How to Write An Effective Massage Therapy Business Plan

Learn how to create a business plan for your massage therapy practice.

May 20, 2013

wellness massage business plan

There's that line from Field of Dreams that most everybody knows, even if they've never seen the movie: if you build it, he will come. Though in the movie the phrase relates specifically to baseball, many people have since assigned a more general meaning to the expression—don't worry about the outcome, because simply making the effort will produce results.

And there is something to be said for passion driven by blind faith.

But, particularly in business, there’s also something to be said for taking the time to outline where you are now and where you want to be—and how exactly you plan to get from point A to point B. In other words: writing a business plan.

The topic of writing a business plan can bring a wide variety of reactions, most of which range somewhere between reluctance and fear. The process, however, doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this important business tool.

Part of the reluctance to write a business plan might come from some misconceptions surrounding the practice. Many people think of these documents as long and complicated, taking days and months to write and finalize. But that doesn’t have to be the case, according to Kelly Bowers, a licensed massage therapist in Washington, D.C.

In fact, for most massage therapists, a one-page business plan is probably sufficient. “What most of us think of when we say business plan is what I call the standard or large business plan, but it’s not what most of us are going to want to work with,” she says. “We’re going to want to work with a simplified form of the standard business plan.”

To get to a clear understanding of how elaborate your business plan needs to be, Bowers suggests asking yourself some basic questions: How specific are your goals? How long-range are they? Are your goals ambitious? Are they a stretch? Do you really just want to make enough money to live comfortably and peacefully? Do you already know how much money that will take?

Also, consider your own personality. Are you a planner, for example? Do you tend to live in the moment or are you always looking down the road, thinking about where you want to be in two, five or 10 years?

“The more you want to move outside the simple or outside your comfort zone, the more you’ll benefit from having a business plan,” Bowers says. “If you are a planner, you will benefit from a business plan. If you tend to be overwhelmed by too many choices, a business plan can help you stay focused.”

Bowers quickly cautions, too, that simple isn’t going to work for everyone, and she encourages massage therapists to remember this rule of thumb: “The more people that are engaged in your practice and the more of someone else’s money you’ll be asking for, the more involved your business plan needs to be,” she says.

When Bowers decided to leave her job as a technical writer and pursue massage therapy full time, she started having lunch with a group of women who were starting their own businesses. “They were all big proponents of using business plans,” she says. “They kept pushing me to write one.”

Bowers didn’t follow their advice right away, however. Then, finally, she took herself on a business retreat one January and worked her way through Jim Horan’s “The One Page Business Plan,” a book her friends she lunched with had recommended to her.

She learned a few lessons from her first attempt. “My first business plan was, ah, optimistic, to say the least,” she recalls. “It turns out that making $50,000 a year requires more than writing it down confidently in your business plan! But I was hooked on the process.”

Some of why writing a business plan is helpful comes from being able to clarify your vision. “Having a clear sense of my personal vision and my practice’s mission has made a big difference for me,” Bowers explains. “It’s given me a clarity and focus I probably never would have found otherwise.”

In addition to more focus, writing a business plan gives Bowers a way of evaluating any new opportunities that might arise. “Does this opportunity I’m considering or being offered line up with my mission and vision?” she asks herself. “There are a lot of things I could do as a small business. But, as a very small business, I want to focus my time, energy and money on those things that help me bring my vision to life and fulfill my mission as I understand it.”

Bowers has advice that is quick and to the point for those reluctant to start writing a business plan: “Give up any idea that you aren’t smart enough or educated enough to write a business plan,” she says. “If you’re smart enough to do the work, then you’re smart enough to explain it in a business plan.” That’s not to say you might not need a little help, Bowers adds.

First, relax a little. You might find a different perspective helpful, like thinking of writing a business plan as having a conversation. “A business plan, at its most basic, is a conversation,” Bowers explains. “The conversation might be between you and an investor or business partner. For most of us, it’s a conversation we’re having with ourselves.”

Bowers elaborates on this idea, suggesting you look at the business plan as a kind of conversation between your present self and future self. “These two selves are working out what they want to build together and how they’re going to move that thing from today to the future you want to have,” she adds.

