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How to Start Your Own Spa Business

Updated on April 22, 2011

The word "spa" comes from the Latin expression for Health by Water. Generally water treatments (also known as hydrotherapy) are offered by many spas. But you could also choose to offer a wide variety of other services in your spa business. Spa business is one of the most happening businesses worldwide. It is a business that gives you fabulous financial returns for your investment. 

There are two types of spas. First, spas that complete their services in a few hours (for a facial or massage) or a single day are known as day spas. Second, spas that operate in conjunction with stay-over or hotel facilities are known as destination or resort spas. 

Spa business or running a spa would give you immense satisfaction of owning a business that helps people experience more happiness, health, and well-being. You could earn a profit and take home up to $100,000 or more per year. By starting your own spa business, you will be joining a growing industry that generates over $11 billion per year in revenue. According to the most recent statistics from the International Spa Association, there were approximately 136 million spa visits made in the U.S. last year, with 60% of those visits to a day spa. There are about 12,000 spas in the U.S. and Canada, according to ISPA, and seven out of ten are day spas. Today, Spa Industry revenues total $12 billion annually, with Day Spas accounting for over $7 billion of this figure and growing at 25% per year.


Getting Started

1. Determine which product and services to offer. Certain services require special equipment that can be expensive; in the initial stage you may offer the following:

  • Massages
  • Hair styling
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Makeup application
  • Facials and skin treatments
  • Hair removal
  • Full body treatments (such as scrubs or wraps)

2. Obtain necessary licenses that are required by your state to perform the services to be offered by your spa.

3. Find a location. Don’t get a long-term lease. Go for a month-to-month or 6-month lease if possible. Avoid going over your budget.

4. Visit the IRS website and download W-9 tax forms. Request an Employer Identification Number by clicking on the "Online SS-4" link from the left menu. Follow the website prompts.

5. Join a prepaid legal service to obtain non-disclosure agreements. Apply for business licenses as required by city, state and federal agencies.

6. Open a separate bank account for your business deposits and withdrawals and deposit your start-up capital funds in the account. Keep track of expenses.


Running a Successful Spa

  1. Find vendors who will provide free samples and a stand to sell their products. Take advantage of their free training and any promotions for start-ups.
  2. Recruit licensed massage therapists, manicurists and cosmetologists that are able to work as freelancers. You may consider placing wanted ads in local newspapers.
  3. Prepare a pricing list of the products and services that your spa will offer. You may visit competing spas in the neighborhood to have an idea.
  4. Provide customer satisfaction by creating a clean, relaxing and friendly environment. Use only experienced therapists and cosmetologists.

Marketing Strategy

  1. Local Advertising & Seasonal Promotions: Advertise through radio, newspaper ads and health magazines. Distribute flyers. Avoid TV ads initially to limit your spending. Offer grand opening party kick-off and promotion for first 30 days. Continue regular advertising and plan for seasonal events like Christmas, Valentine's, Mother's Day, Prom and New Year's.
  2. Local Networking: Charities, women's groups, country clubs, wedding planners, and membership with the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce.
  3. Health Care Referrals: Prior to opening create new contacts with health care providers, especially chiropractors.
  4. Hotel Referrals: Hotels that do not offer their own spa services will send their guests to your spa or use your out-call spa services.
  5. Online Website: Develop a professional looking website and market it through search engines.


Who could be your potential clients and what should you offer them?

  1. People recovering from injuries or accidents: Offer massage therapy
  2. People pampering themselves: Offer massage therapy, body and facial treatments
  3. People who prefer alternative health care: Offer massage as preventative health care, offer other alternative practices - e.g. acupuncture, chiropractor, naturopath, herbalist etc.
  4. Serious Athletes: Offer massage for improved performance - great for word-of mouth referrals if they see results.

Product and Service Description

  1. Men and Women Hair Styling: Men's ($30 average) and women's ($40 average) color ($75), perm ($80), and combos ($80-$120). Selected hair care products (shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, brushes, mirrors) would be sold as well.
  2. Body Works: Massage ($60), other massage/body works ($65 average), facials ($60 average), manicures ($45), pedicures ($50-$65), waxing ($20 average), aromatherapy ($40), and combos ($60-$200 depending). Specific complementing products would be sold as well.
  3. Energy Works: Reiki (1/2 hour $35, 1 hour $60), energy revitalization (1 hour $60), and therapeutic touch (1 hour $60). Customers would include people wishing to strengthen their physical body, mind, and spirit through the cleaning and revitalizing of their energetic system (i.e., aura, human energy field).

Financial Planning

The premier element in your financial plan should be initiating, maintaining, and improving the factors that create, stabilize, and increase your cash flow:

  1. You must create visibility so as to create customer flow.
  2. You must maintain a dependable, happy employee force so as to minimize employee overhead.

So what are you waiting for, start your spa business as early as possible and enjoy mental peace along with financial freedom!


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    • andycool profile image

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thank you so much Mrs. Menagerie for stopping by and leaving an encouraging comment! I really appreciate it. :)

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      I have no intentions of starting another business but I found your hub to be interesting and well written none-the-less.