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Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Spa Business in Singapore

Starting a Spa Business in SingaporeDimmed lights. Aromatic candles. Therapeutic treatments. What an absolute treat for the mind, body and self, right? The luxurious experience of pampering oneself without lifting a finger is probably the best reason to visit a spa. If you think that self-indulgence is never a sin and want to know more about starting a spa business in Singapore, keep reading!

Spas have been around for hundreds of years. Back in the day, people believed that water contained certain minerals with health benefits. Everywhere around the globe, people would dip into warm communal baths or cool springs as it was said to cure several illnesses. Today, with the help of technology and medical advancements, the modern-day spa has become ever more popular. Plus, in the hustle and bustle of the city, sometimes we all wish to have a quick getaway. Spas are tucked away in the urbanity, allowing us to do just that.

Singapore’s spa and wellness industry continues to thrive in this dampened economic climate and is currently valued at S$140 million. If you are ready to jump on an opportunity and learn what it takes to start a spa business in Singapore, this article is for you. In this guide, we will explore what a spa business is all about, how you can break into the industry, and the requirements you will need to begin your business officially. Plus, we’ll also be sharing where you can get professional help to assist you on the way to becoming a spa business owner. Want more information on starting businesses? Read our guide to company registration in Singapore here!


What is a Spa Business?

A spa business offers a wide range of health and personal care treatments. These treatments help clients to improve their appearance and overall well being while at the same time providing a place for relaxation and rejuvenation. Facials, massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, mud masks, manicures and pedicures are some treatments that spa and wellness centres offer.

Some people may have the perception that spas only do grooming. However, this cannot be further from the truth. In reality, spas are a good place for people of all ages, especially older people. Furthermore, visiting a spa and going for therapeutic treatments have many benefits, such as improving the body’s blood circulation, losing weight and reducing blood pressure. In addition, going to spas once in a while or regularly can help one to enhance sleeping quality and assist in managing stress.

Although spas and salons have many similarities, spas go beyond the services offered in a salon. Generally, spas and wellness centres will have built-in facilities for clients use. These facilities include pools, steam and sauna rooms, reflexology paths, cryogenic chambers, tanning beds, etc. and other additional services. For example, if you visit Thai spas, you may come across culturally influenced Siamese acupuncture, massages and other ancient healing methods.

Typically, spas are the go-to places for people to pamper themselves. It is a form of self-care that allows clients to leave their problems at the door and wind down just for a few hours. Many spas nowadays offer attractive memberships with great member benefits. Furthermore, when the pandemic hit, people had nowhere to go due to travel bans. Thus, spa businesses became a desired destination within the city for those longing for a short break.


Breaking Into the Spa Business

Spas and wellness centres need to meet a certain level of standard. Your clients will most probably have expectations of your spa and the deluxe experience you can give them. Ambience, amenities, staff professionality, hygiene and cleanliness are just a few facets that you have to absolutely ace if you want to turn your customers into loyal and regular clients.

The spa and wellness industry is an interesting venture. As an entrepreneur, there are various facets to a spa business that you can look into. But before that, there are several things you need to check off your list, such as formulating a business plan and managing your finances. Do keep in mind that starting a spa business in Singapore is not going to be cheap.

That said, investing in your spa business and creating an atmosphere for people to vibe along would require you to do proper and extensive planning. A wise move to outlay a detailed budget for your spa business. This budget should be inclusive of the following:

  • Equipment and its possible maintenance.
  • Interior designs and furniture.
  • Labour power.
  • Rent and utility costs.
  • Insurance.
  • Licence and permits.

We understand that starting a business for the first time can be overwhelming. If you worry that you might make a mistake or two in beginning your venture, fret not. You can hire corporate service providers to make the process of incorporating your company a smooth ride. Nevertheless, relying on an excellent corporate service provider can make all the difference in starting a business.


Licences and Permits You’ll Be Needing

You have to obtain a handful of licences before legally operating your spa business. Given how spa and massage businesses are categorised under the same sector, the criteria for permits needed for both these businesses are similar and under the Massage Establishment Act Singapore. According to the Act, an establishment that wishes to offer foot reflexology services, massage services, manicure and pedicure services, and other relevant spa services must possess the Massage Establishment (ME) License.

There are two categories of permits in the ME license that you can apply for, and they are Category 1 License and Category 2 License. The first licence enables you to run your business in residential areas and commercial centres. On the other hand, the latter licence permits you to operate in non-residential areas. Apart from licenses, you and your employees must possess the right credentials. Singapore is strict and sets a high bar for starting a spa business. Consequently, the law requires you and a minimum of 80% of your staff to have at least one of the certifications below:

  • CIDESCO Beauty certification
  • CIBTAC Beauty Therapy Services certification
  • CIBTAC Spa Therapy certification
  • ITEC Beauty Specialist certification
  • ITC Holistic Massage certification

That said, some spa and wellness businesses offering curated treatments are exempted from having to apply for ME licenses. Nevertheless, these businesses are required substitution accreditation instead. They must either be administered by a physiotherapist, who is a member of the Singapore Physiotherapy Association, a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician, who must be certified under section 17 of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act or an occupational therapist from the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists.

Other Requirements

One must be at least 21 years old to start a spa business in Singapore. Plus, the individual should not have any criminal record at the time of setting the business up. If the person is not a citizen or has permanent resident status in Singapore, then they need to hold a Singapore Employment Pass.

As a part of the application procedure, as the spa business owner, you are to hand in documents such as a No Objection Letter (NOL) for occupancy purposes from the building management and an Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) planning permission. Most importantly, you will also need to send in copies of your staffs’ accreditation, complete details, including their National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) or passport information to the Singapore Police Force.

Company incorporation services in Singapore have made starting up a business a much comprehensible process. If you are not well versed with the local law and regulations, you can try applying for licenses through a company incorporation agent. If all your documents are proper and intact, your application can be approved in a matter of 12 working days. Besides, you may also need to apply for additional licenses, depending on what kind of activities take place in your business. For example, playing music within your business premises will require rights from MRSS and so forth.


What We Can Do for You

Starting a spa business in Singapore can be an exciting and lucrative venture if done right. If you are keen on putting your dreams to motion, we can help you with just that. Internationally recognised for its excellence, 3E Accounting has more than a decade of experience with a team of multidisciplinary experts. You can contact us to assist you in setting up your business while you focus on your company’s core competencies.

3E Accounting has an outstanding track record in setting up businesses all over the globe. Our goal is to offer holistic business solutions and services throughout every step of your company, regardless of what stage it is in. Rest assured that with us, you can enjoy high quality and reliable help at a cost-effective rate. Starting a spa business in Singapore has never been easier. Get in touch with us for a swift and reliable corporate provider service. For more information, you can contact 3E Accounting today!