As a business owner, there’s a lot to consider when opening a medical spa. This guide will help you understand the steps involved and make informed decisions about your med spa business.
What You Will Learn
We’ll go over the basics of med spa ownership, what services medical spas offer, how to open a medical spa , as well as the expenses and start-up costs you should expect.
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- What Is A Medical Spa?
- What Licenses Do You Need To Open A Medical Spa?
- Opening A Medical Spa Checklist
- What Are Medical Spa Start-up Costs?
What Is A Medical Spa?
A medical spa business combines medical services and spa services in one location where clients can receive aesthetic treatments and medical procedures like botox injections, chemical peels and laser hair removal from trained medical professionals, as well as all of the relaxing services a spa usually provides.
Sometimes, registered nurses or plastic surgeons will also perform treatments here just like they might in a doctor’s office, but the medical treatments will focus on beauty and wellness. Med spas combine the best of both worlds, really.
Within the med spa industry, there are different business models that offer treatments of various types. These include:
- Aesthetic Spas: These small businesses target clientele looking for noninvasive, superficial treatments like hair removal, anti-ageing services, facials or relaxation massage. These usually don’t require a licensed physician on site.
- Medical Aesthetic Spas: This type of medical spa business provides more specialized treatments that only physicians, nurses or medical aestheticians are able to offer- these include things like administering botox or fillers, but can also include a medical practice providing dermatological treatments.
What Licenses Do You Need To Open A Medical Spa?
Depending on the state you’re located in, licenses and legal requirements for opening up a medical spa will vary, so make sure to check your state’s website. That said, here’s an overview of what to expect when opening a med spa.
Licenses and Permits
- Med Spas Business License: All small businesses need a license to operate- you can apply for this through your state department’s website or through the U.S. Small Business Administration. You’ll provide them with your name, the business name, and your social security number.
- Certificate of Occupancy: To get this, you’ll need to book an inspection through your local government agency or property department to make sure that your new location complies with local zoning laws, has the right square footage to provide services, plus the correct electrical and water hookups and meets fire safety requirements.
- Permits: If you’re selling products as well as providing services, then most states require you to have a retail seller permit. You can get this online through your state’s website.
- Building Permits: Any renovations will require a permit and an inspection, so be prepared to apply for one- your local fire or safety inspector may also come out to check everything before signing off on the work.
Professionals Licenses and Clinical Requirements
You may be wondering “What license do you need to open a medical spa specifically?” There are a couple of steps to opening a medical spa that differ from your usual spa, and licensing is one of the most important ones. Let’s take a closer look.
- Spa Professional’s Licenses: Most spa treatments need to be administered by staff that are licensed and properly trained. This includes aestheticians and massage therapists, who will need to possess a state license and proper training from an accredited school or program. They’ll also need to keep their training up to date.
- Licensed Physicians: Although they might not provide every treatment themselves, it’s still necessary to have qualified medical professionals there to supervise treatments at a med spa.
The requirements vary by state, but you’ll most likely need to have a physician or board-certified plastic surgeon on staff. If you’re wondering how to open a med spa as a nurse, in most cases you’ll still need to work with a physician.
- MSO and MSA: Some states (not all) require that medical spas either be owned by a physician, or that business owners opening up a new medical spa set up a management services organization (MSO) that works closely with a physician to ensure that the day to day operations meet state medical standards. This relationship is governed by what’s called a management services agreement (MSA).
- HIPAA Certification: In this respect, your med spa business is similar to a medical clinic- staff will need to be trained to follow HIPAA regulations and procedures to protect patient’s confidentiality.
We recommend you to check out our post on med spa mission statement.
Opening A Medical Spa Checklist
If you’re wondering how to open your own med spa and where to start, don’t worry- we’re here to help. Figuring out how to start a medical spa can seem complex at first, but we’ve done our best to break down each step in the process.
- Choose a Business Model: There are franchises you can join in the medical spa industry, or you can run your own business. While joining a thriving med spa franchise can provide assistance with things like branding and marketing materials, you’ll have more autonomy as a separate business.
- Create a Medical Spa Business Plan: Every successful medical spa has a solid business plan. Think of it as a roadmap for running things. It includes an executive summary, a description of your target market, marketing and sales plan, budget, products and services offered, along with all the expenses involved (both setup costs and ongoing costs).
- Develop Your Brand: A brand identity helps you retain loyal customers and influences everything from services to signage, decor and marketing strategy. Start by making notes or creating a Pinterest board.
