Expert Tips on Starting a Spa Business

Mary Gormandy White
foot spa

Are you interested in starting a spa business? Amanda Harper, LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) and owner of Living Well, an organic therapeutic spa in Mobile, AL shares her firsthand knowledge of starting this type of company with LoveToKnow Business writer Mary White.

What suggestions do you have regarded drafting a winning business plan for a spa business?

Visit the SBA's website for tips on business plans. They don't have to be difficult to write, but you should clear your day and sit down and write one. And remember: the industry changes, times change and your business plan can too.

What factors should be considered when choosing a location for a spa business?

It is important to fully consider whether or not you will work by appointment only, or if you might rely on walk-in business. In my opinion, a private, tucked away location provides more peace and relaxation than a strip mall on a busy street. However, the latter provides more revenue potential on a daily basis, as well as more opportunities to be seen.

How should someone planning to start a spa business decide which types of services to provide?

Start with what you are licensed in, and never stray from your scope of practice. Follow this rule with your employees or contractors. Then, listen to what your clients ask for. If you are unable to provide the services they want, find someone who can and hire them.

massage oil

Do you suggest spa owners offer products along with services?

Yes and no. Do offer products that you are passionate about and that reflect the type of business you have. Do make certain that you are fully trained on these products before you sell them. Do not sell "fad" items, and don't have a revolving door of product lines. Find something that works and remain loyal to the line. Your clients will too.

What marketing techniques did you find to be the most beneficial in starting your spa business?

Have a good website. Period. That's not where the world is headed, it's where the world is. If you don't have a good website with the right domain name explaining what you're about and who you are, a potential client will find someone who does. Websites that tell very clearly who you are offer a sense of security to interested potential clients.

What do spa entrepreneurs need to know about licensure?

In most states, you must have an establishment license as well as a license for every employee/contractor. In addition, each employee/contractor usually needs liability insurance.

Are there any hidden expenses that people considering starting a spa business need to think about?

Consider opening a retirement plan. If you're the boss, no one else will do it for you. This can be little or no expense to you yet provides a wonderful benefit for your employees.

What are some of the basic facts about running a spa that you learned along the way, but wish you knew when you first opened?

Boundaries. I wish I'd had a clear schedule in the beginning instead of making myself available whenever an appointment came up. I missed a couple of school programs for my children that I regret. I'm more careful of my boundaries now, but I wish I'd put them in place in the beginning.


LoveToKnow Business thanks Amanda Harper, LMT for sharing her entrepreneurial expertise, and wishes her continued success with her own spa business.

Expert Tips on Starting a Spa Business