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How to Set Up a Salon and Spa Business in Singapore

Published on October 30th, 2015 by in Blog

Singapore is known for world class salons and spas. A strong industry that is growing year-to-year and record high numbers of tourists allow owners to enjoy multiple revenue streams with a steady flow of clients.

Setting up a spa and salon is a fairly straightforward process.

Obtain the Right Licenses

A Massage Establishment License (ME) is required under the Massage Establishment Act. According to the act, you’ll need to obtain this license if your business offers any of the following:

  • Massage services
  • Manicures
  • Spa baths
  • Foot-reflexology
  • Similar services

The license is broken down into two categories: Category 1 and Category 2. The main difference between the two categories offered is the restrictions placed on Category 2. Any business that obtains a Category 1 license will be able to:

  • Choose unrestricted operating hours
  • Serve alcohol
  • Employ foreign therapists
  • Admit customers regardless of age

There are certain conditions wherein a spa would not need to obtain licensing. If treatment is administered by the following, licensing is not needed:

  • A member of the Singapore Physiotherapy Association.
  • A therapist that is part of the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists.

Applicant Procedure

Several criteria points must be met before applying for an ME license. There are several criteria listed below, including:

  • No Objection Letter from the landlord or building management.
  • URA planning permission for a spa to be opened on the premises.
  • Training certificates for all therapists and masseuses.
  • List of employee details, including names, identity, passport details and position.

Copies of all documentation will be needed upon applying for a license. You’ll also need to have the following documentation when applying for a Category I license:

  • List of all renovation, asset and costs invested in the business.
  • Proof of spa accreditation from CaseTrust.
  • Fire Safety and Shelter Department building plan number.
  • Photographs of all staff uniforms (front, side and rear views).
  • Spa floor plan.
  • Tenancy agreement.

All of this information is required, in copy form, upon application. Most applications will take 12 days to complete, and a fee of SS525 is required within three weeks of application approval.

Before licensing can be provided, certain criteria must be meet by the potential owner.

Business Incorporation

Applying for the ME License requires that a business be registered by the Singapore Companies Registrar. Foreign entities will either apply for a Singapore subsidiary registration or a branch registration before they can apply for a license.

Incorporation is a straightforward process that will require:

  • Business Name
  • Business Description
  • Shareholder and Director Information
  • Registered Address
  • Company Secretary Information
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association

The company registration process is completely computerized under the Singapore Registrar of Companies. As a result, registration can occur within 1 – 2 days under normal circumstances.

Upon incorporation, the following must be done:

  • Open a corporate bank account.
  • Apply for all business licenses.
  • Submit Goods and Service Tax registration.
  • Review annual filing requirements for salon and spa businesses.

ME Applicant Requirements

All applicants will need to meet the following criteria for approval to be allowed:

  • Be 21 years of age or older when applying.
  • Be free of criminal records.
  • Hold a Singapore Employment Pass

In the event that the applicant is not a Singapore citizen, he or she will need to hold a valid Singapore work permit to be apply to apply for the ME License.

ME Company Criteria

All of the following criteria must be met by the applicant company for the license to be approved:

  • Minimum capital investment of SS50,000.
  • Company-issued uniforms for all staff members.
  • CaseTrust Accreditation for Spa and Wellness.
  • At least 80% of all therapists in the spa must have one or more of the following:

o   CIDESCO Beauty Diploma

o   CIBTAC Beauty Therapy Services Diploma

o   CIBTAC Spa Therapy Diploma

o   ITEC Beauty Specialist Diploma

o   ITEC Holistic Massage Diploma

o   NSRS Skills Standard Package

o   NITEC in Spa and Aesthetic Therapy

o   NITEC in Beauty Therapy

All spas and salons must have an establishment that meets the following criteria:

  • Floor area equal to or larger than 100 sq. meters.
  • A lease of a minimum of two years.

Businesses that do not meet the 80% employee qualifications listed above will find that the Category II license has a much lower requirement of 50%, but there will be added restrictions, such as the age of clients and operational hour restrictions.

Approval of Premises

The business’s premises must be approved. Approval will be granted to the following premises:

  • Category I ME Licenses allow businesses to operate in:

o   Shop-houses

o   Neighborhood centers

o   Private centers

o   Hotels

o   Commercial complexes

  • Category II ME Licenses require businesses to operate away from residential areas in:

o   Hospitals

o   Schools

o   Places of worship

o   Areas away from residential areas

  • Approval for any additions or alterations to a conservation building must be approved by the URA.
  • Signs displayed on conservation buildings must be approved by the Building and Construction Authority.

Before renting or converting any premises, it’s suggested that you seek approval from the URA.

Layout Premises Criteria

Certain requirements pertaining to the premise’s layout must be met, including:

  • No locking devices are allowed on treatment room or massage doors.
  • No warning devices are allowed that alert staff of enforcement officer arrivals.
  • All rooms must be numbered according to the presented layout plan.
  • No Entry signage must be present on all staff-only rooms.
  • View of massage rooms must not be obstructed by permanent or temporary décor.
  • Segregation of male and female clients must be clear and present, including different:

o   Entryways

o   Facilities

o   Massage rooms

o   Treatment rooms

All premises must meet the above layout criteria.

Businesses that meet all of the above requirements and criteria will be able to open their establishment and hire employees to work on their behalf. Employees that are not legal citizens of Singapore are required to hold a valid work permit before they’re legally allowed to work in your place of business.

Further licensing may be required, such as a non-residential TV license if you plan on allowing clients to watch television during their treatment.

 
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