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Design for the Bottom Line

By: Sam Margulies
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Nowadays, because of the extensive and aggressive competition in the spa market, it has become even more vital to conceive any potential project in a savvy business manner. The best business plan will be worthless if it is not supported by an adequate structure.

Although the colors of the walls and flooring material are important, they are not what will make or break your spa. The conception and design of a floor plan will have the most dramatic influence.

Business plan

Most of the time, a project begins with a business plan. When it is ready, spend several days with an experienced spa designer who will help define the type and dimension of the location you need in order to support your business plan projections. This will give you the right direction to develop the kind of business you want to have.

Next, find an existing location that will fit the needs of the plan and support its goals. For instance, if the business plan income calculation is based on 15 treatment rooms, you need to allow some space for locker rooms, a relaxation area—perhaps separate ones for women and men, a staff room, a back bar, a utility room and corridors. All of these spaces will not generate direct income, but without a corridor, you can’t get your clients to the treatment rooms, and without a utility room, you can’t provide heat, air conditioning, light or water.

Utilization rate

More treatment rooms don’t always mean more treatments, resulting in more income. In some cases, they just translate into higher costs and additional expenses. It is the utilization rate of each room that makes the difference. In order to reach the best utilization rate and develop the plans, your spa designer must have a thorough knowledge of how a spa operates, the general and specific needs of the industry—as well as of the specific project, how to incorporate the right amenities for the structure and how to create the best traffic flow with the correct supporting spaces.