How to start a Spa Business: Essential Points to Consider

As the interest in spas and wellness continues to rise, so do the opportunities to be involved in the spa and wellness industry. While existing spa owners are exploring new and innovative ways to attract this growing audience, there are also many opportunities for newcomers to the spa industry to set up new ventures that can take advantage of this booming marketplace.

One of the biggest concerns for those starting out in the industry is how to start a spa business which can succeed amongst existing competitors in the market. Spa management courses are a great place to begin learning how to run a profitable and successful spa business. These courses teach you the intricacies of establishing a business, how to grow your business, how to hire a great team and how to maximize return on investment. They can also offer advice on how to create a strong foundation for your business as well as guiding you through the most common scenarios you will face while owning a spa business.

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This handy step-by-step guide offers some advice that newcomers to the spa industry can follow when looking to build a successful spa business.

1. Make a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is one of the first and most crucial steps for building any kind of business. So, when it comes to starting your own spa, it is essential that you have a plan in place which can be followed and then adapted depending on the circumstances. An effective business plan should include the following elements:

Choose a Business Model

As there are many types of spas within the huge spa and wellness industry, it’s important to have a business model in place before you set up your spa business. For this, you’ll need to research the market trends, check what your competitors are doing, understand what your audience is looking for, bear in mind your experience within the industry, and work out the kind of investment that you are capable of making. With all this taken into account, some of the most popular business models within the industry are:

  • Destination spa
  • Day spa
  • Club spa
  • Ayurvedic spa
  • Mobile spa

Deciding the services to offer

Which services and solutions to offer your clients is another huge consideration when starting a spa business. Again, it will be important to know the kinds of services that your competitors are offering so you can use this information to your advantage to ensure that your business stands out in a crowded marketplace. The usual must-have services of spa businesses are:

  • Massages
  • Body exfoliations
  • Manicures & pedicures
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Acupressure

Determining the target audience

Your business model and the services that you decide to offer should be geared towards the type of audience that you wish to cater for. Deciding your target audience is a crucial part of your business plan as your customers are the people who will help you grow your business and offer opportunities for expansion.

Estimating the costs and funding

By evaluating all the costs and funds available from the very beginning, you’ll learn how to open a spa in the most cost-effective way. Having a ballpark figure in mind will help you to make the right investments as well as offer services that are affordable to you and your audience. This process also involves finding organizations and individuals who might be interested in funding your spa business, as this will aid with cash flow.

Thinking of locations

Selecting a location that works for your target audience and the services offered is vital. A bustling, easily accessible, urban location like a shopping mall will ensure high footfall and be able to attract new and repeat customers alike, lending itself to day spas or drop-in appointments. Conversely, spas set in more rural locations will still need to be relatively easy to access, but offer stunning natural surroundings or additional onsite facilities to make the longer journey worthwhile and the overall experience more special.

Just like all businesses, those in the spa industry will need the required official documentation to show that all elements of the business are legitimate. Fulfilling all the legal requirements will mean you already have everything in place should you wish to expand your business in the future, saving you from any kind of authority questioning your paperwork further down the line.

Licensing and Training

It is essential that your spa therapists, both new and experienced, are fully trained, licensed and legally capable of carrying out the various services offered to your clients. Having a certified team and a business that fulfills all spa license requirements gives you peace of mind, increased security and the ability to expand into new regions and locations.


Having permits in place allows you to form a limited liability company, giving you the chance to gain different kinds of tax benefits while acquiring insurance for your employees and staff. Permits are important spa legal requirements as they also protect your business from fire damage, theft, and other such unforeseen circumstances. Since your business also involves using expensive equipment, it’s best to issue permits early on to avoid any kind of financial difficulties.

3. Continuously Update Operations

Implementing smooth-running business operations from the outset are the lifeblood of a successful business and need to be factored into spa start-up costs. Having effective operations in place also allows you to make enhancements to your existing offerings more easily and improve the quality of services you provide.

Sourcing of equipment and products

Irrespective of the business model you choose, investing in top-quality equipment and products is a must. Be it a day spa or a destination spa, the quality of your offerings will have a big impact on a client’s decision to return or not. The originality of your services will also affect whether your customers recommend you to their acquaintances, generating some much needed word of mouth for your spa business.


Your employees are the biggest ambassadors of your business as they are the ones who actually execute your business plan and provide your chosen services. Hiring qualified people for the job is therefore very important, whether that be spa therapists, spa managers or waiting staff.

Sales, advertising and marketing

Once your business plan, business model, funds, documentation and staff are in place it’s time to start marketing your business. When starting your own spa, building a strong brand image and generating sales by reaching your target audience through advertising and marketing is essential. The most popular channels to get the word out about your new spa are TV, print media, e-blasts and social media, while traditional word of mouth also continues to be one of the most effective ways to spread the word.

Now that you have a basic idea of what your business should include, it’s time to execute your vision and start achieving your business goals!