- Get a Location: Find your ideal location- remember that your medical spas physical location will have a big impact on new clients you attract. Do you want to bring customers in from the surrounding area? If so, then choose a spot that reflects your target market, whether that’s a building in a busy shopping district or a peaceful suburban day spa. You may also want to consider things like how much office space you’ll need.
- Secure Funding: You’ll need enough money to cover the cost of opening a medical spa business, plus a few months’ operating costs in reserve. Reach out to financial institutions and shop around for loan rates.
- Find a Lawyer and an Accountant: Although you can access a lot of legal and business resources through the American Med Spa Association, you’ll still want to get professional legal and financial advice when setting up your business, especially since regulations are always changing in this area.
- Create a Marketing Plan: Set up social media pages and a business website as part of your digital marketing strategy. Then, decide how you will promote your med spas services, as well as how you’ll budget for it.
- Get Insurance: When discussing how to start a med spa, we can’t forget about business insurance (which protects the business itself) and liability insurance (which a medi spas staff will need to protect them).
- Develop Policies and Health and Safety Plans: You’ll need a detailed cleaning and sanitization plan, along with policies/ procedures staff can follow to help protect client’s privacy, hygiene, spa equipment and deal with any incidents or issues that occur.
- Get HIPAA Certification: Make sure your staff is trained in HIPAA procedures and obtain your certification from a state-regulated training program.
- Create Consent Forms: Draft consent forms that outline the risks and benefits of all treatments and make sure that they’re easy for clients to understand. These help clients make informed decisions about treatments and protect your business and staff from liability.
- Get OSHA Forms: These forms are used to report and keep records of any accidents, injuries or issues that occur. They’re legally required and can be found on OSHA’s website.
- Hire a Medical Director or Create an MSA and MSO: Can an esthetician open a medical spa? What about a business owner from another background? In most cases, the answer is yes, but many states require some sort of medical oversight, in which case you’ll either need a medical director or an established relationship with a physician.
- Recruit Staff: Start by making a list of your staffing needs, then you can begin advertising and filling vacancies. Make sure that everyone has up-to-date licenses.
- Provide Training: Make sure that each staff member is properly trained in each service and that it’s within the scope of what they’re licensed to do.
- Buy Equipment: Your business plan should include equipment costs, and this is the time to start shopping around and acquiring the equipment your day spa needs to provide treatments. Some medical spas even rent their equipment, so make sure to check out your options.
- Choose Products: Select the retail products you’ll sell and the professional products you’ll use on clients.
- Choose a Payment Processing Method: Different companies offer different types of machinery, from a simple payment app to machines that print receipts. Shop around and take a look at the rates they offer before deciding.
- Get Medical Spa Software: This can help with everything from online appointment booking, scheduling, and booking treatment rooms to inventory and even client outreach and advertising. It’s well worth the money and can even help you boost your online reviews.
What Are Medical Spa Start-up Costs?
Is owning a medical spa profitable? It definitely can be, but keeping an eye on your costs and budget is key, just as with any business. The overall costs can range anywhere from $700,000 to $1,000,000 altogether, so make sure to plan carefully.
- Business License and Certifications: Medical spas need a license to operate, and these can cost between $100- $400, including processing fees. Certifications can cost around $700 altogether.
- Certificate of Occupancy: This usually costs at least $250, but can vary by state. If they require a second inspection after you fix any issues they identify, you’ll need to pay for this as well.
- Legal Fees: Expect to pay at least $200 an hour for a lawyer- it’s a good idea to consult with them about state requirements and any “fine print” on documents before you sign them.
- Property/ Rent Deposit: This will depend a lot on location. If you’re purchasing a property, you’ll need the down payment, and if you’re renting, you’ll need first and last month’s rent.
- Decor and Furnishings: This will vary depending on your needs and branding, so don’t be afraid to shop around- you can even find good quality used items online, and a high-quality new treatment chair can cost as much as $1000 or more.
- Equipment: Even basic facial machines, tables, trolleys, and technician chairs can cost as much as $30 per square foot or more for the latest high-end equipment.
- Signage: A good quality graphic designer or sign company can charge anywhere from less than $100 to over $2000 depending on the size and design you need. Make sure to get multiple quotes and ask to see examples of their work.
- Marketing: Your medical spa’s website is one of your most important marketing tools. You can build this yourself using a free template or hire a professional- they usually charge from $500 to several thousand dollars, but can produce customized results that meet your specifications.
We hope that this article has helped provide some insights on how to open a medspa. As with any business plan, a little research and preparation goes a long way. Make sure to consult your state’s websites and get professional legal advice during startup.
Opening a medical spa takes a lot of work and preparation, but hopefully we’ve helped you to get started and find the tools, like med spoa software, you’ll need.
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