Foot spas are relaxing and feel indulgent. Starting a foot spa business does not need to be costly, especially if you operate your business as a sole proprietor and are willing to travel to your clients with portable equipment.

Foot Spa Equipment

Foot spa equipment and supplies needed to start and run your business depend on the services offered. At minimum, you'll need a portable or fixed footbath, towels and consumable items such as soaps, exfoliants and lotions.

If you're operating in a fixed location, you'll need to provide clients with a comfortable chair. Padded recliners can range from $1,000 to $10,000 for a luxury chair with a built-in foot bath.

Having a mobile spa business means that you go to a client's home or business with portable equipment or travel in a vehicle fitted with a spa chair and utilities such as power and water supply. A mobile business can afford flexibility for you and convenience for your clients.

Define Your Customer Base

Look at the population demographics in your area and whether there is a need for spa services within a certain demographic. For example, the Chicago-based Spa Space targets men by advertising a "sports pedicure". A sports or athletic pedicure skips the frills but includes basic nail care, treatment of callouses and extra massage.

When planning your business, consider the needs of elderly clients and those who seek an indulgent, luxury service.

Best Foot Spa for Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation reports that massage can significantly reduce symptoms of arthritis. Doctors recommend that the best foot spa for arthritis includes massage with moderate pressure to reduce pain and stiffness and increase flexibility.

Check local laws governing how you can label and market services with a promised medical benefit. You cannot call yourself a reflexologist, for example, without specific training.

Specialty Foot Spa Treatments

In some markets, customers seek a unique experience with a specialty pedicure. Offering one of these specialty foot spa experiences can set you apart from the competition:

  • Chocolate pedicure: Chocoholics will appreciate this one. Cocoa moisturizes and firms the skin and acts as an antioxidant. Bonus: It smells great!

  • Wine pedicure: Like chocolate, red wine is full of antioxidants. Soaking the feet in red wine softens and rejuvenates skin.

  • Margarita pedicure: This is a party for the feet with a lime foot-bath, salt exfoliator and lime-scented moisturizer.

  • Milk and honey pedicure: After a soak in a milk bath, feet are massaged with an exfoliating sugar and then moisturized with a honey mask.

  • Ice cream pedicure: Feet are soaked in water treated with an ice-cream-shaped bath bomb that contains aromatics as well as vitamins and minerals to soften and nourish the skin. A chocolate-, strawberry- or vanilla-scented exfoliant is applied with an ice cream "sandwich" pumice.

  • Stone pedicure: Hot stones are used to massage essential oils into the feet and lower legs to relieve muscle aches.

  • Fish pedicure: Small carp (members of the goldfish family) nibble away dead skin in a painless procedure that is not for the squeamish client.

Training, Licensing and Certification

Training, licensing and certification are among the things needed for foot spas depending on the services offered and applicable state and local laws. In some cities and counties, anyone giving a massage is required to have certification from an approved massage school. In other places, no certificate is required if the massage is confined to the area between knees and feet.

In most states, you need to complete an approved training or apprenticeship program if you want to provide nail care as part of your foot spa services. Again, licensing requirements vary, so check with local government offices.

Register your foot spa business with the state or county clerk's office. Fees are usually less than $300 and vary by location. Register with the federal government by obtaining a tax identification number. Registering your business affords you some legal protection and tax benefits.