The beauty and wellness industry is experiencing remarkable growth, and medical spas have emerged as a prominent player in this flourishing landscape. For aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to seize this lucrative opportunity, understanding how to open a med spa and developing a robust business plan for their medical spa are essential stepping stones to success.
This comprehensive guide is designed to lead you through the fundamental steps of launching and operating your very own medical spa. With expert insights and invaluable advice, you’ll be equipped to navigate the intricacies of this dynamic market, setting yourself up for a rewarding venture ahead.
Table of contents
- What is a Medical Spa?
- Do You Need to Be a Doctor to Be Eligible to Open a med spa?
- How to Open a Med Spa or Start an Aesthetic Clinic?
- 3. Choose a Niche
- 4. Have the Basics in Place
- 5. Hire a Medical Director
- 7. Get Malpractice Insurance
- 8. Implement Liability and Related Policies
- 9. Choose the Right Location
- 10. Consider Charting on the Go
- 11. Implement the Right Hiring Policies
- 12. Start Marketing ASAP
- 13. Choose a Medical Spa Practice Management Software
- Key Takeaways on How to Open a Med Spa:
- How to Open a Med Spa in a Nutshell
What is a Medical Spa?
A med spa is a specialized facility that blends the relaxing ambiance of a spa with the expertise and services provided by medical professionals, whether registered nurses or plastic surgeons.
Unlike traditional spas that focus on relaxation and pampering, med spas offer a range of cosmetic treatments that address specific skin concerns and aging-related issues. Med spas emphasize results-oriented treatments, often utilizing medical-grade equipment and procedures to achieve specific outcomes. Traditional spas, on the other hand, concentrate on relaxation and stress relief through massages, facials, and body treatments.
The good news?
There is a growing demand for aesthetic procedures. In fact, according to the Global Medical Spa Market, the worldwide medical spa industry had a value of approximately USD 16.51 Billion in 2022 and is expected to expand to about USD 49.1 Billion by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 14.61% during the period from 2023 to 2030.
The future is bright for the medical spa industry.
Do You Need to Be a Doctor to Be Eligible to Open a med spa?
When it comes to how to open a med spa, one of the most common questions that gets asked is “Do I need to be a doctor in order to open a medical spa”?
The short answer is no, but there are caveats depending on your state. You need to search the med spa laws by state. For example, most states do not allow registered nurses to run medical spas independently – they must have a medical director (unless you’re going into post-op care).
The medical director does not work on-site but is simply hired on a contract basis. You can expect to budget $1,000 per month for a medical director when you’re starting off.
Keep in mind that the medical director must be a licensed medical doctor (in your state) and not an anesthesiologist.
Although registered nurses cannot typically run medical spas independently without a medical director, there are select states that allow nurse practitioners to practice independently. That said, many still choose to hire a medical director anyway because it gives them an added level of credibility.It’s typically recommended to seek legal counsel surrounding the requirements in your particular state. The American Med Spa Association is also a good resource.
How to Open a Med Spa or Start an Aesthetic Clinic?
Opening up a medical spa may seem intimidating, but this list will go over all of the necessities:
1. Do the Market Research
Understanding the med spa market is essential for those who are learning about how to open a med spa. Before opening yours, understand your target market. Conduct thorough market research to identify potential clients and their preferences. Your target audience may include individuals seeking skincare treatments, cosmetic enhancements, or relaxation services.
Stay updated on the latest market trends and demand in the med spa industry. The popularity of certain treatments may vary over time, and being aware of these changes can help you adapt your offerings accordingly.
You also need to research your competitors to gain insights into their services, pricing, and marketing strategies. Analyzing your competition can help you identify gaps in the market and position your med spa uniquely.
2. Create a Business Plan
If you plan to take out a business loan, you’ll need to have a business plan in place in order to actually get your loan. Here are some things you’ll want to cover in your business plan:
- Your objectives
- Start-up costs
- Expected revenue
- Marketing plan
- Contingency plan
3. Choose a Niche
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to how to open a med spa is to choose a niche or area of specialization, whether injectables, post-op, IV hydration, etc. Starting a medical spa is not an easy task, so it’s often recommended to start small and add services over time.
You also need to avoid spending unnecessary money on training in the event that you find one area of specialization isn’t a good fit for your medical spa.
