How to Start Spa and Massage Business?

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Written by BusinessAlligators Support

Support Staff at BusinessAlligators is a team of business experts led by Shilpi Singh Trusted by over 100K readers worldwide.

March 27, 2019

In today’s scenario, stress is obvious due to the hustle bustle of life and work pressure especially in urban cities. People look for different ways to relax on weekends like spa and massage. Spa and massage treatments help to regain the energy, deliver peace of mind, health, fitness, cure body pains and reduce weight. According to a report by First Research Inc, in 2015, approx. $99 billion revenue was observed from 120,000 spa and massage centers in the world and it is forecasted that it will reach to $154.6 billion by 2022.

The largest spa market is in the US providing 21,000 facilities and generating revenue of approx. $16 billion. Also, the global spa market is going to grow at a CAGR of 5.66% until 2021. The major rise in the spa and massage industry is due to mainly geriatric population (old people concerned with health care) and increasing demands of the youth all over the world. In the coming years, this industry is going to boom like anything because people will be more stressed due to competitive corporate pressure. They will need some source of relaxation and peace which can be delivered by spa and massage treatments.

There are some essentials of starting a spa and massage business which should be considered before entering in this industry:

Decide Niche

The foremost thing is to decide the niche for a smooth journey of business. You can start by selecting the segment in which you want to enter. Now as pa and massage are different treatments. If you are focusing on opening spa and massage business, you are supposed to keep a completely separate segment of massage from the spa. There are different types of body massage as well as spas which are quite popular in the whole world. Let’s see their types one by one.

Types of Spa

The spa is a small word but it has many dimensions. People have different needs and accordingly they choose the type of spa service they want to avail for themselves:

1. Destination Spa

Customers availing services from the spa-oriented resort is termed as a Destination Spa. Earlier, this type of spa used to be built around natural hot springs or mineral springs. It provides a complete package for maintaining health and fitness. It involves fitness lectures, health curing exercises, healthy diet, and many other physical fitness activities. It requires the active participation of the customer as it is not a one-day spa treatment.

2. Ayurvedic Spa

It is an Indian originated and the oldest healthcare spa in the world. As per facts, India is earning approx. 600 million USD annually. Around 380,000 medical practitioners are registered in the Ayurvedic system in India. It involves herbal treatments to create a balance of mind, body, and soul. It is quite popular in north India and people are adopting it at a rapid pace due to increasing stress levels.

3. Medical Spa

Medical spa is an emerging concept in developing countries. It focuses on providing both traditional and medical spa services. In addition to daily spa treatments and health consultation, there are other professionals such as physiotherapists, osteopaths, and aestheticians who take care of beauty therapies and surgeries. In 2015, the medical spa market was estimated at 170 million USD. People are very conscious about their looks these days and therefore they are looking forward to getting laser treatments to conquer the world of fame and charm.

4. Stress Management Spa

It is the most required and needful therapy nowadays. People are struggling with the pressure of maintaining a good and healthy lifestyle. This spa offers you wellness advice, daily treatments and other well-being activities like meditation, yoga, and lectures related to stress management. These services are offered at peaceful places to make clients feel relaxed from the daily workload.

5. Anti-Ageing Spa

Now people genuinely believe in “Age is just a number.” Everyone wants to look good and to hide aging effects, they look for reliable treatments. The anti-aging spa is not just a spa, it is about to deliver confidence and happiness about their skin. People generally go for anti-wrinkle, anti-pigmentation, anti-stretch, sun care and add on services are nourishment of hair and skin.

6. Thalassotherapy Spa

The word “Thalassotherapy” is made of two words- Thalasso means sea and therapy means treatment. This spa uses the marine environment and seawater benefits such as sea mud, and sand to improve your well-being. You can experience hydrotherapy after sea salt scrub and mud wrap. It provides your skin with required minerals.

Types of Body Massage

Like the spa, there are various types of massage also which are widely popular. Let’s see few of them:

1. Hot Stone Massage

As the name suggests, professionals use warm and smooth stones on the body at specific points. They hold heated stones in hand while giving massage to clients. It relaxes your body and reduces muscle pains and is very beneficial for blood circulation. Make sure it should be done by trained service providers because it is not feasible for everyone. To check with your doctor is very important before availing this treatment if you are suffering from blood pressure problem, heart problems and diabetes.

2. Deep Tissue Massage

It applies gentle techniques to relax our muscle tissues. Deep tissue massage uses light strokes of friction on specific problem muscles or areas. The therapist tries to manipulate the tissue through rubbing and addresses chronic pains, repetitive strains, lingering injuries and many more. It is quite popular among sportsmen and geriatric population.

