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Spa renovations

Perspectives of a Business Owner

When contemplating spa renovations, there are many personal and professional considerations to be made prior to planning for this process. It is a major decision that should not be made lightly. If done well and executed to plan, the positive outcomes can outweigh the immense amount of work and worries that are inevitably part of all renovations.

Deciding on the right timing is crucial. Renovations may be undertaken to start up a new business, to add a new location or to update an existing space. For a non-corporate spa owner, the decision has to take into consideration your budget, time and the energy that you are willing to invest at this point in time. As business owners, we often are heavily scheduled already with the day-to-day routine of conducting services, overseeing the business, networking and multitasking in general. The extra burden of spa renovations should be undertaken only when the time, alternative space and resources are available to prevent a potentially stressful situation. 

We have all heard about or experienced the challenges that renovations can present. Being over budget and behind schedule are typical scenarios; accounting for these possibilities is necessary. You have to plan to have extra financial cushion and an alternative space, while being flexible with your completion date. Also realize that much of your “spare” time will be devoted to the demands of the project and unless you are willing to give up your day job, you need to acknowledge that you will be working long extra hours. You may want to plan to have some backup coverage and extra hands on board to help with daily tasks.

Contractors can be difficult to work with, and you need to make the decision early on whether you will hire a general contractor or manage the project on your own. Unless you are extremely experienced and have a true love for such projects, a general contractor and a designer are recommended. They will drive up the cost significantly but may save you a lot of time and effort.

Consider also hiring a consultant who can guide you through the process, rather than relying on a general contractor and designer who probably have limited knowledge of the requirements for a beautiful, functional spa. A consultant needs to have an in-depth understanding of your type of spa and how the day-to-day procedures are conducted. They must be completely aware of function and flow on a practical level. A designer can make everything look beautiful, but a consultant also can provide input on functionality. Imagine moving into your new space and finding that things are not set up with efficiencies and ease of use as priorities. You will wish you could step back in time and perhaps set things up differently. Modifications after the work is already completed add a lot of cost, time and frustration, and they’re the avoidable consequences of poor planning.

Once you have done many renovations, however, planning and designing your own space can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the renovation. Creating a beautiful yet customized functional space that is your own creation is one of the most satisfying experiences. Seeing the project unfold and having the ability to adapt the process to meet your desired outcome is truly a wonderful feeling. The satisfaction and pride you experience may even outweigh the headache and long hours you spent toiling late into the nights and over countless weekends. Seeing your vision come to light and experiencing the final product is very rewarding.

If you plan to manage the project yourself, make sure you have access to skilled tradespeople who are available and willing to devote themselves to your project. The various trades usually have many projects on the go with a multitude of other clients, and your project may get extremely delayed waiting for one trade or another. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. are all in high demand and need advanced bookings and incentives to get the job done efficiently.

Details such as lighting, electrical outlets, sinks, sound proofing, ventilation, heat/cold/music control, accessibility, storage space and communication tools, such as phone and internet, are all part of the details which will determine if you have an efficiently functioning space. Neither functionality nor beauty can be sacrificed when outfitting a spa. Choosing resilient materials for floors, countertops and shelves that are durable yet beautiful is more feasible now than in the past. Decor, colour and accessories cannot be selected based on your personal taste only – you must focus on the message and feel you want to convey to your clients. Have a clear idea of your brand. For example, do you want a zen, modern or clinical feel?

Keep up to date with the times but don’t get too trendy. You want to create a beautiful space that will stand the test of time and be able to pay off the leasehold improvements before getting outdated soon after your renovations are completed. Staying neutral in your decor and choosing quality materials can definitely be a cost-effective choice in the
long run.

Outfitting your new space will push your budget to the limit, inevitably. We all want to have the best of the best and showcase our space with the money-making equipment. You must select the proper beds, chairs and equipment, or else all you have is a beautiful space with substandard services. Carefully budget ahead for the most important items first. It is so easy to get carried away with upgrading as the project evolves. Provide the best products and services, and your renovations will soon pay for themselves.

Once the project is finally completed and your signs are proudly displayed, celebrate your success with a party and a launch. Showcase the renovation with photos, videos and let everyone know you’ve got a fresh new space. A spa that shows quality and attention to detail will attract many clients.  

Dr. Diane Wong

Dr. Wong, MD, is the owner and founder of Glow Medi Spa, with three convenient and luxurious locations in the Greater Toronto Area: Yorkville (downtown Toronto), Aurora and Markham, Ontario. Glow Medi Spa was voted as the Top Medi Spa in Canada for the past two consecutive years and Top 25 Spa in Canada for the past three consecutive years. Glow Medi Spa also received the Business of the Year Award in 2018.

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