How To Open a Spa in 2023 | Complete Guide

Are you looking for guidance on how to open a spa business?

Starting a new spa will require much more from you than just looking after your clients like writing a spa business plan, hiring staff, and dealing with marketing and sales. Don't worry, our guide will help you plan and execute the necessary activities to set and run a healthy and successful spa.

What You Will Learn

In this post, we'll look at how to open a spa business and walk you through some very useful checklists.

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  1. Do You Need A License To Open A Spa?
  2. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Spa Salon?
  3. Opening a Spa Checklist
  4. Spa Equipment List
  5. Owning a Spa Pros and Cons
  6. Conclusion

Do You Need A License To Open A Spa?


Licenses and permits can vary between states and provinces and, in some cases, even in between municipalities.

Do your homework and find out what you need in your area. Including these when beginning a spa business checklist and approximating your spa start-up costs is a good thought.

Here's an overview of the basic business license actions and permit requirements to help you start:

Requirements for Owning a Spa Business
Requirements for Owning a Spa Business

1. Obtain Required Licenses

  • Professional Licenses: Depending on the services you provide and also your location, license requirements may differ greatly. Most of your personnel may need a cosmetologist license, while a massage therapist will need a specific massage therapy license, for example. Make sure to check your state's and your city's websites to find out everything you need to know about local requirements for each service your spa offers.
  • Spa Business Operation License: The standard business license needed to open your spa business. You can apply at your state department or the U.S. Small Business Administration by providing your name, business name, and social security number.
  • Certificate of Occupancy: Your local property examination services or government agency can help you do this. They'll inspect the premises to make certain that your spa business space is safe and verify that it has the essential water and electrical hookups to operate.

2. Register Your Spa Business

  • Get your TIN: Also called a Tax Identification Number, you can get this 9-digit number by applying straight to the IRS.
  • Find Out Name Requirements: You'll require a spa business name for your spa business plan (more on this later). However, some states also have particular requirements for businesses when it concerns names. Make certain to check these when naming your new spa business.

3. Obtain Required Permits

  • Building Permits: These permits are handled at the state level and require assessments and approvals for any work that you intend to do to make your spa all set for business. Costs can vary, but do not miss this step- it's required by law and important for safety.
  • Spa Business Retail Seller Permit: This lets spa business owners sell retail products in addition to providing services. In states that collect sales tax, you'll most likely require a retail seller permit. Check the U.S. Small Business Administration or your state's site for more details.
  • EIN: You will require your Federal Employer Identification Number to submit your Federal and state taxes, spa business's payroll, and other documentation.

You can get it from the IRS or your state's online website, and you'll be required to provide your business license, personal info, and a general description of your products and services.

4. Get Spa Business Insurance

The price of insurance typically varies between about $50 to $250 a month, and it takes care of you, your staff, and your clients. The most standard kind is called "general liability" insurance coverage and protects against damage to your property, claims made against you, or sometimes even harm to your business's reputation.

5. Sign a Lease Agreement

A legal adviser can help you draw this up, although templates are obtainable online. You'll wish to make certain to have this signed and prepared to go before you invest any cash in the existing spa business or make any modifications to the place. If you're buying the place, make certain to speak with a lawyer to close the sale.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Spa Salon?


1. Spa Business Licenses and Legal Fees

  • Licenses: In the U.S., these can cost between $100-$400 for small businesses like hair spa businesses. That includes the processing costs and the license itself.
  • Certificates: The inspections required to provide a Certificate of Occupancy differ by state, but you can expect to pay a minimum of $250. If they find any issues, you'll have to correct them and have the location inspected once again for another fee.
  • Professional licenses and certificates are normally required for all of your personnel and will differ in price depending on the services they provide. Also, their training will need to be kept up to date too. The charge to renew a cosmetology license varies by state but is usually $50 or more, while the yearly fee of keeping a massage therapy license can go up to 500$.
  • Permits: Retail requirements will differ by state but are commonly a requirement if you intend on selling items to clients. In California, for example, there is no charge for a retail seller permit, but a security deposit may be required.
  • Legal Fees: A lawyer can assist you in reviewing your lease or bill of sale, check that all of your documentation is filed correctly, and check out any "fine print" on your state's requirements or insurance coverage paperwork. They normally charge about $200 per hour for their services.

