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Spend It Where It Counts

By: Jane Wurwand
Posted: June 26, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Open the cash register or your wallet and have a look at the money, including the credit card receipts. Really think about what it took to get it there. If you got paid $90 for a 9 am treatment this morning, that means you had to get up, shower, brush your teeth, have a cup of coffee, get yourself to work, prepare the room, turn on your smile, greet the client and give the treatment.

And still, chances are that $90 isn’t pure profit. Just turning on the lights, the heat or air-conditioning and water costs X amount of dollars per hour—not to mention rent, insurance and your other business-operating costs. So giving that $90 the respect it deserves, how will you spend it for your business?

Selective spending

Many new spa owners get carried away with décor. They have to have the chi-correcting feng shui fountain, the koi pond, the thousand-gallon saltwater fish tank, flat-screen televisions, potted orchids replaced weekly by the local nursery, fantastic furniture in the waiting room and so on. This is the first big red flag, because you really don’t need to spend a lot on décor.

Here’s what you need to get started: perfectly functioning, well-maintained water and power appliances and high-quality lighting that’s adjustable, with bright light for the reception desk and soothing light for the treatment room. You must have modern, hygienic surfaces—specifically walls, counters and floors—that can be readily sanitized to hospital-level cleanliness daily. And you should probably plan on a fresh coat of paint. These utilitarian necessities represent a substantial investment, and they may not strike you as glamorous, but without these fundamentals, your service business has no foundation.

In terms of physical function, your place of business must always be pristine, squeaky clean, well-ventilated, a comfortable temperature and appropriately lit. Make this your décor priority throughout your first year of business. In this case, keeping it simple will help to make it profitable.

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