This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
With a good salon point-of-sale (POS) system, you cannot only take appointments and process payments more easily but also track customer preferences, inventory, and, in some cases, payroll information. We looked at the top POS systems and selected the best specifically for salons.
The best six salon POS systems for small businesses are:
- Square Appointments: Best overall salon POS system
- DaySmart Salon: Best for managing walk-in appointments or virtual consultations
- Fresha: Best free POS with online directory for reaching new clients
- Vagaro: Best for health or medical businesses needing intake forms or SOAP notes
- Rosy Salon: Best for beauty salons and barber shops, especially those that rent booths
- MassageBook: Best for massage therapists looking for a simple, affordable option
Salon POS Systems Compared
In-person Payment Processing Fees
Integrated Online Booking
Marketing and Loyalty Tools*
$0 to $69
2.6% plus 10 cents
$299 to $799
Limited; add-on programs available
$29 to $249
Varies; works with Card Connect
Buy your own
Loyalty, reputation management (add-on)
None, certain features are paid add-ons
2.19% plus 20 cents
Buy your own
Online directory**; otherwise limited
$25 to $85
2.2% plus 19 cents to 2.75%
Contact for quote
Online directory**, rewards
$29 to $192
Buy your own
Rewards and loyalty; upsell suggestions
$19.99 to $47.88
(free first year of lowest plan)
Varies (uses Square and Stripe)
Purchase Via Square or Stripe
Online directory**; otherwise limited
*All the salon POS systems provide email and text marketing, although some charge past a certain number of texts in a month or include this tool in higher plans.
**Fresha, Vagaro, and MassageBook host online directories of their users where customers can look up services in their area.
Square Appointments: Best Overall Salon POS Systems
Square Appointments ranks No. 1 on our list for its versatility and excellent toolset as well as its ease of use. In addition to scheduling, it has a POS system that consistently makes our lists for best POS system, best retail POS system, and best inventory POS systems. The plan prices are competitive and even the free one includes text reminders, ecommerce, employee time tracking, customer notes, and inventory tracking.
Square earned a 4.74 out of 5. It maxed out our pricing, expert score, and back office tools categories. It lost points because it lacked integrated intake forms―consider Vagaro or MassageBook for those—and also because most of its marketing and loyalty tools cost extra.
Since our last update:
Square has added AfterPay to its payment processing. With AfterPay, your customers can divide high-ticket bills into four installments while you get paid in full immediately.
- Monthly subscription fee:
- Free: Scheduling, online scheduling, recurring appointments, online booking website, retail sales, Instagram integration, QR code booking, team management, time tracking, customer notes and history, contract management, discounts, e-gift cards, low-stock alerts, and integrations
- Plus ($29 per month): Everything in Free, plus multilocation management, Google calendar sync, automated text/email confirmations, and no-show protection
- Premium: ($69 per month): Everything in Plus, along with employee sales vs labor reporting, commission tracking, and resource management
- Payment processing fee: Unlike some of the POS systems on our list, you must use Square Payments.
- In-person: 2.6% plus10 cents or 2.5% plus 10 cents for paid plans
- Online: 2.9% plus 30 cents
- Manually keyed in: 3.5% plus 15 cents
- Hardware costs: Like all the POS software on our list, Square Appointments can run on any desktop or be downloaded onto any iOS and Android smartphone and tablet.
- Contactless chip reader for mobile: $49
- Square Stand and reader for iPad: $149
- Square Terminal: $299
- Square Register: $799 (Cheaper than Vagaro)
Since our last update:
Squares pricing plans are no longer dependent on the number of employees, but on features offered. Prices are per month per location. Custom pricing is available for businesses processing more than $250,000 per year.
- Free plan: If you run a solo operation or single appointment calendar for your salon, Square’s free plan is an excellent choice. It comes with a complete set of appointment-scheduling features, POS software with inventory, basic team management, and automated messaging. Fresha also has a free plan with slightly different features; MassageBook has a one-year free trial.
