How to Start a Spa

The health and wellness industry has excellent growth prospects, especially with the rapid growth in tourist arrivals. The spa business, which is part of this industry, can be started with a moderate amount of capital and can be very lucrative.
Below are some of the basic steps you need to know so that your chances of success in the spa business will be enhanced:
Starting capital needed. A high-end recreational spa will cost millions because it demands more space and equipment. However, therapeutic spas or those that focus on specific massage treatments require less room and can be set up for around half a million pesos if targeted towards the low income class segment. A large part of the capital will be spent on wet areas like the shower room and rental deposits.
Location. While the area is important, the specific space you will occupy is not as critical as in the case of retailers of convenience items. This means that the location should match the demographics of those who are likely to patronize the kind of spa you plan to put up. Prime spots in the area are not priority, however.
Legal requirements. Besides the standard registration with the DTI or the SEC, and municipality, there are many other government rules that affect the design of your facilities. Parts of these are measures to ensure hygiene, safety and moral standards.
Manpower. It is a legal requirement to have at least one DOH licensed massage therapist. Hire expert therapists rather than fresh trainees if you wish to make a good first impression. It is crucial to have continuous training not only in proper massage but also in excellent customer service to win customer loyalty.
Supplies. Whether your spa is low- or high-end, it is important that you have high quality massage supplies. The most critical supply is the massage oil. It must be hypoallergenic and not sticky or watery. To save money, buy in bulk. Also, always test before buying.
Safety measures. Before any session, you must check first if he or she has a medical condition that may be aggravated. Some of the conditions that are contraindicated are high blood pressure, pregnancy, cancer or recent surgery. The massage therapist must be thoroughly trained not only in massage but also knowledgeable in anatomy and physiology so that they may cause no harm.
Pricing. Figure out your actual cost by computing not only labor and material costs but also the overhead expenses and then applying your profit mark up or fee. However, check if the price could be set according to the going rate in spas that are similar in class. It is possible that your overhead expenses are too high to be able to price competitively.
Marketing. Most customers come from within the vicinity so buying advertisements in neighbourhood publications and flyering are cost effective marketing strategies. Plan to have different types of promotions year-round so that customers will find your place exciting.
To know more about this business, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts an excellent seminar on this entitled Starting a Spa Business. You may contact them at (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.

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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, July 22, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.