Are you looking to venture into the world of esthetics or are you a spa owner looking for ways to grow your business? Well, you should know that on top of being lucrative, this line of business is quite fulfilling too. There is joy in helping people become the very best versions of themselves in terms of beauty and wellness. However, by the fact that it is under the skincare industry, understanding esthetics as a specialization isn’t exactly straightforward. There are quite a number of beauty products and facial treatments to understand, legalities to comply with, and a sensitive clientele to impress. Setting up a spa business isn’t easy either. Before taking the plunge, therefore, there are 4 important things you need to know:
1. Legal requirements
Everyone knows that you need several business licenses in order to legally own and operate any kind of business, esthetic and spa businesses included. But there are a few things you probably don’t know or haven’t thought of.
LLC or sole-proprietorship?
When registering your spa business, you need to make a choice between sole proprietorship and limited liability company (LLC). The choice you make here will determine your growth opportunities going forward.
A sole proprietorship means you, the owner, will be running the business single-handedly. You can bring in people to help you if you want but from a legal perspective, you operate that business on your own. Fundamentally, the law sees you and the business as one entity. That is to say, you will be liable for your spa’s debts and legal liabilities, and vice versa. If you are planning to open branches and hire a big team, sole proprietorship might not be your best bet. That’s the downside of it. The upside of a sole proprietorship is that you are not answerable to anyone. You can run the business and spend the profits the way you see fit.
If you go the LLC route, there will be a clear legal separation between you and your esthetic business. You cannot be liable for your business’s obligations, financial or legal. You can hire as many people as you need, or enter into as many business deals as you find necessary, without risking your personal finances. You have more room for growth here compared to the sole proprietorship option. That is the upside of registering your spa business as a limited liability company. The key downside is that if you bring partners on board, the ownership of your spa will be spread across all partners. That adds a layer of bureaucracy in decision-making. You will also have to pay pricey capital values taxes and renewal fees.
Health department regulations
There are quite a few health and safety regulations that your esthetics and spa business has to abide by. These regulations are issued and reviewed by the health department or the cosmetology board in your area. They will inspect your sinks, bathrooms, running water, electricity connections, ventilation, and handwashing facilities. When renting space for your new spa business, it is important that you hire an inspector of your own to help you confirm all the relevant building standards before paying for the place. You should also check with the board of cosmetology about the required minimum square footage for each esthetician’s workstation.
For starters, you will need medical coverage for your employees because, as you’d know, there are serious health risks in this line of work. Your business will also need protection from general liabilities and malpractices. To be totally safe, it is important to collaborate with a reputable insurance company in finding the best insurance covers for your business.
Before settling for a location, it is important to confirm from your state or local zoning board if esthetics and spa businesses are allowed in that location.
2. Which niche esthetician market suits you best?
Let’s rephrase that: Which services do you want to offer in your spa? Your answer here will depend on your talents and imaginations because, to be sincere, you are spoilt for options. You can choose to offer medical esthetician treatments, become a makeup artist for TV stars or fashion models, be a wax specialist, master the art of yoga and massage, or even specialize in microdermabrasion. You can also advance your training and become a holistic esthetician. You know, be offering organic, herbal, and homeopathic/naturopathic detoxification regimens. The important thing here is to choose a niche, stick with it, and be all-around good with it.
3. Understand your funding needs
Experts argue against going into debt in order to fund a business; that you should have enough savings of your own to fund your esthetics and spa practice. You should keep that in mind when planning your budget. You’d rather start a small practice and grow it gradually than be forced to shut down along the way due to bankruptcy or unmet financial obligations. However, a small business loan can be worthwhile if you already have an established base of clientele.
Have a strict budget for the following before you outsource funding:
- Business licenses, insurances, inspections, and other relevant legal requirements.
- Monthly lease or mortgage payment.
- Initial inventory, furniture, computers, and tools
- Necessary initial renovation costs
- Business expenses such as a website, social media optimization, phone/magazine/cable TV subscriptions, and signage, etc.
- Advertising and marketing campaign expenses.
- Initial wages for you and your employees.
Bottom line: Don’t be excited about the loan amount you are approved for. Be guided by your funding needs when deciding the amount you need and from whom.
4. Technology is almost mandatory
The beauty and wellness industry is constantly evolving. You might struggle to keep up if you don’t incorporate technology into your operations. If not for anything else, invest in technology for these 4 reasons:
Better client management
You will struggle with client management if clients have to explain their beauty needs every time they visit your spa. Clients always want to be remembered. They want you to have their beauty and wellness history at your fingertips. Their preferred facial treatments, products, massage routines- name them! Reputable salon software will help you gather and access such data with ease. It will help you give each client an individualized experience, which is good for customer retention.
The right software allows you to create a client access portal where clients go to set their own appointments. Clients love the convenience that comes with that. Furthermore, you can use the client access portal to share clients’ wellness charts, send appointment reminders, and issue at-home care instructions.
As a spa owner or manager, you always have a million little things to do at once. From supervising multiple services, monitoring employees in different departments, and when you open other branches, you will need to be in different locations at the same time. You need software that enables you to manage multiple branches remotely, automate scheduling, and track appointment confirmations and cancellations.
It is hard to keep an eye on your numbers, do taxes, and still focus on business development. That’s why you need to invest in accounting software that tracks transactions in real-time.
Esthetics and spa businesses have become a staple in the beauty and wellness industry. It is up to you to come up with unique and client-centric ideas, find your niche, and strategically execute those ideas. You are guaranteed huge financial gains if clients can get value in your esthetics and spa business.