Here is a look at the benefits of some of the popular medical spa niches:
4. Have the Basics in Place
When thinking about how to open a med spa, you should know that there are a few basic things you need in place first:
- A Trademark Search. Although the name of your spa may be available with the state, this doesn’t mean that it hasn’t already been trademarked. To avoid a costly trademark infringement claim, it’s important to do a trademark search to ensure the name of your spa hasn’t been already trademarked.
- Your Limited Liability Company (LLC). Next, you’ll need to start an LLC. There are many third-party services that will offer to do this for you, but the best way is to go through your state’s government site. Keep in mind that different states have their own requirements.
- Your Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a free service, so avoid paying a third party to get this for you.
- State (And County)-Specific Requirements. Lastly, you’ll need to check with your state to see what specific requirements they have to open a business in that state. Some states also require you to set up a separate license for the county that you’re in.
5. Hire a Medical Director
Unless you’re a nurse practitioner who is opening a medical spa in one of the few states that allow you to practice independently (or you’re specializing in an area that doesn’t require a medical director), the next biggest thing to figure out for opening a medical spa is your medical director. This will be a contracted position. And like we said above, you should look to budget no more than $1,000 per month.
Your medical director’s role will be small, and your medical spa will still be run by you, but your medical director will be responsible for ordering products, such as Botox, and signing off on charts. They will also be available in the event of complications or other emergencies.
Keep in mind that it can take a couple of months to find the right fit. You’ll want to find someone who is knowledgeable about the field and is also interested in a long-term venture, so this can take time.
To find your medical director, you can start out by looking on Indeed or LinkedIn.
6. Build a Team of Professionals
Your team is the most important part of your med spa. Consider the following factors for building your team:
Hiring Qualified Staff:
Assemble a team of skilled professionals who are passionate about their work and committed to providing exceptional service to your clients.
Training and Certifications:
Invest in continuous training for your staff to keep them updated with the latest industry trends and techniques. Certifications in specific treatments can boost their expertise and credibility.
7. Get Malpractice Insurance
On the topic of how to open a med spa, you’re also going to need medical malpractice insurance for your business as well as personal insurance for yourself. Expect to pay around $3,000 a year for insurance. Also, make sure that your policy covers your medical director (typically this doesn’t cost extra).
Make sure that you’re upfront about the services you’re offering so that you’re covered in the event that something goes wrong.
8. Implement Liability and Related Policies
In addition to malpractice insurance, there are also some other liability-related things and policies to have in place:
- Consent Forms. Consent forms have to be accurate, up to date, and include risks regardless of how minimal they may be.
- Licenses on Site. They typically need to be hung on the wall when you’re walking in (or at least hung somewhere where they can be seen).
- Written and Accessible Protocols. It’s important to have your medical spa’s protocols (i.e. standard operating procedures, how you administer Botox, what happens in the event of an adverse reaction) in writing so employees can have access to it. The same is true even if you’re a mobile medical spa.
- General Liability and Employee Professional Liability Policies. In addition to a general liability policy, it’s important to have an employee professional liability policy in place to protect claims against harassment.
- Medical Equipment/Safety Regulations. You need to be aware of the medical laws by the states. Many medical spas are not aware that there are often both federal and state requirements for medical equipment. For example, there must be a sign on the door when lasers are in use.
- Cyber Security Policies. It’s often overlooked, but it’s a good idea to have a cybersecurity policy in place in the event of a breach.
9. Choose the Right Location
Unless you’re starting out in the field of post-op or IV hydration where it’s perfectly acceptable to start mobile, another important consideration, when thinking about how to open a med spa, is choosing your medical spa’s location. Don’t be afraid to start small. You can move to a larger location as you grow.
Here are some things to look for when choosing a location:
- Accessibility and Visibility: Select a location with easy accessibility for your target market. Visibility is crucial for attracting new clients, so consider a location with high foot traffic and ample parking.
- Space and Ambience: Create a serene and inviting atmosphere within your med spa. The space should be designed to evoke relaxation and comfort, encouraging clients to unwind and enjoy their treatments.
10. Consider Charting on the Go
For some, charting is a big worry when it comes to opening up a medical spa. And even for established medical spas, charting can still be a bit of a chore. The good news is that a medical spa practice management software (a must for any medical spa!) makes charting easy as you can “visually chart” by pinning items or notes to areas of treatment or even insert your favorite text with a click.
With Yocale, you can also chart from your tablet inside your treatment rooms all on the go.
Chart faster and easier!
