Steps to Start a Spa in Singapore


Though the very nature of a spa conjures images of relaxation and luxury, the work that goes into starting a spa can be quite exhausting. Along with knowing which aromatic oils to use, a business owner who would like to penetrate the spa industry in Singapore must conduct thorough research and analysis regarding laws, markets, and other factors.

Research Legal Regulations

The Singapore Government outlines in an eight-step guide that small businesses should research all laws, regulations, government assistance programs, licenses and permits needed, and tax codes. Even laws like the allowable temperature in a sauna could be different than in your home country. Consider hiring a consultant for additional advice: while costly, legal mistakes are far costlier.

An alternative is hiring a business partner who is a Singapore native. While sharing profits may not be appealing, a partner familiar with the taste and preferences, as well as regulations, could be an asset to your company.

Segment Your Market

Get an idea of what your customers wish to have in a spa. Business travelers from Europe may prefer Swedish massages, while local customers may desire a hot stone massage. The amenities desired by certain clients may differ, too: if you have a small café in the spa, plan which snacks and beverages will be offered, keeping in mind that a ham and cheese sandwich may not be tasty in comparison to lychee fruit.

Conduct surveys and market analysis of this group. This task may also be outsourced to a marketing firm who will do all of the heavy lifting with surveys, polls, and formulating a big picture of this group. They can help you determine other questions, like how many travelers in this demographic get massages and how often they purchase ancillary services like facials. The New York Times also suggests checking out trade publications and Google trends to assist with this step.

Conducting marketing analysis beforehand could help you realize that maybe you should look at a different demographic (like Singapore locals) over business travelers if data emerges that the latter goes to massages more often and spends more money.

Formulate a Business Plan

Marketing and the law is only one aspect of the business. Other decisions regarding finance, accounting and supply chain should be considered, too. Who will manage your books? How will profits be allocated? From whom will you buy your materials and for how much? Who will decorate the spa and at what cost? How will hiring be conducted? Do you need liability insurance? These are just a few issues of many that warrant consideration when opening a spa.

Before opening the doors of any business, you must act “as if” you are already a successful spa owner by preempting all of the stages in your business. Thoroughly assess other businesses as well. Analyze the most successful spa in Singapore and jot what they do successfully, and which part of their business you would change.

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