Opening a Medical Spa? Check Out Our Checklist

Jamey Walsh
April 25, 2024

Opening a medical spa shows the ultimate commitment to helping patients look and feel healthy and beautiful, inside and out. It also requires a lot of legwork, from finding funding to hiring a qualified medical director and developing a marketing plan. 

Leaving no hot stone unturned isn’t just important to massage therapists, it’s also essential to the process of starting a med spa—and using a checklist can help smooth out any wrinkles in the process. 

What is a medical spa?

A medical spa offers medical-grade aesthetic procedures like laser hair removal, fillers, chemical peels, or Botox injections, along with the more relaxing, rejuvenating services typically expected from a spa. 

Aesthetic procedures, commonly referred to as cosmetic procedures, are designed to reverse the appearance of aging and give patients an overall fresher, more youthful glow. When booking an appointment at their local med spa, patients often look forward to popular treatments such as: 

  • Chemical peels
  • Dermal fillers
  • Botox
  • Fat reduction/liposuction
  • Laser hair removal
  • Hair restoration
  • Microneedling

If you’re new to the med spa space, you might be interested in looking at our comprehensive guide to med spa marketing!

Who can open a medical spa?

Every state has its regulations about who can open a med spa, but generally, the primary qualification involves having proper qualifications to own a medical practice and employ health care professionals. According to the American MedSpa Association (AmSpa), in many states, only a physician can own a medical practice or med spa. 

However, this doesn’t mean that people without an MD are DOA in their desire to open a med spa: Sometimes, if certain other requirements are met, non-physicians can co-own a practice with physicians. Other states will also allow non-physicians to open a medical spa if they employ a licensed medical director and licensed medical doctors. 

Check out our opening a med spa checklist

Just as even the most skilled practitioner must pick up the newest best practices before picking up the microneedle, someone looking to own a medical spa must review a checklist to make sure that everything is in place. 

Step 1: Create a medical spa business plan

A proper medical spa business plan helps you put your best face forward with potential funders and investors while firming your chances for long-term success. The elements of a business plan lay out your vision for the spa, typically including: 

  • An executive summary
  • Description of the target market
  • Marketing and sales plan 
  • Budget 
  • Products and services offered
  • Setup costs and ongoing expenses
Step 2: Develop a brand identity

A brand identity goes even deeper than logos and catchphrases—it’s about the values and emotions that will draw patients through the front door, and keep them coming in. 

As you build your brand, there are a few key aspects to consider

  • Decor: Are you interested in a classically luxurious setting? Or wanting something more cutting-edge chic?
  • Brand story: What makes you different from your competitors? What are your values and your mission?  
  • Great visuals that highlight your products and services and build trust
  • A high-quality, professionally developed website

Every part of a patient’s experience in your spa should be about deepening their connections with your brand. With digital signage through UPshow Health, you can keep patients engaged with content that promotes your products and services, as well as patient and team member spotlights that build a more personal connection to your brand. 

Brand identity is a foundation of any business and getting it just right can be complicated. Fortunately, there are resources to guide you through the process. 

Step 3: Find the perfect med spa location

The ideal location for your med spa ultimately reflects the customers you want to attract. You’ll need to consider many factors: traffic patterns, parking, nearby competitors and even zoning laws. The layout of a medical spa, particularly its waiting area, is also key to success.

According to research conducted by Press Ganey Associates, an organization focused on measuring patient satisfaction, patients can typically average about 10 minutes of waiting before they become frustrated. The same study showed that waiting rooms deemed pleasant and more like home had a positive impact on overall satisfaction scores.

Ensuring that the waiting area is large and comfortable, with room for plenty of TV sets and other activities, can make or break a medical spa experience. Offering over 500 on-screen entertainment options, as well as educational content, customizable trivia and additional music streaming services, UPshow Health can turn your waiting room into a patient’s home away from home—ensuring a smoother wait time and greater satisfaction. 

Step 4: Secure funding

Opening a medical spa generally requires applying for loans or funding from banks or investors. Before you can open your appointment books for clients, you’ll have to draft a financial plan for review, which should address the following elements: 

  • Forecasted income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Expenses
  • Operating costs
  • Capital expenditure budgets for the following five years
Step 5: Create a marketing plan

A good marketing plan helps you build connections with customers that go beyond skin deep. Marketing can include advertising over social media, web, TV and radio, or print ads that turn customers’ heads while also focusing on special sales, promotions and rewards programs that keep them loyal. 

Using UPshow Health, your team can easily manage display screens and change displays across locations or even screen-to-screen—making it simple to share updates, promote reward programs or encourage patients to provide positive reviews on Google, Yelp or other social media platforms. Thanks to the QR code integration, you can market to your patients via mobile landing pages, feedback forms and surveys.

Marketing with UPshow Health offers versatile, creative possibilities for developing long-term customer relationships. 

Step 6: Secure all necessary insurance and certifications

Opening a medical spa can feel like sifting through an alphabet soup of acronyms, but any entrepreneur must have the requisite insurance and certifications: 

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
  • General liability insurance 
  • Medical malpractice insurance 
  • Workers’ compensation insurance 
Step 7: Develop policies and safety plans

Any medical spa worth its exfoliating sea salt will have health and safety policies in place, so you’d be wise to work with a trusted legal advisor to create some of the following plans: 

  • Cleaning and sanitation 
  • Client privacy
  • General hygiene
  • Safety of spa equipment 
Step 8: Recruit staff for your med spa

Your medical spa is only as good as the healing hands that administer treatments, the warm smiles that greet every patient and the sharp eyes that make sure all the t’s are crossed on your paperwork. As you prepare to start hiring, be on the lookout for quality people to fill some of the following roles: 

  • Medical director
  • Physician
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Physician Assistant
  • Registered Nurse
  • Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse 
  • Aesthetician 
  • Administrative personnel (receptionists, accountants, lawyers, etc.) 
Step 9: Invest in the best equipment and software

You can hire the most talented practitioners in the field, but they can only do so much without the most cutting-edge equipment and technologies. However, you should think even beyond elite medical equipment. With a top-of-the-line marketing resource like UPshow Health, you can improve the quality and consistency of your on-premises marketing and patient engagement. 

Through the robust campaign management and analysis capabilities in UPshow Health, you can gauge how well content in your waiting room is performing—and with the in-app Canva integration, it’s easy to create and update new content.  

Step 10: Make sure your medical spa is ready for business

As you prepare your documents, onboard your team, sanitize your equipment and put the final touches on your marketing content to open a medical spa, just remember: your passion for patient care is your biggest driver of success. 

Opening a medical spa? You’ll need digital signage software

Medical spa owners, of all people, can appreciate the hard work that goes into creating an effortless look. While opening a med spa is incredibly complex, finding the right digital signage software doesn’t have to be one of the harder parts of the process. 

With UPshow Health, you’ll enjoy greater control over your messaging to engage your patients and improve their experience. Through dynamic content that encourages customers to take advantage of new promotions, refer a friend to your practice, meet your staff, be inspired by fellow patient stories and share positive reviews, you distinguish your patient experiences from your competitors. 

Take the wrinkles out of on-premises marketing and sign up for UPshow Health today

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