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How to Open a Spa Franchise: Essential Steps You Need to Succeed

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The future is bright for the spa franchise industry. Consumers are focused on wellness and self-care more than ever — causing the spa franchise segment to boom rapidly, offering numerous opportunities to interested investors.

“Spa” is a collective term for a variety of services such as facials, body massages, manicures, pedicures, body waxing, and others, provided under expert care to revitalize the brain and body.

Before opening any business, franchise or not, it is always important to study the industry.
Independent spas and spa franchises fall under the global health and wellness economy, which has experienced steady and impressive growth for the past few years. The growth in the spa market is driven by an increase in hectic lifestyles and social media influence. The scope of the industry is expanding, due to increases in the range of products and services offered to satisfy customer demands.

The global health and wellness industry is a $4.5 trillion market with a growth rate of 6.4 percent annually. Personal care, beauty, and anti-aging services account for $1,083 billion of that economic pie.

In the United States, the number of spa businesses is at an all-time high. There are now more than 22,000 across the country, according to the International SPA Association. Another notable statistic: revenues are getting ever closer to the $20 billion mark.

Investors are increasingly turning to spa franchises to grab a piece of that lucrative pie. The reason? Spa franchises are affordable and accessible modes of self-care for middle-market consumers. No spa experience is necessary to become a franchise owner, and in most cases, they provide a sound and easy business model to follow.

Essential Steps

The first step in the process is to decide the type of spa franchise to be opened, and which services will be offered. For example, some larger spa franchises offer a wide variety of services, from massages to makeup. Others specialize in one type of service that isn’t commonly available or is not performed often at other local spas.

The services offered at most independent spas and spa franchises generally fall into two categories: skin and body care and hair removal.

Skin and body care spa services can include:

  • Facials and body exfoliation
  • Various styles of massages
  • Wraps and packs used to combat cellulite and reduce water retention
  • Cryotherapy treatments, which use subzero temperatures to relieve certain health conditions
  • Eyelash extensions and microblading for eyebrows
  • Tanning, which includes self-tanners and tanning beds

Hair-removal services can include:

  • Electrolysis
  • Body Waxing
  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Threading

Once the type of spa franchise is determined, create a solid business plan. This document will identify potential costs and create a roadmap to follow. A proper business plan will also help with key decisions, such as determining the location, type of financing, staffing, and the income that will need to be generated.

There are various ways to obtain financing to open a spa franchise. The Small Business Administration is one avenue to access funding. Some lenders also have programs that provide loans specifically for salons and spas.

These loans provide the capital to purchase the business, as well as:

  • Buy equipment
  • Purchase supplies
  • Build out the spa
  • Hire staff
  • Provide cash flow
  • Marketing

Location is key for any spa. A spa located in a seedy strip mall is completely at odds with the expectation of a luxurious experience. A real estate broker will have insights into the surrounding area as well as emerging trends. A place that is safe, easily accessible by car or public transit, and offers plenty of parking is ideal. Some spa franchises help franchisees with site selection, using market research to identify a site in an ideal area with high traffic and client growth opportunities.

Size also matters. The square footage of the space needs to be considered depending on the services that will be offered to accommodate treatment rooms, consultation rooms, changing rooms, storage, restrooms, administrative offices, and an employee break room area. Unlike independent spas where owners need to hire professional interior designers or architects to come up with a layout, spa franchises usually have an in-house designer and a blueprint for the buildout to take the pressure off franchisees. The in-house designer can also help make the spa space more efficient, so the franchisee isn’t wasting money on unneeded square footage.

When it comes to owning a spa franchise, the “less may be more” philosophy may be best, especially for investors without much experience in the industry. Many larger spas are attached to hotel chains or resorts. Most operate at a loss since other aspects of the hotel or resort make up for the shortfall at the spa. Small spa owners don’t have this option, so offering limited services might make more sense.

Providing a wide variety of services to customers could spell trouble. One, there are more overhead costs involved. The facility will need to be bigger, to accommodate more treatment rooms. A wider variety of supplies and more expensive equipment is needed as well, not to mention the maintenance these tools will need. Assess the cost of the equipment needed to offer a particular service against the potential for profit. Some services, like hydrotherapy, may require a significant investment on top of the equipment itself to cover the cost of installation and infrastructure upgrades for plumbing lines and electrical.

In order to pay for increased overhead, the average cost of services at a larger spa franchise are priced higher, as much as $200. This reduces affordability, which greatly impacts the number of clients willing and/or able to pay the price.

Specialized Spa Franchises

Spa franchises that specialize in specific services are rising in popularity. They are more accessible to consumers who don’t have the budget to shell out $100 plus for a massage and a fruity drink at a larger spa. These single-service focused spa franchises can include hair salons, nail salons, massage salons, eyelash extensions, and tanning salons.

Body waxing is also a specialty spa franchise. Uni K Wax Studio is the nation’s leading natural body wax spa franchise and is a prime example of the success one can experience in the industry by zeroing in on a service. In the case of body waxing, the service is not widely offered, even at large spa franchises.

There are many reasons why a body waxing franchise is a great way to get into the health and wellness industry, including:

  • Increasing and diverse clientele – Body waxing services are sought after by people of all ages, races, and genders.
  • Return customers – 93 to 99 percent of body waxing customers remove their body hair every four to six weeks, with some returning every 2 weeks for Uni-K-Wax’s exclusive touch up services.
  • High margin/low cost – The cost of supplies and inventory is low. No expensive equipment is needed. Services are performed quickly. All of these factors allow for a high profit margin.

Investing in a waxing spa franchise, such as Uni K Wax, is a great way to get into the multi-billion dollar waxing industry without needing any prior experience. Uni K Wax began franchising in 2007, after nearly 15 years of defining and refining their techniques and best practices. The business model is solid. The studio design and layout are sleek and sophisticated. The support team is unrivaled.

Uni K Wax offers innovative and comprehensive training to help franchisees launch their waxing spa business, and provides ongoing support and guidance to help them build quick and sustainable growth.

Click here to learn more about waxing franchise opportunities with Uni K Wax Studios.

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