2. Spa Business Location

  • Rent deposit: This will include your very first month's rent but can also include an additional deposit in some cases (if the property is furnished, some states let property owners charge more).
  • Spa Business Fit-out: The price of fitting out the spa business you dream of will differ a lot depending on your taste, resources, and the square footage of the location itself. Don't hesitate to look around and get several quotes.
  • Furniture: To begin, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to more than $3000 for a high-end massage table. Don't forget furniture pieces for your customer reception areas and spa business break rooms, too.
  • Signage: It's important to have the perfect spa business sign to bring in clients to your business. That said, a professionally-made sign done by a graphic design business can begin at several hundred dollars, so it's an excellent idea to research before choosing one.

3. Spa Business Equipment

How Much does Spa Business Equipment Cost?

Spa business owners have the option of leasing equipment or buying it outright. Both have their disadvantages and benefits.

A brand-new complete set of spa business equipment can easily go up to 20000-30000 dollars, depending on the services you provide and the size of the venue. In the meantime, with leasing, you make monthly payments. These rates will depend upon the company, and many do give you the possibility to purchase the equipment or lease brand-new units later on.

Many companies will provide you the option to lease bigger, more pricey items such as massage tables and chairs. However, be prepared to shop around for smaller-sized items such as carts, trolleys, and service accessories.

When you start equipping up, keep in mind that your spa business's needs may change in the future, so you'll wish to prepare not just what you purchase now but what you might require later on.

4. Spa Business Marketing

Your spa business website is among your spa business's essential marketing tools, particularly if your target market is more youthful or professional. They tend to value the practicality of online booking and make use of social media to look for the services they're interested in.

You can create your spa business website utilizing a completely free template online or hire a professional to assist. They generally charge between $300- $700 for this service. Or, you can invest in good spa business management software that includes a website building function.

Do not ignore business cards and flyers, too. Make sure to connect to the local community utilizing printed materials that you can hand out at your spa and local businesses.

You may even wish to buy an ad on the radio or in the local newspapers.

How much cost to open a spa
How Much Cost to Open a Spa

To learn more please check out our post on Ideas for Spa Names.

5. Initial Stock

Your total stock will differ depending on the size and staffing needs of your spa business. When you figure out product needs, make sure to include disposable materials used in each service, as well as professional products and retail items.

  • Professional Products: These are what your staff members will utilize on customers and ought to be inventoried independently from sellable stock. Spa software can assist you in keeping track of these.
  • Retail Products: Track what you offer for sale to customers separately from your supplies budget. How much money you invest in these products will depend upon your marketing and the products you choose, in addition to any specialties your salon offers (such as skincare or spa salts, for instance).

How To Start A Spa With No Money?

A great idea for opening up if you do not have a big budget would be to find a business partner or an investor. You can also apply for a bank loan or consider joining a spa franchise.

Opening a Spa Checklist


Lots of people wonder how to start a spa parlour. Similar to any new business enterprise, a bit of planning goes a long way. Here are the steps that you can follow to help turn your dream into a successful business.

1. Select a Business Model

Will you join a franchise (this comes with a great deal of support but less autonomy), or will you run your own business?

2. Develop Your Spa Business Business Plan and Price Menu

Is spa business profitable?

We recommend you start with preparing a spa business plan to set your goals, what your expectations should be and how profitable you can get. Include a marketing plan, your target audience, budget, and the type of products/ services you'll offer customers. Also, prepare a breakdown of your basic recurring costs like personnel salaries, insurance coverage, supply expenses, and marketing.

3. Find Perfect Location

That will depend a lot on your brand and target audience. Will your customer base be young and professional? Then search for something near a local downtown or business hub. Other spa businesses may succeed in cozy neighborhoods or little towns if this fits their clients and brand.

4. How to Fund the New Spa

Wodering how to start a spa with no money?

