Q & A Archive   
Search Q & As:
Q & A Archive: By Expert
Deborah Smith:      Guest Relations, Day Spas, Destination Spas, Design and Development, Marketing and Sales, Management and Operations, Spa Industry Trends, Compensation and Employee Incentives
Deborah Smith Photo
More Info
I represent a non profit foundation, we are developing a project in Atiquizaya at a Hot Spring. We have the land and designs. And we are looking for qualified investors. (Read Answer)
I have searched all over and for days for information on salon operations or set ups. I am needing to know how to do the pricing, design and Ideas, products, etc. (Read Answer)
In making my businees plan I have asked what kind of money is being spent per year on the spa home spa industry and I am at a loss as to where to research this infomation. And also are you aware of where to find info on goverment subsidized small business loans. (Read Answer)
We are looking for Business Partners in the United States to open our Ayurveda Spas, We have 4 hopsitals running in India and a number of Spas in Resorts also. PLease advise/ help us in how to approach the above. (Read Answer)
I am opening a small day spa, and am in the planning and development stages. I'm wondering what the minimum for massage room dimensions should be. How much space should you allow to each side of the table? (Read Answer)
I'm curious if you feel male lockerooms should be built to the same size as womens, or if you can get by with less locker and changing space. (Read Answer)
Starting Putting together the first phase of a spa/hotel/Conference. Cardio room, 3 treatment rooms, Nails and Hair. What do you think are the most important things to include in this area. This will be in the Plains of Virginia with many outdoor amenities as well. Hopefully we will be expanding Quickly to a complete resort/Spa/Conference Facility a year after opening with 100+ suites. (Read Answer)
The past five years I have worked my way "up the ranks" to Spa Director, and love this industry and want to continue to grow. I've been told I need to get experience starting up and managing a new spa, and have been contacted by headhunters regarding this type of opportunity, but it's a big step for me. Any advice before I take the leap? (Read Answer)
My husband and I are considering opening a day spa in an area rich with potential clients - who are willing to drive 45 minutes to reach an upscale spa in the city. There are no real choices for them close to home. We are in the beginning stages. Any expert advice you can offer us in researching and creating a business plan?
Any resources you might suggest? We are both inexperienced in the industry. (Read Answer)
Deborah, Can you suggest some spa consultants or a resource for finding creditable spa consultants? (Read Answer)
Where can I find any educational or promotional videos on DVD for Spa services. We want to show them to our customers (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, I am having difficulty finding a comparison of salary and compensation packages for the position of Spa Director. I am negotiating a new position with my employer next week, and would greatly appreciate your assistance in finding information relating to the average salary,etc, within an unusually upscale, international spa and product manufacturer. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. Sincerely, Ashley (Read Answer)
I am 33 years old and have a background in graphics/marketing, fine art sales, and office administration. A year ago I left a skincare start-up and started temping as an admin. assistant just to get a feel for the other industries out there. A year later I have come to the decision that I enjoyed the skin-care industry but not in the capacity I was working. I would like to expand on that expirience and parlee it into a position in spa management. Maybe Destination Spa Management. So, here is my question...How do I do that? What do I do next? Is my past experience enough to get me in the door in a position that I could move up from? Do I complete an internship? Is there a school I should attend and are people hired from that school? Any light you can shed on this muddle of questions would be greatly appreciated. I am passionate about the industry and would like to turn my passion into my profession. (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

As I am currently conducting a market research about the spa industry for Guerlain Far east Ltd. in Hong Kong and Singapore, I would need to get some information that I can not manage to find anywhere else...
- What is the percentage of women going regularly to a Spa (at least once a month) in the world / in Asia / in Hong Kong / in Singapore?
- How old are they (average) and what are their typical occupation (working woman, housewife...)?
- What is the average spending per customer per visit in a boutique (cabins behind the counter)?
- What is the percentage of Spas set up in hotels (I am not talking about Resort Spas but only hotels based inbig cities providing spa facilities)? Are they representing the best business we can find out here?

Thank you very much for your help.

Best Regards,

Audrey PAGE
apage@guerlain.fr (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
We are few students from Iceland and we are looking for some information about New Yorkers travelling in SPA vacations. If you could answer any of these question we would really appreciated.

1) Where to are New Yorkers going in SPA vacations. What is the most popular spa destination?
2) Do you know how many people have been in SPA vacations in the year 1999?
3) Where do New Yorkers want to go in SPA vacations?
4) How much are they ready to spend in SPA vacations?
5) Do New Yorkers prefer to go into SPA in New York ore do they prefer to go abroad?
6) When do they want to go, summertime, winter, fall, autumn?
Best regards,
Thora Eysteinsdottir (Read Answer)
where can I find numbers for my proposed business plan to open a day spa? I am looking for numbers to use for P & L statements, Balance sheets. I am actually a student preparing a business plan and would like some possible leads as to where I can get this info. ie. sources of revenue, anticipated expenses, assets, liabilities, equity sources, and debt and equity sources. Any help would be greatly appreciated (Read Answer)
oxygen facials seem to be very popular at this time. with most rooms, size is a factor. is it dangerous to have the oxygen machine in such a confined/small space? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
Where abouts do you live in North America? Actually my partner and I are planning to open up a Spa/ Wellness in Calgary, AB. We are at the stage of finishing our Business Plan and Negotiating with the landlord about our lease. But I'm very interested if you do put together employee manuals and about our layout design. Please email me with more information Thanks! ELEANA PALUMBO, email: empalumbo@home.com (Read Answer)
We are just finishing our new hotel deal. The hotel we are buying has 250 rooms and is more the strong 3 star type of propertie in aresort area. What are your thoughts on building a spa on this type of level, we have been running hotel and restaurants for years but have never done a spa where should we start for getting data. Any help would be greatly appreicated. Debra (Read Answer)
Can u suggest some websites with information on online advertising ? (Read Answer)
Can you suggest any websites or associations where I can find spa-goer statistics in Asia, specifically in Hong Kong? (Read Answer)
Dear Debra:

We are seeking the services of a qualified architect that can work with us to develop architectural plans for our wellness center that includes numerous vendors of health-related care, day spa and fitness center. We are located in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Do you have a recommendation of a reputable firm?

Roxanne Henderson (Read Answer)
We are working on a business plan for a spa. We are wondering if there are any estimates as to the cost per square foot for equipment and operating ratios that will help us to approximate operating expenses? (Read Answer)
Do you have any tips on how I contact experts to come into our spa and conduct seminars and what they charge. Thank you (Read Answer)
I am in the final planning phases of an exclusive resort spa in New Mexico. In all my research, I haven't really seen much in the way of extravegance in ambiance, food, etc.. Am I missing something? Our intention is pampering and indulgence. Am I tapping an untapped market? Not everyone wants to lose weight, eat 500 calories a day and achieve great physical feats in a couple day stay, do they?? Or are there people out there that recognize that they deserve to just completely indulge like the Romans' spa experience was in the past? (Read Answer)
when hiring, is it better to have more training or to be better with the clients? (Read Answer)
This past March we purchased a building which had been a doctor's office and renovated it into a hair salon and day spa . I live in a small rural area and had a hair salon onluy for the past ten years . My question is how is the best way to advertise and market our many added services which we have spent many hours on education for these services . We want to let our public know we are not JUST a hair salon but have many more things to offer . Thank You, Rhonda Coffield Arkansas rc_kutabove@hotmail.com (Read Answer)
what are the industry trends that are making new up and coming spas successful? Is it the treatments, service etc.? (Read Answer)
I am in the process of converting a 4,000 sq. ft. shell into a Zen Spa.
I am wondering how I should pay my staff. Is there some industry standard
or formula that I can follow? I had decided on this: $8.00 per hour, plus 40%
commission on services. Is that fair/equitable? Or am I off the beam, so to speak. Your help is urgently needed, as I will hire 90 days before
opening to adequately train in the unique techniques we will use. If it helps, I am building
in GA, in an area of over 100,000 people who have a median income of over $250k per annum. Thanks for your help.
I may have other questions, too!
Sincerely, Behne (female, pronounced "Ben")
P.S. You can email me at behne@bellsouth.net if you prefer. (Read Answer)
i really want to konow, if you know natural ingerdients that we can produce by ourself, but really working!!!because i just open up a salon and day spa (Read Answer)
we own and operate a country club which has a 16,000sq ft facility for a day spa. our current operator is retiring (a mom and pop operation) and we are seeking to provide a higher level of service. we have been looking for a franchise to operate our facility and enjoy benefits that other industries like gyms any suggestions upon how to approach this issue

