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The Expert's Guide to Buying Laser Equipment

Louis Silberman January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Fractional laser wrinkle reduction

More mature clients may prefer fractional laser wrinkle reduction.

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Vanity and the pursuit of looking younger are ever-present elements in many people’s lives. The practice of esthetics has been present for centuries and can be traced as far back as the days of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Just as a painter creating a portrait, a composer drafting a sonata or a dancer performing fluid movement with the body, the work of an esthetician is an art in its own right. Instead of oil paint and canvas, esthetic professionals let their creativity shine through by providing relaxing and restorative treatments that improve the confidence and self-image of their clients.

Early esthetic professionals only had the limited resources around them with which to work. Today, modern estheticians are able to choose from an overwhelming number of treatment options. New scientific discoveries and advancements in technology are common, with the largest leaps made in the field of medical aesthetics and cosmetic lasers. Although treatments such as laser hair removal and photofacial skin rejuvenation are some of the most popular available, shopping for the equipment necessary to offer these services can be tricky. For the professionals who are in the market to purchase cosmetic laser equipment, this article will help remove the guesswork by answering important questions and providing inside details about the shopping process.

Find a focus

The first step in the shopping process is to look at your specific client demographic to see what types of treatments would be most appealing to it. Younger clients are typically drawn to laser hair removal, and more mature clients may lean toward photofacial skin rejuvenation and fractional laser wrinkle reduction. Client skin type is also important to consider. If the majority of your clients are of darker skin types—Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classification 4, 5 or 6—they might be unable to receive certain types of laser treatments successfully. After categorizing your clientele, it is time to select the treatment modality best suited for its needs. See Top Laser Treatment Modalities for a list of today’s most popular laser-based procedures. Once you have made this important decision, it is crucial to take many details into consideration when making this purchase.

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Top Laser Treatment Modalities

Following is a list of the most popular cosmetic laser procedures available today.

Laser hair removal

Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial skin rejuvenation

Fractional laser wrinkle reduction

Fractional laser scar and acne reduction

Laser tattoo removal

Laser vein reduction

Laser cellulite reduction

Buying Method Equations

The following equations are based on a treatment platform valued at $90,000 that uses interchangeable hand pieces to perform multiple treatments, including laser hair removal, IPL, photofacial and fractional.

Average treatment retail price

Laser hair removal: $200

IPL photofacial skin rejuvenation: $400

Fractional laser wrinkle reduction: $800

Cost of performing one of each treatment: $1,400

Average cost of the three treatments: $467

Potential monthly laser revenue based on performing two of each treatment per day in a 30-day month: $84,000

Cash: $90,000 paid up front

  • Saves $19,500 in interest fees compared to a five-year 8% loan
  • No loan or lease obligations
  • Drains company capital
  • Cost of laser per month if it was translated into monthly installments for five years: $1,500
  • Average number of treatments a business needs to provide per month to gain 10% profit on monthly investment: 3.5

Financing with five-year 8% interest loan

  • Laser: $90,000
  • Total interest paid during five years: $19,500
  • Total cost paid during life of loan (principle + interest): $109,500
  • Loan payment per month: $1,825
  • Credit-based; if you have had credit problems, you will have a difficult time getting financed.
  • More complicated process than leasing
  • No time restrictions; can be paid off early
  • Average number of treatments a business needs to provide per month to gain 10% profit on monthly investment: 4.3

Leasing

  • Laser: $90,000
  • $2,200 per month on five-year lease plan
  • Cannot terminate early
  • Credit-based; if you have had credit problems, you will have a difficult time getting a lease
  • Less complicated process than financing
  • At end of lease, a 10–15% of market value buy-out fee may be paid by the lessee to buy laser
  • Average number of treatments a business needs to provide per month to gain 10% profit on monthly investment: 5.2

Renting

  • Average daily rental fee for $90,000 laser: $1,250
  • No contract or long-term financial obligation
  • Average number of treatments a business needs to give per day to gain 10% profit on daily rental cost investment: 2.9

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