Intravenous (IV) hydration therapies are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to replenish fluids and electrolytes quickly. This makes starting an IV hydration business a potentially lucrative opportunity for those with medical knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The business model is relatively straightforward, with the opportunity to generate income quickly, but there are some specific requirements to starting a successful IV hydration business.
In this guide, we provide an overview of the business, steps to get started, and answers to common questions.
An IV hydration business provides intravenous fluid treatments to customers in a spa-like setting. Services may include basic intravenous fluids to treat dehydration from illness, hangovers, or intense workouts. Additional vitamins, minerals, and medications can be added to IV bags to target specific wellness goals.
At an IV hydration center, a medical professional puts in an arm catheter to deliver fluids loaded with vitamins, minerals, and, in some cases, medications. The IV solutions target a wide range of symptoms. IV hydration businesses offer services priced individually, or they may sell monthly or yearly memberships.
IV hydration businesses can be mobile operations or businesses with a permanent physical location. For example, a mobile IV hydration business travels to a client’s site, events, and venues. On the other hand, IV hydration lounges or bars have a permanent location, much like a spa or salon.
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IV Hydration Industry
The IV hydration industry has seen significant growth in recent years, fueled by increased awareness of the benefits of hydration and the convenience of mobile services. The industry generated $2 billion in 2022 and is expected to increase. Several factors are driving this growth:
- Increased consumer interest in wellness and preventative health solutions.
- Rising demand for hangover remedies and athletic performance boosts.
- Growing awareness of potential benefits of IV vitamin therapies.
- Shorter wait times and more comfortable settings compared to hospitals
IV hydration businesses face strong competition, mainly because the costs to start an IV hydration business can be low. Mobile IV hydration units have minimal start-up costs, making them easy to begin. In addition to the low barrier of entry, the rising demand for IV hydration therapy has contributed to increased competition among IV hydration businesses.
Steps To Start An IV Hydration Business
An IV hydration business can be a great business idea, but there’s a lot to consider. You’ll need more than just the skills to set up IV drips. Check out these steps to lay the groundwork for researching and launching your own IV hydration business.
Step 1: Assess the Market
Considering the growing demand for these services, starting an IV hydration business can be a promising venture. However, as with any business, researching the market should be the first step. This step is important because it helps you understand whether there’s enough demand for your services and gives insights into how to position your business for success.
Without this knowledge, you risk investing time and money into a business that may not have a sufficient customer base to be profitable.
The first task in assessing the market demand for your IV hydration business is to define the target market. Your target market will help you identify the customers you want to cater to and understand their needs and expectations. Your potential customers could be athletes, people with hangovers or jetlag, and those seeking wellness and beauty treatments. Also, focusing on an affluent area with health-conscious demographics can be effective as this targets customers most likely to pay for treatments. Once you define your target market, you can start researching and gathering data about their demographics, psychography, behaviors, and preferences to know if there is enough demand for your IV hydration business.
After getting a handle on the number of people who might be interested in paying for IV hydration services, the next task is to analyze the competition. Analyzing your competitors is critical because it allows you to determine the level of competition in the market and identify areas where you can differentiate your IV hydration business. You can use various methods to analyze your competitors, such as studying their website and social media presence, analyzing their service quality and pricing strategy, and gathering customer feedback. By analyzing your competitors, you can understand the gaps in the market that you can fill to attract more customers.
Market research may not give you a guarantee of success, but it will offer a more informed starting point. It will either affirm your belief that there’s a demand for IV hydration services in your area or send you back to the drawing board.
Step 2: Research Laws & Regulations
Starting an IV hydration business is not just about having the medical know-how and a good business concept. You also have to think about the legal side of things. That means understanding the local laws and regulations that could impact your business. Let’s go through why this is so important.
IV hydration is a medical service. That means you’re dealing with people’s health, and there are strict rules about that. In many places, you must be a licensed healthcare provider to operate an IV hydration business. Other states and municipalities require special licensing, certificates, or permits to operate any business that administers intravenous medications. It’s important to research what licenses are needed in your specific area to legally operate.
By taking the time upfront to research all applicable regulations now may help avoid costly mistakes down the line. Awareness of these rules allows you to establish compliant operations from the start.
Step 3: Write a Business Plan
If you’ve done your market research and still feeling good about starting an IV hydration business, the next big step is writing a business plan. A well-thought-out plan is like a roadmap for your business. It helps you stay on track and shows lenders that you’ve really thought things through.
