How to Start a Spa Business in Nigeria

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Starting a spa business in Nigeria may seem like an ambitious, and possibly strange, idea. While overall, Nigeria is a developing country with a poor infrastructure, tourism is a big industry and the major cities have pockets of wealth. Nigeria is a free-enterprise country and people of any nationality are welcome to start a business there. Health and beauty spas are businesses that operate worldwide. Open a spa business of your own, or purchase a spa franchise and start a spa business in Nigeria.

How to Start a Spa Business in Nigeria

Research the options for opening and operating a business in Nigeria. It is highly advisable to enlist the services of an attorney well-versed in international business and Nigerian trade unless you are a Nigerian citizen living in the country. Nigerian businesses can be registered as several different entities with differing tax structures and requirements. How you register your business will depend on the number of employees you have, the location, the type of business and how much you are willing to commit to the local economy.

As an independent owner with 10 employees or less, you will probably want to form a limited liability company (LLC), as this will generally carry the lowest tax liability. Perform an on line check of the availability of company name with the Corporate Affairs Commission, and prepare and notarize all documents of incorporation. These must be notarized by a Nigerian attorney (known as a barrister in Nigeria) and filed with the High Court Oath in Abuja, the capital.

Register your spa business. As a registered business, you will have to record your company name with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission and pay all necessary filing fees.

Choose an urban location. Abuja is the largest city in Nigeria. The city has a large international airport and many first-class hotels. Lagos is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria, and the hub of a lot of business activity and travel. Your spa business will rely on business travelers as well as locals for clientele, so pick an area close to major hotels and business districts. It is unlikely that the Nigerian economy outside of a large urban area will support a spa business.

Source all supplies you will need for a spa business. Whenever possible, try to find Nigerian suppliers and labor to avoid high import fees. While tanning beds and beauty salon fixtures may need to be imported, many skin, hair and nail supplies can be purchased locally. Find local vendors for all expendable supplies. Check resources below for Nigerian wholesale beauty and spa suppliers. Hire local help both to foster goodwill and avoid immigration fees and taxes. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) may give tax breaks to foreign-owned companies that hire Nigerian locals.

Decide what kind of spa you would like to operate and what kinds of services you will offer. A full-service day spa will provide clients with a day of pampering, with massage, pedicure and manicure, skin and hair treatments, and even meals. You may specialize only in skin treatments, from facials to mud baths, or offer body work like shiatsu and yoga. Services should be appropriate and tailored towards both African and non-African clientele. You may even choose not to have a business locale, instead operating a mobile spa business catering to homes and hotels.

Promote your spa business. Join local business and civic groups. List your business in the phone book and on line. Advertising with hotels, travel agencies and tour companies will boost clientele. Tourism is a large part of the Nigerian economy and catering to tourists as well as business travellers and locals will boost and maintain your client base. The larger hotels have in-house television programming, highlighting activities and businesses of interest to travellers. Contact the media relation divisions of luxury hotel chains that maintain hotels in Nigeria, such as Hilton, Sheraton, Protea and Luxotel for in-house advertising.

Provide reliable, quality service to capture and keep repeat business. In the spa industry, much business is either repeat or through word of mouth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a local lawyer on retainer, just as you would for any business, anywhere. Search for spa franchises. If you have the upfront capital, this may be an easy way to start a spa business in Nigeria.

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