In recent years, the day spa industry in the U.S. has blossomed exponentially, benefiting from the new emphasis on health and wellness and on the “normalization” of treatments once thought “exotic” and done almost exclusively at luxury resorts. The day spa industry now generates over $16 billion annually, drawing customers to some 180 million individual spa visits.
Given these trends and statistics, it is easy to see that the spa industry is potentially a great investment, but to an entrepreneur, that is not quite enough. Besides being a good investment in its own right, there needs to be a good “fit” between the industry and the business owner or the odds are against a long-time, wholehearted endeavor.
What, then, are the indications that a spa franchise might be right for you? Here are five tell-tale signs to look for to find out:
1. You are comfortable with being a franchisee.
Franchises are common across a wide range of industries, and there are still day spa start-ups that do well, but the fact is that day spas are particularly well suited for a franchise approach. And there are many great franchise opportunities in the day spa industry.
So why the marriage between the day spa industry and franchising? First, modern day spas need to be extremely multifaceted, covering hair care, nail care, skin care, massage therapy, and more all under one roof. This means you need a lot of specialized equipment, an extremely well thought out business plan, and the ability to create that resort-like ambiance. Franchises make all that “turn-key,” greatly increasing business “survival rates.”
Second, spa customers are often very particular and very loyal to their favored spa, making it far easier to capitalize on an existing customer base than to draw customers away from a familiar setting.
2. You are a “people person.”
While you need to be a “business-minded person” to succeed in any industry, some industries (including the spa business) are more overtly “people-focused.” The spa is as much a center of social interaction as a health and wellness center, and spa customers may choose their preferred spa location as much based on who they are interacting with as on what service is being rendered.
Thus, you either need to be on-site helping to create that friendly social environment or stay in the background and hire a manager who will do that for you. You could even go the extra mile and try out a blonde wig.
3. You believe in the health and wellness movement.
There are few things worse than spending your life steeped in an endeavor you don’t even really believe in. As an employee, you might sometimes have little choice, but it would make no sense at all for a business owner to enter an industry he/she does not see the essential value of.
You will be providing high-quality beauty care, 100% certified organic products, a relaxing, rejuvenating atmosphere, and a host of products and services designed to improve your customers’ quality of life. You need to fully appreciate the value you are offering the consumer and be able to market your business with genuine enthusiasm.
4. You are willing to work long and sometimes unpredictable hours.
While running a day spa ought to be something you truly want to do before you commit to making the investment, have no illusions — it is going to require long, hard work. You need to be the type of person who can live his/her dream even while working long, unpredictable hours that may fluctuate greatly seasonally and throughout the week.
There will be rushes, and there will be lulls. If you can adjust to the situation as needed and remain devoted to your cause through it all, you can expect to see your day spa grow.
5. You already own a non-franchise spa or a non-spa franchise.
While not at all a requirement, there are two special situations you may be aware of that are well suited for opening a new day spa franchise location. First, you may already have started up a day spa on your own but feel it is time to sell and convert it over to a well-known franchise brand to gain extra customers and other franchise benefits. Second, you may already own other franchises and want to expand and diversify your “franchise portfolio.”
In sum, buying a day spa franchise is a wise investment, but before you make the leap, be sure the industry is a right fit for you and that you understand its benefits and its challenges.