How to Open a Medical Spa: A Step-by-Step Guide

6 Minute Read

Starting a Medical Spa Business

Opening a medical spa sounds like an exciting idea. These spas are a big deal lately, with clients wanting top-notch anti-aging skin treatments and dermal fillers - all in one place. If you know skincare or have a medical background and want to start a business, we're here to walk you through the steps!

It will take some legwork, but getting the basics down can make your spa a hit in no time. This blog post explores how to open a medical spa and the steps to take in order to do so. From market research to grand opening, we leave no stone unturned. 

Step 1. Market Research and Analysis

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's back up. First things first - get to know who your customers will be. Will you draw in busy moms looking to rewind the clock? Retirees who now have time to focus on themselves? Do some digging on other spas to see what's missing. This info helps you figure out what you'll offer. The better you understand what people want and where the gaps are, the better you can plan.

Create a customer avatar (or persona) that feels like a person. Give your ideal client a name, age, job, details about family, and more. Keeping this detailed profile in mind helps you make decisions catered exactly to who you want to serve through your aesthetic practice.

Then, research competitors inside out. Take notes on their offerings, pricing, promotions, location, reviews, and aesthetics. Look for gaps or weaknesses you could improve upon. 

Understanding current innovations and advances in non-surgical treatments is key. You can stay up to date in the following ways:

  • Follow trade publications
  • Attend conferences
  • Take continuing education courses.
  • Tour high-end spas to stay on top of the latest in body contouring, injectables, skin rejuvenation, hair restoration, and more.
  • Use these insights to craft forward-thinking service menus and invest in equipment.

Alternatively, discover new spa trends from our article on medical aesthetic trends.

Step 2. Legal Considerations and Compliance

Now, this part isn't the most glamorous, but it's a must: the legal side. Medical spas need to follow healthcare rules and regulations in addition to business laws. For injectables like Botox or injectable HA fillers, a doctor must be hands-on to meet requirements. It's tempting to skip this step, but doing it thoroughly upfront saves major headaches later!

First, educate yourself on the key licenses and permits often needed to legally operate a medical spa in Canada, such as:

  • Municipal business license to operate in your city or town
  • Public health permit from your provincial health authority
  • Medical device establishment license for any devices used in treatments
  • Business registration and incorporation paperwork

Then, dive into the healthcare regulations and compliance codes you must uphold under laws like PHIPA and PIPEDA. There are complex rules around protected client health information, medical device protocols, standard operating procedures, and more that medical spas must abide by.

It's wise to work closely with lawyers specialized in Canadian medical/healthcare law and general business law. Have your lawyer draw up formal agreements for any doctors who will provide services at your spa. Detail expectations, compensation, schedules, credentialing, and liability matters. Setting clear boundaries from day one prevents issues should something go awry down the road.

Step 3. Developing a Business and Financial Plan

Moving along to the business plan. Writing thoughts onto paper helps make an idea real. Think about what you'll offer, your strengths as the owner, any weak spots, and threats that may arise. You've just formed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. 

As for funding, there are many ways to approach early-stage capital. The first step is opening that all-important business account. It is a prerequisite before starting any business. Then, chat with your bank about small business loans or financing specifically for medical spas to get started. Another option is to bootstrap the business, if possible. That means to self-fund through personal savings, credit cards, or loans from family and friends. 

Build in some wiggle room in your financial plan, at least for the first year. It takes time to establish clientele, work out kinks in operations, and get name recognition. Having extra savings helps you withstand early, slow periods without panic or a major pivot.

Step 4. Choosing the Right Location

Where to set up shop is critical. Is there lots of traffic and foot traffic? Quick access to highways? Enough parking? What about visibility and signage? Take a look at the median income, too, in areas you're eyeing up. Price point matters when picking an address to match who you want to serve.

You can then tour spaces in person and do drive-bys at different times of day. Pay attention to small details when location scouting that could become nuisances down the road. Things like nearby construction zones, dim lighting at night, or limited accessibility. Little hassles can quickly drain energy and resources once they are up and running. Avoid these by thinking ahead while comparing potential spaces.

Finally, Look into the pros and cons of leasing a space versus buying property before making a decision. Leasing often provides more flexibility initially, while buying can build long-term equity. Weigh factors like budget, square footage needed, and intentions for future expansion.

Step 5. Designing Your Medical Spa

Creating the right ambiance through intentional design details is key. Blend elements that promote relaxation and privacy with spaces optimized for clinical precision.

For example, look to the DLK on Avenue clinic for design inspiration. They artfully mix medical professionalism with spa-like tranquillity through lighting, furnishings, and layout.

Consider sound-proofing measures between rooms for privacy, calming paint colors on walls punctuated by artwork, abundant natural light, and small touches like fresh flowers, soft music, and aromatherapy. Leverage design to help clients feel at ease while getting top-notch medical treatments.

