Thursday, 24 May 2018 05:57

When Adding Body Services Makes Cents

Written by   Ben Johnson, M.D.

The average income of an aesthetician is about $30,000 annually, with the high end of the spectrum being closer to $200,000. In order to reach a higher income tier, skin care professionals often incorporate body treatments, devices, and wellness options into their practices. But, is the introduction of these services for everyone? What are the needed demographics to grow this type of business? In today’s highly competitive aesthetic world, it is important to look at every option when it comes to client retention, client satisfaction, and increased revenues.

The core treatments for most professionals in a spa setting are related to facials and skin care. However, eyelashes, makeup, waxing, and several other services can become the dominant revenue streams for many as they find what they are passionate about and good at. With the increase in variety of aesthetic treatment possibilities, body services are becoming increasingly common. The current options are body wraps and scrubs, fat sculpting devices, LED and infrared treatments, and sugaring or waxing. For those aestheticians in favorable states, or who work with physicians, lasers are also quite common.




Hair removal techniques, such as waxing, may provide the professional with the unique opportunity to see a large number of clients in a short amount of time, as it is quite a time-efficient service. For example, a professional may perfect his or her skills and be able to add on an underarm or leg wax to a facial service in a mere 20 extra minutes. The correct wax should be utilized, as some are more beneficial for coarser hair, different areas of the body, and so forth. It is important to note, however, that in some cases, where stronger exfoliation techniques are used (on the face or body) and skin is compromised, waxing might lead to further damaging of the skin.


Sugaring, another method of hair removal which has been around for centuries but only recently has gained popularity in the spa market, is a great way to boost clientele. Touted the hottest trend in hair removal, sugaring is a more natural (paste formulations are often just sugar, lemon, and water) way of targeting the root of the hair, rather than causing irritation to the skin. Some claim the results last longer than traditional waxing. It is also more efficient for the professional as regular tools, like cloths and sticks, are not needed. Sugaring may be performed more frequently than waxing, as well as at a more rapid pace. This is another incredible service enhancement that allows professionals to bring body treatments into the treatment room.




It should be noted that some professionals do not like lasers because of their inability to create long-term benefits and their relatively high likelihood of doing permanent harm. However, laser hair removal is one of the most popular and affordable treatment options for clients and can, therefore, be quite lucrative. If using lasers, consider finding a used diode laser for roughly $30,000 (along with a repair warranty) so that it is more affordable to compete with commodity-level pricing from competitors. The laws in some states may allow professionals to set up a relationship with a physician whereby he or she is not present at the location but acts as a medical director. The advantage of this is that the laser hair removal liability insurance can be easily and cheaply added to the policy. In this case, the physician may be paid $2,500 a month, for example, and the professional is able to add this service and reap the rewards, as long as they know they have the volume of clients that will make the arrangement worthwhile. The bulk of business for these treatments should not come from advertising because it rarely pays for itself in the face of tough competition and will eat away at profits. Many people have purchased IPL systems for hair removal, but be sure to do homework, because the cost per treatment can be much costlier due to the frequent purchase of replacement lamps.




Body wraps and scrubs have long been a dominant service in the aesthetic market and are most often used for exfoliating or hydrating the skin. Wraps and scrubs traditionally utilize ingredients like mud, salt, or sugar. However, body wraps have become increasingly more popular because they offer short-term success at reducing the appearance of bulging fat. This can be a lucrative revenue stream in parts of the country with a mild climate, or hefty resort traffic and a consistent flow of vacationers coming in for services. It can be more challenging, however, marketing body wraps to long-term clients (rather than the resort clientele), as this treatment often only yields a two- to three-day result.


Wraps primarily work by using vasoconstriction, often with caffeine, to shrink the water in the target area. Look for wraps that are incorporated with infrared blankets as there is a longer-term benefit to weekly infrared services.




Infrared may assist in a longer-term detox of fat cells. The most common methods include using rubber mats or blankets that are left on the skin for approximately 30 minutes. Even more effective are the infrared and gentle massage combinations where the lymphatics can be moved along as the toxins leave the cells. The goal with all of these options is to have a short setup time and the opportunity to work on another client while they are being treated. This allows the professional to multi-task, which, in turn, will generate more income without cutting into time limitations.


LED is gaining momentum in body treatments, with a few companies making large-scale, tanning bed-style devices – which claim to lower blood pressure and assist with acne, fine lines, and wrinkles – providing anti-inflammatory benefits and more. The skin is used to operating at a certain temperature and it remains to be seen if elevating that temperature for 30 minutes leads to rejuvenation. Research suggests that pulsing LED may allow for the most gains in the skin by letting heat dissipate during the treatment.




