How do I start a spa or wellness business?
Maybe you are passionate about wellness or a natural born healer. Or maybe you see a need in your community for a place where people can destress and heal. Or you are finally ready to take the next step in your career. Whatever the reason, we are excited that you are interested in starting a spa or wellness business. Congratulations!
Here at Spafinder, we’re passionate about all things spa and wellness especially when it comes to helping guide, mentor, and assist small business owners—the backbone of the wellness industry.
Here are a few tips on how best to open up your spa/wellness business.
Spa businesses come in all shapes and sizes
The nice thing about a spa, fitness studio or salon is that they are very scalable. You can be a massage therapist who does home visits or you can be a large spa at a swank hotel. However, it’s important to pick a business size that works for you. It’s always best to start small and work up than take on too much too fast. Just remember that at any level, you can take advantage of Spafinder’s universal outreach, giving smaller spas or wellness establishments the ability to maintain a gift certificate program without the hassle.
Your spa does not have to have every treatment under the sun. This is not a cheesecake factory! Instead offer a small menu of treatments that interest you.
Consider if you want to highlight a certain country or region’s spa traditions. Or you may be interested in owning a medical spa or a spa with more salon and beauty treatments. Finding that nugget of inspiration will help inform every aspect of your branding.
Make social media your friend
People find you via the Internet so it’s important to be findable. Social media is a great way to generate a presence quickly and efficiently. Take lots of photos, shoot a few videos, and keep up the posting. (This is crucial!) Also include signage on the counters pointing people to your Yelp page and social media. QR codes are widely accepted now so include one on your poster or sign to make connecting super easy.
Some spas or wellness businesses offer discounts or special coupons for checking in on Yelp. This is a great way to encourage reviews and build up a following.
Keep an email list
While social media gets all the glitz and glam, email lists are still one of the ways to get the most bang for your buck and lure in and keep customers. Ask people to input their emails to activate a loyalty program and then send out monthly updates on your business and new offerings.
Join in on the fun
When starting your spa business, look for your local chamber of commerce or business groups to join. They offer support and opportunities for local businesses to grow their reach—and are a great source for new customers. It’s a great way to start building your reputation. Plus look for groups to join online via Facebook, Discord, or Twitter.
Tell your story
What inspired you to start your spa or wellness business in the first place? Tell that story to your customers. Feeling a personal connection is important when creating brand loyalty. If the story feels authentic, then it will be captivating.
Take advantage of community events
Check out your local library or community center for opportunities to participate in or host a wellness event. This is an excellent way to introduce your business to new customers.
Consider your clientele
Where are you located? Is it a touristy area or is it a remote off-the- beaten path kind of place. Both can have a thriving spa business but each will need different things to thrive. A spa or fitness studio that’s going to cater to a lot of tourists would benefit from having a signage in multiple languages and guides to help people feel comfortable with the treatments and programs. Whereas a spa with a strong base of locals should be an oasis to regulars,
OK, let’s talk about money
According to Shopify, new business owners should expect to spend about $40,000 in the first year on operating expenses. That’s a lot of capital and you probably don’t have that on hand at the moment. To raise capital, you can scrimp and save, look for investors (these might be professional investors or friends and family who believe in you), or start a Kickstarter to raise funds. Remember if you use the investor route, they will have a say in how your business is run. If you prefer to run your business your way or the highway, then find a way to fund it yourself.
Some business associations and companies offer grants for small businesses and unique businesses can even compete on shows like Shark Tank to raise the extra funds.
Just be aware of starting too big too fast. Even if you believe you have every expense covered, large costs can pop out of nowhere. Nerdwallet published this list of 14 business expenses to expect when launching a new business including legal fees, consultants, and taxes.
The spa industry at large
The spa industry brought in 19.1 billion dollars in 2019. However, due to the COVID pandemic, revenue numbers dropped sharply in 2020 to 12.1 billion, according to Statista.com. However, spa and wellness businesses are rapidly rebounding, especially as people are now prioritizing their health and wellbeing.
According to JoinBlvd.com, the average spa revenue per guest was approximately $99 in 2019 and is now about $95 per visitor. And the average revenue for a day spa is $803,000—although depending on the size of your business, those numbers might look much different.
Still it’s clear that the wellness industry is big business.
Creative ways to generate business
Look at the calendar for inspiration
Spas have ebbs and flows like all businesses. Obviously holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are going to be big for business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on the slower times too. Use these times to think up new specials or themed treatments like a pumpkin spice facial or a sugar cookie aromatherapy treatment.
Holidays are also a great way to promote a gift certificate program. If you are a partner, Spafinder is a great way to get people giving the gift of spa.
Have a loyalty program
Who hasn’t hit up a restaurant a few more times than you were planning to just to get that free cookie or discounted meal? People love the idea of getting something for free.
Offer your clients a loyalty program where with enough points they can earn free products, add-ons, or even treatments. People will flock back to your establishment again and again.
Offer online booking
Whether they dislike phones or prefer to schedule appointments late into the night, people want to be able to book online. Be sure to offer the ability to make an appointment online. Plus, with automated programs that send reminder texts and emails, you won’t have to spend all day on the phone either. So that’s a win for you.
Enjoy the journey
Starting a new business can be stressful but also exciting. When you are in the thick of things, try to remember why you wanted to start a spa or wellness business in the first place. Always carry with you the joy of making someone feel better, making their day and lives better. And just like any major change in your life, having an accountability partner can be helpful.
Spafinder offers network partnerships for all size business from the local entrepreneur to a larger resort spa looking to shake things up. We work with businesses all over the globe and in all shapes and sizes. We also partner with fitness studios and salons—basically if you are in the wellness game, we want to work with you.
Most importantly, we want to help you spread the message of spa and wellness to your community and to your clients. We believe that life is better when you take care of your mind, body, and spirit. And we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the wellness experience of their dreams and for business owners like you to build the business of your dreams. Whether you are a stylist, personal trainer, esthetician, massage therapist, yoga expert or more, we are here to help!