Make the lobby open and soothing, with reception desks discreetly tucked to the side to start visits off on a welcoming note. Treatment rooms should enable both patient comfort and effective service delivery, like having plush pillows or blankets amidst key equipment.

Step 6. Procuring Equipment and Supplies

Speaking of equipment, the latest devices allow for the best visible results and are must-haves nowadays at medical spas. Set a budget for big-ticket tools like laser machines for body contouring, microneedling gadgets for the face, and microcurrent for lifts/sculpting. Of course, what you need is based on what you'll offer.

For essential supplies, stock up on:

  • Gowns
  • Numbing creams
  • Needles
  • Bandages
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Drapes
  • Disinfectants
  • And more

Establish and document rigorous protocols for using and maintaining equipment. Before buying, do thorough research, as these can be big investments. Read reviews, ask around, and request demos to test things out firsthand. High-tech devices quickly get updated, so buy smart. Also, factor in warranty details, maintenance plans, and repair policies in case anything malfunctions. An added benefit for those enrolled in our programs: IIAM offers a Vendor Perks Program to students who register for two or more courses. This exclusive program can lead to significant savings, potentially over $7,000, on various equipment and supplies, making your investment in education even more rewarding.

Step 7. Hiring Qualified Staff 

Building an A-team of professionals pulls everything together. Hire licensed staff with experience. Nurse practitioners or physician assistants often run clinical operations. Front desk workers should have healthcare or hospitality backgrounds to ace customer service. 

And with ongoing training and education programs, your staff stays sharp on the newest techniques. Knowledgeable, caring team members provide five-star experiences! Commit to continual staff education through advanced courses, like those offered by our International Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine (IIAM) campuses. 

For example, IIAM's Vancouver location has classes on Cosmetic Neuromodulator Foundations, Advanced Injectable Treatments, and more. 

The Barrie campus offers instruction in platelet-rich plasma therapy, energy-based devices, cannula training for fillers, and more.

Foster camaraderie amongst staff through team-building activities outside of day-to-day tasks. Plan quarterly outings for everyone to let loose, bond, and have fun together. Strong connections shine through in how cohesively they function together, improving both company culture and client care. In the end, choose employees that follow your Medspa ethos and service standards.

Step 8. Marketing and Branding Strategies

Bring your spa vision to life with branding, a website, social media, and more. Throughout these channels, you can use a strong brand identity, like consistent colors, logo, and messaging tone.

Research the best marketing channels to reach those clients, like search ads, social platforms, and partnerships with adjacent businesses. Especially leverage Facebook and Instagram by sharing content that educates and inspires or photos of your work.

Use images and words that speak to who you want to reach. Share special deals ahead of opening. Referrals are especially important. Ask happy customers to spread the love. This word-of-mouth draws more people in to see your medspa.

Step 9. Launching Your Medical Spa

With research, legalities, planning, hiring, and marketing done, it's time for the grand opening. You might still encounter little hiccups at first, but that's normal. Expect to pivot here and there. Still, all your hard work is about to pay off. A grand opening event is a great idea to get the buzz going about your new business. Consider hosting an open house or a VIP event for potential clients, media, and local influencers.

On launch day, don't forget to commemorate the milestone after the rush dies down. Pop some champagne with your team, get everyone together for a group photo, or have clients sign a guestbook wishing you well. Soak in this second to celebrate everyone who helped make your vision real before diving back into the day-to-day!

After the launch, it's time to continuously refine your offering. Never stop analyzing what marketing strategies connect best with your audience. Fine-tune your messaging and offers based on real data. Let your ideal clients guide promotional decisions through their actions.

Ready to elevate your career in Medical Aesthetics? Our virtual Business, Skin Health & Laser course (coming soon) offers everything from business fundamentals to advanced skin and laser therapy techniques. With this program, you'll gain not just knowledge, but practical tools: business plans, an injectable starter kit, and exclusive insights into effective skincare and cutting-edge laser treatments. Don't miss this opportunity to transform your professional journey in the thriving world of Medical Aesthetics. Register now and take the first step towards becoming a leader in your field.


While it takes dedication upfront to build a thriving business, you now have an overview of the core ingredients for success. Transform your career with the virtual Business, Skin Health & Laser course, a thorough program in Medical Aesthetics. This course provides an unmatched blend of industry-specific business knowledge and practical skills in skin and laser treatments. Equip yourself with real-world tools, including a comprehensive business kit and an injectable starter kit for practical experience. Ideal for both beginners and experienced professionals, this course is your opportunity to advance in the fast-evolving field of medical aesthetics. 

Remember to stay closely tuned into industry advancements even once open, and continue to expand your skillset with medical aesthetics courses through organizations like the International Institute of Aesthetic Medicine.

International Institute of Aesthetic Medicine

International Institute of Aesthetic Medicine