Skip to Content

Learning Center

Print page

Classifying Spa, Massage and Personal Appearance Service Operations

December 15, 2021

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) often receives requests for assistance in classifying businesses that provide massage, spa and personal appearance services. Based on the scope of services and the type of facilities operated, most businesses with such operations are assigned to one of three classifications. 

Employers that provide massage services or other personal appearance services – but do not operate exercise facilities or bath facilities such as saunas, steam baths, hydrotherapy baths, cryotherapy, natural springs, mud baths or soaking tubs – are classified as 9586, Barber Shops, Hair Styling Salons and Personal Appearance Services. In addition to massage and hair cutting or styling, other personal appearance services associated with Classification 9586 include manicures, pedicures, facial treatments, tattoos, piercing, tanning and hair removal. This classification also applies to fee-based salon services provided by barber or cosmetology schools. 

Employers that provide massage or other personal appearance services in connection with spa or bath facilities such as saunas, steam baths, hydrotherapy baths, cryotherapy, natural springs, mud baths or soaking tubs are classified as 9054, Spas or Baths (provided they do not operate exercise facilities). Although Classifications 9054 and 9586 have some operational overlap in that they both can provide massage or personal appearance services, the line of demarcation is the operation of spas or bath facilities in connection with those operations.  

Massage services or other personal appearance services are also provided by many health clubs or gyms. A health club or gym may or may not include spa or bath facilities but will provide exercise space and equipment for use by clients on an at-will basis. Massage services or other personal appearance services provided in connection with health club or gym operations are classified as 9053(2), Health Clubs or Gyms – including restaurant employees, retail store employees and receptionists.  

Spa, massage and personal appearance services can also be provided in connection with the hospitality and resort industry. Employers assigned to Classification 9050, Hotels, Motels or Short-Term Residential Housing, are increasingly providing recreational, personal care and leisure services such as spas, golf courses and health club services. Such services are not necessarily integral to the provision of lodging. Historically, these additional operations have been assigned in accordance with the Multiple Enterprises Rule when conducted in connection with a hotel. Effective September 1, 2021, Classification 9050 was amended to direct that recreation, leisure or resort operations – including but not limited to country clubs, golf courses, casinos, gaming clubs, spas, baths, health clubs, gyms, barber shops or hair salons – shall be separately classified. When spa, massage or personal appearance services are performed in connection with hotels, motels or short-term residential housing, these operations will now be separately classified, without applying the Multiple Enterprises Rule. 

The complete description for each classification discussed in this article is available through the Classification Search tool on and through the following links: 

Related Information

Additional Resources