If you will be looking for funding to get started, there are a few key sections of a business plan that lenders will pay close attention to. The ones I recommend paying the most attention to include:
In this section, you need to show why you believe your IV hydration business will succeed. What sets your service apart from others? Maybe your team has unique medical training, or you offer specific treatments that nobody else does. Lenders want to see that you’ve studied your market and understand why people would choose your business over someone else’s.
The Management Team
When lenders look at a business plan, they want to know who’s running the show. Why? Because a business often rises or falls based on the people in charge. Your management team section should include bios of the key people, including the owners, and what each person brings to the table. For example, if one of you is a nurse and another has a background in business, those are strong points to include.
Where you set up shop can make a big difference. Lenders will want to know why you chose your specific location. Is it easy for people to get to? Is it near other health-related businesses, like gyms or wellness centers, where people might be thinking about their health? Make it clear why your location will help you attract customers.
This is a big one for lenders. They want to know if your business will make money and how soon that’s likely to happen. Your financial projections should be well thought out. What are your costs? How much do you expect to make in sales? When will you break even? And you should understand these numbers inside and out, because lenders will ask questions.
Before presenting your plan to a lender, it’s a good idea to have an experienced business owner or accountant review it. They can provide valuable insights and help identify any potential weaknesses in your plan, allowing you to address them before approaching lenders.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 4: Secure Funding
You’ve done the research and written a business plan. Now comes a crucial part that can cause potential entrepreneurs to stumble: securing funding. Securing the funds to start an IV hydration business can be one of the toughest parts of getting started, and if you save this step for later and funding is delayed or denied, your plans may have to be put on hold.
Depending on the business model, it may not take a lot of money to get started, and/or you have enough cash to get started. If personal savings aren’t enough, outside funding will be needed. Here are some common sources:
Bank loans: Banks are often the first place entrepreneurs turn to when they need business financing. Be prepared to put up about 15% to 25% of your own money towards the project’s total cost. Banks also want to see a good credit score and enough collateral to back up the loan. If a bank feels your business is too risky, they might still give you a loan backed by an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan guarantee.
Friends and family: Another source of funding is friends and family. But mixing business and personal relationships can be tricky. To keep things on the up and up, put any financial agreements in writing. That way, everyone knows what to expect, and you avoid misunderstandings down the road.
Microloans: If you don’t need a ton of money, or if getting a bank loan just isn’t an option, consider a microloan. These are smaller loans often offered by nonprofit organizations. The great thing about microloans is that some organizations also offer business training alongside the loan.
Local investors: Finally, local investors can be a viable funding source. These are often high-net-worth individuals who are interested in a unique concept in exchange for partial ownership of the business. It’s important to note that attracting investors can be challenging and can take longer than a bank loan.
But it’s also one of the most important. With the right funding in place, you’ll be well on your way to making your business dream a reality.
Step 5: Register the Business
Starting an IV hydration business isn’t just about a good idea and a medical background; you also need to make your business legal. Exact requirements may vary from state to state, so it’s crucial to research your local regulations.
Business structure: Your first step is to decide on a business structure. The four most common types are sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
- Sole proprietorship: This is the easiest and least expensive way to start a business. You’re the sole owner and have total control. However, your personal assets can be at risk if the business runs into legal or financial trouble.
- General partnership: This is similar to a sole proprietorship, but it involves two or more people. Each partner shares in the profits, losses, liabilities, and responsibilities.
- Corporation: A corporation is a separate legal entity, which means your personal assets are better protected than a sole proprietorship or partnership. But it’s more complex and expensive to set up, plus there are some additional administrative requirements.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): This structure offers some of the benefits of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship or partnership. It provides liability protection and is easier to manage than a corporation.
Some states may require the IV Hydration business (or any business that requires state licensing) to register as a specific type of medical practice, so be sure to research before choosing. LLCs are quite common for an IV hydration business due to the liability protection they offer.
Related: Comparison of business structures
Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.
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Business name registration: After registering the business structure, you may need to register your business name. This process will vary depending on what business structure you pick. Sole proprietors and partnerships will often be required to register a “Doing Business As” (DBA), while corporations and LLCs register with the state during the formation process.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to check if the name you want is available as a web domain, even if you’re not ready to set up a website yet.
