What’s your recipe for selecting equipment for your spa?

Written by Tara Damiano, global curriculum developer for Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute

Many professionals feel overwhelmed at the thought of purchasing equipment. While individual equipment needs may vary, all professionals are looking for quality equipment from a reputable manufacturer. The following five rules will help professionals avoid common purchasing pitfalls.

Shop Within the Scope of the Spa
Many equipment manufacturers market their machines to all professionals. However, this exposure does not mean everyone can legally use the equipment. Each state board has different regulations on which types of equipment professionals can use. It is up to the professional to ensure that the equipment is covered under their state licensing and with their insurance.

Good Reputations and FDA Registration
Most skin care equipment are considered medical devices by the FDA and fall under Class I or Class II. These classifications are typically defined by intended use and invasiveness. Class I encompasses devices with the lowest risk, such as microcurrent machines. Class II and III devices are to be sold under, or used by, a licensed physician or licensed practitioner. This classification
includes lasers.
Professionals will also want to research how long the manufacturer has been in business and where they produce their equipment. Has the company registered their equipment with the International Organization for Standardization? Look for Underwriters Laboratories certification as well.

Outstanding Customer Service
When it comes to service, pay attention to IT technical support and customer service. Before buying, visit the manufacturer's website. Are there meaningful tips, live chat, or videos available for trouble-shooting? Do they provide access to instruction manuals? Explore the website to see how the customer service element is structured.
Every mechanical device needs downtime. Even if there is not a breakdown, all equipment needs to be disengaged periodically for maintenance to ensure long-term performance. Does the company offer complimentary replacements? How long will it take to receive the replacement?

Ongoing Training and Education
Education should be included with the purchase of the machine. There is no sense in professionals offering a treatment if they have no idea how to use the equipment. Does the company offer in-house trainings with an educator, hands-on classroom style training at their facility, or web-based training sessions? Because equipment is often run by a computer system, software updates and technical support training on a regular basis will keep machines running at tip-top shape. A good warranty is also a must in case of computer glitches. Look for a warranty with a one year minimum that includes software support and equipment upgrades.

Financing Options
Professionals can avoid buyer's remorse by ensuring that the company has a return policy, in case they do not love their new equipment. Read the contract and the fine print. Check with the company for purchasing options such as financing, renting, or leasing to own.

Skin care equipment has become a vital part of today's spa. Remember to ask questions when selecting professional equipment. A reputable company will want to ensure that the professional's investment is making a profit in the hopes that they continue to purchase from them in the future.

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