You might also find that imagining yourself sitting with a friend describing what you envision your practice looks like is a good way to approach writing a business plan. “Imagine describing, with passion, the practice you want to have,” Bowers says. “Imagine the two of you brainstorming what it would take, in some detail, to make that happen. If you wrote that down, you’d have a basic business plan.”

Remember, too, that writing a business plan shouldn’t be something you do once and never revisit. “As long as your business is alive, your business plan needs to be alive,” Bowers explains. “That means you need to be looking at and updating your business plan regularly.” For Bowers, that happens every January, when she takes her annual business retreat.

Writing a business plan might not be at the top of your priority list—and that’s OK. You don’t have to dedicate months to the process. But engaging in the process of putting your plans in writing can be a great exercise, and help you increase business and clarify your own vision. “I think getting clear on your vision and mission are the two biggest benefits of a business plan,” Bowers says. “Writing a business plan is a way to tell the story of your passion and how you’re going to make that passion sing.”

Anatomy of a Massage Therapy Business Plan

Though many massage therapists may not need to create an in-depth standard business plan, knowing what this document comprises is a good idea. You also might find that at least some of these elements will be included in your own business plan, no matter how simple.

Executive summary . Here, you’ll summarize the key points of the rest of the plan. “It lets you highlight the exciting parts,” says Kelly Bowers, a licensed massage therapist in Washington, D.C.

Company description . This description tells people what kind of practice you’re creating. You can detail the legal structure of the company, for example, as well as how management will work, if you’ll have a management team in place. “This is also a summary of things you’ll get into in greater detail later in the plan,” explains Bowers.

Product/service . Obvious, perhaps, but in this section you’ll detail what products or services your practice will offer.

Target market . When thinking of who your target market will be, Bowers suggests thinking of these questions: Who is going to buy your products or services, and why would they buy your products and services?

Competitive analysis . No matter how simple you make your business plan, you should have a good idea of who in your area may serve as competition for business and clients. “Who is already selling your product or service?” Bowers asks. “How are you going to be able to compete with them?”

Marketing and sales plan . Here, you are going to outline how you’ll reach potential clients and get them to buy your product or service. In today’s world, there are a lot of different ways you might choose to market your practice, so take some time to think about what might work best for you.

Related: Marketing Tools for Massage Therapists

Operations plan . How does your company run? Where is your practice located? What equipment do you need? All of these are questions you’ll answer in this section, Bowers says.

Management team . If you plan on setting up business with other people, or going into business with a fellow massage therapist or someone from a complementary profession, you’ll need to outline leadership roles. Who will be in charge, for example?

Development plan  and milestones . This section will work through some of your future plans, as well as how you’ll measure if you’re on track or not. You might also think about exactly how you plan to grow your practice, if growth is indeed a goal.

Financials . Money is sometimes the last thing you want to talk or think about when you’re excited about starting your own business, but especially if you’re looking for investors or need a loan, you’ll need to have a good idea of where you’re starting financially, what you expect to make and what you’ll need to spend in overhead, for starters.

“Each of these sections answers specific questions about business,” explains Bowers. “Even if you aren’t writing a standard business plan, it’s worth it to at least look at the questions and think about them.”

Business Plan Mythbusting

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for 10 years, you can probably benefi t from writing a business plan. To help you get over any hesitation you might feel, we’re busting some of the common myths that seem to surround this practice.

No. 1: You need a formal business education to write a business plan—False.

“For the kind of businesses most of us are running, what we need is a guide that is written to our level of business knowledge,” explains Kelly Bowers, a licensed massage therapist in Washington, D.C. Now, she adds, you might have to look up a few terms in the dictionary, but if you have a solid vision for your practice, that’s the important piece to the business plan writing puzzle.

Related:   It's Your Business: Understanding Business Concepts | 3 Credit Hours

No. 2: You should never start a business without writing a business plan—False.

Contrary to what some people might think, writing a business plan doesn’t have to be the fi rst thing you do when you’re thinking of starting your own practice. Much of what a business plan is designed to do is give you a clear direction and focus your efforts. “When you want to get clear with yourself about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re going to do it, a business plan can help,” explains Bowers.

