How Spa Owners Get Out of the Treatment Room (and Into Full-Time Spa Leadership)

How Spa Owners Get Out of the Treatment Room (and Into Full-Time Spa Leadership)

#leadershiptips Nov 17, 2022


So you’ve come up the ranks in your career as a service provider and decided that you want to branch out on your own as a spa owner. That’s wonderful!

Let’s set the scene: you build your spa business to maximum solo capacity, hire your first team to leverage your growth, get your month-to-month retail and treatment sales flowing… but can’t seem to extricate yourself from the treatment room in order to actually be managing your spa.

The result? A situation where you’re pulling double-duty as both manager and employee of your own biz!

This is a common place for estheticians to find themselves in, and even one I found myself in back when I was running my first spa business. If you keep spinning your wheels, you’ll find yourself stuck in the service grind– and the consequences of that are extreme burnout, a standstill on business growth, and, at worst, a deep disillusionment about whether or not this was the right career path for you.

Here’s two steps on how spa owners get out of the treatment room (and into full-time spa leadership):

#1: Analyze Why Payroll is Hemorrhaging Money

If payroll is hemorrhaging money because your spa compensation model rewards individuality (I’m looking at you Commission!) rather than company goals, it’s time to analyze your business structure.

When you have a team behind you, payroll will always be your largest expense. If you choose to pay straight commission or a high hourly rate with retail benefits, both can squeeze cash-strapped spa owners.

So how do you keep your team motivated while scaling your payroll to a healthier place? Here are my tried-and-true recommendations:

Switch Spa Compensation to an Hourly Pay Scale

  • Restructure your payroll to have multiple “skill levels” that pay hourly based different levels of performance. The beauty of this is the pay scale is transparent and objective. All team members know exactly what’s expected of them each month AND how they can earn more! 
  • Moving to an hourly pays cal model will also prompt you to stay up-to-date with your Key Performance Indicator metrics for spa and staff alike. What you can measure, you master! This also involves teaching your team how to improve their metrics, which contribute to increased sales for you and eventually a raise for them. 
  • Hourly allows you to know exactly what to expect for monthly labor expenses compared to commission. When you know your fixed monthly expenses, it’s easier to create sales goals to cover them.

As a former spa business owner, I personally advocate for a pay scale format in order to clarify to your team how staff move up within your company. If you need a spa-specific pay scale, it’s part of many of the VIP Days I offer

#2: Determine if You’ve Budgeted Your Spa Owner Salary Into Spa Service Costs

This issue shows up in my coaching practice when spa owners and I work together to assess their service profitability, whether it be via a single coaching session or in an in-depth Spa Business VIP Day. 

The problem? You’re likely including your service wages in the team payroll.The secret is this: if you want to get out of the treatment room, you need to budget your salary out of the treatment room.

How do you include your salary into service costs? Well, when determining the profitability of a service, one of the steps is to total ALL of the costs, including admin, general expenses, and owner salary. This big number gets broken down into a per-minute cost that is added to the service cost-per-treatment.

Getting out of the treatment room is not a quick fix, but it can be done with these two approaches; a compensation system that rewards performance and calculating your owner’s salary in an accurate way.

I know you want to improve your sales and be able to focus on running your spa full time ASAP… but understand that these changes need a clear plan, smooth implementation, and no-compromise leadership to be successful. 

Ready to get started? Book your very own Spa Profit Maximizer VIP Day today, where we tackle these common concerns–and so much more–in just one day.


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