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Starting a Massage Spa Business: What You Need To Know

Posted by Emin Andreasian on

Owning a spa is a dream for many beauty industry professionals. However, putting everything together can get complicated and stressful. There are so many moving parts to the process of starting a spa business and it's easy to get overwhelmed without doing research. So, if you've decided you'd like to begin the process of opening a massage spa business, consider these factors as you get started.


1.  Employees / Staff

You can't embark on this journey as a spa business owner alone. It's impossible. Consider the support staff you'll need to facilitate a thriving spa that customers look forward to visiting. There are a wide variety of professionals that you'll need in order to facilitate a high-quality experience on a daily basis.

Recommendation 1: Hire masseuse specialist on per appointment basis. See what your customers want and find local specialists who can work on a per appointment basis. Try to keep payroll down at all times :)

Decide the type of massage treatments your spa will offer. A professional and highly skilled masseuse or two will be needed on your staff. In most cases, the spa owner is a trained masseuse and is opening his or her dream business. The quality of the massage is arguably the most important component to the success of your spa business. In reality, you can have all the nice massage spa equipment and furniture, but if, at the end of the day, the massage itself is no good, then the customer repeat rate will be low enough where the business won't be sustainable.

Focus on the types of massage your spa will offer. This will help with your marketing, but more importantly, it will help you hire a specialty masseuse based on what customers want:

    • Swedish massage
    • Deep tissue massage
    • Sports massage (my favorite!)
    • Aromatherapy massage
    • Hot stone massage
    • Thai massage
    • Muscle pliability massage
    • Reflexology message
    • Prenatal massage

Recommendation 2: Hire a ninja who can help with customer support and who can help with office administrative work. This person has to have the same vision as you (the spa business owner).

As your customers walk through the door, first impressions are lasting impressions. If customers are not greeted warmly or helped immediately, this could hurt the way customers perceive your business. Therefore, we recommended hiring someone who handles customer support only. This member of your staff does not provide massages, they strictly help with customer requests, clerical work and hopefully marketing. A good office assistant is important for daily operations. There will be emails, phone calls and scheduling matters that someone needs to consider. The right office personnel will take care of those needs.

Recommendation 3: Hire a cleaning crew. Make sure your spa has an Equinox feel to it, always clean.

It's also crucial to hire a cleaning service. For a business that deals intimately with people, bacteria and germs can spread if sanitary practices aren't ingrained into the company's culture. 


2.  Spa Products - Furniture - Decor

When most people think of a spa, they automatically think of relaxation, tranquility and beauty. It's a place to get restored, physically and mentally. The atmosphere of a spa needs to be relaxing, welcoming and pleasant. It's important to consider the cost and appearance of the spa. Make sure it has the right colors that evoke the right feelings you want your customers to feel.

Recommendation 1: Considering there are a lot of products to buy when starting a massage spa business, we recommend investing in a Bundled Spa Package that gives you everything you need.

As a spa owner, part of your expenses will come from purchasing furniture and decor essentials. Some of the line items you'll see on a list of massage spa start up costs include:

    • Bath products
    • Portable massage tables
    • Electric massage tables / facial chairs
    • Table linens
    • Essential oils
    • Body and face towels
    • Hot towel cabinet
    • Aromatherapy product
    • Facial steamers
    • Magnifying lamps

When it comes to decor, understand that it plays a big role in a customer's experience. Include elements like:

    • Water features for relaxing sound
    • Scented candles
    • Front desk unit where customers are greeted
    • Beautiful artwork to transform the space

Use natural aromatherapy options like essential oils and oil reed diffusers to provide a natural scent in the air. You can also keep it simple and use plug-ins to make sure each space smells consistently amazing. To gain a level of continuity, it might be a great idea to get a consultation from an interior decorator or designer. You'll be able to communicate your vision and the right design professional can help it come to life.


3.  Income-Producing Spa Business Strategies

If you'd like your massage spa to be around for years to come, approach it as a full-service brand. Not only is it wise to consider how to provide high-quality services and experiences for your clientele, it's also essential to create other income sources. A full-service salon can also create their own branded product line. Use the product line in-house and also make it available to those who like to shop online.

A clothing line that comes with comfortable robes, slippers and t-shirts will generate income. A candle line is another great option. Use candles to provide a  signature scent throughout the spa. As customers exit, make sure they know these candles and clothing line are for sale.

Another income generating option could be a small cafe. Consider creating a small in-house cafe that offers salads, sandwiches, desserts and beverages. If you have clients that want to spend a day at the spa, they're going to get hungry. Having this option available is always helpful and can create more revenue.

As you create your spa business plan, make sure that these types of income generating strategies make sense for your spa. Consider introducing these various ideas on a gradual basis and as the clientele increases.


4.  Marketing and Advertising

In many cases, the health of a business lies in its ability to grow and expand. If there aren't any customers, there's no business. Create a strong marketing and advertising strategy to get customers through the door on a daily basis. As you look at massage spa start up expenses, make sure there is a line for marketing and advertising efforts.

Whether it involves purchasing Facebook Ads, hiring a social media manager or running a special through a site like Groupon, make sure the company brand is getting in front of hundreds of new people every single day. It's the only way to thrive. As you offer specials, more people will come through the doors. Impress them with the excellent services and they'll become faithful customers that pay full price. Consider utilizing the power of social media and search advertising for effective marketing. Partner with major digital influencers and create brand campaigns. Measure you install Google Analytics on your website (it's free) to see the efforts which are most effective.

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