But, Bowers says, though many people come out of school believing they know what their practice will look like and the types of clients they’ll work with, many don’t really know. “For a lot of us, it makes more sense to write a business plan after we’ve been in practice a year or three,” she says. “A few years of practice will tell us what our reality actually looks like, making writing a more realistic business plan easier to do.”

Times of change, too, are natural places to create a business plan. “Times of change are great times to work on a business plan to help you chart your new course,” says Bowers. “If you’ve worked in a spa for five years, for example, but now want to go out on your own, that’s a good time to write a business plan.”

There is one caveat to this advice, however: “If your starting point is a big plan that requires borrowing money, bringing in partners and things of that nature, your fi rst step should be to write a detailed business plan,” Bowers explains.

No. 3: Business plans are all about numbers and money—False.

“The heart of a business plan, any business plan, is what you want to build (vision) and why it’s worth building (mission),” Bowers says. “Everything else in the plan needs to be detailed enough to help you get there.”

That’s not to say you don’t need any information about financials, because you will definitely need to have an idea of what you want to make and what you’ll spend. “This information only needs to be as detailed as you personally need it to be,” Bowers says.

Related Resources

Massage therapy journal 3 tips for starting a massage practice.

When you first start thinking about opening a massage therapy practice, your natural inclination might be to focus primarily on the positive aspects of business ownership.

Continuing Education Attracting Business Clients: Part I-Start-up & Retention

wellness massage business plan

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Massage Therapy Business Plan

Are you thinking of starting a massage therapy business We have prepared a solid massage therapy business plan sample that guides you on every stage of your business plan writing

wellness massage business plan

If you are planning to start a new massage therapy business, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our Silver Healing – Massage therapy business plan example created using upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing a business plan for your new massage therapy business, spend as much time as you can reading through some samples of the message-related business plans.

Reading some sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for and also it will show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample Silver Healing – Massage therapy business plan for you to get a good idea about how perfect a massage therapy business plan should look and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Massage Therapy Business Plan Outline

This is the standard massage therapy business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

After  getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this massage therapy business plan example into your business plan and modify the required information and download your massage therapy business plan pdf and doc file . It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

wellness massage business plan

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We have plenty of  free business planning resources  available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.


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wellness massage business plan

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Wellness Center Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

wellness center business plan

Wellness Center Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their wellness center companies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a wellness center business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a wellness center business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your wellness center business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.  

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a wellness center business or grow your existing wellness center company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your wellness center business to improve your chances of success. Your wellness center business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.  

Sources of Funding for Wellness Centers

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a wellness center business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for wellness center companies.

>How to Write a Business Plan for a Wellness Center

If you want to start a wellness center business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your wellness center business plan.  

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of wellness center business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a wellness center business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of wellness centers?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of wellness center business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of wellness center businesses:

In addition to explaining the type of wellness center business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the wellness center industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the wellness center industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your wellness center business plan:

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your wellness center business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of wellness center business you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.  

Finish Your Wellness Center Business Plan in 1 Day!

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other wellness center businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes psychiatrists, other types of healthcare providers, or counselors. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a wellness center business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of wellness center company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide social, emotional, or financial wellness services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your wellness center company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your wellness center business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your wellness center marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your wellness center business, including answering calls, planning and providing wellness sessions, billing clients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth session, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your wellness center business to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your wellness center business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing wellness center businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a wellness center.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 clients per day, and/or offer group wellness sessions? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your wellness center business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a wellness center business:

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your wellness center location lease or testimonials from happy customers.  

Writing a business plan for your wellness center business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the wellness center industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful wellness center business.  

Wellness Center Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my wellness center business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your wellness center business plan.

How Do You Start a Wellness Center Business?

Starting a wellness center business is easy with these 14 steps:

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Wellness Center business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to see how a Growthink business plan consultant can create your business plan for you.  

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

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wellness massage business plan

Spa Business Plan Template

Business Plan Outline

Spa Business Plan Home

Start Your Spa Plan Here

You’ve come to the right place to create your spa business plan.

