This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In the range of businesses related to health , the field of podiatry is being reinvented to attract new entrepreneurs interested in providing a service that we all need at least once a month: the care and beautification of the feet . Little by little the item has been transformed from the professionalization of the activity, health regulation and added values that, although they focus on the health of the feet, now also point towards their well-being and beauty . For example, there are places where in addition to traditional nail cutting, callus removal and specialized care for foot diseases, they offer reflexology, relaxing massage or enameling with minimally aggressive nail products. Everything, in an environment of hygiene, comfort and even luxury. There are even spaces that, taking advantage of market demands, have introduced the manicure service, so that customers beautify hands and feet in one place. Many have already capitalized on the idea; others are in the process of transforming the business they already have or starting from scratch. Join that community! Learn how this industry works, what investment it requires and what is its profit margin, it may be the business you have dreamed of so much. CUSTOMER SEGMENT Potential clients in this line of business range from children to adults 80 and over. The main segment is men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 of socioeconomic status A, B, C and C +. These consumers appreciate having cared for and healthy feet and do not skimp on paying for preventive services that range between 380 and 600 pesos, or on spending between 200 and 350 pesos for some cream or special treatment. “The market is so wide that a little jokingly we always say that everyone with feet is a potential customer,” says José Ignacio García de la Paz, president of Todo para sus pies , a franchise that over 25 years in the market has managed to consolidate a chain of 35 own units and 69 franchisees in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama. “We see that now both men and women are sensitized about foot care, whether for health, for image or beauty. It is a service that does not go out of style and that will always be needed ”, he says. How big is the market? Entrepreneurs of the business say that three out of 10 people hire the service once a month. However, the potential is wide, did you know that in Mexico 60% of the population has ‘athlete’s foot’, according to the Mexican Foundation for Dermatology ? Or that 70% have corns and 30% nail fungus? Added to this is the fact that 10% of Mexicans suffer from diabetes, a disease that requires extreme foot care. With this data, analyze the viability of your next business: identify the profile of your client and your competitors, check the facilities offered by the market to introduce new proposals and the options you have to undertake. VALUE PROPOSAL The podiatric centers that many of us know or remember for their peculiar hospital chemical smell, are giving way to new proposals that offer experiences where the consumer receives a pampering not only for their feet, but for their senses. All services focus on nail trimming and callus removal; as well as in the care of plantar warts, mycosis, ingrown nails and problems of bad smell and sweating. At the consumer’s request they offer a touch of beauty (enamelling) and relaxation ( reflexology massages , for example). “The turn involves a great responsibility. You have to train, supervise the staff and offer a pleasant experience so that customers always want to return, ”explains Loretta Valle, co-founder of Best Feet . This establishment found its added value in a dual concept that, on the one hand, offers specialized podiatric service and, on the other, manicures, enamels and different nail techniques. With this, it solves, in the same place, two key consumer needs: health and beauty of the feet and hands. “We saw a neglected market and we hit the mark. We designed an experience where there is no smell of hospital chemicals, but of lavender; We receive you by name, we offer you gourmet tea, we put a hot pad with seeds to relax your neck, we give you a blanket in case you are cold; we respect your time and there are no annoying noises; our armchairs are super comfortable and we make our clients feel truly special ”, affirms the entrepreneur. Loretta Valle has achieved with this that the public identify her and look for her. Do the same for your business. Research what the consumer is looking for and what else you can give them. Also find out what is being done in the market and the areas you can improve. The most successful spaces have evolved towards concepts that fuse health and beauty to offer experiences in which you feel comfortable, cared for and confident / Image: Shutterstock DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS The podiatric service has two main distribution channels: on-site and at home. The first option is the most used, the second is reserved for those who prefer to cut nails, massage and remove calluses in the comfort of their home or in a hospital or office. Regardless of the channel you choose, it leverages the delivery of the service with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and a web page that, together, function as a network to communicate services, disseminate promotions, schedule appointments and support consumers. PODeSUR , for example, has a web page where