As a society, we’ve moved beyond the era where work is everything. These days, people are concerned with a healthy work-life balance. This new emphasis on personal health means lots of opportunity for opening your own boutique spa.

Consider your competition

Your first step in opening a spa is understanding what people in your area most want. Start by checking out your competition. What do they offer, and what treatments are most popular? What is the average age and income level of visitors to local spas?

Some of this you can find out by visiting local spas. Some information you can get from your local chamber of commerce. Knowing your competition will help you figure out what to offer and whether there’s a missing service that you can offer.

Choose a business structure

You can open a spa as a sole proprietorship, as an LLC, or as a Subchapter S corporation. There are pros and cons to each type of structure, and the smartest move is to check with a CPA or business attorney before making your decision.

Once you’ve chosen your structure, you’ll be able to get a business license, a tax license, and apply for loans if you need financing to start.

Set yourself apart from the competition

What are you going to do to bring in customers and create loyalty to your brand? One way of going the extra mile in terms of treatments is to offer aesthetic laser treatments in addition to the traditional massages and facials. You can source used aesthetic lasers cheaply, and the rewards are well-worth the investment. 

It’s also important to look beyond treatments and consider how to set yourself apart in terms of customer service. Something as simple as a cup of tea at arrival could make all the difference. The music you offer, the quality of your towels, and a dozen other small things affect how your customers will see you. 

Find and design a space

You need a strategic location for your spa. It has to be where people can access it, but it also needs to be something you can afford. It’s also important for the area to be zoned for businesses like spas, and customer parking is something else to consider.

Once you’ve chosen a location, hire an interior designer to make your space inviting, warm, and unique. With a boutique spa, the feel of the place is as important as the services, so make sure you’ve seen to the little things. Invite a third party to come in and give you an idea if what first impression you’re giving when customers walk in the door.

Figure your start-up cost

A lot of businesses fail in the first few years, and poor budgeting is one of the biggest reasons for those failures. The best way to avoid a bad outcome is to carefully estimate costs and stick to your budget unless there’s a truly compelling reason not to.

Be sure to factor in taxes and fees as well as supplies. Source essential oils in bulk, figure out what you’ll need for initial marketing efforts, and don’t open unless you’re sure you have enough funds in hand to cover you for at least 3 years.

Hire good staff

People are at the heart of any business, and that’s especially the case with a spa. Your staff must be experienced, skilled, and personable if you’re going to earn customer loyalty and grow your business.

You can often find well-trained people at beauty schools or get references from community college cosmetology faculty. Just remember not to staff up with only new graduates. Hiring one or two people with some maturity and experience will pay off in the long run.