We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their spas.

Below are links to each section of your spa business plan template:

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Spa Business Plan FAQs

What is a spa business plan.

A spa business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your spa business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your spa business plan using our Spa Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Spa Businesses?

There are many types of spa businesses. Some spa offer more health-focused services like body rejuvenation, dietician recommendations, and gym and exercise facilities. Other spas offer luxury accommodations such as massage therapies and skin treatments, while relaxing with wine in the most comfortable setting. A latest trend in  spa services is being able to offer cryotherapy service.

What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Expenses for a Spa Business?

The primary source of revenue for spas are fees for services paid by the client. The client will choose from a list of spa services and purchase the package or service they want.

The key expenses for a spa business are the cost of purchasing the spa equipment and supplies. Other expenses are the rent and utilities for the facility as well as payroll and marketing costs.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Spa Business Plan?

Spa businesses are most likely to receive funding from banks. Typically you will find a local bank and present your business plan to them. Outside investors, friends, and/or family are other common funding sources.

What are the Steps To Start a Spa Business?

Starting a spa business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Spa Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed spa business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your spa business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your spa business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Spa Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your spa business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your spa business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Spa Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your spa business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your spa business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

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hot stones placed on persons back in spa

How to Start a Spa Business

So you’re ready to open a spa business ( it's a great time to start one! ). 

If you’re familiar with the industry, you know its rewards and challenges. 

Nothing beats sending a relaxed client into the world after leaving a day spa. There are also bumps to deal with before opening—finding the right location in the right market, licensing your business, and finding good employees.

We’ll help you figure it out.

Write a business plan

It’s really important to write a business plan . If your day spa is going to be a journey, think of this part as starting the GPS. It’ll guide you to your destination and help organize your plans and priorities.

Create your brand

Start with the fun part—just don’t think it’ll be easy.

Selecting a name for your business and creating your brand are essential first steps. You’ll figure out what you want to be called, how you’ll interact, and how you want to look—think of it as how you’ll tell your customers about your business’s personality. 

Pick your spa’s name

Your name should reflect your brand, the quality of your people and customer experience, and the range of the services you’ll offer. It may also include references to your community or family name. Picking a name is just that simple, right? Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. We’ve got a checklist on  how to choose the perfect name for your spa  or salon to help you with this step.

Your brand says everything about your business. It’s how you interact with clients and market to prospects, as well as how you present yourself visually.

Your visual brand identity will appear on signs, inside your spa, and on your marketing materials. Major facets include your:

Color palette


Of course, we’ve written a guide to help you figure out  how to create a brand .

Decide which spa services you’ll offer

The International Spa Association (ISPA) defines a business as a spa if it offers at least two of these services to spa-goers: 

Skincare (includes makeup)

Massage care

Body treatments (includes salon services and hair removal)

You may already know how to do one or more of these, and that’s great. But, if you’re offering a service you aren’t familiar with, know you’ll need to hire an employee or bring in a partner who is. Or, you’ll need to educate yourself.

Also, research any state or local licenses you’ll need to apply for and carry in order to offer the services you want. For help, here's our  guide to writing the perfect spa menu , which should help you maximize revenue. Check out a  video from industry expert Lisa Starr , for important service menu considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Figure out what spa equipment you’ll need

The size of your location and the services you offer should dictate the equipment you'll need before starting.

Day spas may include showers and lockers for guests, and soundproof rooms if you plan to offer relaxing massages. Other items could include:

Massage tables/chairs

Washers and dryers for linens

Hot towel warmers

Eye and face masks

Shower supplies (soap, shampoo, conditioners)

Massage oils, incense, candles, and essential oils

Office equipment, like a front desk, chairs, and point-of-sale devices

Reception area furniture

Pedicure ottoman

An esthetician’s stool

Wax warmers

Hair removal lasers

Exfoliating devices/pumice stones

A Jacuzzi or other hydrotherapy tub or shower

Much more...

Research your particular place in the industry closely. Decide what equipment purchases you need to make before your business opens, and what you could buy later when space and finances allow.