Obtain business licenses and permits: Like any business, an IV hydration therapy services business owner will likely need to obtain a variety of business licenses and permits in order to operate.
Specific to IV hydration businesses, each state has different requirements since you will be administering injections. In general, most states require nurses to have their LPN or RN, a Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI), or certification in IV therapy and have supervised clinical practice. Many states also require RNs to be supervised by a licensed physician.
It’s not uncommon to need a health permit from the Health Department. In addition to permitting, they will also regularly inspect the facilities for proper sanitation.
In addition, general requirements will vary by location, such as a business license, sales tax license, and Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Step 6: Acquire & Set Up the Location
Deciding on a location for an IV hydration business will go back to your business model. If you plan to have a mobile IV therapy service, the location isn’t obviously as important as it is for an IV hydration clinic. Many municipalities have zoning regulations about where medical facilities can be located. To avoid issues, it’s important to only set up your IV business in areas zoned for clinical or retail services.
If you opt for a fixed clinic, the location should be guided by the target market. For example, a business located in a tourist area that markets to people rehydrating after partying too much will be different from an IV hydration business that focuses on people who want to improve their health and wellness.
Once you’ve got the keys to your new place, it’s time to set it up. First, the facility may need renovations. The layout of the space should be designed to facilitate efficient workflow and promote a comfortable, relaxing environment for clients. This may involve creating private treatment rooms, a reception area, restrooms, and a storage area for supplies. Walls may need to be constructed or removed to create this layout. Before starting any renovations, be sure that your plans will comply with health and safety codes.
Once the major renovations are complete, you’ll need to furnish and decorate the space. This includes buying medical-grade chairs or beds for the treatment rooms, office furniture for the reception area, and decor that creates a welcoming and calming environment.
Step 7: Purchase Equipment & Supplies
With the space coming together, it’s time to get the actual equipment and supplies that’ll make your IV hydration business operational.
If it wasn’t done already in the business plan, start by creating a detailed list of everything you’ll need. From IV stands to medical chairs and sterilization equipment, make sure you’ve got it all listed. Having a comprehensive list will help you stay focused and not forget anything crucial. You should also include consumables like IV fluids, tubing, and needles.
It’s also important to remember that any equipment and supplies you buy for your business are usually tax-deductible, so keep all of your receipts.
Step 8: Hire Staff
A business that provides intravenous (IV) hydration therapy will need a few key types of employees in order to function properly, especially registered nurses (RNs) to administer the IV treatments. In addition to RNs, businesses may also hire medical assistants (MAs) to help with patient care. MAs may be responsible for taking vital signs, administering oral medications, and providing pre and post-treatment care.
Finally, office staff will be needed to greet patients and handle scheduling, billing, and other administrative tasks.
Before you start the hiring process, a few legal steps are needed for employers:
- EIN: You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax reporting.
- Employment eligibility: Make sure your employees have the legal right to work in the U.S. You’ll usually verify this with documents like a Social Security card and ID.
- State reporting: Each state has its rules for reporting new hires. Make sure you know what your state requires.
- Worker’s compensation insurance: Most states need you to have worker’s compensation insurance in case of employee injuries.
- Labor laws: Stay updated on both federal and state labor laws to ensure you’re compliant with minimum wage, overtime, and other work condition standards.
Related: Hiring your first employee
Step 9: Create a Marketing Strategy
When it comes to marketing a new IV hydration business, the most important thing is knowing your target audience and creating a brand that stands out from the competition.
To do this, you need to focus on what makes your business unique and what needs your target market has that are not being met by other businesses. Once you have a clear brand identity, you can develop a marketing strategy to help you reach your target customers.
There are a number of ways to market a new business, and they will vary depending on the target market, but some of the most effective include posting on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., and online advertising. Also, partnering with local gyms, health food stores, and primary care doctors can be a strong business driver.
Step 10: Prepare to Open!
You’re almost there! Before opening your IV hydration business, there are a few more steps to check off your list. Every business will have different needs, but here are some of the common ones:
Business insurance: You’ll need coverage to protect against potential legal claims. This is especially important for medical-related businesses where the stakes are high. We recommend getting at least three insurance quotes, including local insurance agents and online providers like Coverwallet or Hiscox to get the best coverage and pricing.
Opening a bank account: Separate your business and personal finances by opening a dedicated bank account for your business.
