More people are realizing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, with many opting to go to a spa for relaxing massages or beauty treatments. In 2015, the spa industry generated $16.3 billion in the U.S. and $99 billion worldwide. The demand for these services is rapidly increasing. If you plan to start a spa business, now is a good time. Before getting started, make sure you know what's needed to succeed.

Choose a Business Model

Research the spa market to determine what services are in high demand. Check your competitors as well. There are different types of spas, and each has unique characteristics. Depending on your budget and expertise, you can choose one or more of the following business models:

  • Day spa
  • Bootcamp spa
  • Ayurvedic spa
  • Medical spa
  • Destination spa
  • Mobile spa
  • Dental spa
  • Club spa

A dental spa, for example, appeals to those who prefer a holistic approach to dentistry. In general, it doesn't provide traditional spa services like body wraps, mud baths or facials. As a business owner, you will need to hire licensed dentists and purchase dental equipment. Therefore, the costs may be higher compared to those associated with a day spa.

If you specialize in massage, beauty treatments or other procedures that don't require a lot of equipment, you can launch a mobile spa. This kind of business caters to those who wish to enjoy a relaxing experience in the comfort and privacy of their own home. You will need only a car or van, beauty products, massage oils and other basic supplies.

Detox spas are popular, too. Customers usually spend three days or more at these resorts. Most facilities provide meditation and yoga classes, combined with juicing, raw diets and other holistic practices. In general, detox spas are located in remote areas that offer peace and tranquility.

Starting a spa business requires more than just renting a facility and promoting your services. You will need to hire and train staff, research new products and order supplies, invest in cutting-edge equipment and more. In some cases, you may need to continue your education and get licensed.

For example, if you plan to work as a massage therapist at your spa, it's legally required to first obtain a license. The State of Washington, for instance, requires applicants to complete and graduate from an approved massage program and undergo 24 hours of continuing education every two years. They must also apply for a massage therapist license and renew it every year.

These requirements vary among states, so make sure you check the laws in your area. Also, consider joining the International Spa and Body Wrap Association (ISBWA) and other organizations that regulate this industry. This will allow you to connect with other professionals, build lasting relations and strengthen your brand.

Depending on what services you offer, you may need to obtain licenses and permits from the local health department and other institutions. Head over to to find out more about the legal requirements for starting a spa business in your state. Take the steps needed to form a company, register for taxes and get insured.

Make a Business Plan

Create a business plan that outlines your potential earnings and expenses, marketing efforts, target audience and other key aspects. Consider the location of your spa and estimate the cost of rent. Search for companies that sell wholesale skincare and beauty products. Get multiple estimates and try to negotiate.

Your business plan should include these things along with your company's mission and goals. Think of it as a roadmap to success. Cover every aspect of running a spa business, from legal requirements to financing and advertising. Make sure you also research popular spas to see what makes them successful, what services they offer and how they promote themselves.