the consumer can locate the address and telephone number of each of its nine branches. There and on your Facebook profile you can schedule appointments. His clients include the former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón; the singers Carlos Cuevas and Alex Syntec; as well as the actors Jorge Salinas, Elizabeth Álvarez and Kika Edgar. The Centro Podológico Mexicano By Dr. Scholls , which has a tradition of more than 75 years, also offers scheduling by phone and via WhatsApp. “Older people prefer the traditional telephone channel, but many appointments come to us through the page, Facebook and WhatsApp. We always try to answer immediately and respect the schedules that are reserved for us. This is very important for customers ”, explains Alfonso Soto, commercial manager of this brand that has two branches in Mexico City: Polanco and San Rafael. Follow the steps of these entrepreneurs and identify the most appropriate distribution channels for your model. Remember that you can modify them as your business matures. RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS In a health and beauty center for the feet, the customer relationship route begins through social networks, WhatsApp, a web page or by phone, and ends at the establishment with the granting of the service. This journey requires a team of collaborators with service skills and knowledge of their field to have a satisfied and loyal customer. “Our clients have been with us for years. Many have their primary podiatrist and always make an appointment with the same person. Over time they develop a relationship of trust, always framed by the professionalism of our staff ”, says Alfonso Soto, from the Centro Podológico Mexicano By Dr. Scholls . To optimize the relationship with the client, take care of your communication and actions in the digital and in the real world. Start by updating and attending to your social networks (answer messages and interact with the community), make WhatsApp groups to inform about promotions or new services and make sure your website is attractive and user-friendly. In the offline world, establish care policies, hone the service skills of the reception staff, train your podiatrists and follow up on each patient. Remember that good service is life insurance for your business and that “a dissatisfied customer talks to 11 people and a satisfied customer with two or three.” You decide which side you want to be on. 52 bones add up to both feet, which constitutes a quarter of all we have in the body / Image: Shutterstock SOURCES OF INCOME The generation of income comes from the sale of the service and the commercialization of specialized products. The basic service includes nail trimming and callus removal. There is also a specialized service to remove buried nails or treat plantar warts, sweating, mycosis (fungi) or bad odor. Generally, services are packaged. At BestFeet, for example, the preventive podiatry package costs 400 and lasts 50 minutes. It includes diagnosis of the condition of the foot, trimming of nails in anatomical shape, removal of calluses and six minutes of manual and mechanical foot massage. The total duration is 50 minutes. They also have a VIP corrective package of 620 pesos that includes diagnosis of the condition of the foot, trimming of nails in anatomical shape, removal of severe calluses and treatment of a specific condition. In this case the massage is 30 minutes from the knees to the feet. The total duration of the service is 1.30 hours. Obviously, there are other sources of income, such as specialized consultations for any condition (whose average cost is 500 pesos) and the sale of specialized products for foot care such as creams, gels, pads, heel pads, bunion protectors, antiperspirants , shoe disinfectant and custom made orthotics. Added to this are the dividends generated by alternative services for hands. A manicure and nail polish, for example, goes from 250 to 300 pesos, but if the client packs it with a basic pedicure service, the price increases between 500 or 550 pesos. “Innovation has been key to the success and permanence of the business, for this reason, in addition to services for hands and feet, we have reflexology, a technique that stimulates certain nerve endings in the feet through massage to restore balance to everyone. the organs of the body. The session lasts 50 minutes and has a cost of 380 pesos ”, explains Alfonso, from the Mexican Podiatric Center By Dr. Scholls. To ensure the profitability of your business, use the entire installed base: the ideal is to have one patient per cubicle every 50 minutes. Make sure that each user takes a foot care product. KEY RESOURCES To open a health and beauty center for the feet, you need an 80 to 100 square meter premises, located in a commercial area with a good flow of people, both on foot and by car. Must have high visibility and offer valet parking or parking service. Best Feet, for example, is located in a commercial plaza south of Mexico City. PODeSur is also characterized by its strategic location in these types of complexes. While others, such as Centro Podológico Mexicano By Dr. Scholls and Total Feet are at street level. Regardless of the location you choose, make sure the location allows modifications and equip it with good quality furniture. What staff should you hire? It depends on your business model. For example, if you are only going to offer the podiatry service, hire six podiatrists, a manager, who can be the