roberto giron
jamaril resort club
guatemala (Read Answer)
I am currently designing a business plan for a day spa that I would like to open, how would I go about getting estimates on start up costs for my business that will be located in La Jolla California? (Read Answer)
I'm a student at the University of Houston in the Entrepreneur dept. I developing a business plan for a day spa as a project in school. Where can I look to find research for this plan? (Read Answer)
Deborah- I am in the process of developing a concept of Recovery center that would extend the protocols into the after care Post surgery -it would be more of a Bed and Breakfast (Sanitorium in Europe) Besides a business plan Where can I find a representitive to presnt this concept to physicians and venture capitialists to request their involvement (incorporate) Thanks Caren serenityiam@msn.com (Read Answer)
I am looking for salary report for Spa Directors. Do you know where I might find it? (Read Answer)
I am a massage therapist, training to become a licensed esthetician. I'm curious to find out what the income range for an esthetician is? I live in the Bay Area. The going rate for massage therapy is $70 an hour here. (Read Answer)
I was thinking about getting into the massage business and was wondering how hard it will be to enter? (Read Answer)
How does one find a position as a Spa Director and what are the qualifications? (Read Answer)
Are the Aqua Massage Machines and other similar equipment becoming more popular than the traditional massage? (Read Answer)
Dear Madam,
I am about to start my new career as a spa and fitness manager. Please advise me about spa training courses, consulting services, and any other useful information for preparing me a successful spa manager (Read Answer)
Where would I find information on an Estheticians salary expectations, what does the average esthetician make? (Read Answer)
I own a massage therapy bussiness and I'm interested in buying a sauna. I recieved information on a "infro-red ray sauna". It sounds interesting. My question is: Is it better or equal to a steam sauna, and does it really work? I would like your input before I buy since I'm not that familiar with infro-red ray. (Read Answer)
The infro red-ray sauna is called "Health Mate Saunas". The company that sales them is: Home Healthy Concepts out of Tampa, FL (863) 854-4414. Even though you do not no about the sauna do you no anything about infro red ray compared to steam? Is infro ray all it says it is? Thank for your help. (Read Answer)
potential income of an esthetician? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, My name is Tina and I own a Day Spa in New York. We are located in a very wealthy area and have a fairly large loyal clientele. The problem that I am having is this... we are often told that our services are far more superior than other spas in the area and I am also confident in that. We are a well rounded group of women, my staff is very clean, warm, dedicated and friendly, but our clients do not like to spend money. Alot of our clients are over weight and do have some health problems due to the fact that they have very poor diets, lots of cellulite, no energy and dehydrated skin. I keep my prices at a very fair fee, infact many, many people in the industry tell me that I am selling myself short. How do I get these women to start taking care of themselves? They do not want to get old, they complain about their skin and bodies, I give them advice on how they can improve things but getting them to use our services is like pulling teeth. I know that my clients really like my staff and we are all close. Please help me with this frustrating problem, I would really appreciate your opinion. And am I making a mistake by keeping my prices alot lower that everyone in my area? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, My name is Tina Kirch and I e-mailed you last week about a problem trying to get my wealthy clients to use our services and you told me to re-direct my marketing efforts to capture a more affluent, less price-sensitive population. How do I go about doing this? The local paper that I advertise in is the top of the line paper in our area. How do I develop this marketing strategy and how do I target market? I would really appreciate your help with this problem. Thanks so much. Tina (Read Answer)
I'm looking into starting a day spa in the Houston area. I have a sight picked out that will need some renovations and such. I'm looking for a spa consultant that would be in the Houston area. Do you know any? Dallas or San Antonio would not be to far. (Read Answer)
wath is the propiete compensation for LMT/estetician (Read Answer)
I am an independent consultant. One of my clients is interested in software for day spas. Do you know what is the size of the market for spa software is internationally in$MM? Or maybe a good source for this info? Thanks,
(Read Answer)
I am interested in starting a spa business. I have had no type of
training in this industry. I have selected the treatments I would like
to offer for my business, they are: Craniosacral therapy, facials,
herbal wraps, mud baths, hydrotherapy tubs, steam cabinets and a sauna.
What information I am looking for before I start to develop and design
my spa, is what type of training, licenses, certifications or
registrations do I need to obtain in order to perform these treatments
and to run this type of business?

I know I must have training in order to perform these treatments and
what type of licenses,or registrations do I need to have before I start
this type of business, such as the health board, the safety and
sanitation requirements?

If you can help or if you can refer me to any resources to get me
started on the type of training I need and what sort of legal matters I
need to be aware of to run this business it would be of great help.
Then I can begin to develop my business plan. Your help is GREATLY
APPRECIATED and I thank you in advance for your time to help me.


Kendra (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, My name is Tina Kirch and I own a Day Spa in N.Y. I am in the process of slightly redoing some of my spa. We are expanding our services and getting lots of education behind us on anti aging and are trying to gear ourselves towards an anti aging spa. I am looking for a new location and have been for almost a year, there is just nothing available in our area. So for now we are making the best with what we have which is already really nice but we want bigger and better. I have taken some marketing and business classes and keep hearing the same statement about how important it is to have e business plan. My question is this. How do I go about coming up with a business plan when I do not know how to do it? Please help. I don't kwon where to start or for that matter how to finish. Thanks so much for your time. Sincerely, Tina Kirch. (Read Answer)
what is the best layout for the esthetition's room (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am working on a business plan for my spa and intend to have 10 treatment rooms and an average treatment price of $75. i will also have four mani and four pedi stations. i intend to have a large retail selection. my question is this: what percentage of revenues is comprised of retail sales? someone told me an average of 25% but everyone i speak to in the business says that it is their bread and butter. thanks for your help!
jenny nelson (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, My name is Tina and I e-mailed you once before for your advice. I have another question that is really stumping me. How do I write a business plan? I keep hearing how important they are to have before starting up a spa. I already own a spa but it is very small and we are looking to expand maybe even into a medi-spa. I understand why business plans are important, but how do I go about doing this, where do I begin.......HELP!? Thank You for your time, Tina Kirch (Read Answer)
I am an esthetician working for a plastic surgeon. I was wondering what the average pay is in this field?
thanks, (Read Answer)
I just started my quest into the medical spa industry. I am writting my business plan and find myself constrained by time. Do you know of anyone who would have a business plan template or at least a portion of it?
Mariola (Read Answer)
I am looking for information on the spa industry. Any suggestions on where to find this information with out spending any money for a book? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I have always dreamed of opening a day spa. However, I have a degree in a totally different field. What should be my first step in conquering my dream. I am virtually inexperienced as far as the Spa field. Do I have to get another degree? Are there seminars I can go to that are just as effective. I live in the Washington DC Area. Is this a bad place for a spa because of competion such as Elizabeth Arden?

Thanks, Tammy
(Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,

Can you give me some info./stats. regarding
marketing trends in the wellness industry? My wife and I need this info. for our business plan. We are hoping to open a wellness center that includes esthetics, hair care, life coaching, personal workshops, personal training etc. We live in Edmonton, Canada.Thanks, Bill
Bill (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am in the process of doing up my business proposal, and one piece of information i have to find is spa trends in the united states, and here in canada, my business is going to by a wellness center, i will have hair and body care not a spa because i will not have any wet rooms, so it would be a Studio, but i will also have Life Coaches, Personal Trainers, workshop, seminars etc dealing with womens issues, so i need to find out the trend (growing trends, are they growing are they popular, that kind of information where do it go, who do i write to I am lost can you please help me.


Denise (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

I am in the process of doing my business plan and in the part about pay structure.Being in the spa business for the last 16 years the pay structor has generally been commission, I don,t want to do that in my own business. I feel commission promote individuality not a team player and it doesn\'t give the girl in this business a consistant pay cheque every month. I would like to pay salary and offer some kind of benifits and incentives, what do you think a girl just getting out of school should be making Estetic School, Hair School, massage school, nail tech school. I would love to hear about what you think

Denise (Read Answer)
I would like to know how to find a consultant to help me with the business plan and how expensive it would be.
Can you help?
My dream is directed towards a day health spa where customers would get wellness evaluation, medical education, and spa treatments. I have worked in the medical sales for last 7 years and see that trend emerging. What do you think?

Mariola (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah:
If you are indeed in the process of writing a business plan and do indeed need some kind of stats on the Spa Industry Trend. How do you propose someone write this particular segment of the plan, if there are no stats (Read Answer)
deborah, my quetion is, i'm just getting out of the army, i work well with others and although i don't know much at all about the industry, i'm thinking of opening my own small spa. how do i get started where do i look for loans or grants? thanx for your time (Read Answer)
Dear debra, We are in the process of looking for an experienced spa manager in the Virginia Beach Virginia area. Any ideas where we can start besides putting an ad in the paper. Thanks Debra Hamby (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am in the early planning stage of developing a Day Spa. I am curious as to when you think would be the best time to hire a Spa Consultant? Should I hire one during planning, market research, building design, or the marketing phase. I am assuming the sooner, the better. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Thank you,
Cindy (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

I have been interested in the spa industry for a long time and have decided to make a career change. I am currently a project manager in the technology industry and have an undergraduate business degree from UC Berkeley. I think that my past experience and education will help me, but I'm not sure how to make the transition. Both industries are so different! Do you have any suggestions on how I can make the transition as smooth as possible. Is there training I can do before leaving my current job that will give me a head start? Making this change will probably cut my salary in half. Please let me knoe if there is any way that I can receive training before leaving my current job, so I can start at a higher position. Your help is much appreciated.