3. Shiatsu Massage

It is a Japanese originated message. Shiatsu massage involves soft pressure through fingers of two to eight seconds on some specific points on the body to cure many health problems and to relax the body. It applies the rhythmic sequence flow of fingers, elbows, and hands. It helps to flow the energy of the body and cures arthritis, insomnia, sinus problems, back and neck pain.

4. Thai Massage

It is a combination of yoga, stretching and pressing message. It is comparatively more energized massage than others. It can be done in open, no need for a massage table and oil as well. It requires trained therapists who can teach yoga postures and different stretching techniques. It reduces back pain, stress and cures migraine problems as well.

5. Pregnancy Massage

It is a drug-free way to provide relief to pregnant women from lower back pain and swollen ankles. Pregnancy massage is also called prenatal massage. The massage therapist should be certified for the sake of the safety of mother and baby. He should be well trained to teach correct body postures and techniques to do soft exercises. You should place a special table to position and support the women’s body to avoid any mishap.

6. Aromatherapy Massage

It is done by using plant oils that offer pleasant fragrance and healing benefits. For example, Lavender and Rose are known for relaxation. These essential oils are to be mixed with massage oils to generate aroma and supply freshness of flowers to the body. Different oils can be chosen to cater to different problems suffered by customers.


The second step is to prepare a roadmap for your spa and massage business. Before starting your business, it is very important to have prior knowledge about market or locality, sources of raw material, target audience and information about services offered by your rivals in the market. Let’s discuss each one of them one by one:

1. Procurement of Raw material

To procure raw material is the basic and foremost step to start offering services. To ascertain the cost of material and transportation system are the next steps to be taken care of. In the case of spa and massage business, the essentials to be procured at first hand are massage oils and lotions, candles, manicure/pedicure supplies, towels, music system, massage table, sheets and pillows of neutral colors. Clients remain very conscious about their skin so massage oils and lotions should be of good quality.

2. Cost of Raw Material

The cost of raw material depends on the business plan. If you are using natural resources and processing them to convert in usable form, then you have to incur heavy cost like plant oils. You will be required a trained workforce for that. But, if you are just offering services and using processed raw material, then you will incur comparatively less cost.

3. Transportation of Raw Material

There is no complexity in the transportation of raw material for spa and massage business. It should be taken care of any degradation in the quality of products while goods are in transit. Alibaba and Amazon are the best examples to get the raw materials of spa and massage business as Alibaba is offering 538 spa raw material products which can be easily transported at your service place.

4. Competition Analysis

A successful businessman is the one who knows his competitors well. You should know them so that you can plan your future survival strategies beforehand. You can find all spa operators near your business locality and visit their websites for more information like type of services they are into and pricing strategies etc. Also, you can visit their service centers secretly and observe the activities they are carrying.

5. Target Your Audience

Research about demographic information of your town or city can help you in estimating your target audience. You can judge the success of your business by offering services to your neighbors. Determine the affordability of your services by initial customers and their missing aspirations. Later, you can build your service pricing catalog accordingly. Maintain contacts with initial customers because they are the ones who will pull next customer lot for you.

6. Online Business

Nowadays, customers are enough smart to save their time by using the internet which makes it mandatory for businesses also to be smart to fulfill expectations of customers. Spa and massage business works on appointments so service providers develop the platform for customers to book their online appointments in advance without hustle-bustle of waiting. It keeps business flow smooth, attracts more customers, and increase profits. Service providers should have well-trained staff to make the customer happy so that you can retain them for a long period of time.

One more thing which should be considered in spa and massage business is that sometimes owners adopt unethical ways to earn quick money which can destroy the brand image in the market for the lifetime. Rather than moving your business in negative side for quick and temporary money, go for stable and permanent earnings. Never compromise with service quality and trust of your customers.

Location and Equipment

While searching for a location to set up your business, make sure it is easily accessible by potential customers and have good parking space. Also, it should be far away from noisy places like the railway station because it can disturb user experience. Rest depends on building infrastructure; soundproof rooms will add extra stars in improving the user experience. Moreover, the right choice of color and aroma should be taken care of in accordance with the advice of decor designers. Don’t forget that you will be enough space for:

  • Reception
  • Consultation Rooms
  • Treatment Rooms
  • Changing Rooms
  • Salon Services (if you’re offering them)
  • Storage
  • Restroom

In the case of online spa and massage business, you don’t need to focus on luxurious locations as you will be delivering services at customers’ place. A small office would work for that to handle backend operations.

