Running Your Spa from Checklists

Have you wondered how you will get consistency in all the myriad tasks that must be completed in running a busy Day Spa? You must read, The E Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. Gerber states that if you get your company on checklists, you could go away for a year and come back to a smooth running company. Wait a minute, Michael. The Day Spa industry has a lot of drama in it and who manages that? Well, what he meant is that if you can spell out each and every task in minute detail, get it on a checklist and assign it to each employee, things could run smoothly. You know, he is right. I have spent hours upon hours developing checklists. The checklist for the front desk staff begins outside before they open the front door in the morning. It reads, “pick up any trash or litter outside before entering”. Simple thing, huh! For the opening manager, it reads, “turn off the porch light and turn on the outside music”. The checklists are completed throughout the day and turned in to the Spa Manager at the end of the night to spot check and make sure that everyone is doing their job.

You should have seen my Spa before checklists! It was a constant stream of errors and omissions. If you have any ideas about getting the highest level of consistency, please share. I am always trying to improve my systems.

Nina Howard,

Bellanina Day Spa & Gift Boutique


4 Responses

  1. Hi Nina –

    How right you are about spelling out every detail and task for your entire staff! One of the things that Gerber talks about in the E-Myth is how entrepreneurs are sometimes surprised that the people working in their business don’t seem to intuit exactly what needs to be done or do things in quite the same way that the business owner would. This obviously causes some frustration and creates the urge in some owners to try and “do it all.” This is not only impossible but is also a major mistake.

    Part of this problem is probably due to less than stellar communications from the spa owner to their employees, I’m afraid. After all, they/we are pulled in so many directions and often in the treatment room themselves that they don’t make time or have the energy to clearly articulate their vision to the staff.

    And being that the owners are often busy visioning/thinking about the business goals in their heads, they sometimes forget that their plans and dreams must be shared with everyone on their team in order to see those dreams brought to reality.

    As you’ve told me before, Nina, it is so easy to put your attention first on the “bloody body” in front of you – think ER/triage/damage control dear readers – that it is easy to lose sight of the importance of the PLANNING and DETAILS.

    But as you suggest, Nina, by putting some very worthwhile time into articulating what must be done to keep the wheels of your spa business turning, you are both empowering your staff to take charge of the details AND planning for your own future and sanity.

    And if you can let go of the reins every once and a while, you are also insuring that the business can and will run smoothly whenever you are away from the helm.

    Felicia Brown, LMBT
    Spa Consultant & Trainer
    Certified Guerilla Marketing Coach

  2. Hi Nina,

    So true! I too am a Michael Gerber fan and apply E-Myth principles to my spa, GAIA Spa in La Jolla. With eleven years of experience as a spa director and owner I proven too many times that we cannot do it all, that documented systems and processes are the key to success at all levels.
    My other company provides the other tools recommended by Michael Gerber, tools detailing processes and replicable systems that support transparency, delegation, accountability and communication. This is an on-liine application, “green”, eliminating the need for printed checklists.
    This is an example of our EOS (end of shift) checklist for concierge:

    Marketing: Cleaned and dusted boutique displays including testers.

    Restocked Boutique.

    Prepare menus for distribution.

    Assemble Gift Certificates.

    Assemble Gift Bags.

    Maintain sensory ambiance – diffusers, visual display.

    Operations: Read Concierge Notes.

    Processed Incoming Inventory.

    Broke down boxes in back and took to recycle bin.

    File any absentee/tardiness or Gaia Team Stars.

    Checked Service and Repair File on Computer #2.

    Completed DAY SPECIFIC Checklist.

    Checked and filled fountains.

    Check to see how treatment rooms are left, make any necessary notes.

    Closed down relaxation room and staff room kitchen.

    Check main server in stock room to make sure the back up is occuring.

    Customer Service: Balanced out the technician schedules.

    Checked for daily cancellations and removed from the computer.

    Print Travel Cards and Appointments by Guest.

    Appointment Confirmations.

    Process Online Gift Certificates.

    Handle all Outlook e-mail to completion.

    Entered Intake Forms.

    Maintained Relaxation Room.

    Maintained Restroom.

    Print my Appointments Booked By Report

    Reconciled my Appointments Booked By Report with my client scheduling book.

    List the number of appointments scheduled on my ABR Report, My Retail Sales and Spa Total Retail Sales in the ‘notes’ section on this checklist.

    List Important Client Feedback, Treatment Room Condition Notes, Repair/Maintenance Issues or Complaints, and Client Issues/Complaints in the ‘notes’ section of this checklist.

    Checked off this checklist in TS as completed for management review.

    Product Return Form – complete and place in retail binder.

    Send out a LOOP for every signed package from UPS or Fedex detailing the date/time received, the vendor and where the item is now.

    This is completed by each concierge at the end of their shift and is available for management review on-line. A wonderful leap forward that makes it easier than ever to apply Gerber’s business wisdom.

    Thank you,

  3. Dear Felicia,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is really so very hard to let go of the reigns, but if you don’t, you are constantly working “in” your business instead of “on” your business. At that capacity, there is little room for growth. I try to find a happy medium. But, as you know, there are always a list of things “undone”. The key to success is really empowering the staff with your vision!

  4. Dear Rhana,

    Thank you so much for sharing one of your checklists! I read it and captured some details I am missing at Bellanina.

    The key to checklists of course, is checking the checklists! Our Spa Manager, Stephanie, prefers to do a Spa check to look for anything not ‘managed’ and then go back to the checklist and see if the employee has checked it off or not, bringing it to their attention. Often, checks are made on automatic pilot!

    No matter what, a busy Spa must be checked and re-checked all day long to insure THE PERFECT WORLD for our clients.

    Your checklist is very helpful! Does anyone else have ways to insure consistency in their Spa?

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