One of the most promising new revenue streams available is sculpting fat cells by detoxing them. As it turns out, one of the best ways to encourage toxins to leave fat cells is by running specific, micro-, pico-, and nano-currents through them. It is important to note that fat cells’ numbers remain consistent in the body throughout a person’s whole life, they just have a tendency to enlarge. In fact, research shows that if liposuction is performed, or fat is frozen, melted, or destroyed, the body will replace those fat cells somewhere else. This is primarily because of fat cells’ role in supporting the immune and endocrine systems. Fat cells moderate estrogen and testosterone and are often a storage house for growth factors and immune cells. A significant part of the enlargement of fat cells as people age has to do with fat cells absorbing toxins in the bloodstream. While the tendency is to curse the appearance of swollen fat cells, people would much rather have those toxins isolated in fat cells rather than in other organs.


This creates great necessity for a device that uses frequency to shrink fat cells. This is critical for building a new revenue stream. The average client spends $300 a week, so the income potential can be a game changer. However, aestheticians only making $30,000 a year may not be the ideal candidate to purchase a machine like this because the implication is that their total volume of clients is rather limited. A device like this is best suited for busy spas with more than one aesthetician because marketing costs can be minimized. Other fat loss devices have been shown to have close to a 50 percent patient satisfaction rate, as fat tends to reappear in other areas of the body. One can see why adding this type of body service can dramatically improve revenues.


The added benefit of such a machine is the toning effect. The custom, tailored currents are designed to maximize the strengthening and lifting of muscles so that professionals can not only slim, but actually reshape just about any body part, including buttocks, arms, and the abdomen. Most professionals know the benefits of maintaining the tone of facial muscles. The body is equally important and toning can be done without additional exercises for those clients who have difficulty committing to a workout regime.





Investing in one’s business can be a scary proposition. There are many body treatment options to consider and it is not always easy to know which ones will appeal most to clients. Doing a survey to ask clients what they want can better guide professionals in this regard. There is always the option of reinventing and going after a new audience, but it comes with the risk that the advertising does not pay off. Body services will become increasingly popular because of the competitive landscape and the need to try to pull people from the comfort of their own home and to distinguish the spa’s treatment options from online shopping options.
Connecting with local businesses is key when it comes to marketing a new service. Attending community meetings and networking opportunities can lead to partnering with other local business owners on promotions, events, and referrals that may result in great successes. Consider other small businesses that would complement services well and think of the growth potential as marketing could have twice the reach.


It is clear that times are in a constant state of change when it comes to marketing. Now, in the digital age, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing are both key. The best way to use these tools is to draw customers in with effective social media. Utilizing targeted content is extremely important. Make sure that what the spa posts truly tells the story of the business. Launch new services on social media, providing excellent video and photo coverage. This way, prospective clients will feel they are there, experiencing this treatment for the first time. Research shows that most customers will research a product or service before they invest. Knowing this and knowing that almost all online searches begin with a search engine, the need for SEO becomes apparent. So, choose key words wisely and encourage all clients to respond with positive reviews and ratings on social media.


With body treatments, selling packages is also key. Spa packages will ensure that payment is received upfront for future services provided. They will also ensure that the client will return. Often times with body treatments, several sessions are needed to achieve an effective result. Be sure to be armed with before and after photos, which serve as an effective way to track progress.



Referrals and repeat business are the easiest – and most cost effective – ways to expand a business. Knowing this, be sure to provide every client with an incredible experience in both customer service and spa services. Inform customers of any changes to the service menu upon arrival. Be sure to rebook clients while they are still in the facility and implement a follow up for after a client comes in for a service. This will encourage repeat business.


Track progress by setting goals. When professionals know what they are working towards, it is easier to get there. Be sure to write down and periodically revisit goals to check in.


Sustaining and growing a spa business can be difficult, particularly with the amount of competition within the industry. But, diversifying offerings can help. Leveraging new body service methods in with existing facial services can mean a spike in revenue, and also a spike in personal level of passion. Often, it can be easy to be stuck in a rut and finding that next, new exciting thing can make all of the difference. Discovering the spa’s niche by incorporating effective and safe body treatments, like body wraps and scrubs, LED, fat sculpting devices, lasers, sugaring, and waxing will set the business apart and allow for expansion – not only in one’s business, but also in the community as a whole. This prospect can lead to great success and help the professional reach that higher income bracket.


BenJohnsonBen Johnson, M.D. is the current founder and formulator of Osmosis Skincare. Dr. Johnson began his career starting one of the first medical spa chains in the country, along with founding and formulating Cosmedix. He is an established speaker, educator, and formulator who is well known for his unique approach to skin conditions by thinking outside of the box. Dr. Johnson’s passion is creating tremendous change in the skin without constantly exfoliating away the protective benefits of the epidermis.

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