Insufficient funds at start-up are one leading reason that spa salons struggle, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Try to have at least six months in reserve. Sources of financing can include your own savings, assistance from good friends and family, your local credit union, and loans and grants for industry start-ups. Ensure that you have a budget and plan to pay it back, too.

5. Develop Your Spa Branding

Your brand helps define your business and customers. It includes everything from your logo design and name to your website and interior decoration. Pinterest is a good source of ideas to get started. Select some images and words that describe your brand and use them for inspiration.

Spa business opening checklist
Spa Business Opening Checklist

6. Prepare Your Spa Marketing Plan

Set up your website and social networks pages, select a logo design and connect to the community. Your friends and family can be important when it comes to forming these connections with new clients.

Ensure that you also set up your Google My Business account information with pictures so clients can find you on opening day and leave comments afterwards. Spa software will make following up with them and managing review content a lot easier, too.

7. Get Spa Management Software

Spa software will help you to optimize your business processes, allow easy online booking, manage your staff schedule, track and order inventory, take payments, and more, saving you hours of stress and money weekly.

8. Pick Your Credit Card Processor

Different providers use different equipment and rates, including easy app-based systems or more sophisticated devices with receipt printing. Do not hesitate to look around.

9. Recruit Staff for Your Spa

Advertise any openings and select your dream team, then plan your training.

10. Pick Product Suppliers

That depends greatly on your branding and clientele, so choose an assortment that compliments your services and vision.

To learn more please check out our post on Spa Business Expenses.

Spa Equipment List


That includes all the things from furniture to the tools and tech that your team will need. Start by making a list of the big and small things that your space must have, separating "needs" from "wants" to stay on budget.

Remember, the equipment can normally be leased or bought. However, tools and furniture will probably have to be bought.

Your spa business shopping list must include:

  • Furniture: Reception desks, chairs, waiting area furniture, massage tables and accessories, massage business chairs, pedicure chairs, product display stands, lighting, wall art, trolleys, and shelving are all essential things to place on this list.
  • Electrical Items: Hot towel cabinets, table warmers, microdermabrasion machines, washing machines, and any specialized items for other services.
  • Supplies and tools: This includes non-reusable items like face rest covers and gloves, oils, lotions, creams, salts, and gels, along with reusable sheets, towels, and products for other specialized services.
  • Management: A cash register, computers/ Laptops for running the spa business, POS system, spa business software to track scheduling, visits, inventory, and phones are all needed for the business.
  • Safety: Fire extinguishers, first aid kits, hand sanitiser, and masks ought to all be kept on hand.

We've prepared an opening a Spa Equipment List to assist you in opening up a spa.

Owning a Spa Pros and Cons


While there is a lot of advantages to owning your own spa business, there are also some downsides that you'll require to be ready for.

Benefits of Owning a Spa:

  • Independence: You decide how to guide your business, set your own schedule, and keep the revenues.
  • Creative Freedom: Developing your dream business, mastering managerial skills, and helping to foster and mentor your staff is both gratifying and an amazing learning experience.
  • Opportunity: A typical spa business can generate a revenue of about 100,000 dollars every year. Out of this, about 50,000 dollars is profit for the spa business owner. This can add up if you take care of things well.

Challenges of Owning a Spa:

  • Administration: It's hard to take on all the administration work, from tracking payroll and inventory to updating social networks and preparing for tax season. Spa salon software can assist you in remaining organized, optimising your calendar and taking care of scheduling and stock, amongst other things, but you'll still have a lot of duties.
  • Taxes and Legal Necessities: You'll ultimately be responsible for paying taxes and insurance and ensuring all your inspections and paperwork are up to date.
  • Losses: Even the best businesses might have slower days, so you must be prepared for this. You should see that staff are paid, and spa expenses are handled, even if earnings are momentarily low.



We hope this article has helped to to gather important indhts on how to open a spa. Starting a new business is a big step, but it can also be exceptionally rewarding. The most crucial thing that you can do is invest your time and effort in staying organized right from the start.

Tools like spa software can aid with this, and it's essential that you prepare yourself by doing your own research and getting your checklists all set before you begin making any purchases or investing any money.

The correct planning, a clear budget, and a strong marketing strategy can make all the difference when opening a spa business.


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