- Square Assistant: Square Assistant sends appointment reminders via text. It can respond to customers to confirm, cancel, or reschedule appointments. Most automated texting apps for other salon POS systems on our list cannot suggest reschedules.
- Calendar: Each employee gets individual calendars. You can set business hours, block time off, and choose to approve each appointment request manually or automatically. Square’s top plan lets you assign resources to services so they are booked automatically, preventing double booking, and you can view resource appointments on the schedule.
- Customer contracts: Square lets you create or import customer contracts and take notes. While not as specific as the intake forms you’ll find with the others on our list, they are an excellent tool for spas that have programs that require a customer commitment, or for COVID agreements or credit card authorizations.
- Grow with Square: Of all the salon POS software on our list, Square alone is designed to grow with your business, with tools for banking, loans, and even payroll processing with employee benefits programs. It also offers the biggest variety of integrations to take your business in new directions.
- Client intake forms and SOAP notes: Square does not have integrated client intake forms, where you can ask health questions or get preferences like what areas of the body the therapist should concentrate on. Nor does it have SOAP notes. MassageBook is best for this.
- Built-in loyalty or membership programs: Square lets you make customer groups, but for a full membership or loyalty program, you need Square Loyalty, which costs extra. Most of the other salon POS software on our list have these programs, although sometimes in higher-tier plans.
- Group bookings: Like Fresha and MassageBook, Square does not have group booking for classes, but you can create classes via the online store. Support suggests setting classes up as events and selling appointments as tickets. Vagaro and DaySmart Salon offer better tools for classes, including virtual classes.
DaySmart Salon: Best for Managing Walk-in & Virtual Appointments
DaySmart Salon is the most expensive POS system we reviewed for more than three users, but it offers features the others do not, such as integrated teleconsulting and a walk-in kiosk. This makes it a good choice for salons with walk-in customers and virtual appointments. The feature set is fantastic and it accommodates booth rentals.
In the news: In September 2022, DaySmart acquired TeamUp, a leading fitness studio and gym management software. DaySmart said it expands its market reach but has not mentioned plans for integrating the software into DaySmart Salon.
DaySmart Salon earned a 4.66 out of 5 in our evaluation. It scored high across the board, except for price, where it ties with Rosy Salon for last place. However, at the second level ($69) plan, you’ll find marketing, time clock, and client loyalty functions—tools you may have to pay extra for with other providers, such as Square or Vagaro, or get as a third-party application.
Since our last update: DaySmart works exclusively with CardConnect for payment processing. It no longer uses OpenEdge.
- Monthly subscription fee: Ranging from $29 to $249. It has a free 14-day trial. Teleconsulting requires a remote access license of $9 per month.
- Payment processing fee: DaySmart Salon integrates only with CardConnect, which has varying rates, monthly fees, and contracts. If you want payment processing with a flat rate and no contracts, try Square or Fresha.
- Hardware costs: Most of the hardware can be purchased through third-party websites. It advertises an all-in-one solution, but pricing may depend on the plan you get.
- Teleconsulting: DaySmart Salon’s teleconsultation function lets clients request a virtual appointment. It’s nonetheless an excellent tool for private lessons or appointments that don’t need to be in person. While other salon POS software can let you designate virtual appointments, DaySmart Salon alone lets you work everything through the software. (Vagaro uses a Zoom integration.)
- Reputation management: DaySmart’s reputation management tool invites clients to leave reviews but with a twist. Good reviews are posted immediately. Poor reviews are flagged so that you can try to work out the issue instead, preventing misunderstandings from hurting your online ratings. It’s an add-on, but no one else offers this.
- Payroll: You get time clock and payroll tools in the Deluxe and higher plans. Go up to the Premier plan and you can set sliding commissions, hourly pay, and overtime rules. Vagaro alone offers similar payroll features plus other tools while Square has a complete payroll service that integrates with its POS.
