Congratulations – you either own a day spa, are an independent massage therapist or aesthetician working in a day spa, or you’re considering opening your day spa. It can be a rewarding business. It’s your job to help people find relaxation, pain relief, and beauty inside and out. You get to be around essential oils, massage tables, and lovely music all-day long.
Too bad running a day spa is anything but relaxing.
For 20 years, my family has successfully managed and grown our day spa DeStress Express into the destination in our area for massage and skin care service. My mother began this business with one massage table, and now we have 13 treatment rooms and 22 independent contractors who use our facility to feed their families.
Our success can be your success if you know the rules of spa success. These are the rules that we now base our business on and it has led to us selling $75,000 worth of gift certificates each month, winning multiple awards, and having over 8,000 active members on our client list.
Rule 1: Don’t Fuck with the Money
Do you need us to use kinder language? Find another day spa guru. This rule needs to be your most important rule – it doesn’t mean we’re greedy, it doesn’t mean we don’t spend money. What it means is that you will take the time to understand the place of money in your business.
Money is a tool that will allow you to invest in things like equipment, space, and staff. Without money, you won’t be able to provide the care your clients need. Without money, you won’t be able to pay your service providers and staff members. Without money, you can’t pay your vendors.
You can’t fuck with the money. Learn how to manage it or hire someone who can help you.
Rule 2: Embrace Your Personality
Here is the stereotypical spa: quiet, calm, muted colors, snooty.
Here is our spa’s, DeStress Express’ personality: a combination of sassy and serene. We have fun with our clients, we embrace things like random cupcakes, bets involving waxing body parts, and we typically laugh at those clients who might suggest “happy endings.” (But we always report them to the police if they are aggressive). We provide serious massage and skin care that gets results.
If we tried only to be “typical spa” like we wouldn’t work as a brand and we would not be celebrating 20 years of business success. We would not have built the loyal tribe of “DeStressers” who are devout followers of our brand.
Don’t hide your authentic self – own it, and your tribe will build.
Rule #3 Hire Slow/Fire Fast
We didn’t come up with this rule. Almost any business expert gives you this type of advice. But the smart spa owner is going to realize that finding the right practitioners and staff members can be a big puzzle Only the right pieces, in the right order make the picture.
Take your time to build your team. Always be on the lookout for real talent. If there is an employee or practitioner who isn’t working within your brand, remove them immediately. Don’t wait.
Rule #4: Education is the BEST Investment
A day spa that doesn’t focus on education is foolish.
Education needs to be the cornerstone of your business development. You need to encourage your practitioners to invest in continuing education – hands-on education. Education is how they will become better professionals that your clients will crave.
You as a spa owner need to invest in education – regarding the services you provide, and also business education because you are in business. Listening to the Spaprenuer Podcast, reading our weekly newsletter and attending our webinars.
Rule #5: Get the Clients Rebooked
Focus on rebooking the client, not acquiring new clients. Your existing clients already understand your brand, love your staff, and know the care you provide. They are a source to bring in new clients.
But, you have to get them to make going to your day spa a habit.
You need a solid plan that you, the front desk, and the practitioners all follower. You need a full court press that focuses on the reasons why your clients need to come in regularly. Make it easy for them to rebook.
Rule #6: Stop Keeping Up with the Jones
Remember Rule #2? If you’re doing that, then you don’t have time to worry about what the spa down the road is doing. Your job is to be so successful that you set the brand standard in your area and the Jones work to keep up with you!
How do you do this? Follow the rules we outline, treat your clients needs before your own and don’t worry about what the day spa down the street is doing.
Rule #7: Get the Word Out Without Breaking the Wallet
We see spa after spa after spa invest money in advertising that doesn’t return on the investment.
Grow your email list, use social media to connect with your tribe, create a referral program that trains your clients to bring in more clients.
Put your dollars and time where it matters and lets the Jones spend money on nonsense.
Rule #8: Handle the Tricky Situations
When you own a business where people regularly get naked, you’re going to run into some tricky situations.
There will be someone who will sexually harass your staff. There will be appointments which don’t show up. There will be staff members who do stupid things.
Handle these situations with care and make decisions that are smart for your long-term business goals.
Rule #9: Your Spa Staff is Not Family or a Charity Case
Our day spa feels like a family, but let’s be clear – there are four primary owners, and two are silent partners. Our staff we love and cherish, but our job as spa owners is to provide the opportunity for your employees and staff to earn an income and grow their careers. That’s it. You’re not responsible for their emotional well-being.
Don’t be a parent to them, don’t be a friend to them. Be their leader.
Rule #10: It’s Okay to Fire a Client
You can fire a client. You don’t have to take every appointment. You can charge a fair price for your service. You don’t have to discount things.
You control your business, or your business controls you. That includes the clients. If you have a client, who is repeatedly late, who doesn’t honor the care you provide refer them to someone else.
We’d love to know your thoughts on these rules – did we get them right or are we missing a few?
Need accountability to grow your spa? Join our growing Spapreneur Facebook Group. There you’ll find a group of spa owners from around the world who understand and will help you in all aspects of building your spa business.