The decision regarding purchasing of equipment depends on types of spa and massage you are going to offer. Different types require different types of equipment. For example, in the case of hydrotherapy, specific investments will be required to fix plumbing lines and electrical fittings. Similarly, expensive tools and machines are required in case of medical spas such as wrinkle and laser treatment tools. Basic equipment required for massage and spa business are:

  • Stool for aestheticians
  • Reception-area furniture
  • Facial vacuum/spray machine
  • Hot towel cabinet
  • Pedicure cart with footbath massager
  • Steam cabinet
  • Jacuzzi/whirlpool tub
  • Retail product display unit/shelves

Note– If you want machines and raw material then Click Here


Spa and Massage business is vast and can cover unlimited services. To carry out business operations smoothly for a long period of time in the future you have to do a lot of homework. You are supposed to take decisions regarding the structure of business, financing, licensing, and permits wisely. Any mistake can harm your business career badly.

1. Structure of Business

It should be decided after having word with a public accountant or an expert commercial insurance agent. You can start your own business but you should possess good knowledge and financial stability. You can start a business in partnership also where you will be sharing profits and losses with your partners. And in the case of a company, you can enjoy the benefit of limited liability. Another way to enter this market is to get a franchise and carrying out similar business operations in accordance with that of the franchisor. You can enjoy the benefits of an already cooked dish for you. You don’t need to work on the initial business plan and incur expenses. If you are starting your spa and massage business in India then you can read about legal structure from here.

2. Licensing and Permits

Next is to get your business legal. Check with the spa and massage governing body of your country. Sometimes there are two different procedures and both are mandatory to be legalized. One is to get a certificate of registered therapist and second is to get your business registered. Contact your local legal body and apply for registration. It might be possible you will be applying separately for different special spa services. Get yourself verified with police inspection safely without any criminal case recorded in files. Don’t take a risk and comply with every formality to make your business run without future legal bothering.


Finance is the base of every business. Spa and massage business can’t run smoothly if fueled by inadequate finance. You require capital to buy/rent building or land, equipment, install modern fittings & furniture, hiring & training of staff, initial marketing expenses and many more.

To start your own massage and spa business, you have to make investments of around 35 lakhs (approx US $50K to $60K). And if you want to take franchise of an already existing brand then you are supposed to invest around 5 lakhs to 20 lakhs (approx US $10K to $30K) for a normal brand.

In the case of online business, you need around 15 lakhs (approx US $25K) of capital. Online business takes lots of efforts to market your business. So, if you are not an expert in digital marketing, go for hiring professionals.     

Hiring and Training of Staff

Spa and Massage business cannot be operated by a single person solely. It requires trained professionals or therapists with a wide range of skills and good temperament. A most important skill which is required in the staff of the spa business is to treat customers like a God. Hire people who are multilingual (in case of destination spa), polite, dedicated and possess good communication skills. Next check if they are registered therapists or not. In case of any doubt, confirm all details with their previous workplace. Never take a risk by hiring wrong and unwanted people. They can create problems in the future.

Moreover, you can provide training if you find them worthy and best fit for your business. Give them a comfortable environment and learning opportunities to retain the best people for a long period of time. To suggest, you should prepare a team of people to consist of:

  • Professional therapists
  • Mentors
  • Receptionist
  • Marketing Manager
  • Technicians
  • Assistant
  • Accountant

Also, you can hire different therapists for different spa and massage services to deliver good services to customers. It will cost you initially, but you will get payback in no time.

Delivering the Best User Experience

To rely on setting up the building and offering services is not enough to make profits. People not only bother about the quality of services, but they also make the decision of availing your services or not on the basis of the environment of service place especially in Spa and Massage business. People come for spa and massage to get some relaxation and peace from their routine hectic lives and work pressure. So, to provide them a comfy and happening environment should be the foremost purpose of the business. Some things you can add to your business surroundings are:

  • Choose an attractive and accessible location for your business.
  • Build an informative website to inform customers about the services you provide.
  • Use innovative packaging of spa products (meant to sale).
  • Provide customers with changing rooms and safe lockers.
  • Install the music system and play soft music.
  • Invest in quality products and equipments.
  • Make rooms soundproof.
  • Light up room with good scented candles.

Marketing Strategies

To set up a business and wait for customers to come will not get you any profits anytime soon. After deciding the target audience, you are required to make them aware that you are there in the market. Announce your product and attract them. But it is not easy to make them walk to your service center initially. You need to make efforts. The advertisement is crucial for massage and spa business to mark your presence.

  1. Innovative advertising from current rivals
  2. Communicate benefits of spa and massage along with your presence.
  3. Offer discounts and lucky coupons to initial customers to cover up basic expenses.
  4. Make bundle or your services.
  5. You need to make clients but to make them your regular customer should be the main goal of investing in advertisements.
  6. Design an attractive website and effective query responding mechanism.
  7. Keep payment systems flexible and operating hours feasible.

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