Thank you,
Rebecca Booth
San Francisco, CA (Read Answer)
We are a spa in Saskatchewan Canada, website www,templegardens.com
we are looking for a software package for booking appt\'s in our
in our treatment rooms, we need some help has to what will work
best for size and type of spa
Thank you Jo-Ann Loberg (Read Answer)
Deborah - I am currently working in field somewhat unrelated to this business, but a co-worker and I are interested in starting our own day spa/salon in Utah. We actually are putting together information right now to build our business plan and were interested in any help you might give us regarding income, sales and budgeting so as to get us started more efficiently. As there are not that many spas in Utah, available information about start-up costs and financing are seemingly hard to find. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks - Andrea (Read Answer)
When deciding upon a location for my new day spa - what will be the most helpful resource for me? I am looking to start an exclusive day spa in the Western Suburbs of Illinois (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah
Our new Spa in Asia is currently under construction and soon to open this second quarter of year 2001. I'd like to know what would be best for advertising strategy for the new Spa in the five star hotel besides the well-planned for PR. We have limited budget.
Thank you.
Penny (Read Answer)
We are currently in the process of writing our business plan for a day spa. I am trying to calculate the average direct cost of each treatment offered. I have assumed a cost of 25% per treatment. Do you feel that this is within the ballpark?
Ian Hutson
Toronto, Canada (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I have a small unique Italian Linen business which
has a line of Duvets,Shams,Sheets, Towels,Pyjamas & Robes.
Everything is of White or Oyster. I am looking for
a marketing & sales rep in this field.
I have seen a few marketing firms, which are over the top finanically for me.
How do I take that next step? I am in the Los Angeles Ca. area.
Can you offer any information?

Thank you,

Duvets, Sheets,Towels, and a line if organic soap.
I have been in business for 2 years. I am in search for a sales Rep
and business funding. I have seen various marketing
firms, which are asking a termendous upfront & monthly fee.
How does one get to the next step? I am a few Boutiques for

(Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am opening a day spa and have been working on the business plan for several months. While I know how much standard equipment costs, I don't know how often it needs to be replaced. Can you tell me, generally, how often do facial chairs, massage tables, facial machines, and saunas need to be replaced? And how much is the annual maintenance and upkeep for the above items? Also, do I seem to be missing anything equipment-wise? (Obviously I'm excluding furniture and fixtures.)
Thanks so much for your help.

Jenny (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
Can you tell me what percentage of occupancy is average for the day spa industry? I am opening a spa in New York City and am trying to determine reasonable room occupancy -- would you say around 50% or 60%? I know it will start slow and grow from there; do you think it's reasonable to assume that by month 18 I could be at 80% (which is my goal)?
Thanks so much for your help again!
Jenny (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, My name is Tina and I have e-mailed you before. I am looking to expand my current Day Spa but am getting a little nervous about it because of articles that I have recently read about spas and our economy. One article talked about how so many large spa projects were being put off and an article in this months Day Spa magazine recommended this website to get info on this problem and concern. I would really love your input and thoughts on this matter. Also, coulb you give me some suggestions on salaries or commissions for facials, pedicures and body treatmnts. I have a feeling that I am really over-paying my staff. We are based out on Long Island in New York. Thanks for your time and input. Sincerely, Tina
(Read Answer)
are there any leanard drake salons opening in san francisco? (Read Answer)
where can I get training to become an aesthetisian? (Read Answer)
hi Deborah, I am planning to open my own day spa do you think now is the right time to do so.
Thank You!
Kattia (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah:

I am in the finacials stage of my business plan and am working retail projections--what is the average profit margin on retail products? is there an industry average % mark-up?

Thank you,
(Read Answer)
I am working on my business plan to start my own day spa. Do you know of a business plan template for for a spa. Most of the templates I have seen don't really seem to go with the spa profession. Please help. (Read Answer)
Is there a seasonal cycle to the optimum time to launch
a new spa (ie grand opening). Do industry numbers vary by
fall, spring, winter, or summer? In Southern California has history
shown an optimum time to open your doors?
Chris Snook
igcspas@netscape.net (Read Answer)
I am a 48 year old professional that recently lost my job because of downsizing. This has lead me to re-evaluate what is important. I have always been interested in becoming and Aesthetician and working at an exclusive weekly spa. (Change of career & change of lifestyl). Can you tell me how to find out where to start in schooling and what opportunities and income could be expected when I complete my schooling.
Thank you so much,
Connie (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

I am planning to take an Esthetician course next month-I have been thinking about moving to Hawaii once I obtain my license. I have a friend who already lives there. Because of the many resorts in Hawaii, would this be an ideal place to start my career-or do the resorts generally hire experienced estheticians. Any information you give will be greatly appreciated. (Read Answer)
I am an exercise physiologist with 13 years professional experience including club management, personal training and staff developement/training. I am currently the director of a fitness/spa facility for an exclusive country club. I have seen this facility from start up to its current and 5th season. I am pursuing a new position and would like to break into the destination spa industry. Any advice regarding professional organizations or certifications that I should pursue would be appreciated. Thanks. MK Morgan (Read Answer)
What is the going rate for a Spa Director/Owner brought on board to Manage my own staff?
What would be a resonable, but worthwhile Monthly Management Fee? (Read Answer)
I am interested getting my aestetitian license. I begin grad school in the spring though, and I'm wondering if aesthics offer good part time work. I don't expect to make a living working at this part time. But I'm wondering what I could expect the pay range to be in this case. Also wondering how hard it is to find a part time position... should I concentrate mainly on spas or salons for employment?
Thanks so much! (Read Answer)
I am interested in becoming an esthetician and am looking for a good school in louisiana. Also can you tell me if it's relatively easy to gain employment? And can I expect to make $20-40 per hour immediately upon finishing the school?

YOur answers are much appreciated.

Thanks (Read Answer)
.Dear Deborah, I am looking to expand my Day Spa into a Spa with alot of healing therapies. I have connected with an acupuncturist, someone who studies the purification of the blood, I am looking for a colon therapist, we do reflexology, massage, thai massage holistic skin care, no acrylics, organic body treatments and steam therapy. My question is this....how do I go about finding a spa consultant? I recently thought that I had found one but my appointments were messed up twice and then I was told that I would get a call back at the end of the day to reschedule the appointment and was never called. So I guess it's time to look for another. This consultant was involved with a very large spa and her fee was $3,000.00 per day. Is this what the going rate is? Please help, this is a very overwhelming process. Thanks so much for your time. Tina Kirch (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,

I\'m considering opening a spa. What are the top publications that I can read to learn more about the business?

Kristin (Read Answer)
My backgound is in the area of Quality Assurance (Software Development), how do I begin to start a Day Spa? I have attended some seminars in NYC. The interest came from merely a conversation with my sister one day. Personally, I know that this is a customer driven business & my background in aiding in customer satisfaction can supplement my goals. Can you provide some steps I should take to get running in the right direction?

GV (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah:

What are your thoughts on the effects of the recent tragedies in NYC, DC and PA (coupled with the economic recession we were experiencing prior to 9/11)upon the Day Spa Industry? My consultants have advised me to postpone the launch of my Day Spa (in New Jersey) for 90 days . . . we are now looking at a soft launch or "pre-sale" of retail from December 14th-24th with an official launch in January--any thoughts?

Kristi (Read Answer)
I am in the process of writing a business plan for opening and operating a day spa facility in the detroit, mi. I wanted to know the best way to forecast sales accurately. I have no prior experience in this industry. Also, do you how I could accurately determine how much start inventory would be needed. I plan to offer massages, body treatments (body wraps, etc), face treatments and nail services. I am not sure on how to forecast the amount and cost of start up inventory for these services. Thanks (Read Answer)
Is there a curriculm already established and working well in other spas for the following position;manager/working esthetician in charge of esthetic side of new day spa? (Read Answer)

I'm just about to purchase an existing day spa in Toronto, Canada. I'm searching for a reputable spa consultant in the Toronto area, one that has actual experience in developing day spas, as opposed to the many people that I've met who claim to be consultants.
Any help would be most appreciated.

(Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I see from your past answers that a well run, market-driven day spa can expect a profit margin from 5% to 15%. Is the same true for destination spas, or are they in an entirely different ballpark? Are there strong regional variations in profit margins, or are they dirven primarilt by how well managed and marketed the spa is? Thanks! (Read Answer)
How do you think the global Destination Spa Industry will be affected by the events of the 11th September? (Read Answer)
We are currently putting the finishing touches on a feasibility study for a small destination spa with an eco-adventure and Aboriginal theme in a fairly remote and beautiful area of Canada. We are trying to determine how far our potential customers are willing to travel to visit our facility. In addition, we are attempting to determine what methods of travel consumers would prefer (plane vs. driving...)
Our facility is located within one hours drive of a major Canadian airport that is a short flight from Minneapolis, MN.
We are also trying to determine the critical price points for consumers of a spa experience inclusive of travel to and from the destination.
Have you any insight into our queries? Any assistance and/or direction that you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Pamela Caland
Axxis Developments
axxis@tbaytel.net (Read Answer)
I was wondering what the market for Day Spas and home care products looks like for Poland? I know that the resorts are well-known and very respected. Any web sites or information on this topic would be greatly appreciated!
Julie Matter
International Business Student
Washington State University (Read Answer)
I would like advise on the best advertising strategies for the Christmas season. Currently 30 - 40 % of my business is generated from Gift Certificate Sales. 50 - 60 % of the GC sales are during the Christmas season. I have compared my sales to last year, and GC sales are up 70%. I want to keep up the momentum, and even surpass that increase. I have a 15 second radio ad that I am trying to create. I have been focusing on the relaxing shopping environment, and "peace and tranquility for the health of the mind body and spirit. Could you give me advise about the content of my 15 second ad, and what other methods of advertising I should consider......Thanks, Toni (Read Answer)
I have a B&B and I'm planning on 4-8 retreats next year to see if the response is good enough to become a destination spa. It's a common practice in the area to pay service providers a % of service instead of an hourly wage. I plan to do the same thing with a person I'll call the Spa Director. My question is: what would a good percentage be (the service providers will be getting 50%)? She will help with menu developement, newsletters and have complete responsibility for scheduling, "hiring"& "firing" all service providers. (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

Sauna is part of spas in Eastern and Northern Europe. I have a question whether spas and resorts in America have also saunas and wheather it is fashionable to use eucalyptus twig in sauna. Are Americans actually aware that eucalyptus twigs very healthy for heated body and they firm the skin and muscules when 'beaten' up. They massage the skin very well and let the pores breathe.
Can you tell me how fashionable it is in US and what or if now, what is the overall sauna precedure then above from sitting and relaxing for a certain time period?

Thank you. I'm looking forward to your answer very much.

Alisa (Read Answer)
What experience/education is needed to become a skincare manufacturer representative? (Read Answer)
Attemting to secure the # of day spas and listing of same in California...thanks.
michaelalbert@pobox.com (Read Answer)
On average, what is the annual income of a spa director? And can you expect to make the same amount of money in Europe? (for their living standards)

Sylvia (Read Answer)
I am currently an interior design student doing my final project on spa design. I was wondering if you could recommend any books on the design of spas or day spas. (Read Answer)
Hi my name is Krista and I am currently working on a report entitled "Fitness in the Hospitality Industry", if you could give me some information on current trends, demands and or changed within this industry that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Krista (Read Answer)
For an article on Valentine's Day for DERMAdoctor.com, a skin care website, please comment on whether spa attendance increases at Valentine's Day, also state of spa industry, rose baths, anything relevant to Valentine's Day.
Fran Sigurdsson (Read Answer)
hi deborah,
what percentage of retail sales is typical for aestheticians to receive when their clients purchase products? and what is standard compensation for aestheticians -- i've heard a total of around 40% of the service cost and the retail percentage would be on top of this. is this true?
thanks very much. (Read Answer)
I read an answer that you gave stating that it would cost approximately 4-6K per esthetician treatment room. What is the cost if you are operating a space rental business for independent contractors? Thank you, Francy M. (Read Answer)
I am a relatively new esthetician with some experience working with a plastic surgeon. I also have a 25 year marketing/managment background and I was a licensed cosmotogogist 30 yrs. ago. My husband has an extensive background in business administration/managment and economic development. We have decided to open a full service day spa/salon. We plan to include hair stylist, estheticians (including pre/post surgery services), manicusists, massage tharapist(s), make-up artist(s)(including permanant make-up). We also plan to include 1-2 tread mills and recumbant bikes for those that want to excercise while waiting for nails to dry or hair to process, etc. In our reception area we would like to have a retail product bar, a small cothing boutique (possible concession) and coffee/juice/snack bar with comfortable seating and specialty gift items. Though we are experienced in business and real estate, this is a new industry and we need industry specific help with a business plan, floor plan (space needed), equipment sources, etc. Shall we subsribe to an online software program to guide us? Can you help advise us?
(Read Answer)
Hi, I own a marketing and branding firm. One of my clients has hired us to market the new day spa they are building. This is going to be a high enad european spa and salon. In working on the feasability study it became apparant to me that their concept of including tanning beds would not be good. Can you confirm that this is not appropriate for this type of establishment.

Thank you (Read Answer)
I am interested in opening my own day spa. Is there anywhere that i would be able to obtain accurate financial information in terms of costs and expenses and projected revenue numbers? I am trying to put together a business plan and evaluate the feasability of starting a day spa in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area. (Read Answer)
I am starting a new managed services company and targeting the Spa industry as my sales channel.

My questions are the following:

What is the best way to approach a Spa with a new service offering?

Understanding that I have not given any specifics on the actual services that I plan to offer, what would be a spa’s typical concerns or objections to new services?

As I understand it, the typical revenue split for a spa and a contract provider is somewhere around 60/40 on either side. In my model however, we are providing everything, the licensed provider, the equipment and all of the supplies. There is absolutely no cash outlay from the spa and all revenues earned are pure profit to the Spa. What should I expect would be the desired "cut" of revenues from services that will retail for $400 to $600 per customer?
(Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,
I am a student writing a thesis on Wellness tourism in Switzerland. Would you have any pertinent inforfation that I could use in my discussion.
I thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.
My e.mail is defrisching@yahoo.com (Read Answer)
I am opening a yoga room in my soon to open dayspa. I am not sure how to compensate the instructors. Thank you P. Manka (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

I am in the process of opening a skincare center in Queens, New York, where I will be offering facials, waxing, full-body massage, professional makeup and permanent cosmetics, along with retailing. I have thought about starting as an independant contractor where I would rent out space in an already established hair salon, where I would use all of my own equipment and supplies. I am in the process of creating a business plan and really need help with the marketing research, especially when it comes to choosing the area. What are the pros and cons of starting off as an independant contractor and how to I pick the right area? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am a student attending Lam School for Advanced Esthetics, writing my thesis for the course and CIDESCO. I am creating a sales manual for estheticians to help develop their selling skills. Would you be so kind as to suggest any material regarding this subject.

Thank you,
Pina Lee (Read Answer)
I am a student doing a project for my Business Ownership class. I have decided to do my project on a day spa. My question is,
What is generally the best way to pay aestheticians and massage therapists? As employee's being paid commission, or as independent contracters?
Thank you,
(Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am planning on opening my own day spa and was wondering if you could give me some information on the following:
- What are the most popular services being offered?
- What are the necessary services that need to be offered?
- What treatments are in currently in demand but not widely available?
- If there are no courses on Spa Management in my area, how would you recommend that I gain experience (considering that I'm coming from a Math/Business background and know very little about the day spa industry)?

Thanks alot,
(Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
Where can I get information about how to set up a Day Spa?
Damian (Read Answer)
THANKS, LIZ (Read Answer)
I am gathering information regarding a destination spa at a Resort. The resortis in a rural area, 3 hours from a city with 200,000 + population and 1 hour from a city with a population of 40,000. The resort has 60 rooms,30 chalets, a full service restaurant, lounge and conference rooms. Is there any data available regarding % of guests that get spa services, and the average $s spent by each spa client in the spa? Thanks. (Read Answer)
I am looking for suppliers who can provide me with installation of Mud Bath in Singapore.I want the client to experience this treatment just like in Japan. Where do I get the mud and how does the heating mechanism work.Thanks. (Read Answer)
how much income for a managing esthetician (Read Answer)
What factors make up a good destination Spa. Have you got any views on Spa Development in hungary or do you know anyone who would be able to advise me on the matter. It's for my final year major project at the University of sunderland (England) thankyou for your time (Read Answer)
How is compensation structured in most salon\'s & day spas? (Read Answer)
What is a good software to purchase for a salon/day spa? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah
I'm in my final year of Hotel Management Program. I have to do a feasibility study for a full service spa in Vancouver. Where can I get information about market trends, and spa industry trends in Canada or North America
Thank you for your help
Sonia (Read Answer)
i am the owner of a miniday spa including 4 massage rooms in Florida. Upon recent inspection from the state board of health, I was advised that I had to have a protective barier between the fleece pads we use and the sheet the client lays on. (I can't justify the expense of owning and washing the fleece pad for every massage we do. I am using a barrier (a soft plastic liner between the fleece and sheet now but it takes away from the comfort that laying on the fleece is sipposed to create. Do you have any recommendations as to what type of material I can use and still maintain the comfort of the fleece pad?? thanks Fred, Body Kneads Therapeutic Massage Centers,Boca raton, FL (Read Answer)
What is a good salary for an experienced esthetician in a skincare salon in a small city? (Read Answer)
I have had my Cosmetologist license for 20 years. I have not worked in the field for 15 years. I have owned my own franchised business for 10 years. ( not spa related) I am going to sell my business and wanted to get back into the spa field. I have keep my license current and want to re-learn all aspects of giving facials and I want to do this out of my home ( in a separate guest house) What would this require to perform these at home. Do I need a separate license or inspections from the Cosemtoloty board to start this. And how would I go about getting training in all the new procedures and basics that I have forgotten over the years. Would it be beneficial to get an esthetician license also?
Monique (Read Answer)
I recently found the Spa Trade website. It's great to have a resouce to answer questions since it's so difficult to get answers when you are running a small day spa business. Regarding gift certificates: Like most spas, we put a one year expiration date on our gift certificates for massage and skin care. It is my understanding that there are some states that do lot allow a business to put an expiration date on a gift certificate. Does Florida have such a regulation? Even if it doesn't, I am concerned that it may create ill will by the customer if you do not honor it....especially if it expired just a week or two previously. What is your recommednation as to how they should be handled? Thank you (Read Answer)
(Read Answer)
I'm a licensed aesthetician and I'm school right now for energy body work. I want to open a Energy and Day Spa and need to give a financial analysis for a year. Can you help me,
thank you
Karen (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,

