Running a business can be challenging if it is not set up correctly. Since there are so many steps involved in starting a laser tattoo removal business, it’s easy to overlook things that might seem like harmless choices.
However, it is those poor decisions that can hurt your success in the long run, or at least get you off to a rocky start.
Fortunately, we’ve seen the most common pitfalls and mistakes that entrepreneurs make when entering the laser tattoo removal industry, and we’re here to tell you how you can avoid them.
Choosing the right name for your business is important for many reasons, mainly because it’s the first thing people hear or see. Your business name should communicate the key fundamentals of your business, be relatable, and easy to understand.
One thing a lot of marketers in the laser tattoo removal industry suggest is choosing a business name comprised of relevant keywords that people will search for when researching tattoo removal providers in their area. For example, if I want to start a laser tattoo removal clinic in Dallas, I would consider naming my business “Dallas Laser Tattoo Removal Clinic.”
While this may be good for SEO purposes, it is a common pitfall that more and more laser tattoo removal businesses are running into. Why? Choosing a name that is too geographically-focused or specific can sometimes be a bad choice in disguise. This rule, of course, applies more to highly competitive markets. If you live in an area where no one is offering laser tattoo removal, choosing a name with relevant keywords might work to your advantage and help you dominate the market.
However, if you have 3 or 4 competitors in your area that have been established for longer, are ranking in the top positions in search results, and have well optimized websites, then choosing a generic/geographic business name might create backlash and work against you.
Don’t get me wrong though, using keywords in your business name can help increase your SEO ranking. However, that is just one tiny factor that search engines evaluate when determining how relevant your website is to a search query. Instead, having a more abstract and interesting name like “InkBGone” or “Think Before You Ink” can appeal to more clients and set you apart from competitors. You can catch up in SEO ranking by incorporating the keywords “Dallas” and “laser tattoo removal” in your domain name, content, alt tags, meta tags, etc.
Here are a few things to think about when choosing a name for your tattoo removal business:
- Don’t pick a name that is too long or confusing (KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid)
- Choose a name that customers can relate to
- Choose a name that accurately describes the service you provide
Clinic Space Rent
One of the biggest pitfalls we’ve witnessed new tattoo removal clinic owners make is their clinic space choice. We get it. Finding the right clinic space can sometimes feel like buying a new house. You want it to look fancy, spacious, and upscale with lots of flashy décor. What many entrepreneurs don’t know is that you really only need a 400 to 600 square foot space.
The ideal clinic space includes a waiting room, reception desk area, a treatment room, and a small office. That’s it. The key to finding the right office space is minimal cost. Laser tattoo removal is a niche procedure that doesn’t require an obvious location. Many of our most successful clients thrive in discreet settings. Why is that? This isn’t a procedure that people decide to get simply because they see your business storefront on the side of the road. Most tattoo removal patients do their research online first before scheduling an appointment.
So many entrepreneurs end up paying for space they don’t need or even use. From our observations, office buildings are the best option for a clinic space. They offer the basic necessities, minimal amenities, private parking, privacy for your patients, and, typically, the lowest cost.
Remember this rule of thumb when choosing a clinic space: Don’t pay more money for your rent than you would for your laser. You won’t be making money off of the space, you’ll be making it off of the treatments performed with your laser.
Service and Recertification Fees
In order to have a laser tattoo removal business, you have to have the right laser. But more importantly, you need to have a laser that is backed by reliable service. Many new tattoo removal business owners are under the false impression that once you buy a laser, you’re good to go. That’s not the case at all. Owning a laser is similar to owning a car. You need to get frequent oil changes, tire rotations, and other checkups to make sure your car performs to the best of its abilities.
Lasers are the same way. All lasers, no matter the manufacturer, need regular preventative maintenance in order to perform effective treatments. People that do not invest in ongoing service or consider recertification fees during the initial purchase (typically of used equipment) end up in a pitfall.
