5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Growing Your Spa

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1. Is it the spa that's too small or the hours of operation?

I tell managers to "expand within" their walls before pushing them out. You'd be surprised to know how many spa and salon owners will step into construction debt in order to maintain their routine hours of operation. It's crazy. Adding earlier morning hours or later evening appointment slots to the schedule can increase earnings potential fabulously without a substantial increase in expenses. It may be time to open 7 days per week, break days into shifts, and take on a few new technicians. This is a far cheaper alternative to build-outs and infinitely less risky.

2. Can we trim some fat from the appointment schedule?

It's one of the first places I head when I do my money hunt for business clients. Some companies are remarkably efficient in making the most of their schedules but most get a "C" grade at best. Reluctant managers often allow employees to reign over the books, a hazardous and expensive situation where each individual technician decides how much time he or she needs to perform particular services. Here you'll find basic facials ranging from 60 to 105 minutes supposedly for the same service and certainly for the same price. Lip or brow waxes may require 30 minutes for some while others perform perfectly competent work in half that time. Terribly wasteful. Worse, the inconsistency poses the danger of unfavorable comparisons among closely associated customers; why did one only get 60 minutes of treatment when her friend received nearly two hours for the same fee? Long service times reduce retail opportunities and it's often the slowest technician who complains the loudest about not making enough money. Any irony here? 

3. Are we working too cheaply?

Want to know why those Wal-Marts are so BIG? Because they have to sell a lot of goods to make money on their teeny profit margins. The formula for them is: carry everything, sell it cheaper than anyone else, and sell it fast. If this doesn't fit your concept for a great salon or spa experience then you should be prepared to charge adequately for the services and products you offer. If you are bursting at the seams with customers who have to compete for appointments one attractive and lucrative solution is to simply raise your prices. Why are diamonds expensive?  Because diamonds are rare. Colorless little things that look like glass chips yet everyone seems to want. Demand can determine price as much as any other factor. You may lose some business by charging more but you'll make more money for the work you do and gain new customers at this market level.

4. Can our existing sales be improved without expanding the facilities?

Seriuosly, do you the manager, actually set and monitor service and retail sales standards for your employees? Is the sales performance of team members uneven? Do some resist or refuse to participate in retail sales altogether? Will building a bigger salon correct the problem? All the philosophical excuses in the world will not dismiss the fact that a business exists to make money; fail to make money and you won't exist. Business owners have an obligation to keep their operations healthy and viable. This can not be accomplished through voluntary employee production efficiency. The slackers will eventually offend and dispirit the go-getters, and all will resent you for the deteriorating morale that results from this situation. It's just another compelling argument for better employee sales training, and a more effective means of enforcing sales accountability.

5. Am I really ready to take on the added responsibility?

Got some extra time to spare? Is 24/7 just not enough to keep you busy? Let's put it this way, if you think you're swamped with work now wait until you have more employees and a larger facility to supervise. Many businesses can't afford to delegate management duties to  salaried employees, especially in the early phases of expansion. The work has to fall to someone and that someone is you. Realizing after-the-fact that you're in over your head will leave you "a dollar short and a day late", as the adage goes. You don't want this. And what about the impact your tight schedule will have on the quality of family life, personal relationships, and other commitments outside of your career? How will you balance your time? Romance, patience, and happiness are too often sacrificed on the altar of ambition. You will need to take a hard look at this possibility and come up with a plan to manage it as sound as your business plan itself. Well, I have warned you.

I'm all for growth in business. In my 16 years as a day spa operator I have expanded my facilities four times and have grown from two to almost 60 employees. Our sales exceed $2 million and we earn an honest after-tax profit. We reached the point where most operations responsibilities have been passed along to competent managers, allowing my partner and I some significant time-off and the freedom to pursue new business projects. But before achieving this long dreamt-of status we spent years toiling, worrying, and carrying considerable debt. But we were also a married couple without children, pets, or many houseplants who had an obsessive passion to succeed in this industry. We forgot birthdays, anniversaries, and rarely saw friends. And the money? Let's not even go there.
But without this partnership and fortitude, I don't believe we would have made it through all the challenges our expanding business lobbed at us. We're grateful now but still look back at our working history with wonder and relief. Best of luck to you!

About Preston, Inc.

Preston Private Label offers over 100 outstanding, results-oriented skin and body care products for both retail and professional use. We offer an excellent—-and free—-regional technical and career-building education program, affordable minimums, and fully custom labels, pre-applied. Choose from two packaging options and get the look that best suits your branding strategy. Generous margins that allow for markup from 150-700%  mean you gain maximum benefit from retailing.  From cleansers and toners to cosmeceutical serums, pro enzyme, glycolic and lactic peels to body contouring wraps, gift kits to aromatherapy oil blends and more, we have everything you need to create a highy effective, full range product line. Visit our website at www.prestoninc.net for more information!