Setting Up a Spa in Singapore

The spa sector is a cornerstone in Singapore’s health and wellness landscape, and setting up a spa in Singapore has become an attractive venture due to the industry’s resilience and growth, particularly during economic challenges. Currently valued at S$140 million annually, the spa industry in Singapore is not only flourishing but also evolving to cater to a diverse clientele, including a growing male demographic. This expansion is fueled by an increase in tourism and local affluence, leading to higher expenditure on luxury spa treatments.

In the realm of setting up a spa in Singapore, the country has seen a significant rise in spa establishments, spreading across varied locations such as shopping centers, hotels, and residential areas. Data from Intelligent Spas indicates a 63% increase in spa numbers from 2003 to 2007, highlighting the strong business prospects in this sector. This environment is conducive for both seasoned entrepreneurs and newcomers interested in setting up a spa in Singapore.

This article serves as a guide for those interested in setting up a spa in Singapore, offering essential insights into the process. It is important to remember that this information is intended for general guidance and should be supplemented with professional advice.


Key Licensing for Setting Up a Spa in Singapore: Massage Establishment License

A crucial step in setting up a spa in Singapore is obtaining the Massage Establishment (ME) License, as required by the Massage Establishment Act. This license is necessary for businesses offering massages, foot-reflexology, manicures, spa baths, or similar treatments and is categorized into Category I and Category II, with the former being more sought-after due to its liberal operational conditions. Category I licensees benefit from unrestricted operating hours, the ability to serve alcohol, and fewer age restrictions for customers, along with the permission to employ foreign therapists.

Certain establishments are exempt from this licensing, especially those providing therapeutic massages by certified professionals and operating in full view of the public, adhering to specific conditions:

·       Manicure/Pedicure

·       Light treatment

·       Electric treatment

·       Vapour treatment

·       Baths


Prerequisites for Obtaining a Massage Establishment License in Setting Up a Spa in Singapore

Prior to applying for a ME License, several criteria must be fulfilled:

  1. Business Registration: Essential for setting up a spa in Singapore is registering the business with the Singapore Companies Registrar, ACRA. This process is efficient and can be completed online within a day. Foreign companies can choose between subsidiary or branch business in Singapore.
  2. Applicant Criteria: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have no criminal records, and, if foreign, hold a valid Singapore work permit.
  3. Company Criteria: For Category I licenses, spas must meet a minimum investment threshold, ensure that a majority of their staff have recognized qualifications, and satisfy specific premises-related criteria.

Approval and Layout Requirements for Setting Up a Spa in Singapore

Obtaining approval from authorities like the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Building and Construction Authority is necessary for certain alterations to the spa premises. The layout of the spa should comply with regulations, ensuring transparency and safety in order to obtain special permits and licenses in Singapore.



Hiring Staff and License Application Procedure

When setting up a spa in Singapore, hiring both local and foreign professionals is permissible, with particular prerequisites for foreign staff. The license application process involves submitting detailed documentation to the Singapore Police Force, and Category I applicants have additional requirements. The usual processing time for a license is about 12 working days.


Additional Licensing Requirements

Depending on the nature of the spa’s operations, additional licenses may be necessary, such as an Advertisement License or a General Radio Communication License.



For entrepreneurs interested in setting up a spa in Singapore, it is recommended to engage a professional accounting firm in Singapore like AG Singapore to navigate the intricacies of the licensing process and ensure compliance with local regulations, thus facilitating a smoother and more efficient establishment of their spa business.

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