How to Start a Massage Business in Singapore

How to Start a Massage Business in Singapore

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Trying to find out how to start a massage business in Singapore? Starting a spa or massage business in Singapore can be an exciting and rewarding venture. With the demand for spa and massage services on the rise, it’s no wonder that many entrepreneurs are looking to get in on the action. However, navigating the licensing and regulatory requirements can be a bit of a headache.

That’s why we’ve put together this beginner guide to help you get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, as well as the pre-requisites for obtaining a Massage Establishment License. We’ll also cover any additional licenses you may need depending on the services you offer.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to successfully incorporate your massage business, obtain a massage establishment license, and launch your venture. So, let’s dive in and get started!

1. Registering Your Massage Business

To start your massage business, you’ll need to register it with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA). After that, you’ll need to apply for a Massage Establishment License from the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD).

To complete the registration process, you’ll need to provide several documents, including:

  1. A No Objection Letter from the building management or landlord
  2. A planning permit from the Urban Development Authority
  3. An updated plan from the Fire Safety and Shelter Department
  4. A blueprint of the premise
  5. A copy of the tenancy agreements (at least two years’ worth)
  6. A complete list of employee details
  7. Comprehensive information about the amount of money used to fund the massage business
  8. Photos of your employees in full uniform

By having all of these documents in order, you’ll be well on your way to starting your massage business in Singapore.

2. Massage Establishment Licenses and Permits

If you’re planning to offer massage services, foot-reflexology services, manicure treatments, spa baths, or other similar treatments in Singapore, you’ll need to obtain a Massage Establishment (ME) License. The ME License is required by the Massage Establishment Act, which regulates the massage industry in Singapore.

There are two categories of ME Licenses – Category I and Category II. Most spas opt for Category I licensing because it has more liberal business conditions.

To be eligible for a ME License (Category I or II), the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicant must be at least 21 years old at the time of application.
  2. Applicants must be deemed fit-and-proper, which means they should have no criminal or vice-related records.
  3. If the applicant is a foreigner, they must hold a valid Singapore Employment Pass or Singapore work permit.

ME Category I

Category I licenses allow you to operate in neighborhoods and commercial centers and hire foreign workers. Establishments of this type can operate without strict hours of operation, and age restrictions, and are allowed to employ foreign professionals, technicians, and the like.

Category I Requirements include:

  1. Minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 in rental, renovation, or asset costs.
  2. 80% or more of the technicians and therapists must be licensed according to the ME Act.
  3. One of the following – the location for the establishment is at least 100 SQM or the lease for the rented location is a minimum of 2 years.
  4. Accreditation from CaseTrust.

ME Category II

Category II licenses, on the other hand, require your massage business to be located away from residential areas and only allow you to employ local Singaporeans and Malaysians with valid passports as masseuses.

Category II Requirements include:

  1. Requirements for premises must be met (e.g. no locks on doors which lead to areas for administering services, all staff rooms must have “No Entry” signage, clear segregation of male and female areas)
  2. Company uniform which has to be worn, also needs to be approved by PLRD
  3. Employees providing massage services must go for a compulsory medical health screening before they can be registered with the PLRD.
  4. The shop should have a minimum 2-year lease or have a floor area of at least 100m2.
  5. Accreditation by CaseTrust

By meeting these criteria, the applicant can ensure that they are legally allowed to operate a massage business in Singapore.

In addition to the ME License, you’ll also need to obtain several other permits and licenses to operate a massage business in Singapore.

To make changes or additions to a conservation building, you need approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA).

If you want to display signs on your conservation building, you’ll also need prior approval from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

If you plan to do any fire safety work, you must obtain approval from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Before renting or converting the premises for your business, it’s a good idea to seek approval from the URA to avoid any issues down the road.

By obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, you can operate your massage business legally and in compliance with the regulations in Singapore.

3. Employee Requirements

When it comes to hiring employees for your spa or massage business in Singapore, you have the option to hire both local and foreign talent as foot-reflexologists, masseuses, or therapists. However, it’s important to keep in mind that foreigners must have a valid Singapore work permit, and approval from the Licensing Officer is required for employing staff in the spa.

When hiring employees, you must also ensure that they meet specific requirements. For instance, they must be at least 21 years old, fit to hold the license, and have no criminal records. Foreign workers must possess the appropriate documents and a working pass.

Additionally, your employees must have at least one of the following certifications: CIDESCO Beauty Certification, CIBTAC Beauty Therapy Service Certification, CIBTAC Spa Therapy Certification, ITEC Beauty Specialist Certification, or ITEC Holistic Massage Certification. This ensures that your employees have the necessary skills and expertise to offer high-quality spa and massage services to your clients.

4. Business Conditions

To ensure that your massage business operates within the legal framework, you must adhere to specific conditions, including:

  1. 80% of your employees must hold the required certification issued by the PLRD throughout the license period.
  2. The remaining 20% must acquire the license within six months from the first registration date.
  3. All employees must wear the approved uniform while on duty.
  4. Rooms must be numbered and unlocked.
  5. Lighting must be bright enough for supervisors to monitor the masseuse.
  6. Massage rooms must be free of long-standing or non-removable objects that may hinder the full view of the room to ensure transparency.

Conclusion

Starting a massage business in Singapore requires careful planning and adherence to licensing and regulatory requirements. By following this guide, you can incorporate your massage business, obtain necessary licenses and permits, hire qualified staff, and adhere to business conditions. With proper planning and a commitment to quality, your massage business is well-positioned for long-term success. Surround yourself with local experts to lend you a helping hand and ensure the smooth operation of your business.

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