11. Implement the Right Hiring Policies
Training requirements for staff will depend upon specific state requirements. That said, there are some general policies and guidelines that you should have in place when it comes to opening up a medical spa, including:
- Have Employees Sign an Application Form. It’s a good idea to have employees sign application forms and keep this in their personal files – not just a resume.
- Have Employees Sign Employment Agreements. Employment agreements should outline employee salaries and have non-compete/non-solicitation agreements so that employees cannot take clients, employees, etc. Adding a work-for-hire clause will also protect photographs to ensure that clients cannot use photographs for their own gain.
- Have Employees Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). It’s also a good idea to have employees sign non-disclosure agreements to keep your business confidential.
12. Start Marketing ASAP
Marketing is absolutely critical when it comes to how to open a med spa – you cannot start a business without some sort of marketing plan in place! And even with a marketing plan in place, it’s not unheard of to not have any clients for the first month and a half.
Craft a unique brand identity that reflects the essence of your med spa. This includes a memorable logo, consistent color schemes, and a compelling brand message.
Utilize a mix of traditional and digital marketing techniques to reach your target audience. Social media, email marketing, and local promotions can be effective tools.
On average, you typically need four months to promote your med spa before opening day. You should also expect to dedicate 10% of your budget to marketing relative to the profit you’d like to make.
Here are some major parts you should promote when thinking about how to open a med spa:
A. Your Website
Your website will likely be one of your very first marketing expenses. One of the most popular medical spa website design trends is incorporating a “Book Now” button on your home page.This allows clients to book your services online (all per your set schedule) and is made possible by medical spa practice management software.
Not only does online booking result in 34% more clients but it also reduces scheduling and administrative time by up to seven hours every week.
B. A Google Business Profile
In addition to your website, you’ll also need to set up a Google Business Profile. The service is entirely free. When people search for services on Google, you’ll pop up with enough reviews (that’s why reviews will be critical to your business!).
Pro Tip: Add a “Book Online” button to your Google Business Profile and get up to 64% more bookings. This allows clients to book your services straight from Google.
Some choose to hire marketing coaches, but either way, networking is critical, including wellness and other events in your community. Here are seven ways to 10X your medi spa marketing leads this year.
Get a Google Book Button
13. Choose a Medical Spa Practice Management Software
Lastly, when asking how to open a med spa, a very important consideration is to choose a medical spa practice management software, like Yocale This software will be one of the core pieces of technology powering your clinic and will function much like a personal business assistant.
Here are some of the key features:
- Online Booking. This allows clients to book online. Not only does this increase bookings by 34% but it also reduces scheduling and admin time by up to seven hours every week.
- Appointment Reminders. A smart calendar allows you to send automated appointment confirmations and reminders to reduce no-shows.
- EMR. This allows you to keep track of your clients and store client files (and charts!) electronically. In the past, many medical spas would get lost in mounds of paper and spreadsheets, but more and more medical spas are going electronic.
Forms (Consent, Etc.). You can link forms to the online booking process so that they’re sent out automatically depending upon the service (and saved automatically, too!). This allows you to improve your clinic’s efficiency and reduce admin time.
Charts. Medical spa practice management software is designed to make charting super easy. You can chart visually, insert favorite text and even chart from your tablet.
POS. This allows you to automatically issue invoices and accept payments (including upfront payments).
Marketing. Many practice management software options come with built-in marketing options, like Reserve with Google and automatic reviews.
What Qualifications Do Employees Need to Open a Med Spa?
At a minimum, employees must hold valid professional licenses based on their field (estheticians, registered nurses, etc.).
Beyond this, it’s typically recommended that employees undergo training depending upon the services you’re going to provide (i.e. injectables, post-op, IV hydration, etc.). Just be mindful of choosing reputable organizations to do your training through.
Employees who participate in ongoing training and seek relevant certifications demonstrate dedication to their profession and staying updated with industry advancements.
These were just the foundational qualifications. There are also several other qualifications and attributes that can enhance the capabilities of employees at a med spa:
1. Strong Communication Skills:
Med spa employees need to effectively communicate with clients, explaining procedures, addressing concerns, and providing clear post-treatment instructions.
2. Medical Knowledge:
Depending on the scope of services offered, having a strong understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology can be beneficial.
3. Customer Service Experience:
Exceptional customer service skills can create a positive and comfortable experience for clients, contributing to client satisfaction and loyalty.