Could you recommend an affordable POS system for spa retail merchandise. I would like to computerize inventory, sales record, with a SKU/scanner type of system. Thank you (Read Answer)
could you please explain the "CIDESCO" certification .VS. an esthetician and being licensed? (Read Answer)
I am opening a small day spa about 600 sq ft. I want to include manicure, pedicure, massage and facials (make-up also). I need help designing it since it will be so small. It needs to be out of this world since the space isn't large. Should I hire a spa consultant? My budget is not going to be that high. (Read Answer)
What would you suggest I do to find investors to open a day spa? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
Do you have any information regarding the salon management program called "Shortcuts"? We have just purchased it and I am already having concerns. Has anyone that you know of used it and what was their opinion of it? Is it a top of the line program? Any information that you would have concerning this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Angie (Read Answer)
I am researching a carear as an esthetician looking for information on wage, job avalabilities, carrear pathsand advancements within the industry, even information on other resources. Thank you for your time, please email me back at:
lil_betty3@hotmail.com (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah

I am currently in the process of opening s hotel day spa. Could you please give me an Idea what the industry standard is on commissions. Could you also help me out with general salary for a spa director. Thank you and I look forward to your response.
Kristiena (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I have always been interested in skin care, etc. and thinking of opening my own spa salon. But since I do not have a lot of experience in cosmetology industry I decided to explore a possibility of opening one of the franchises. My question to you is can you recommend me some of the franchise companies that would be the best for me to deal with? What I have in mind is a spa salon with facial, skin and body treatments, manicure and pedicure.
I greatly appreciate your help.
Thank you.
(Read Answer)
I am relocating soon and could use any advise on resumes,layou etc. I am a licensed aesthetician and will be looking for work in spas, etc. Also, how do i go about approaching physicians in hopes to work in a dr.s office? (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,

I am looking for information on how to prepare an operating budget for a day spa, the budgetary process and who gets involved. Are there any resouces that offer this type of imformation?

Ann Marie
arhunter@comcast.net (Read Answer)
Could you please email me the Spa Director salary survey information that you presented at the IHRSA\'s Spa Business Conference? My email address is lori@serenityshores.com. Thank you very much. (Read Answer)
What are some of the most innovative grand opening ideas you have heard about? I am getting ready for our grand opening in 04/03. I have an 8000 square foot spa and salon in Salt Lake City. Thanks for all your help. Akasha Spa and Salon. (Read Answer)
I own a salon for nails only,now I would like to add skin care, what products, services would you suggest, and do you have any information regarding salary? what is the usual commission for that field? thanks, tina (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am in the process of designing a day spa in Canada and preparing financial documents. I would like to sell products such as Jonka, Peter Thomas Roth and Phytomer. How do I contact these companies? Is there a representative network or do I contact the companies directly? I am having a hard time finding contact details for these companies on the Internet - any suggestions?
Thanks so much for your time, I really appresiaite it!
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
(Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, Please would you tell me what you think the 3 biggest current global spa trends are (Read Answer)
I have a BS in Science and working experience in clinical research. I'm looking into taking medical esthetic training with Victoria Rayner. After completion of course, what type of salary should I expect? or does this career get compensated hourly. Currently, I'm making 29,000 per yr. Would this career transition be a wise one? (Read Answer)
I will open a day spa for middle age men – women ratio= 50:50. The survey said their purpose of using my spa is to relax after hard work and feel great afterward. I don’t know what products should I buy. I don’t want to buy every product of supplier line. I only want what you think it’s necessary at the first start.
Please recommend me the list of products (both retail and professional) to use in my spa. It’s doesn’t have to be in details. You could say “ what you need are 2 type of eye creams,3 cleansers,etc” .

Thank you
(Read Answer)
I, along with 4 other fellow group members attend James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. We are developing a business plan for an airport spa in the LAX airport. We have so many questions to be answered in order to prepare our financial statements. How much workers get paid, what first year sales forecast should be, what equiptment to buy, how to rent airport space, how much certification costs? Do you know anything about the air port spa market? Can you help us with finding information on start up costs and predictions for the first three years of business with out being charged those rediculous prices for executive summaries and start up books? (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah!
There are many Spa Conferences/Seminars taking place this year...for those of us interested in the Spa, Salon& Fitness Industry, do you have any strong recommendations for any particular conference? I am specifically interested in attending the ISPA Annual Conference in Dallas in October, American Spa Expo in March in NYC,then there is a Beauty & Fitness Expo in Hong Kong in June. Do you recommend any, all, or none of these three. Are there any others that I should consider attending? Thank you! - Thandi (Read Answer)
I am the Lead Massage therapist at a luxury hotel spa in Napa Valley, CA. My responsibilities are Recruitment/Hiring, Payroll, Scheduling,Inventory Control/Purchasing, and Training; as well as providing up to 30hrs of services weekly.
My Director has recently put me in charge of purchasing and inventory for all departments(Skin Care, Salon,Massage/Body,and the retail store). I am paid $8ph,and 15% of service price(which is our base pay). I want to propose a wage increase, and am interested in finding what you feel a \ (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, I am an esthetician and med. assistant with 10+ years experience in dermatology. I work in an office with 3 md's 1 FNP.and 25 othe staff members. I am the cosmetic coord. do all the marketing, am in charge of safety and OSHA as well as about 35 hrs of patient care hours where I do microderm, laser hair removal, some facials, skin care consults, assist docs with botox, and with the vascular laser. My boss wants to change me to a salaried employee. This is always a tough decision. Can you send me any info. on salary comparisions. My biggest concern is that my job description varies so much that I could end up working like I have 2 full time jobs, but not get paid for it. Have any suggestions? Thanks Wendy Hopeless in NC (Read Answer)
I have a wonderful product that I have developed on my own--in my kitchen--all natural, etc. I have not done any clincial trials, the only testing has been on lots of friends, coworkers, family, etc. The response has been great.
My thought was to market to Spas first before going retail.

If I came into a spa, what could I do to interest them in my product?
Do I make appointments with sales people or do they just show up hoping to see someone?
Who is the right contact at the Spa?
It's in the skincare line...but only one product not a full line of products.
Do Spas have 'signature' scents, because they could be added to my product to make it your own.

Thanks for your help...
Kim (Read Answer)
Hi Debroah,
I am thinking of opening a day spa in Eugene, Oregon. BUT... I am not licensed as a cosmotoligist, I took some classes on massage, but I am not certified in anyway. Is it still legal for me to offer and perform these services? Please email me at jhanneson@cs.com

Thank You!

Jeff (Read Answer)
There is a new major shopping development with expanding residential and office development that I believe would be great for a Day Spa. My husband and I have been brainstorming about business ideas and we keep coming back to the viability of a Day Spa in that developing area. Financing is not a problem, however, we have no idea where to begin. What resources are there to start us on the right track? Thanks! (Read Answer)
i am opening new spa inrichboro pennsyvania.i am adentist i need help to start spa.i can not get manicurist for manicure and pedicure.what shall ido? (Read Answer)
I am a college senior doing a business plan for a Five Star Health Spa. I was wondering what type of qualifications we should require for our personal trainors and spa employees. I was also wondering how we should market our new Health Spa (Read Answer)
can u please mail me a project report on developing an spa (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I too am opening a Day spa and have been doing months of research to prepare. I am one of 3 partners, I have 7 years of management experience, and have run an unrelated business of my own for the past 5 years. My other partner has worked in the salon industry for 13 years, but has no business experience. My question is, do you feel that I need salon experience and she needs business experience to make this work? Our plan seems sound and we have been working with the SBA and a spa consultant, but I wonder if I need more industry experience. (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah. We are opening an upscale salon in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We would like to compete with the Day Spas but at a more moderate price. What compensation structure should we have in place to attract the right employees? (Read Answer)
i was wondering if you had some good interview questions i can use when im interviewing for aestheticians at the spa im working at. im having a very hard time hiring people. they seem to say what they think i want to hear when i interview them to get the job, then once their hired it seems things change. like their avalability time to work and so on. Thanks! (Read Answer)
How do I locate a spa consultant/architect in my area? (Read Answer)
My company(Park Avenue Candles)specializes in unscented candles in decorative finishes. Over the past couple of years we have done quite a good business with a hand full of spas around the country. I would like to expand our marketing efforts to reach more spas. Can you suggest any trade shows that we might want to attend? Thanks in Advance. Jim Roll, Jr. Park Avenue Candles 800-328-3378 (Read Answer)
Currently I am trying to form a day spa here in Kentucky that has two major competitors doing several million dollars per year (one does around $12MM and the other does around $5MM); I am in the "doing my homework" phase. The spa would be around 35,000 square feet (including the restaurant) and would have around 30+ treatment rooms. Questions: What type of growth rate is expected for this industry? What are the correct levels of manager for massage therapy, hair, nails, color techs., and administration? I do not want to have superflous manager tiers. I have an experienced person in the industry who is willing to join me from the competition and is also willing to bring over many other of her working relationships. I have read over all the previous emails submitted, and, in general, what would an excellent marketing plan entail. I do have business experience and am very excited about this industry since there will be a constant need. No other spa will be like mine in the regional area. Thanks, Alan (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I see that you have information regarding a salary survey. I am an esthetician and have an appointment for an interview for work in a Dermatologists office on Monday. Can you please email me and let me know what I can ask for in terms of salary and benefits? Please help, time is running out. Thank you so much. My email is abbylutoo@hotmail.com (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, would you please provide me with the most recent information regarding the size of the spa industry. I have found the number of spa visitors in 2002 (156 million) however there was no mention of dollars spent. Also, would you let me know how I can access allocation of the dollars spent?