Decide on an audience

You may have an idea about who you want your new business to serve, but really put some thought into it and write it down.

Massage is a very popular service from a customer preference standpoint. 

Seventy percent of regular of female spa-goers and 60% of male spa-goers told researchers they’d had one in the past year, according to the  2020 Spa Trends in America Report .

Additionally, the report shows the services Americans are most eager to try next. There's a lot of interest—across different generations—in trying full-body skin treatments, facials, and advanced skin care. Providing these services could be a profitable investment in the future. Check out the report to see what's trending in your city. 

Also, take a look at the wider spa industry for cues.  About 41% of spa owners  target men with new marketing promotions, according to a 2018 study released by ISPA. The  share of male customers at spas grew  from under 31% in 2007 to 47% by 2017, according to ISPA research.

These spa-goers may be worth targeting as you decide who you want to serve.

Retail sales and experience

Starting a retail operation means you're willing to sell stuff—hair and skin products, equipment, merchandise, and most importantly, gift cards—at your day spa.

Retail sales can be tricky—you'll have to hire or train staff to sell products and track inventory—but the payoff can add another 10% or more of revenue to your spa's bottom line. And, in a pandemic,  retail can be an important revenue stream . 

Also, think about the experience. How will a client make a retail purchase? 

They could buy a product or merchandise from your front-desk staff. With the right  spa software , service providers can easily upsell and recommend the perfect product during the service. If you’re going to sell products and merchandise online, it’s equally as important that the experience be easy to navigate.

Think about how you'll make a sale—will you have options for cash and cashless purchases? Since retail can really prop up your bottom line, make sure this is an easy and painless process for your clients and your staff. 

Consider how you'll track your inventory, replenish it when it gets low, and store it. If you need help, we've written a handy guide to how to  earn money off retail at your spa .

Sell gift cards

Gift cards are a big part of retailing. You’re creating a year-round product, and gift card recipients tend to spend above and beyond their gift's value.

For instance, a woman redeeming a $100 Mother's Day gift card may buy a few more products or add an extra service. That makes her visit worth $105 or even $150. 

You've also created an opportunity to add a new client who may not be familiar with your services. Check out our guide on  how to sell gift cards  like a pro.

Now it’s time to tell new clients about your spa. 

Marketing is a catch-all term with lots of facets, so think about the most appropriate sort of marketing for your target customers in your area. 

A few good ways to reach customers are:

Digital marketing: 

Social media  may spring to mind first, and it's a great way to get the word out. Running promotions on Facebook and Instagram—maybe offering grand opening discount services or referral codes—attracts the public's attention and gets them to spread your reach.

Eventually, you'll want to incorporate email campaigns targeting both your existing clients and new prospects with incentives to get them in the door. 

Print marketing:

You may also consider printing flyers to hand out in your local area to let shoppers know about your day spa.

This all costs money and time, so as part of your business plan, assess marketing costs. To get a handle on your expected marketing costs, check out our guide on  how to create a marketing plan and budget , as well as the accompanying  template .

By now, you should pretty much know how much money you'll need to run your day spa.

In addition to the above, include the cost of rent (more on choosing a location soon), and the people you need to hire, in addition to everything else you'll need to pay to start your business up and keep it running. 

If it all sounds a little daunting; don't worry. We have a handy blog on  how much it really costs to open a spa .

Location, location, location

Choosing the right location for your business is exciting. Deciding on where to hang your shingle—what sort of neighborhood you'll fit into budget- and lifestyle-wise—sets the tone for your spa. 

Some factors to consider are:

Foot traffic

Available parking


Surrounding businesses

Do they have the sort of clients you want?

Some towns and cities won't let you open a business in a residential area, others may. Research this while getting your license to see what the rules are where you want to be.

Our checklist on  selecting the right location for your salon or spa  should help you navigate the process a little more easily.

You're nearly ready to open a spa business. You've scoped out a location, written a business plan, and you've got a passion for making clients feel great. 

Now it's time to find the financing to fund your dream.

There are many ways to find the money to get a business off the ground. Some people self-finance and/or take personal loans from friends and family to help themselves get established. Others immediately look for a small business loan. 

