a replacement for in-person training with a hands-on professional, it can provide a cost-effective foundation on which to build. Online certification can also supplement the practical application instruction you personally provide new employees down the road, long after you’ve mastered your own technique.
Justifying Training Costs
Learning to airbrush is a critical investment in your success. However, in many cases, proper training can be more costly than the supplies and equipment. The price for higher-level training can range anywhere from $250 to $5,000, depending on the company and type of course desired (e.g. video or live course). As a result, many technicians will shy away from getting trained, but they shouldn’t.
Keep in mind that clients are looking for a perfect airbrush tan. If the technician’s application skills are subpar, the client will not return, resulting in lost sales. Worse, they will tell their friends. Conversely, a properly trained skilled technician can build a huge customer following. The return on your training investment will continually pay you back.
As with any industry, operating a sunless tanning business requires the right tools and training in order to give a proper service. Technicians who make an investment in their training are making an investment in their own profit potential.