Typical Roles at a Day Spa

Most day spas will have a spa director who oversees the operations of the business, as well as a receptionist to greet guests and manage reservations. Beyond that, the spa’s staffing requirements vary depending on the services offered. Spas will need a variety of massage therapists, cosmetologists, and technicians to run the spa equipment.

Spa Director

The Spa Director (or General Manager) manages staffing and runs the daily operations of the spa.

 Typical Salary: $40,000

 What Does This Role Entail?

  • Oversee staffing and scheduling
  • Establish a presence with guests
  • Serve as a brand ambassador, generating repeat customers

Who to Look For:

  • Prior management or hospitality service experience
  • Sales experience a plus


Massage Therapist

Many spas offer massage treatments and require licensed therapists to administer a variety of massage techniques. They are frequently paid on commission.

Typical Salary: $28/hr or commission

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Administering one-on-one massages
  • Using a variety of massage techniques upon request

Who to Look For:

  • Appropriate state license for massage therapy
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends as needed


A cosmetologist may work with a guest’s hair, makeup, and/or nails. They are typically licensed at a state level.

Typical Salary: $12/hr

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Providing hair, makeup, manicure and pedicure services for guests

Who to Look For:

  •  Appropriate state license for cosmetology
  •  Ability to work evenings and weekends as needed

Day Spa Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

Day spas place emphasis on employees’ sales and commissions as a key revenue path and a way to incentivize quality care. Many spa employees are urged to push retail products alongside their normal jobs to supplement the spa’s revenue from services. Spa employees are frequently paid (in whole or part) by commission as a method of incentivizing top-quality care and sales. Actual rates are a topic of debate and will depend on your business’s financial situation; they typically range from 30% to 60% of a service’s retail price but this is highly variable.

When deciding on a commission rate, evaluate your business’s finances from the top down. Add up all of your expenses and fixed salaries and compare that to your monthly income. The difference between those two numbers will give you the maximum commission rate you can afford to pay your employees and guide more detailed planning of variable commission rates per employee and job.

Commission-only employees can make sense for the employer: if the employee isn’t generating revenue, then you don’t have to pay them. It also strongly incentivizes the employees to deliver quality services and form personal relationships with guests. As the owner, you’ll need to keep careful track of employees’ hours: If they wind up making less than minimum wage on average, you could be in legal trouble with the Department of Labor.

A combination of hourly rate and commissions is a smart choice for many businesses. This model pays employees a base hourly rate and then offers commissions on products sold and services performed. This option gives you all the advantages of commission-only pay structures (incentives and flexible pay) while employees appreciate having a minimum income they can rely on. Additionally, you can have employees perform other tasks around the spa when business is slow (with commission-only pay, employees will be reluctant to perform tasks they aren’t being paid for).

Hourly pay can appeal to large businesses with high occupancy rates and stable guest volumes, where staffing can be scheduled in advance. Hourly pay can be convenient to both employers and employees since expenses/incomes are stable and can be planned around. The downside is that there isn’t much of an incentive for staff to push products or service on guests, which is an important revenue stream for many spas.

Some spas will pay employees a flat rate for each type of service rendered, this isolates the employee from the effects of promotions or discounts to the retail price. These are planned by the owner, and thus it’s not fair to financially penalize the employee because the owner decided to give out coupons or have a sale.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

Most spa jobs can be recruited through online job boards or other conventional means. For specialized roles such as massage therapists or cosmetologists, there are accredited schools that offer degrees in these skills, it may be useful to specifically recruit at these institutions.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most day spas look for employees who are:

  • Attentive to guests’ needs
  • Professional and friendly
  • Comfortable working weekends and evenings

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • How would you deal with a difficult guest?
  • What do you do in your role that makes you stand out from other applicants?
  • What attracted you to apply for this position?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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