To decide what's right for you, visit the  US Small Business Administration  (SBA) website for information. The SBA provides a  lender match program  to help you find a loan that works.

You'll also need to set up a business banking account to help you find financing and separate your personal finances from your business expenses.

Choose your spa management software

Scheduling staff and clients, marketing, managing payroll, reporting… for a small business owner, there’s no end to the job of running your spa effectively. 

That’s where a great spa software system can step in to help. Look for one that handles your needs and automates as many tasks as possible so you can spend as much time as possible focusing on your clients and staff.  

Booker by Mindbody  is one such platform. It’s specially crafted with spa and salon businesses in mind and incorporates a lot of different functionality under one program. Importantly, Booker lets you offer  a safe and high-end experience for your clients .

Create a great user experience

The word 'seamless' is overused. But it's also exactly what you want your customer's experience to feel like any time they visit your spa and website.

Put yourself in your client's slippers while you're crafting your physical and web spaces.

A few things to remember when designing a website is to make sure it’s clear, usable, and has a cohesive feel from your home page to a  payment page  and everything in between. 

It should perform well on mobile devices to be responsive, which means fitting any screen. 

Security is a big consideration for clients—if they're making credit card purchases, they'll want to trust that data is securely stored.

Check out our  guide to building a website  for your business for tips.

Just as clients wonder about their digital security, they're also thinking about the physical security of their things.

Provide a secure locker area or cubbies that your front desk staff can monitor while people get spa or salon treatments. If people will need to change their clothes for certain services, you may want to provide a locker area in the bathrooms or designated changing area.


Investing in soundproofing is a good idea if you're selling peace and relaxation. Nobody wants their deep-tissue massage interrupted by hearing someone in the next room over.

Lighting and music

Take the time to get the lighting and music correct in your day spa. 

These details help set a calm, relaxing tone. Put people in a peaceful mood they'll remember the next time they're thinking about seeking out spa and salon treatments.

Hiring, training, and retaining staff

You might say we save the most important—or most pressing—part of starting a new spa for last. 

The spa industry is at a major crossroads right now. There are more people than ever employed in day spa work, but there are also a  record number of spa and salon job openings , according to ISPA. 

Translation: Finding good help is challenging. 

There’s lots to think about when hiring your team, and we'll discuss some of it here.

Deciding what staff you need and what you'll pay them

Look at the spa and salon services you plan to offer. If you can't perform them—or you'll be busy, you know, running your small business—you'll need to staff up.

Think about what you want your staff to do—are they going to perform services as well as check people in and make retail sales? Or do you want a dedicated front-desk employee? If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades, you'll have to train them on your systems and software, so take that into account. 

Additionally, if staff are going to perform services that must be licensed, figure out if they'll need training and their own license, or if they can operate under yours.

For help, read our  ultimate guide to staffing  and check out our  spa staffing template .

Determining compensation for your new team can be tricky. It's important to get it right, though. Payroll is one of the biggest expenses you'll have, along with rent. We've written a  series of blog posts that cover all aspects of compensation , including  how much to pay your support staff ,  appropriate compensation for service providers , and even  the comp at top  (aka how much you should compensate spa managers and how much you can expect to make as a spa owner). 

Once you make your first hire—congrats!—you'll need to train them to your specifications. 

Create an onboarding plan

Some businesses see a lot of success with a very carefully thought-out onboarding plan. A new hire is introduced to all relevant fellow employees and gets a feel for how each part of the business runs in order to understand their place within it. This may occur over a day or a few days, weeks, or even up to a few months. 

By starting slow, you may save time down the road. 

Provide software training

If this hire is going to handle sales and your business management software, they'll need extra training on your systems and procedures, as well as logins. 

Some business management software programs offer free trainings for every level of staffer—from front-desk to management. Check out Booker’s  software certifications program  for an idea of what’s on offer. 

While no guide can replace the experience of starting your own business in this industry, hopefully, this has been helpful. Know you can always reference  Mindbody's education hub  for tips on making your business successful from  start-up  to  franchise .

See how Mindbody supports spas.

About the author:, related business insights and resources.

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