Many thanks,

Suzanne Davison
925-598-9711 (Read Answer)
Can you recommend a company or website in which I can purchase used esthetics equipment?

Lou Frost (Read Answer)
My niece recently graduated from cosmetology school. She was fortunate enough to have employers seeking her right away. She was approached by several business before making her decision. She has been employed by this business now for 3 weeks. She has since been offered the opportunity to rent a space at a well-established small town salon as the Color Expert. She is having a tough time deciding, let alone having to think about all the legal aspects that go along with being an independent contractor. Do you have any resources to assist her in finding out as much information about what she may need to pursue this. She is trying to decide whether this the right move or continue to work at this other salon for only $7.50/hr. (Read Answer)
would like to know how to compensate our esthetician appropriately.Also information on tipping. (Read Answer)
what is the minimum amount of training needed to be to function in a spa doing facials, body scrubs, wraps, etc. Are there any good programs in the northeast, preferably Maine, New Hampshire, or Mass? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah. If we have employees as independent contractors & they have their own personal insurance, do we need to cover them as well? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, I was wondering if you are able to send me the same info you have sent Ashley concerning the salary negotiation.I have been offered as skincare care director position for a new advanced skincare Center opening in Manhattan.Just found your site today and have to answer by Monday the 31MAR03.Thank you. Julie dskindeep@aol.com (Read Answer)
I am a licensed RN in Texas. I am extremely interested in pursuing esthetic training including microdermabrasion, collagen, laser, etc. Do you know of any training available in the Houston TX area? Thanks (Read Answer)
I am in need of #s of someone who can help me financially, unfortunatly i have terrible credit from past mistakes, so i cant lease or finance equipment.Im trying to open a skin care room in a salon, but need the right stuff and im having a hard time. if you could help i would so appreciate it thanx, glc (Read Answer)
Hi, I am wanting to start my own business as an esthetician. I need some advice on how and when should I start. I\'ve been an esthetician for four years and have a good clientele. What would you do? (Read Answer)
How to I do about opening a day spa in chicago? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am in the initial budgeting phase for a spa and would need information on typical room utilization rates for modeling purposes.
In one of your prior answers, you mention 70% as a good utilization target rate for a well functioning mature spa. In the LA market, talking to spa owners, the utilization seems to be more around 50% (70% at peak hours and more 20-30% M-F before 4PM). Is the LA market very competitive compared to other markets? Is the 70% more of a stretch goal? What would be an average number for a normal spa?
Given that I am in the LA market, what utilization number would you advise me to use as a reasonable target and by when should I achieve it?
Thank you for your help.
(Read Answer)
I am a recent college graduate, holding a Bachelor’s in Advertising and Marketing Communications. During my time in college, I worked for 2 years as a salon coordinator, and fell in love with the industry. I am trying to pursue a career as a spa director. What are the qualifications of such position? What kind of experience is needed? Should I get my cosmetology or esthiology license, and if so which one? I live in central New Jersey, and looking to relocate to NYC, is this area ideal for such position? I heard that moving west is a better option, and destination and resort spas’ salary would be greater. Are there any books you recommend that I read? (PS. I have already tried contacting certain staffing services posted on Spa Trade, and have been unsuccessful in finding a job). Please point me in the right direction. Thank you. (Read Answer)
Deborah -

We are looking to restructure our employee compensation and need some guidance. We are currently paying on a sliding commission scale and would like to convert to all salary. Where do we begin looking for assistance with this structure? (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,

I am starting my own endermologie business and would like to buy liability insurance but it doesn't seem like endermologie is covered by the massage therapist associations. I am planning on doing the official LPG endermologie 2 day training and buying or leasing the necessary LPG equipment. Do you have any suggestions on where to find liability insurance for endermologie? Is the training at LPG adequate training to be considered a certified endermologist?

Thank You,
Erin (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
As a cosmetician (in Germany) I am trying to get to know my customers better. Is there something specific about the women that go to cosmetic saloons? Any professional research, that suggests what is peculiar about that market segment.. I would also like to know more about the behaviour of the customers – how loyal are the customers to the cosmetic studios, how often do they visit them and what are their incentives.
It would be great if you could help me with those questions, since I am thinking about launching a new advertisement, but I would like to have some more professional information beforehand.

Thank you very much in advance.
Looking forward to your answer,
(Read Answer)
hello, im trying to look for colleges that offer aesthetician and/or make up artist programs because i check out the private school and they are pricy. im looking for a college in los angeles county or maybe orange county. thank you, melinda (Read Answer)
Deborah Smith I am in the process of writing my business plan for an up scale day spa and I am looking for some advice on skin care. As their are so many skin care lines available it is so difficult to make a decision which one is the best. Recently I have been conducting some research on private label skin care and I have come across 2 lines that have great margins, but I have yet to try the products and determine if they are quality. My question to you is am I better of starting a new day spa with a name that is recognized by the public and then changing it in a few years to a higher margin line like private label once I have a larger client basis. And if I do will this piss off my clients and send them to my competitors?

Thank you
Kristiena (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah Smith

I am looking for information on the Rassoul Chamber. I would like to know if it is possible for you to send me information regarding the Rassoul Chamber and the important aspects that needs to be considered. I would also like to know what you physically put in the chamber when you build one and the products you use in the chamber.

Thank you kindly

(Read Answer)
How much should I pay a spa director? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am a professional esthetcian/make-up artist and I want to eventually own a day spa business. I could really use some help on what to research. Any step-by-step assistance that you can offer would be greatly appriecated.
Thank you for your time.

Renee (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,

I am 32 years old.I have a background in chemistry; but I have never worked as a chemist.Im trying to look for colleges that offer aesthetician and/or manucurist or perfumer programms.I would like to know where I can have the best training here in the Bay Area, California.I would like also to know if there is any GUERLAIN Beauty training centers in the U.S.

Thank you kindly

Meriem. (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,

My name is Cynthia Cole and I am a licensed aesthetician. I am interested in becoming a spa director. I am very knowlegable in my position and have been working in the industry for 4 years. I am planning to go back to college and earn my degree in business management. How can I become an ideal candidate for a spa director with experience as an aesthetician but no management experience? (Read Answer)
Can you suggest any websites where I can find spa-goer statistics in the UK, particularly London (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah. I am opening a new day spa in a neighborhood area. I am unsure compensation and employee incentives would be like. For example, how much should i pay nail technicians? Should i pay them by the day or by them by commission? How much should i pay facialists and body therapists? The day spa is relatively small around 1000 square feet. Because I am new in this field, I would need to hire a manager? How much should i pay the manager? (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I was wondering if you knew of any helpful resources on how to start writing a business plan geared specifically for day spas.
Thank You,
Diana Ivey (Read Answer)
i have poened new spa.the buiseness is slow.i have problem getting manicurist.no body wants to wait to build the buiseness.whai should i do?i loose buiseness when people wants to schedule an appointment. (Read Answer)
Good morning

I presently run a 500 room hotel that has a fitness centre and a couple of treatment rooms. I am in the process of proposing to the owning company the development of the existing area to a spa. I would like to know the following if possible;
1)Where can I get information that will provide statistics on what contribution of the hotel occupancy can be contributed to the existence of the spa?
2) By having the spa does it enable the hotel to increase the room rate?