Management software: Investing in management software designed for medical services can make your operations more efficient. Examples include Hint Health, which offers membership management and billing features, and Mend, which provides telehealth and patient engagement solutions. Another option is Mindbody, which offers online booking, marketing tools, and more.
Setting pricing: Determine your pricing structure. This will depend on factors such as the cost of supplies, overhead expenses, and what your local market will bear.
Industry associations: Joining associations like the Infusion Nurses Society or your state’s medical association can offer networking opportunities and professional growth.
Grand opening: Plan a well-publicized grand opening to introduce your business to the community. Offer introductory specials or host informational seminars on the benefits of IV hydration.
Common Questions When Starting An IV Hydration Business
How much does it cost to start an IV hydration business?
To start an IV hydration business, you can expect to spend anywhere between $70,000 and $150,000, depending on various factors like location, equipment, and initial staffing.
Let’s break down the major costs involved so you can get a clearer picture.
Location: Starting as a mobile operation keeps costs low since making individual trips or setting up a booth saves money on a physical location. If you already have a vehicle to use, you may, in fact, have no location costs. However, if you purchase a vehicle or mobile medical unit, you should expect to pay around $45,000.
IV hydration lounges need a physical location, like a storefront, for clients to come in, sit down, and get treatment. The deposit for a commercial space can range between $2,000 to $10,000. It largely depends on the area and square footage.
Buildout costs: Costs for building renovations, building walls, upgrades for utilities, ventilation, plumbing, and meeting healthcare codes could cost $10,000 and up.
Equipment and supplies: You’ll need medical-grade IV solutions, vitamins, and other essential supplies. Additionally, equipment like IV poles, chairs, and medical instruments are required. You’re looking at an initial investment of approximately $15,000 to $30,000.
Business registration and licenses: Registering your business and getting the necessary healthcare licenses can add up to $2,000 to $5,000, varying by state and local regulations.
Initial staffing: Assuming you’ll hire a nurse or two and a receptionist, their salaries for the first month would be around $10,000 to $15,000.
Insurance: Liability insurance and other necessary coverage can cost you around $2,000 to $5,000 initially.
Marketing: To make your presence felt, you’ll need a basic website, some online ads, and maybe some flyers or banners. For just the initial set-up, you’re looking at around $3,000 to $5,000.
Miscellaneous: Don’t forget costs like utility setup, furniture, and office supplies, which can run you an additional $5,000 to $10,000.
How profitable is an IV hydration business?
Opening an IV hydration business can be lucrative if run efficiently. Industry statistics show the average IV treatment generates between $100 and $400 per treatment.
Using $200 as the average treatment cost and conservative estimates of 10 customers per day at 5 days per week, that equates to $10,000 in weekly revenue or $520,000 annually.
Typical ongoing expenses like IV fluids & vitamins, staff wages, medical supplies, facility costs, and marketing tally around 80% of revenue on average. For a clinic generating $520,000 yearly, expenses would total approximately $416,000.
Based on the metrics above, that leaves an estimated $104,000 in potential annual pre-tax profit.
Of course, factors like location, competition, and offerings would impact actual results. But the math illustrates the compelling economics that make IV hydration an attractive business opportunity when executed successfully.
What skills are needed to run an IV hydration business?
From medical experience to accounting, an IV hydration business has several components that need attention. So, you (or your team) will need several essential skills to successfully run an IV hydration business.
Medical experience: In some states, IV hydration businesses must be owned by a medical professional. Similarly, some states may not require that the owner be a medical professional but that medical practitioners administer the IV solutions. Both regulations about IV treatments and concern for customer safety make having a medical background or experience essential.
Organization: Organization is essential as you will need to order IV solutions, manage appointments and employee schedules, take payments, and track accounting. You will need a high level of organization to manage each element. Even as a sole operator or owning a mobile IV hydration business, organizing your schedule keeps waste low and improves your business’s efficiency and ability to generate income.
Marketing: As IV hydration businesses are growing in popularity, marketing is essential to increase awareness of your business’s services. Marketing can be accomplished with a clear and professional website, a strong social media presence, or advertising. A marketing professional can help develop your marketing plan so that your dollars are spent effectively.
What is the NAICS code for an IV hydration business?
The NAICS code for an IV hydration therapy services business is 621498, which falls under All Other Outpatient Care Centers.
The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.
Related: What is a NAICS code?