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The concept of a spa as a way to make you a more healthy and relaxed person is far from new. It goes all the way back to ancient times. That spas are still popular is founded in that long history.

The healing power of spring water was discovered by the old Greeks. It was further developed by the Romans. Bathing was a social happening. Public baths provided relaxation and personal hygiene.

Natural springs were blessed by the gods. That’s why they cured diseases. In the present day, this belief is replaced by scientific knowledge of Balneotherapy.

There is no consensus in the medical world. But the modern-day approach to a spa is certainly more trustworthy. On a more secular note: the Romans got relief from rheumatism, arthritis, and too much food and drink.

In the colonies, natural hot springs were easy to find. Aix and Vichy in France, Bath and Buxton in England, springs in Germany, Baden, Austria, and Hungary. They became centers for recreation and social activities. Some included libraries, lecture halls, gymnasiums, and gardens.

The name Spa doesn’t have its origin in the Old Greek language or Latin. Spa is a small town with a spring in Belgium, which the Romans called Aquae Spadanae. The French-speaking locals named their spring Espa, meaning fountain.

Forward to the 21st century. Nowadays spas are as popular as ever. A visit to a spa relieves you from the stress of daily life. A day spa offers personal care treatments.

A spa treatment is a non-medical procedure. It will nonetheless improve your health and well-being. There are resort spas, destination spas, day spas, beauty salons and more.

How to open a spa depends on what spa business offerings you have in mind.

Small day spas offer facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing, electrolysis, and aromatherapy. Larger day spas may offer body wraps, mud baths, or hydrotherapy treatments. Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at Amelia..

Great, but how to open a spa business?

It all starts with figuring out what type of spa you want to open.

  • A day spa
  • An amenity spa
  • A holistic concept
  • A beauty spa
  • Amix of east and west
  • A combination of salon and spa
  • A green spa
  • A theme spa
  • A cross-over spa
  • A medical spa
  • A hot tub
  • A dental spa
  • A mobile spa
  • A resort or hotel spa
  • An Ayurvedic spa

Every type of spa will offer particular treatments. The decoration and ambience will be in line with the particular type, and each spa aims to give its guests a unique experience.

It’s good to know the differences between spas. What is a day spa? It’s a form of a beauty salon.Why are some spas branded as luxurious day spas?

Spas can be integrated into a resort. A destination spa is a resort for personal care treatments. Often you will find them at an exotic location. Do you see how well these concepts work together? It’s all about self-care at the end of the day, with different offerings aimed toward that goal.

Whatever type of spa you choose, you will take part in the health-improving business. It’s very much like opening a wellness center.

Let’s delve deeper into what you need to consider when planning your spa business.

Brand

Branding is a marketing practice.It creates a name and identity that is recognizable and unique. Customers will know what to expect. It sets you apart from the competition and it defines what makes you better. Your public-facing profile gives you your reputation. This reputation is an immediate result of your advertising and branding skills.

Recognition and trust will generate new customers. Stand out from the crowd! A clear and original brand will keep customers coming back. You will create an identity that resonates with a particular crowd of people, who will tell their friends your spa is the place to go.

Be unique. You want to be the proud owner of your day. You wish to compete with small spas and the big chains connected to resorts and hotels. Think big; think branding.

Services

 

When imagining a spa we immediately think “massage“. And for a good reason. Massages are relaxing and are beneficial for your well-being.

A good massage:

  • reduces tension, anxiety, and depression
  • improves blood circulation
  • stimulates the lymphatic system
  • prevents and relieves muscle cramps and spasms.
  • soothes arthritis, sciatica, muscle spasms.

Spa services include much more than massages only. The International Spa Association explains that a spa offers massage, skincare, or body treatments. A standard day spa offers body treatments and lifestyle services. A medical spa tops that with extra services provided by licensed medical practitioners. Extra medical services include acupuncture and microdermabrasion.

Many day spas offer additional services: haircuts, coloring, styling, and makeup.

Examples of spa treatments:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Bathing or soaking
  • Artificial waterfall
  • Feetbath
  • Hot spring: Japanese Onsen and Roman Thermae
  • Hot tub
  • Mud bath
  • Jet hydro massage
  • Peat pulp bath
  • Sauna
  • Steam bath
  • Vichy shower
  • Body wraps
  • Massage
  • Haircare
  • Nail care, manicures, and pedicures
  • Electrolysis
  • Waxing

Target market

Your customers are willing to spend good money on wellness and relaxation. So, make sure they get value for their money. Know your customers and where they’re coming from. Are you looking to attract local residents? Or are you dreaming about a destination spa on a tropical island?

Your target market will not only determine your location and the size of your spa business, but also the services you provide to make your customers happy.

How to open a spa: Business plan

You have a rough idea of what kind of spa business you want to open. A solid business plan is your roadmap for success. A spa business plan consists of a set of all the steps you need to take to create a spa business in the first place, and to keep it running profitably.