Thanks for any help

Ian (Read Answer)
I am in the process of opening a day spa. I have a degree in business management, some cash set aside and was wondering what should be the intitial first steps to starting this venture. (Read Answer)
Hi,I have been an Aesthetican for three years now, about a year ago I quit working for a spa that i'd been with for a year and a half and have not been working in the industry for about a year. Recently I was offerd a position at a new spa opening up. Origionally the owner said she would be paying me an hourly wage and commission however last time we spoke, she said until I build up my client base she would pay me nine dollars an hour and then we would talk about commission levels when i got busier. I feel I should be making commission even if I just do one service. What do you think and how should I attempt to negotiate this? (Read Answer)
Is there a "going rate" for aestheticians, and massage therapists? Nail Technicians? It is my understanding that most of these persons, like to work on a commission basis? Is it fair to pay only commissions? Or does and hourly plus commissions work best? Does the commission rate depend on the treatment?

Thank you for your time.


Michelle Michael

The Sun Spa
18600 Woodinville/Snohomish Road #230
Woodinville, WA 98072

360-668-5375 Corporate Office
360-668-9310 Fax


(Read Answer)
what are the laws for starting a day spa in NY (Read Answer)
What are the typical range of fees for the spa consultant? Thank you. (Read Answer)
First I'd like to thank you for offering this srvc. I'm persuing the aesthetician career. I would like to tain/work in so. FL. then transfer to Flint MI. to take my idea/trng there to open a social club for women to network,meet,andrecv information onideas,health,music and ambience that they normally dont! The bldgs. are cheap and possibly have loft space. I want to specialize in facials,andfoot,hand treatments.This idea also lets me return home to be w/mom whom I havent been with in 20+yrs(CA-12,FL-8). I've seen ambience that I created in my own home, and foods,spices also. The women can hold bs. meetings bridal,baby showers,rest,pray and relax to great music, also hold workshops. what type of certificates or trng suits me. I also have been a blender for years mixing natural pharmacueticals, skincare products for D'arcy skncr co., that is Estee Lauder approved thus giving me an oppty to push my own customized products,and vitamins..What do you think of this idea? I'm banking on this to help me in my entreprenurial endeavor and attempt to be w/family. People also say I have great charisma in dealing w/people this is what I love PEOPLE?ENTERTAINING them! PLEASE EM me...lvg FL. TROY G (Read Answer)
I am looking for a spa consultant to help me design a business plan for investors for a destination nail bar. do you have any leads? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah:

I am a Plastic Surgeon in Canada about to embark on a joint venture with an established day spa to create a medical spa. I will bring to their facility the services of laser hair removal and photorejuvenation, microdermabrasion, medical tattooing, Botox, Artecoll, Collagen injections, end endermologie. I own all of the equipment related to those medical procedures. They are providing me with space, referrals, and when needed, support staff. What should I consider to be a fair means of compensation to this facility: a) For seevices not requiring staff; (b) for services that require their staff ? We are starting operation of this business as of September 20, 2003, so I am in urgent need of some assistance with this matter. I thank you, and look forward to your response.


Mark R. Thibert, M.D., F.R.C.S. (C) (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am a nurse practitioner and I will be offering medical skin care services in a day spa that is opening in November 2003. Some services I will offer will be laser hair removal, microdermabrasion. Just wanted to know if you knew how other day spas are doing with these type of services and how long do you think it will "catch on". I have clients of my own that I will be bringing and the day spa is an Aveda spa that is very high end and has a salon attached to it already in business with a large clietele. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
-Johanna (Read Answer)
Good Afternoon Deborah,

My name is Angela and I am currently working as a civil engineer in New York City. I have a four degree in civil and environmental engineering and have worked in this field for almost 4 years. I have a great profession and enjoy it. However, I have a problem... Although I enjoy, I am not "in love" with my career. I have secretly always wanted to have a career in the beauty industry, specifically day spa ownership and operations. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how I can "break in" this industry. Should I get a part time job as a receptionist at a day spa, or should I try to gain experience as and esthetician or another type of day spa technician?

I really have a burning desire to be in this field and if you can give me any advice on how I can "break in" to this field I would really appreciate it.

Thank you in advance,

(Read Answer)
Good Afternoon Deborah,

My name is Angela and I am currently working as a civil engineer in New York City. I have a four degree in civil and environmental engineering and have worked in this field for almost 4 years. I have a great profession and enjoy it. However, I have a problem... Although I enjoy, I am not "in love" with my career. I have secretly always wanted to have a career in the beauty industry, specifically day spa ownership and operations. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how I can "break in" this industry. Should I get a part time job as a receptionist at a day spa, or should I try to gain experience as and esthetician or another type of day spa technician?

I really have a burning desire to be in this field and if you can give me any advice on how I can "break in" to this field I would really appreciate it.

Thank you in advance,

(Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,

I would like to ask some questions to your experts.
I am working as a fashion designer but I would like to change my career as esthetician.
Would you please suggest good schools in New York City ?
I heard Aveda Inst. is a great school to go but I also heard that I cannot work for any other places, but only at Aveda. Is there any Aveda salon in Paris, France where I can work after getting a degree?
I hear the name CIDESCO from time to time and I know that the school exists in Chicago to get CIDESCO degree. I would like to know that to be qualified by CIDESCO is important in this indutry worldwide ?

Thank you,
Yae (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah,
I am currently a young nail technician and am interested in working aboard a cruiseline spa. If you have any experience with cruiseline spas, can you provide me with any helpful advice about getting a job? Is it generally hard to get a job in these spa's, and what are some key things that the recruiters will be looking for? What is the working environment like in the cruiseline spas? If you do not have experience with area, can you refer me to anyone who does? I am having a really hard time finding information from anyone who has experience with cruiseline spas first hand. Thank you so much for your help.
Raleigh, NC (Read Answer)
What would be the BEST school in the New York area to train to be an estecian, spa director,
micro drema treatment
where can i go or send a friend to learn these trades in the spa industry located in the NY area (Read Answer)
I am opening a 2000-2500 sq. ft. day spa in Boise, Idaho and have the option of two very different locations. One is more of a neighborhood location in an affluent area of town, there would be 5-8 other tenants including an upscale market, restaurants and possibly an immediate care doctor’s office. The second location is in the heart of the quickly growing downtown area and would be surrounded by retail, restaurants, office buildings, a “no services” hotel and a movie theatre. This location will be surrounded by construction for the next year or two. I was wondering if you had any information regarding these two types of locations and the feasibility of a day spa in either one. I would greatly appreciate any information you could give me.

Thank you,
Lisa Levy
Spa Director
The Boulevard Day Spa
(Read Answer)
what is the compensation structure for employees at a day spa? thank you (Read Answer)
Hello. My name is Edwin. I am an LMBT, #4169 in charlotte. I have been offered the opportunity to open a Day Spa by Feb 2004. My capital partner wants to split 50/50.
He puts the money, I run the spa. I will have 2 massage therapist rooms for 4 therapists to share and 1 skin care room and a retail lobby. Can I be paid as an "independent contractor"? How much should a new spa director be paid and what are the responsibilities of the director? Thank you. (Read Answer)
hi, i'm looking for spas specifically geared for teens in new york city (Read Answer)
I am planning to open a Salon/Spa/Fitness Center can you tell me what licenses I will need to get started. It you can please tell me what steps I need to take to get started (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
I am going to be interviewing for a Spa Coordinator position at a local Day Spa and I wanted to know what are some good pertinent questions I could ask during my interview? (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,
I am interested in the same information that you sent to Ashley. Could you kindly email this informatio to me as well?
Thank you,
Alison Abbott
Wellness Director
Meridian's Rolling Hills Club
(Read Answer)
Where can I find a reputable construction company specializing in Spa design for a buildout in Chicago? (Read Answer)
I\'m starting a day spa and need information on how to compensate employees. Where can I find information on this topic? (Read Answer)
Are spas more profitable if they include a salon? (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, I would love to have this survey information also. I am an esthetician working for a dermatologist who will be opening a medi spa within the next few months. The doctor is in the late stages of setting the standard for newcomers and possibly changing my current contract to a lower commission. Please HELP! Lee (Read Answer)
I am looking into opening a salon and day spa in NJ. My questions are listed below.
1. What type of licensing do I need to function as a day spa in NJ?
2. What kind of certification or knowledge will I need to perform massages and spa treatment?
3. What should I look out for when looking for a school?
4. Will hiring a message therapist or spa person be better off than getting myself the training needed to offer massages and spa treatment?
(Read Answer)
I am starting a mobile esthetic business specializing exclusively in mens skin care. Having difficulty finding a portable bed w/ adj. back that is min. 30"w X 72"l. Looking for something hi-end. Thanks, Barbara (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah:
I have extensive experience in film production and talent recruitment/management and I am an accomplished therapeutic bodyworker (7yrs) with expert training in many different styles of bodywork, energy healing, transpersonal therapies, and aromatherapy. I am 44 years old and a single mother and I want to transition my hands-on massage/healing practice into spa management. I have many skills tht cross-over from my former business experience (even working as an executive catering chef and all that requires). How should I position myself and my qualifications to spa recruiters and operators? Since I'm certainly not a beginner--can you suggest a possible entry level? Who are the most highly regarded recruiters? Thank you for your time and consideration.
Patricia Little (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
What is your perspective on my resume indicating that I was a salon owner on my resume for a management position to a salon/spa? (Read Answer)
Color therapy:

As aromatherapy has increased dramatically in the last decade, I wonder of what other modalities are next... to dramatically increase in spa use/demand.