It is crucial that the manufacturer you buy from provides regular maintenance and technical support for your laser. The best technical service comes from laser engineers that are full-time employees of your laser’s manufacturer. Many companies outsource their service to third party agencies. This outsourcing increases repair time, cost, and decreases the success rate. A red flag should go up if access to technical support is not something that is included with your laser purchase. Furthermore, make sure you have access to an extended service plan or warranty.
Many used lasers that are sold from third party dealers do not offer service plans. When this happens, you end up having to pay a very costly recertification fee in order to get your laser serviced by the original manufacturer. For some lasers, a recertification fee can cost $250,000 – and that’s just before parts and labor.
Be smart and do your research before purchasing a laser, and make sure you know it can be serviced and properly taken care of for a reasonable amount of money.
No-Shows and Cancellations
Getting calls and appointments scheduled is one of the greatest feelings in the world, until you get no-shows and cancellations. But don’t worry, this is an issue that many, if not all, tattoo removal businesses experience.
While this issue can be frustrating, don’t let it stop your willingness to work hard and keep pushing. In the past, we’ve seen some clinics charge patients whenever they did not show up for a booked appointment. This requires payment upfront and will most likely dissuade patients from committing.
Thanks to scheduling software, there are new ways to reduce the number of no-shows you get. Through this technology, you can send text and email reminders to patients about their appointment. You have full control over how frequently a patient is contacted.
Our tip is to not be timid when reaching out to customers. If someone has booked an appointment, you should be even more proactive to get them to follow through with their decision.
Stagnant Marketing Efforts
Last but not least, in order to get customers through the door, you need to market your business well. Business owners that do not put in the time to market their business, should not be alarmed when they do not get calls. While there are various methods of advertising and marketing available, laser tattoo removal businesses should primarily focus their attention on online marketing. This includes having a solid website, utilizing pay-per-click ads (PPC), and implementing search engine optimization (SEO).
Make sure you invest in a good website. Since most patients research online before contacting a clinic, your website will act as the face of your business. Your website should be organized, easy to navigate, and filled with informative laser tattoo removal content. If you aren’t familiar with creating a website, you can hire a web developer for around $1,500. Sites like WordPress and Squarespace are also easy to learn and free to create an account.
The pitfall that so many business owners make is when their marketing efforts stop after they build their website. Just because you have a website, does not mean it will rank on the first page of search results automatically. Instead, brand new websites usually rank on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th page of search results, and typically go unnoticed by potential clients. Search engines like Google and Bing use various algorithms and scoring methods to determine how to rank certain websites for specific search queries.
The fastest way to get your site on the first page of search results is through PPC ads. PPC ads allow you to skip the line of websites by paying for an ad space. Because laser tattoo removal is such a niche procedure, only people with tattoo regret are going to be interested in your service. PPC ads allow you to target that core audience as well as the specific locations that you want to reach, without wasting ad spend, time, and efforts reaching people who aren’t interested in your service at all. Businesses just starting out should definitely invest in this type of marketing.
Search engine optimization is making your site as credible and relevant to specific search terms so Google and Bing rank you on the first page of search results organically. This service is free but takes a longer time to take effect. To improve your site’s natural rank position over time, be sure to optimize your content with lots of relevant keywords. You can read more about SEO and PPC ads here.
Once your site is up and running, don’t stop there. Get out and network with similar business that can help market to and grow your clientele. Contact military recruiters to connect with people that cannot enlist due to tattoo restrictions. Reach out to medical spas, laser hair removal clinics, and other businesses that have the same type of audience you’re trying to reach. Work with tattoo shops and offer their clients fading for cover-up tattoos. Never stop thinking of ways to get leads. Be creative, and have fun with it.
Starting a laser tattoo removal business is exciting, just make sure you do things the right way – the way that works! In order to avoid common pitfalls and run a successful business, plan things out and consult with professionals (like us).
Remember to not get too discouraged whenever something doesn’t go your way. Be patient and give your business time to grow. Avoiding these pitfalls and making informed decisions can help lead your business down a path of success.
Astanza has helped thousands of clients all over the world build successful laser tattoo removal businesses. If you’re interested in entering this exciting field, or wish to add laser tattoo removal to your existing clinic, call us and get connected with an Astanza representative today.