Building clientele in a day spa?


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Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2004
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Anchorage, Alaska
Ok, I started full time two weeks ago in a gym with day spa services (I was available for a few hours during evenings for the previous month but only ever got one client during that time, then the manicurist who was available during the day quit, so I took over). I am the only nail tech and I have a private room in the back behind double doors. There is also a massage therapist whom I've never met because she only takes appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays and only comes in for appointments. There used to be an esthetician but she moved back to Russia and has not yet been replaced. They have tanning beds too.

I'm available about 50 hours a week but so far I haven't actually worked more than six hours a week. Everything I've read so far from anyone has said that I should physically be there for the entire time I'm available. However I'm not sure this would do me any good as nobody can *see* me in my room, and there isn't really any place I can "hang out" and be visible outside of my room.

This week I've set up a portable table in the front lobby and am offering free hand massages to people (it's a women only facility actually) as they come or go. Lo and behold I'm finding that the majority of them have no idea I'm available at all, and have never even seen the treatment room, nor did they know it was there. I made up copies of my price list and hours and put a 10% off coupon on it to hand out, and I've gotten several new appointments plus many more nibbles just since Monday. I'm planning to do this for the rest of the week, staggering my hours so I can a chance to talk to most of the members. I've also put a nice big copy of my pricelist in a sign holder on the front desk, with my business cards and smaller copies of my pricelist to take. I'm also planning to do the hand massage thing at all of the open houses and other events. I'm going to print up some promotional signs to hang up in the locker room as soon as I get my printer woring again as well. Some of the personal trainers have been promoting me (which is nice), but I sort of get the idea they only do it when I'm sitting right there. :lol:

So this week I have six hours worth of appointments. My goal for the immediate future is to be working 10-15 hours a week on average. This is basically how much I would need to meet my financial needs and make this job worthwhile. I'd like to meet this goal by the end of May.

I'm starting with the members of the health club as they're the most accessible and I'm very convenient for them, but since you don't have to be a member to use the salon services I'm wondering kinds of things I can do to promote myself outside of the gym. Are leaflet drops effective? There are tons of residential areas nearby.

Also, I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to offer a free service (something small like a mani or a hand and foot massage) to all new members so that they not only know I'm there but get a chance to meet me and get hooked on my massages. ;) It's a lot of work I'd be doing for nothing which makes me sort of unsure, but I really think it might work. I'd like to be able to offer free products with services, but as of yet I don't have any retail offerings. That's going to be kind of an investment I can't afford to make right now.

Any other ideas or comments on my ideas are totally appreciated. Thanks.
None of the things you mention would be work for nothing as you are looking long term instead of short term for your gain.

You have to invest to accumulate!! You are doing just the right things and have some really good ideas.

In your situation you have to be very proactive which you have realised and are doing something about. Well done. You want something and are going for it. No one is sucessful without seeking it, it doesn't juct 'come' to anyone.

I wish you the very best in all your efforts. I'm not going to say good luck as you have to make your own good fortune in my opinion and you are doing that, ergo you WILL be sucessful.
Check with the gym staff to make sure that the salon services are included in their induction to all new members - let them know that the offering of salon services may be the final decision maker for the clients to join the gym. You could offer a special price list for gym members maybe.
Sounds like a really nice place!! What type of advertising do they do?? Are you responsible for your own advertising?? (If so, leaflets are a good idea.) It sounds like you are doing a great job promoting yourself within the gym! Starting out takes a little time, but I can see you are very focused. It won't take you long to build up a clientele if you can continue to promote yourself daily where people can see you. I used to work at a spa in a department store where we were behind closed doors. Alot of clients didn't know we even existed. It was a major cosmetics company, so they did their own advertising plus we were paid a salary. I have to admit, though, a spa environment is my favorite to work in. Good luck to you!!

Not sure if they have been mentioned already, so sorry in advance if they have!

If its ok with the management, have you thought about putting your flyer/business card under the windscreen wiper of every car in the car park?

In every changing room locker, place an envelope address 'Dear Member'
containing an invitation to peruse your fantastic new nail area with a complimentary drink/quick polish/very mini manicure or to collect 'your ' discount voucher.

Or do the envelope in the changing room locker thing, but containing a free competition coupon to win a 'blah', but the entry coupon must be brought to your nail room to qualify. You could even do this more than once.

Oooh! Good ideas. Thanks! I will check into all of them, and be using lots. As for advertising, the owner put a lot of money into advertising the bsiness, but not specifically the nails, so it's mostly up to me to promote that part of the business. Sometimes she gets a booth at various health fairs, so next time she does I will come along with my table and my hand massages and price lists.
Oh yes. I also just realised that I have enough $$$ to pick up a few pinkie sized bottles of solar oil to give out with my full sets, so I'm goingto start doing that too.
You are off to a very good start. You are very focused and determined. Keep that up. I have a suggestion. I believe that the best form of advertisment is word of mouth and actually seeing the work. So if you can maybe work out some kind of discount witht the employees that work there and do thier nails people that come in will see the nails and ask where they got them done. That's what I did when I started out and I got a lot of new clients that way. I hope this helps.

Thanks for the suggestion! I was thinking about doing that too, so I definately will now. :)
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