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Deciding to open your own business is an exciting journey. Turning your passion into an income-generating business comes with many benefits, including the freedom to call your own shots, unlimited earnings potential, and the opportunity to fully live into your gifts and strengths.
One industry that is gaining popularity and profitability among entrepreneurs is beauty and personal care. According to Statista, the global market for beauty and personal care businesses is expected to be valued at more than $679 billion by 2026, up 70% from the $472 billion value in 2020.
Professional spas are an area of particular interest in the beauty and personal care industry. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of opening your own spa as well as a breakdown of what it takes to achieve that dream.
Types of spas
The term, âspaâ can mean different things for different business owners. In general, a professional spa focuses on providing products and services that benefit its customersâ health and well-being (a definition that might even include barbershops), but most spas can be broken down into the following categories:
A day spay is the traditional type of business consumers think of when they head to the spa. Day spas offer services including sauna, skin care, massages, body treatments, waxing, manicures, pedicures, and other treatments. Day spas are typically operated out of a retail location, which is leased or owned, in a residential area. Their customers are made up of local shoppers who often become regular clients. Day spas may also be located in a hotel or resort, where the majority of the clients are guests of the hotel. The amount of time and money that an individual spends at a day spa depends on the specific services they select, but a trip to the day spa will usually take one to four hours.
Destination and Resort Spas
Destination and resort spas typically provide spa services during an extended visit or vacation.
In addition to traditional spa services, like facials, massages, and seaweed wraps, a destination spa may also offer exercises, like yoga, meditation groups, health and wellness centered activities, and delicious healthy food.
Medical spas may also be called Medi-spas. They offer a variety of cosmetology and health services including, chemical peels, massage therapy, microdermabrasion, Botox, and laser treatments. The focus of Medi-spas may be health and well-being, beauty, or weight loss. Medical spas have at least one licensed medical practitioner on staff depending on the scope of services offered.
Advantages of owning a spa
Running your own business comes with its own share of headaches, but there are many advantages too. These include:
Entrepreneurs that open their own spa unlock the potential for unlimited earnings. In addition to entering a profitable global market, spa owners can decide which services they offer, the hours their business operates, and when to consider expansion. Each of those decisions can affect the earning potential of the business, and growth strategies, like marketing campaigns, can be implemented at the ownerâs discretion.
For individuals that choose to work in the health and beauty industry, the career path is not always clear. There typically isnât much room for promotion or advancement in spa service jobs. One sure way to have control over career growth is by owning your own business rather than working for someone else. Youâll not only increase your business acumen but youâll also have control over how your business is run and how your skills develop.
Working for yourself comes with the ability to have the final say in all decisions that affect your business. For example, when you first set up your business, you can choose between sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Choosing the business structure of your spa will allow you to control how your entity will pay income taxes and whether or not you will hire employees. And thatâs just your first decision! From there youâll be deciding about services and offerings, prices and promotions, and more.
There is no formal educational requirement to own a spa, however, there are licensing and certification requirements for practitioners of some services. Spa owners, though, can decide if they will hold the required licenses and certifications themselves or hire individuals with the required education. Some licenses that may be required in a spa environment include:
- Licenses for massage therapists
- Cosmetology license
- Esthetician and/or aesthetician licenses
There may also be other licenses and permits required to run a business including a business license, health permit, occupancy certificates, and zoning requirements which may be determined by local, state, or federal governments.
Disadvantages of owning a spa
While there are many benefits to owning a spa, there are also some disadvantages, including:
Small business owners take on a lot of responsibility. When you open a spa, there is a lot more work beyond providing great services to your clients. Entrepreneurs are also responsible for bookkeeping, insurance compliance, ordering, scheduling, and making decisions. Thatâs why thereâs a popular saying among entrepreneurs: âI quit my job working 40 hours a week for someone elseâ¦ so that I could work 70 hours a week for myself.â
Whether your business is small or large, if youâre the one in charge, itâs going to be a lot of work!
Deciding whether or not to hire employees can be challenging for new business owners. Spas typically operate with more than one staff member working at a time, so as the owner you need to decide if they will be employees or contractors, then itâs up to you to create a schedule and figure out who works when. The business owner must also decide whether to hire a spa manager or fill that role themselves.
