Opening a Float Centre: Start Up Costs and ROI 

Are you considering a floatation tank business venture? Float therapy is emerging as a bright star of the wellbeing industry. Amidst a wave of enthusiastic social media reviews, scientific literature proclaiming the potential health benefits, and an ever-widening consumer appetite for novel ways to improve mental health, rest and rejuvenate, there may never have been a better time to pursue isolation tanks as a business investment.

option 1. Opening a New Float Centre

As with any new business venture, understanding start-up costs is crucial when it comes to calculating what sort of return on your investment (ROI) you can expect. Below, we’ll be taking a look at features you’ll need to factor in when considering float centre start-up and build out requirements. We’ll also be drawing up some rough estimates as to what you might expect to spend, along with projected profits in your opening years. 

The great news is that, once your float centre is up and running, maintenance costs are pretty low and profitability is pretty high. With a steady stream of customers, you’ll likely see a healthy return on your initial investment within the first eighteen months. 

Option 2) Adding Float Therapy to a Gym or Spa

Many spas and gyms find that adding float therapy to their menu of services proves to be a popular and profitable expansion of the business. Compared to opening a whole new float centre, investment costs will be smaller and returns on that investment should come faster.

As a pre-existing business, you may already have much of the infrastructure, space, and customer base needed to make the transition to offering float therapy as seamless as possible. Float therapy also complements other forms of wellbeing treatment, such as massage, yoga, and exercise classes, exceptionally well. 

Planning to Start a Float Centre or Room – A Breakdown

There’s plenty to think about when it comes to starting your new float therapy venture, but good planning goes a long way. Here are some of the things you’ll want to factor in when calculating the required investment.

For those looking to set up a brand new centre, deposits, rent, and site fees for your chosen spot are going to vary widely depending on location. This is where good local research comes into play. 

Starting a float centre in a central urban area may provide you with more footfall, but the lease is likely to be much higher. Instead, you might find an accessible neighbourhood with a burgeoning health and wellbeing scene, one which doesn’t command the highest commercial rates in town. Generally, people who want to benefit from floating are willing to travel to the facility.

Once you have found a suitable location it is possible to put together a plan for what capital you will require. It may not be possible to be very specific at the start however the capital outlay and building costs can be significant. It can save a lot of time and wasted effort to know what budget you have available before deciding on the size and type of facility that you wish to build. Often securing the funds can be the longest part of the project.

Several manufacturers have been involved with installations for many years so can suggest ways create your facility that does not break the bank. Many can also provide information on costs and possible revenues that can be generated in float centres.

Build out
The level of technology required to build a successful float centre or float room is quite straight forward and within the capability of most builders/constructions teams. With advice from the float tank manufacturer it is relatively easy to create the right atmosphere for your clients. This can include ensuring that heating, ventilation and air conditioning is installed, along with appropriate water and soundproofing in each float tank room.

Float therapy customers will need ready have access to a shower which should be placed within the float rooms themselves. When it comes to designing the layout it is often more space efficient if possible to create a separate plant room for reservoirs and filtration systems

Depending on the number of float tanks installed initially it can pay to plan for additional rooms for expansion at a later date to achieve the minimum of disruption should you decide to install further tanks.

Even if you have existing staff, you’ll need to provide a basic level of training to ensure cleaning, maintenance, and supervision is carried out confidently and safely.

Many successful float therapy centres pride themselves on being able to provide exceptional customer experiences from the front door all the way to the float. Providing a relaxing, welcoming pre- and post-float environment is as much about great staff training as it is the ambiance of your centre.

Whether you’re adding float therapy to a list of services already provided, or setting up a brand new float centre, the success of your venture in its initial months will likely rest on getting the word out to the right people.
Float therapy has been around for over 50 years and is medically proven to offer benefits for people with conditions ranging from, Stress, Anxiety, difficulty sleeping, MS, Parkinson’s, Sport injuries, Fibromyalgia, easing the strains on the body from pregnancy, and many more. There is however a lack of awareness by the general public that such therapy exists. This is improving as a result of Covid and social media.

The first priority for the success of your facility is letting people know where you are located and what you are offering that will make the quality of their life better.

With build-out costs, initial ground rent, and staffing fees all vying for financial attention, marketing can be the area that new business owners try to cut corners on. If you are investing in a new venture it’s worth going the extra mile and making sure all these efforts are accompanied by a worthy marketing campaign.

Float tanks
It wouldn’t be a float therapy centre without the tanks. Orbit’s tanks are not only top-of-the-line but affordable. Orbit also offers a professional installation package to ensure each pod is delivered, fitted and functioning optimally. The Orbit is also internet aware so should you need assistance orbit can dial into your pod anywhere in the world and advise you on how to improve your offering.

Economies of Scale
It’s not impossible to turn a profit with a single float tanks especially if it is installed in a facility that already offers other therapies and treatments. Experience from across the industry indicates that, given the overheads associated with a dedicated location, the running costs do not increase significantly if you were to operate three or four Orbits. Staffing levels for such facilities do not increase significantly whilst the income generated from multiple floating’s does. It can also has an impact on the popularity of the centre and capacity rates.

Of course, if you’re adding float tanks to a pre-existing gym or spa, then these economies of scale are not as applicable.

Roads to ROI
Let’s think about a few possible scenarios. Start-up costs here are estimates. They can vary depending on a number of factors, not least of all your facility costs,

The scenarios below are for a centre operating 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, with each tank enjoying around 50% occupancy, £50 per hour. Cleaning times and transitions between customers have been factored in.

Scenario 1 (Modest Investment) – Adding float therapy to an existing spa
Isolation tanks – 2
Initial investment – £150,000
Turn-over after 18 Months – £216,000

Scenario 2 (Medium Investment) – Establishing a new business, offering float therapy alongside other wellbeing services
Isolation tanks – 2
Initial investment – £350,000
Turn-over after 18 Months – £432,000

Scenario 3 (High Investment) – Setting up a large-scale, dedicated float therapy centre
Isolation tanks – 8
Initial investment – £700,000
Turn-over after 18 Months – £864,000

Calculating the Potential Profitability of Your Float Centre
Why not use our own financial returns calculator to see how varying the number of Orbit Pods and hours of operation corresponds to potential profits? 

And if you would like to get more information on start-up costs, installation, and specifications for the Orbit Pods, as well as detailed professional advice on how to establish a successful float therapy business, request a copy of the Orbit brochure today. 

Disclaimer: The blog above is intended as a guide-only, not as a substitute for formal financial advice. There can be many factors that can affect the profitability of a float centre, as there are with any business venture.

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