How to Open a Day Spa
The salon and spa industry has been one of the few gems of stability and predictably high growth over that last 10 to 15 years, and still today, it is outpacing the general economy by significant margins (in 2015, for example, the spa industry saw a 6.3% growth compared to 4.7% in the overall U.S. economy).
Thus, it is no surprise that entrepreneurs are clamoring to open their own day spas and beauty salons in record numbers. As usual, then, opportunity creates competition, and those who enter the industry in the strongest possible position and with the best possible spa business plan are most likely to come out on top.
How Can I Open a Day Spa Business?
There are at least three possible ways to open a new day spa business. First, there is the possibility of trying a new start-up. This, however, is one of the most expensive and risky options and has a relatively high failure rate. Second, you could buy out an existing but failing spa, but this brings up the question of why the location did not work out for the previous owners and is thus also risky.
The third, and we believe the most promising option is to open a spa and/or beauty salon franchise. The name recognition of a beauty franchise gives you an instant customer base that is often large, loyal, and growing, and it lets you tap into the resources and support network of the franchisor, which amounts to a ready-made, proven spa business plan being set down right before you.
Elements of a Franchise Spa Business Plan
Both your personal spa business plan and the basic parameters set by the franchise will need to align, and everyone needs to be different in the details to navigate local business situations adeptly.
However, some basic elements that need to be included in your spa business plan are:
- Site selection, layout, and financing: Obtaining a well-equipped building at a prime location for an affordable price is winning half the battle, and your spa business plan will largely succeed/fail based on these factors. Spas are usually best housed in free-standing buildings, sometimes on the periphery of malls, or in strip malls in areas with plenty of lighting, foot/highway traffic, and parking. Buildings normally need to be between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet. Salon layouts are typically open, while spas are more compartmentalized, and it often takes an architect to optimally allow each square foot of space.
- Services you plan to offer: The more services you can put under one roof, the better, so long as the local economy will make each offered service profitable. If possible, try to secure the equipment, products, and personnel to offer full salon services, nail services (manicure, pedicure, and painting), skin exfoliation/facials, foot, and full body massages, makeup application, hydrotherapy, and organic cosmetics sales. You want to be a resort-like experience brought local and made practical/affordable. You want to be a spa, hair salon, nail salon, massage, and cosmetics franchise all wrapped up into one.
- Determining hours/pricing: Two major hinges upon which your spa franchise's profitability will turn are your hours of operation and the level at which your services are priced. Spas normally need to be open at odd hours so people can come after they get off work, and most are open 7 days a week and even on holidays. Prices set too high may constrict sales volume, while prices set too low may not leave room for much profit. Generally, about half the price goes to pay for labor and 10% to 15% is the profit margin, but you have to explore the local demographics to find out what the market will bear.
- Filling up your staff: Hiring/training your staff is a huge factor in making your spa business plan become a reality. Not only do you need to find reliable, talented workers with a good attitude and work ethic, but you need people with special training. Hair stylists with cosmetology licenses, shampoo/salon assistants, manicurists, massage therapists, and licensed aestheticians for facials and waxing are among the slots you need to fill.
In all four of these areas and more, a salon and spa franchise gives you a competitive edge. They often provide comprehensive, on-site training programs, give you helpful guidance on determining hours/pricing, along with discounts on restocking your inventory, facilitate a full range of services, offer assistance in finding/financing the best locations, and have a pre-set, proven layout scheme to facilitate optimal space allotment.
Open a Spa Franchise
The salon/spa industry has shown consistent, strong growth in recent years, but you need a solid spa business plan to take advantage of the opportunity this presents. A spa franchise helps you implement a strong, proven salon and spa business plan in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
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