Before you open your spa, it will be helpful to create a thorough spa business plan on your own or using a template, which will identify potential competitors in your target market. This will help you understand where to niche down and target specific customers with specific products and services, as well as set your prices. If you donât understand your position in the market, you risk being run out of business by neighboring spas.
How much does it cost to open a spa?
According to Sharpsheets.com, the average cost to open a spa is $200,000 to $330,000 plus operating costs. The precise cost of opening your spa business will depend on several factors including what type of spa youâre planning to run, the size and location of your spa, your business model, and the spa services you plan to offer. For example, if you plan to open a large day spa business with eight treatment rooms the cost will be different than sharing a space with other cosmetologists and advertising facials on social media or offering facials out of a spare room in your house.
Some start-up costs to consider when preparing to open a spa include:
- Licensing and permit costs
- Commercial real estate
- Styling tools
- High-quality salon chairs
- Massage tables
- Waiting room furniture
- Advertising expenses
- Facial steamers
- Laser hair removal equipment
- Sanitization stations
How to get the money to open a spa
Itâs no doubt that opening your own spa will take a significant investment, but no matter how much (or how little) you have in your bank account, finding the funds for your dream business is possible. Here are just a few of the options entrepreneurs can use to finance a spa.
Using your personal savings is one way to fund the opening of a new spa. Many spa owners financed their startup by first working as an employee at another spa and saving their excess earnings or investing wisely. Other ways to build savings may include working in a different industry or selling personal assets.
Funding your new spa from your own savings may seem like the safest route, but in reality, thereâs a lot of risk involved. Yes, you wonât have to pay any interest on the startup money, but if your business fails, you may have just depleted your emergency fund.
Crowdfunding is a method of raising money by collecting small donations or investments from several different sources. Crowdfunding has gained a lot of popularity among new entrepreneurs in recent years because of sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter.
Small business financing
A more common solution when it comes to startup funding is to secure a small business loan. Business loans can provide the capital you need with several repayment terms to choose from. These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Cover startup costs
- Supplement entry-level cash flow
- Pay operational expenses
- Purchase equipment or real estate
- Fund marketing strategies
- Buy spa service supplies and tools
- Hire a staff
- Pay franchising fees
The most common financing options for small business owners include business term loans, SBA loans, and revolving credit lines.
Business term loans
Term loans are a traditional type of financing where the borrower receives a lump sum payment upfront and then repays the loan over time. Term loans can be short-term loans or long-term and may be unsecured loans or secured loans, that require collateral. The financing costs of a term loan include interest, which is determined based on the creditworthiness of the borrower.
The U.S. Small Business Administration facilitates several loan programs where they partially guarantee a percentage of funds for approved borrowers. SBA loans offer low-interest loans with smaller down payments than traditional bank loans The most common SBA loans for new business owners are the SBA 7(a) loan and SBA Microloans.
There are two primary types of revolving credit entrepreneurs looking to open a spa might consider: business credit cards or a business line of credit.
- Business lines of credit â The borrower is approved for a maximum line of credit through an online lender, bank, or credit union. They can then withdraw cash at any time as long as it remains available. The payments on a line of credit are made up of principal and interest, which is only calculated on the amount of funds currently withdrawn.
- Business credit card â Credit cards work in a fashion similar to a line of credit, in that borrowers can use the card to make purchases for any amount up to their preapproved credit limit. Business credit cards can be a great tool for business owners to finance startup costs and build good business credit history.
Opening a spa is a great way to achieve independence, unlimited earning potential, and career growth while being in control of all business decisions. Since opening even a small spa can come with a hefty price tag, youâll likely need funds for startup costs, spa equipment, furniture, and working space. If you canât afford to cover these costs out of your pocket, youâll likely need to use either crowdfunding or take out a small business loan.
For the latter, consider Biz2Credit. After all, it was their financing specialists that were able to help salon owner, Jyoti Sharma, get approved for a line of credit to finally open her Ayurvedic Day Spa.