Do you believe color therapy is next? (Read Answer)
Hi, what are the differences between a Esthetic Clinic and a Day Spa. (Read Answer)
tell me about day spa gift cart (Read Answer)
I am very new to the spa industry and have developed a great concept! I have completed most of my business plan, except for the financials. You’ve mentioned several times that one should hire a qualified spa consultant to review the plan, etc. How do I search for the right consultant? What price range would one expect to pay for this service? I want to complete this plan before I present it to investors. Therefore, it must be the best it can be before doing so. Any suggestions? I live in the Los Angeles area. It would be nice to meet in person with the consultant. Thanks very much for your advice! If you prefer, you can email me at mdpaige65@hotmail.com. (Read Answer)
i am arun budhiraja(40yrs).i am planning to setting up a spa.i want to know for a climate and ambience like india's what is the kind of design and infrastructure that is suitable for my spa.also if you could give a little info about the recent industry trend.
(Read Answer)
I am considering partnership w/ an MD to provide Botox and other related treatments in my spa. Can you give me an idea of how these partnerships are typically compensated in terms of a "commission split"? (Read Answer)
I am an independant esthetician with an
individual health insurance policy plan that is really expensive. Would you or
anyone know if there is a
health insurance company

that would offer group rates for individuals in our proffession. I know certain companies offer better rates for other independant proffessionals such as real estate agents ect. Thank You (Read Answer)
Hi my name is Helen, I want to open a day spa in Toronto, I am wondering which marketing tool will be effective to promote my spa. Is there any books or video tapes you recommend.
Thanks (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah,
Thank you for all the valuable information you have shared with us.
I am the spa manager of a new day spa and salon opening in Harlem in New York City. The clientele will be primarily African-American and of Spanish descent. Where can I find demographic information on this target group in reference to spa/salon spending habits, needs, etc.?
Also, can you email me a copy of the IHRSA Spa Conference Compensation Survey?
Thank you,
Raina (Read Answer)
what is the best air brush system that I can buy for my business.
Thanks (Read Answer)
Hi Ms. Smith,I am interested in opening an exclusive mens salon. I don\'t know where to begin my research. I am from a small state (RI) and I do know that this is becoming a new trend but need all the information I can gather as I will need a small business loan and also need to know how the numbers will work. \ (Read Answer)
I am very interested in becoming a sales representive for a company. I enjoy interacting with clients, I love to travel, and I love to work on my own, that is be my own boss! I realize that I would be working for a company in a position like this - but I like the flexibility this would offer.

I have NO idea where to begin though. I have tried to do online searches but to no avail. Could you stear me in the right direction or give me any pointers on where to apply?

I have 14 years experience as a administrative assistant/sales assitant and I am a licensed esthetician currently working for the past year and half as an esthtician. I also have had my own decortive painting business for the past 4 years.

But I have very little experience in selling products directly to customers - just the past 3 months with the current esthetician position I hold.

Any info would be great! Thanks. (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, Could you advise me of some spa management companies who will take over the management of a spa for a hotel. (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, I would also appreciate a compilation of industry standard salaries and compensation packages for day spa managers. Thank you for your time. (Read Answer)
Dear Deborah, In a prior email, you mentioned a team based compensation plan by Neil Ducoff. Could you please elaborate a litle more on the structure of this plan?
Thanks, Liz (Read Answer)
I am an event planner and will be doing a spa party this summer. How do I go about recruiting massage therapist, nail techs., and estheticians to serve as staff at this event. I am possibly thinking of doing other spa parties in the future. Should I put ads in the newspaper, or is there a place in the Detroit-Metro area where I can post? Is it appropiate to post fliers at beauty colleges, or ask professionals at local spas? (Read Answer)
what are some of the start-up cost to open a day spa (Read Answer)
I am a recent Aesthetician and graduated last April but have not been able to land a job where I would like to live, this past January I got a job here in Charlotte, NC one day a week with a new spa that has now been open one year. I am lucky if I have one client on that day, but it is some experience to put on my resume and better than not doing it at all. I have been trying to get a job in a high end spa in Charleston, SC but I think that because I don't have experience in the field that no one will give me a chance. I have lots of Management experience in retail sales and customer service. I have my license for both NC and SC. Is there any advice you can give me? I think I need a network of people to help introduce me to the right people. I have interviewed with many spa's there and they decide to choose others. If you can help me that would be grateful.
Thank you (Read Answer)
We are a cosmeceutical skin care company founded by two nurses who treated burn patients for 15 years. The name of the line is L’Athene. We have distribution in select Nordstrom stores (the stores with advanced technology cosmeceuticals), doctor’s offices and spas. We are looking for good representatives and have not been successful searching on the internet. We are looking for a group of reps to follow up on existing accounts and to open new ones. Can you give us the names of some Representative firms who could cover one or both markets? We realize that groups that go into spas may not go into doctor’s offices, so we are willing to work with two different groups. You can call 1-800-272-5502 or email me at Lsnyder@lathene.com. Our President and CEO (Nancy Brown, RN and Lil Bogdan, RN) are willing to speak to you also. Thank you very much. Linda Snyder – Marketing and Sales Administration. (Read Answer)
Are more day spas these days trying to cater to clients inner well-being. I've found a spa that offers add-ons such as tarrot card readings, soul therapy and dream analysis. I think it's an interesting niche and I was wondering if you saw this as a growing trend among day spas and other pampering salons? I am a reporter and working on deadline. I'd love to hear a response as soon as possible. Thank you. (Read Answer)

I am in the process of either building a day spa from a shell or purchasing a day spa that is already functioning but really needs some major T.L.C. The problem I am having is the spa that is for sale is priced at $27,000.00. It is 2000 sq ft with 5 hair stations and 3 treatment rooms. The lease is also low. The current owner has given me profit/loss sheet from her "accountant". Is there any reason that an owner might stretch the truth with the profit and loss? The paper she gave me is not on official letterhead from the accountant. It looks as if she could have printed it herself. Should I be concerned or am I just being overly cautious. She does show a loss for the first 2 years but this year she shows a small ($4,000.00)profit. There are several day spas popping up in the downtown area which are alot more "HIP" but this one is outdated. These spas seem to only focus on bodywork. There are no full service spas (with hair). I am wondering if I should jump on the opportunity of this spa which needs a facelift and wait until later for the "perfect space". Also there are NO Aveda spas in the entire city. What are your thoughts of opening an Aveda spa? I have worked in one before and I am passionate about there products and mission.

Thank you so much.

Kristen Johnson, LMT (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,
I am considering the pruchase of a day spa (based on hot mineral springs) in Arizona. It is a small business with only 4 full-time employees.
In order to make an offer to the owner, do you have any rule of thumb that I could use to assess which price day spas are usually sold for in the US? For example, 40% of gross sales, xxx dollars per employee, etc...
I know you will tell me that many factors such as location, competition, reputation and so on may affect a general rule of thumb (and for that, I would probably need advice from an expert like you in the future!). Nevertheless, one or several rules of thumb are probably applied in the industry as a starting point for further consideration. I would greatly appreciate if you could share your opinion on that matter with me.
Thank you very much for your answer.

Fred (Read Answer)
I am currently developing a luxury spa in the North Dallas area. I want advice as to the correct order to proceed and contact information for architects, interior designers that will work with my concept and build from there. (Read Answer)
Hi Deborah, I am sure you have emailed out your "compensation research by industry segment" a dozen times. Would you mind doing the same for me? I am working on my business plan for a new day spa concept in Chicago and looking for rough salary guidance for all the various positions. Thank you very much for your help! Pete Hillman (Read Answer)
Hello Deborah,
I'm in the process of compiling info for my day spa to open in approx. 9 months . What is the difference between a spa coach and a consultant? (Read Answer)
intrested in regulations and insurances needed to incoorportae a med spa into our current business. also what insurances is required for our off site med director in calif? (Read Answer)
I want to start a Spa academy and Day Spas in India. I am looking for an experienced partner from the spa industry. I am not related to the spa industry. I have about 20 years valuable marketing experience and have identified SPAS for business expansion. I can provide all logistics and marketing support. Any suggestions?? (Read Answer)
I am researching the spa equipment industry and was hoping to get some advice on where to find undustry trends and general high level industry information on spa equipment. (Read Answer)
Hi I am a new york state massage therapist and work in a restort spa. I also own my own business and have a great studio. I would like to get into the consulting and design businness and wonder where I would go for training and what do I need any help you can give me would be really helpful thank you ellen (Read Answer)
hi deborah,

was wondering if you can give me an estimate as to what percent of spa services is made up of variable costs? what percent of gross revenues is made up of variable costs? i know this may depend on a bunch of factors, but i am just looking for a range.

KC (Read Answer)