Location

Location, location, location! This catchphrase is a well-known cliche. It’s a matter of “To be or not to be”, or more precisely, “Where to be”.

Visibility is key. Mid or upscale neighborhoods are ideal. And sufficient foot traffic will save on marketing expenses.

It’s important that you find a spacious building that can accommodate:

  • All services, with ample room for equipment
  • A reception desk
  • A waiting area
  • A break room
  • A storage room

Think of accessibility, parking space, and the surrounding environment too. No one wants to be interrupted from a relaxing spa session by the sound of motorcycles roaring down a busy highway.

Start-Up Costs

How much does it cost to open a spa? You will need at least $100,000 or more to start one from nothing. If you opt to buy an existing one, expect to pay either less or even significantly more.

How to start a spa with no money? Get a loan from The Small Business Administration.

These loans for salons and spas will finance:

  • Salon equipment, for all the treatments you offer
  • Beauty supplies
  • Uneven cash flow between seasonal peaks in business
  • Modeling your salon or spa
  • New health and beauty services
  • Staff
  • Marketing

Equipment

  • Front counter or desk
  • Computer system with scheduling software
  • Product shelving
  • Hairstyling stations and tools
  • Massage tables
  • Pedicure chairs
  • Manicure tables
  • Facial equipment
  • Linen
  • Music
  • Plumbing
  • Electricity

Employees

The success of your spa business depends on the expertise of your employees. Their experience and level of service are capital. You need trained employees who can, at the least, answer basic questions about the services or treatments they are providing to clients.

Community college cosmetology instructors can recommend qualified students.

Licenses and permits

As for any business, you will need a business license. Day spas may require additional licenses.

  • General Business Licenses: Retail seller permit, and Spa business operation license.
  • Article Of Organization. This document must include a business model. Day spa, medical spa, ayurvedic spa, dental spa, and club spa,… Fill out a business name and address. Include LLC’s members, managers, organizers, and directors. Describe the business purpose.
  • Certificate Of Occupancy
  • Sales Tax
  • Federal Income Tax ID

States require particular licenses for spa personnel. Also, make sure your employees have liability insurance.

  • Liability Insurance Policy
  • Cosmetology License
  • Esthetician License
  • Electrologist License
  • Massage Therapist License
  • Manicurist License

And a Spa Management Certificate Or Degree.

Prices

Your location will affect your pricelist. In an upscale area, you may up your prices and offer high-end spa services. Prices in big cities or major suburbs are higher.

Some factors that influence what you can ask:

  • Is the spa luxurious? Robes and slippers provided? Is there a locker room. A steam sauna? A comfortable lounge? The more luxe, the higher the prices.
  • Are we talking about a resort or hotel spa? Locals can use them on a day pass but will have to cough up at least $150.
  • Most ‘normal’ day spas will start at around $80 -$120.

Some more examples, to give you an idea:

  • Massage services cost between $65 and $85 per hour. 55% of the service price goes to the service provider
  • A pedicure costs between $20 to $65
  • The cost of a facial varies from $50 to over $250
  • How much is a spa day? Most “normal“ day spas start at around $80 -$120

Website and tools

When we list the tools you’ll need, the following will easily come to mind:

  • Skincare tools
  • Manicure & pedicure tools
  • Shower room tools
  • Timers
  • Mirrors
  • Microdermabrasion machines
  • Waxing applicators
  • Tweezers
  • Spatulas
  • Masks
  • Bowls
  • Back heat packs
  • Neck wraps
  • etc

But how about marketing tools and appointment tools?

They are ever so important. A website is your number one marketing tool! The most popular and best website builder is without a doubt WordPress.

Make sure your WordPress website looks good. A beauty business can’t be represented by a badly designed website. If you don’t give your website the treatment it deserves, customers may wonder about the treatment you will give them.

WordPress comes with an easy to navigate dashboard, attractive templates, and simple,click-to-edit functionality. There is no requirement to hire a professional designer or Web guru to create and manage your site with WordPress, although of course, you’re free to do so.

Once you are building your website, install the Amelia booking plugin. This handy app accepts appointments and events online. Your appointment management can’t go smoother. The entire booking process is automated. It’s simple in use, yet powerful, and it will you total peace of mind.

Ending thoughts on how to open a spa

All items on your spa checklist are ticked off:

  • Location
  • Start-Up Costs
  • Equipment
  • Employees
  • Licenses and permits
  • Prices
  • Website and tools

After your grand opening, your first customers become regulars and they tell their friends about you.

You even held an opening party. You handed out discounts for appointments scheduled at the party. You promoted the values of your business. And had local and regional influencers on your guest list. A simple tweet or Instagram post may bring in many new customers.

And best of all? You made it easy for customers to book their appointments with the Amelia booking plugin. Online, at any time.

That’s professionalism for you! You sat down to figure out what type of spa you wanted and how to open a spa. You are now a successful entrepreneur. You went through every step of your crafted business plan.All your efforts resulted in a busy calendar.

Can you see it in your mind? It’s as easy as that!

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