The ability to assess unique client situations, identify potential complications, and find suitable solutions is crucial.
4. Attention to Detail:
Precision is essential in many med spa procedures, so having a keen eye for detail is important.
5. Hygiene and Safety Knowledge:
A strong understanding of sanitation protocols and safety measures is vital to prevent infections and ensure client safety.
The ability to adapt to new technologies, procedures, and changes within the industry is crucial for staying competitive.
Remember that the qualifications required can vary based on the specific services your med spa offers and the local regulations in your area. It’s essential to thoroughly research and understand the requirements that apply to your region and tailor your hiring criteria accordingly.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Medical Spa?
Another common question when it comes to opening up a medical spa is “What are the costs involved”?
While it can depend on your niche or area of specialization (for example – starting out in mobile IV hydration will have lower startup costs than injectables), you can expect to spend anywhere from $700,000 to $1,000,000.
|Item||Estimated Cost Range|
|Business License||$100 – $400|
|Certificate of Occupancy||At least $250 (varies by state)|
|Legal Fees||At least $200 per hour for a lawyer|
|Decor and Furnishings||Varies|
|Equipment||Up to $30 per square foot or more for high-end equipment|
|Signage||Less than $100 to over $2000 (depending on size and design)|
|Marketing (Website)||$500 to several thousand dollars|
|Medical Director||$1,000 per month|
Please note that some of the costs can vary significantly depending on location, specific requirements, and individual choices. Always remember to research and obtain accurate quotes before making financial decisions for your medical spa.
Key Takeaways on How to Open a Med Spa:
- Except to spend anywhere from 20K to 40K to open a medical spa.
- It’s important to start small by choosing a specific niche and add services from there.
- Have the basics in place (a trademark search, your LLC and EIN).
- Consult legal counsel when determining whether you need a medical director.
- Choose a medical director with knowledge in your field and who is in it for long-haul.
- Make sure to be upfront with what services you’re offering to ensure you’re covered.
- Liability is important (consent forms, having licenses on site, etc.).
- Choose a high-traffic area when choosing your location.
- Have employees sign application forms, employment agreements (with non-compete agreements), and NDAs.
- Marketing is critical; expect to market at least four months in advance of opening day.
- Medical spa practice management software will power your clinic, so it’s an important decision.
How to Open a Med Spa in a Nutshell
In conclusion, mastering the art of how to open a med spa demands meticulous planning, dedication, and a commitment to delivering excellence. By navigating through state regulations, assembling a highly skilled team, and prioritizing exceptional customer service, you can carve a niche for your med spa in the ever-growing industry.
Embrace innovative technologies and management software, manage startup costs wisely, and implement effective marketing strategies to unlock the doors to a thriving and fulfilling med spa venture. Your journey into the world of medical spas holds the promise of a bright and prosperous future.
Interested in learning more about medical spa practice management software? Book a demo with a Yocale product specialist today.
How to Open a Med Spa FAQs
Yes, med spas can be profitable, but success depends on various factors, including location, services offered, and marketing strategies.
While you don’t need to be a medical professional, having a licensed medical professional on staff is often required for certain treatments.
Utilize effective marketing strategies, offer appealing treatment packages, and provide exceptional customer service to attract and retain clients.
Popular treatments include facials, laser hair removal, botox, dermal fillers, and body contouring.
Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment is critical to ensuring client safety and satisfaction.
1. The Bottom Line: The Business of Medicine – Medical Spas
Medical Board of California, 6 pages
2. An Inside Look At The Booming Med Spa Industry
Bryn Mawr Communications, 20 pages
3. The Medical Spa Movement and Regulatory Uncertainty
University of Houston Law Center, 4 pages
4. Unveiling Hidden Risks In The Medi-Spa Industry By
Carr Maloney P.C., 3 pages
1. What Do I Need to Do to Open a Medical Spa?
2. American Med Spa Association. Can Non-Doctors Own Medical Spas?
3. How Much Does It Cost To Open a Medspa?
4. Who Can Own a Medical Spa? The Degrees and Licenses You Need to Get Started
5. 10 Steps to Developing a Successful Medical Spa
6. Qualifications Needed To Open A Med Spa
7. License Requirements to Open a Spa
8. Understanding Who Can Open a Med Spa
9. How to Open a Med Spa as a Nurse
10. How to Open a Medical Spa (Medspa) if Your License Requires Physician Supervision