How to set up your dream spa business


Life is stressful.

Between contending with climate change and the cost of living crisis that’s hitting us in 2023, we could all do with a little extra rest and relaxation. But while many businesses are struggling to get off the ground in the current economic climate, the stress of it all is creating an insatiable demand for one type of trade — and that’s a day spa.

When times get tough, people need to feel a little pampered — and if you have the passion to make it happen, then we have just the guide for you. Read on for our advice on setting up the spa business you’ve always dreamed of — that is, if you could take the cucumber slices off of your eyes for just a moment. All done? Perfect. Let’s get to work.

1.   Devise a business plan

To establish your very own spa business, you’ll first need to put together a strategy to clarify your product offering. Firstly, consider what treatments you’ll provide, from skincare to massage and body care. If you’re in need of some inspiration, think about the therapies that you like to receive, or research some of the trending treatments for the new year. A recent report by SpaSeekers has compiled the procedures seeing the biggest uptick in demand in 2023, including:

  • Yoni steam
  • Crystal healing massage
  • Turkish bath massage
  • Gold massage
  • Lymphatic drainage facial

Once you’ve cherry-picked your treatments, think about your target audience. Will you market towards the traditional spa consumer base of adult women, or aim for a more niche market such as green consumers or men embracing the wellness industry? Targeting a particular demographic can help to build out your client base, which is essential in the early days of developing a business.

Your business plan should also guide your practical next steps and provide structure to your cash flow. Consider shaping up with some financial guidance for small businesses to iron out the details of your pricing, budget and expenses.

2.   Get insured and qualified

Once you have your business plan sorted, you’ll need to make sure that you cover your liabilities. Even if you and your staff are highly experienced, many spa treatments require specialist equipment, heat and chemicals — so you’ll want to be insured to protect your business from any legal or financial challenges.

While the prospect of getting the correct insurance might seem daunting, there are a number of policies that are specifically geared towards spas, which are essential to protecting you against the kinds of claims that you could face. As experts from Salon Gold point out: “All it takes is for a client to have an adverse reaction to a product or treatment for your dreams to end abruptly. And when you face a compensation claim that you can’t afford, you wonder how you’ll ever make it out the other side.”

As for qualifications, it’s worth noting that there are no specific credentials that you need to become a massage therapist in the UK — the truth is, anyone can become one without any training. However, if you’re looking to learn the techniques of a new type of massage, there are a number ofeducational courses available that offer diplomas in different specialities.

3.   Set up shop

Next, it’s time to find physical premises. In the world of remote working and Zoom calls, spa treatments are a rare luxury that require customers to pay a real-life visit to a business — so you’ll want to make it a special occasion for your prospective clients. Customer experience and marketing should be at the forefront of your mind when choosing where to base your spa. Be sure to consider factors such as:

  • Size of plot
  • Parking availability and transport links
  • Local demographics
  • Area footfall
  • Nearby competitors

Once you’re in, you can think about building out your team with all the necessary personnel. Make hires for specialists in the different kinds of treatment you’ll offer, and for general assistance such as receptionists or cleaners. Lastly, you’ll need to get in contact with the council for a licence to practise massage or other treatments on-site. You can apply for your massage and special treatment premises licensing through the portal.

With a bit of preparation, you’ll have set up the spa business that you’ve dreamed of in no time at all. Providing clients with essential rest and relaxation is every bit as rewarding as you might think — and it can be a lucrative business venture too. So, what are you waiting for? Best of luck!