entrepreneur, a receptionist, a cleaning assistant and an accountant (in outsourcing); But if you are also going to offer a manicure service, look for one or two manicurists. “You have to look for technical personnel or with a university degree. Unfortunately there are establishments with technicians that only have three-month courses and it is not the best. The consumer has the right to receive professional attention, to request the documents that support the training of the personnel and to verify that the establishment has the corresponding permits ”, details Raúl Alejandro Ramírez, director and co-founder of Total Feet . Raúl, who has a degree in Podiatry from the University of Xilotzingo , in Puebla, recommends looking for personnel who have graduated from a degree in Podiatry or from a prestigious technical school. The degree in Podiatry is also taught at the University of Guadalajara and the Popular Autonomous University of Veracruz . KEY ACTIVITIES In the operation of a health and beauty center for the feet there are certain processes that you must follow in order to make clients happy. The main one has to do with the asepsis of the place, furniture and instruments. To do this, make sure that between each service the furniture is cleaned and covered with new protectors. Also verify that there is always sterilized equipment, for which you must have stock and not just the right material to work with. Another important point is to have a bio-infectious hazardous waste management plan. In this regard, check the Official Mexican Standard NOM-087-SEMARNAT-SSA1-2002 determines the handling specifications. What about the staff? You must wear a gown or a Filipina, have your hair tied back, wear a surgical cap, net or hair covering, wear a face mask and sterile disposable gloves for each patient treated, wear protective glasses or a mask, present yourself with short nails, without enamel, and do not wear jewelry or rings. For each patient, a file must be prepared. All information must be protected and treated in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Law on Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties . KEY ALLIANCES To boost the results of your business, create alliances with companies, schools and suppliers. For example, make agreements with corporate Human Resources areas to offer special discounts to employees or to participate in health fairs they organize. It also links alliances with an educational institution that provides you with personnel in training for professional practices or social service; train them to assist certified personnel, assist in material sanitation work, or prepare and classify files. Another option is to seek the support of brands for staff training or to obtain a product on loan. Regardless of the agreements you reach, write down the conditions, penalties and ways of cancellation and exit. Remember: clear accounts, long friendships. 10,000 steps a day we humans take. This is equivalent to going around the world four times in a lifetime / Image: Shutterstock COST STRUCTURE The basic investment to start your health and foot care center begins with the rent of the premises that, depending on the area, ranges from 180 pesos to 600 or more per square meter. In Colonia Narvarte, for example, the rent per square meter ranges between 180 and 250 pesos, while in Naples between 550 and 1,000 or more. The next step is to adapt the premises. For this you will need an investment of between 150,000 and 250,000 to adapt six cubicles, a reception, a waiting room, a special area for sanitizing instruments, two bathrooms (one for employees and one for clients) and a small warehouse. The equipment of the office / reception / waiting room area can imply an average investment of between 120,000 to 140,000 pesos, while that of the podiatric consultation area requires a little more. A good parameter is to know how much it costs to equip a workstation. A multi-position chair costs between 16,000 and 30,000, depending on the quality; a micromotor with aspiration system, from 800 to 1,500 pesos; a lamp with LED light and magnifying glass between 2,800 and 4,500 and a set of diverse instruments (tweezers, punches, spatulas, scalpels, chisels, scissors, pliers, podiatry spoons, files, among others between 3,000 and 12,000). To this must be added the cost of consumables (disposable material to cover furniture and various supplies for disinfection and massage) and that of one or two autoclaves to disinfect the instruments (from 20,000 to 25,000). “At Best Feet the initial investment was around 1.5 million, of which each work unit occupied around 70,000 pesos. The biggest expense went to adaptation of the premises, decoration, furniture and instruments, but in the end we achieved a unique concept that people are looking for because in addition to being very professional, we make them feel unique from the moment they arrive ”, says its creator Loretta Valle. What about payroll? You can opt for a mixed compensation scheme, as in Best Feet, which offers its collaborators a salary of 1,200 pesos per week and commissions of 30% for service. Added to this are your tips. The strongest costs have to do with the rent of the premises, the adequacy and the equipment. Do the numbers and look for options to save without sacrificing quality. Now you know how a health and beauty center for the feet operates, turn to your savings, friends and family to capitalize and embark on the adventure of undertaking.