Is Starting a Float Center Right for You?

Open Float Tank - Neil - 08Opening and running a float center is an incredible undertaking. What will be asked of you will most likely push you to more extremes than anything you have ever done in you life, particularly if this is your first business or even first brick and mortar.

Every individual opening a float center will bring their own skills and assets to the table that will help shape and develop the business as it expands. There is always more to learn however, and there will be many portions of the business that require developing an entirely new skill-set in order to run it effectively.

So why are there so many people rushing to start their own float business? Are people that in love with floating? Or is there more to it?

While Sandra immediately saw the benefits of floating for the patients that she saw at the hospital, I saw the incredible introspective benefits of floating. We both agreed that on many levels float tanks were an incredible tool that could only use more public attention and accessibility.

An Accessible Industry

That being said, there is something else that connected with us and I believe is connecting with a lot of folks who are interested in starting a float business: Ease of entry.

Ease of entry financially: Do the math on running a float center and you will quickly see that even with inflated costs and low expectations of float tank income, a break even scenario appears easily within grasp. The potential profits look too good to be true.

Ease of entry educationally: No doctorate required! in fact no degree required. In fact, you don't even have to take training courses or pass a test to say your are capable of running a float center.

Because of this low barrier, a lot of individuals are seeing exactly what we saw a year before we opened our business. This is possible for me when so many other business ventures that appeal to me aren't. Sure, you could open a bar, but your interest is in wellness and helping people. Occupations in wellness often times require an education.

First of all, If you have not opened a float center yet, know this: running a float center is not a get rich quick business. You will not open your float center and pay employees to run your shop while you vacation in the Bahamas.

Hidden Challenges

Since opening our float center in Portland Oregon, we have had a countless number of excited floaters let us know that they will be opening their very own float center. We have given pieces of advice and had hours and hours of conversation with our patrons on what we think the best philosophies are for opening a float center. So far, very very few have actually opened a float tank center. Of those that have, one that we know of has closed already.

The most obvious reason is funding. But even the funding to open a float center does not make a financially successful business year after year. I believe the main issue with opening a successful float center (and most any business) is having personal passion, understanding and dedication to the products and services offered. Too often those with the entrepreneurial spirit are motivated to join the float industry because of the apparent ease of running and making money off of float tanks. Often these people have no business experience as well. Most individuals will be in for a rude awakening when actually setting up their float center or opening their doors to the public as they learn this industry requires just as much work as any other business, and even more so in comparison to other types of businesses..

The flip side of this is those who are incredibly passionate about floating, but are not business minded. Without a business sense, people will often times give too much away for free, not develop a brand, not focus on advertising or simply assume that people will find them if it is 'meant to be'.

The Challenge is the Benefit

Consider that there is currently no cookie cutter formula for running a float center. This has many advantages and disadvantages. Currently there is no simple A + B = Successful Business. There can be an incredible learning curve to running a center. We are on a new frontier, operating a technology (float tanks) that have not met their golden age of quality. They will require a lot of maintenance and often times will require modifications by your hand. Heaters go out. Pumps die. Leaks happen.

The advantage of there being no current formula on how to run a float center is that you don't have to follow a mold. You are left to blaze your own trail. You get to use your own ingenuity and strengths to create your own mold for how to create the perfect float center. While there are plenty of franchises that you could buy into or businesses with similar models across the industry, by opening a float center you become a trend setter and will help define an industry and shape the future of the industry.