License Requirements to Open a Spa

Spa Treatment

AP Team

Med spas, or medical spas, allow clients to access some medical procedures in a soothing, relaxing spa environment. Unsurprisingly, then, med spas are hugely popular, with the market expected to grow in size by $31.5 billion by 2025.

However, before you open your own med spa, it's crucial to understand what licensing requirements may apply. So, to help you make a success of your med spa opening, here's a look at how the rules apply to you.

Do You Need a License to Open a Spa?

The licenses you require vary depending on two things: the state in which you set up your business, and the treatments available at your spa.

State Licensing Laws

Licensing laws vary hugely by state. For example, in Florida, there's no need for you to have a medical qualification if you want to own a medical spa. However, in California, you can't open a med spa unless a licensed physician is a majority shareholder in the company.

So, since the rules vary so widely, it's crucial you seek legal advice before you set up your business.

Medical Spa Clinic

Types of Spas

Some salons, like day spas, only offer non-invasive, non-medical treatments such as facials, manicures, and pedicures. Licensing requirements for such spas are, typically, much less strict than for setting up a med spa.

If you want to set up a med spa, the licenses you need come down to which type of procedures and treatments you plan on offering to your clients. For example, if you want to offer exclusively medical treatments, you must follow the regulations for medical practices. Meaning, you normally need a medical license to open and own a med spa.

However, if you also want to offer cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, then you should also comply with spa and salon regulations, which means hiring qualified personnel with the appropriate cosmetology licenses to perform treatments.

Let's break down what this all means for you in more detail.

Med Spa Licensing Requirements

Typically, you can't own a med spa in the US unless:

  • You're a licensed physician; or
  • You're a physician-owned corporation

Have A Name And Brand

The name and brand of your business should be unique, captivating, and easy for your clients to remember. It should also reflect everything your business has to offer.

When creating your brand, develop a good business logo along with a mission and vision statement that will draw in more customers. Build a multifunctional website that is easy to navigate and informative to the viewer. Websites are extremely important for branding. By adding online booking, a lead generator, reviews, and client portal, you will enable your customers to self-serve improving their overall experience and freeing up your time.

Get A Permit

Once you have decided on the location and name of your spa, you need to register the business as either a sole-proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company and get a permit.

It would help if you also got a liability insurance policy that protects the business against damages like fire, floods, hurricanes, theft, and other unforeseen events. If you'd like to use a company car, don't forget to acquire commercial vehicle insurance.

Unless you employ self-insured employees leasing space in your new spa, you also need to get worker's compensation insurance.

Why? Since the treatments are medical by nature, which means only a physician can accept payment for them. Meaning, if you're an entrepreneur or even a medical professional hoping to enter the med spa business, you first need to set up a separate, physician-owned organization known as a managed services organization, or "MSO".

An attorney can talk you through the practicalities of setting up an MSO and help you draft a contractual agreement specifying how day-to-day management of the med spa will work. There's usually no need for the physician to be in the office every day, but they must:

  • oversee all medical decisions;
  • hire medical personnel; and
  • ensure that employees performing medical treatments have the appropriate medical training.

So, in short, do you need a specific license to open a med spa? Well, you'll need a medical license to open your medical spa business. However, if you're not a licensed physician, it's still possible for you to own a med spa by creating an MSO with a physician, or physician-owned company provided they are the majority shareholder.

How to Set Up a Med Spa

The process for setting up a med spa varies by state. However, in general terms, here's a summary of the steps to work through if you're trying to set up a med spa.

  • Partner with a physician who agrees to enter an MSO with you.
  • Seek legal advice to confirm exactly which permits and licenses you will need in your state.
  • Sign a managed services agreement (MSA) outlining your respective responsibilities and the level of fees and compensation involved.
  • Select appropriate insurance coverage for your medical spa the requirements vary by state.
  • Hire appropriately qualified staff to conduct treatments.
  • Install the IT infrastructure required to run your business.

We can't emphasize enough the importance of obtaining personalized legal advice before trying to open a med spa. Otherwise, there's a chance you won't have the right documentation in place to legally operate your business.

Keep Your Med Spa Compliant With AestheticsPro

Conforming to med spa business licensing requirements is just one way to ensure that your business complies with its legal obligations. To help keep your business legally compliant, consider investing in a med spa software solution from AestheticsPro.

From maintaining patient records to onboarding new employees, our medical spa software can help you oversee all your key business operations from one convenient platform - get the demo now.

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