spa business

Industry • Best Practice

How to Start a Spa Business (AKA How to Be a Wellness Boss)

Bring self-care to the masses by doing some for yourself first.

Spas are a haven for self-care and serve as a heavenly escape for many people. How incredible it would feel to be able to provide people with the experience that takes them from a stress level of 9 to floating on clouds without a care in the world? Pretty powerful, right?

There are many steps to take before you can watch your clients leave the spa with that peaceful glow on their faces. You’re likely already aware of the fact that starting a spa business requires getting a lot of ducks in order, you may not be sure exactly what ducks need ordering. But that’s what we are here for. This overview of how to start a spa business will give you the key information you need to become the wellness boss you want to be.

Crafting the spa business plan

Drafting a business plan certainly isn’t the most thrilling part of setting up a spa business, but a proper plan is a non-negotiable for any type of business. Here’s the short and sweet of your spa business plan.

Step 1: Company description. This is pretty straightforward. Your company description covers your mission statement and the philosophies behind your spa. 

Step 2: Finances. If you and math were never besties, maybe you should hand the reins of this off to someone else. Planning your finances can either be what leads your spa to success or runs it into the ground, so don’t underestimate the importance of this step. 

Step 3: Target market. Now you can get a little creative and decide exactly who you want your spa to be for. 

Step 4: Location. The location of your spa is one of the key pieces to success.

Step 5: Marketing. You can create the most beautiful spa in the world but nobody will know about it unless you do some marketing. Thus, you need to plan out your marketing tactics as well as your budget. 

Step 6: Offerings. Many spa owners find that this is their favorite part of the process. This is where you get to sit down and decide what your spa menu looks like – what different services you want to offer your clients.

Step 7: Team. A spa is not a one-person show. It requires a whole team of people to run smoothly. If you don’t already have a team, sketch out the steps you’ll take for finding one, including salaries, bonuses, and benefits. 

Step 8: Supporting materials. Though not as exciting, this part of the process includes key things such as business licenses, permits, and more that are required for you to legally run your spa business. 

Step 9: Executive summary. This summary gives a quick overview of your plan’s highlights so investors or lenders can see your vision at a glance.

For a more in-depth look at how to create a business plan, read our post Making a Spa Business Plan - 9 Steps for Financial Bliss that gives you all the deets. Once you’ve got your business plan rocking and rolling, the next thing to work on is finding the right spa management system.

Finding the right spa management system

Maybe you’ve heard of management systems for business, maybe you haven’t. Either way, we are here to tell you now that this is another non-negotiable for your spa business unless you plan on keeping tabs on everything that happens in your business in Excel (we give major thumbs down to that idea).

Here are some of the key features to look for in the right spa management system. 

1. Client management. This stores information about your clients so you don’t have to try and remember everything (trust us – this is impossible). 

2. Scheduling. Ideally, you want a spa management system that allows you to see your entire appointment landscape in just one pane and is easy to use. 

3. Inventory. With the right management system, you should know at any time exactly what products you have incoming, outgoing, and stored. And that’s for both internal supplies as well as retail products you sell to clients. 

4. Reporting. Get yourself the right spa management system and you won’t have to mess with anything like manually filling out spreadsheets and crunching your own numbers, as the system will do it all for you. 

5. Booking. A bad booking experience can be enough to send a client running for the hills. To avoid that, find a spa management system that makes self-booking quick, easy, and painless.

6. Payment processing. Payment is usually the last thing a client does before they walk out your door, so it’s crucial that experience is as pleasant as possible. Ensure that you have a spa management system that makes paying clean and simple. 

To help you make the right choice, be sure to check out our post The Spa Management System Buyer’s Guide for 2022.  

Speaking of problems…as a spa owner, you want to avoid those at all costs. But that can be tough sometimes as you’re pulled in many different directions.

Managing a spa

No one ever said managing a spa was easy, but we can help make it easier for you by reminding you of some key things to keep in mind while going about your business.  

Employees. Happy employees make business better. From interactions with clients to day-to-day operations, having a staff that’s on side will make your job easier. 

Clients. Your clients are more than just dollar signs. We are willing to guess you’re not the only spa in the area, so you need to put in the time and effort to make your clients feel special so that they have a reason to keep returning to your spa as opposed to your competitors. 

Finances. You may decide to hire an accountant to help with the money side of your business and we are all about that. Just remember that aspect of your business isn’t “set it and forget it.” Check in regularly — monthly, quarterly, biannually, or whatever makes the most sense. 

Retail. While services are an important part of your spa offerings, don’t forget about retail sales too, as they are crucial to your business’ success. You should know what percentage of your revenue comes from retail products, how much revenue each treatment brings in, and how likely that treatment is to lead to a retail sale. 

To learn more tools to help you manage your spa well, read our post How to Manage a Spa While Keeping Your Zen.

Maximizing business potential

The spa industry was worth over $19 billion in 2019. That’s no small chunk of change. And wouldn’t it be great if your spa was more than just a small fraction of that number? 

It’s possible when you know what you’re up against, and how you can take things to the next level. 

The average revenue per visit for spas was $99.50 in 2019. While COVID has lowered those numbers a bit, they are expected to rise again. So, where are your numbers in relation to this $99.50? Take the time to find out.

Here are our top ways for maximizing your spa’s business potential.

1. Offer product or treatment add-ons. Consider doing something like offering a head massage during a facial for a small extra price. This incentivizes clients to pay that little bit of extra money for something they want in addition to their original treatment. 

2. Offer incentives to employees. Motivate your employees to sell more by offering cash or gift cards to whoever has the highest earnings for a given month, or for whoever gets the most clients to upgrade their service. 

3. Run promotions in slow times. Don’t just accept your slow days or seasons as low-revenue periods— do something to bring more business in, such as offering promotions that are valid only on those days or seasons.

4. Offer online booking. Make booking accessible from anywhere and easy for your clients by offering online booking for services at your spa. A self-booking feature on a platform such as Boulevard makes this easy.

5. Create a loyalty program. Reward your loyal clients for spending money at your salon by giving them special deals as part of a loyalty program. With the help of Boulevard, you can keep all your client information in one place, track all the points they earn at any location, and how they can redeem them. You also gain insight into how your program is doing and whether you should make any changes.  

For even more number-crunching and advice, read The Average Day Spa Revenue & How to Maximize Your Business' Potential.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.

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