- Customer kiosk: This is an excellent tool for letting walk-ins sign in and take the next available slot, even if you and your employees are busy with customers. While you could use Square’s mobile apps to set up something similar, DaySmart Salon is already made for this purpose. Vagaro has a kiosk but charges an extra fee for it.
- Free plan: DaySmart Salon does not have a free plan and is the most expensive POS system on our list. It also does not have a month-to-month credit card processing option. For either of these, Square or Fresha are your best bets.
- Not built for Mac: While the cloud version works fine for Android or iOS, if you want the desktop version and plan to install the software on a Mac, you need to purchase Parallels and Windows 10. (The others on our list are cloud-based only.)
Fresha: Best Free POS System for Small Salons Wanting Increased Visibility
Fresha is a free POS system that’s built specifically for salons and spas. This simple, flexible booking and payment processing software includes full retail sales capabilities, inventory tracking, analytics, and marketing tools. Like Square, Fresha is free for unlimited team members but is not as feature-rich as Square or others on our list. However, it includes you in its online catalog, making it the best choice for budget-minded salons looking for increased visibility.
Fresha earned a 4.55 out of 5. Its user-friendly interface, customer-facing business directory, low price point, and detailed booking features earned the system a high score. A lack of payroll reporting and traditional gift card management prevented Fresha from earning a perfect mark. Vagaro or Square are the best choices if you need payroll.
Since our last update:
Fresha has added several new features. Deposits make it easier to prevent no-shows by requiring some money when the appointment is made. A New Sales tab includes shortcuts for speedier checkouts. Fresha now links with Google Calendar, offers more automatic reminders, and can text aftercare advice.
Since our last update:
Fresha has increased its blast campaign fees.
- Monthly subscription fee: $0. Fresha stands out because it does not charge for its appointments, POS, or inventory management tools. However, it does have additional fees for using some features, such as:
- New client fee: 20%, doesn’t apply to repeat customers or customers who book directly through your website or social page (Vagaro and MassageBook have similar services with no new client fee)
- Blast campaigns: Send clients SMS text messages (6 cents each) or email (3 cents each)
- Automated Notifications: You get 100 free monthly texts; after which, you pay 1 cent per text
- Payment processing fee: 2.19% plus 20 cents per transaction, which is one of the lowest rates we’ve seen. It includes online booking, marketing, and messages
- Hardware costs: Use your own desktop, tablet, or smartphone; Verifone card readers
- Free plan: Like Square’s free plan, the only thing you pay for is the payment processing. If you choose not to accept payments through Fresha, this plan gives you only in-person booking, inventory, and reporting features, making it a more straightforward plan than Square’s. However, add the payment processing Fresha offers, and it rivals Square, but at a cheaper price.
- Fresha Marketplace: Fresha hosts you in its online marketplace, allowing customers to discover you and book an appointment. While it charges a 20% finder’s fee per new client, it is a cost-effective way to build your clientele as you only pay by successful lead rather than by advertisement. Fresha has booked more than 250 million appointments. Vagaro has something similar while MassageBook has an exclusive directory for massage therapists.
- Package deals: Fresha lets you create package deals, such as couple’s massages, mani-pedis, or a whole spa experience. When selecting, these can be booked as a whole or in sequence so you can schedule resource rooms. Square requires a higher plan for this.
- Intake forms: Fresha allows you to create your own forms. In addition to selecting your own questions, you can assign forms to services, include them in the client feed, and send reminders.
- Live customer support: Fresha only offers support by email. If you want to reach a human voice, consider DaySmart Salon, which offers phone and chat support, or Vagaro, which has live chat support.
- Group bookings: Like Square, Fresha does not provide group booking for classes. Consider Vagaro or DaySmart Salon instead.
- Built-in loyalty programs: Fresha has email and text blast campaigns and the ability to make memberships, but still does not have a traditional loyalty program. Consider DaySmart if this is important to you.
Vagaro: Best for Health & Fitness Businesses, or Businesses That Need SOAP Notes
Vagaro offers an excellent span of features for scheduling, customer management, payments, and more, although you may have to pay extra for some. We were especially impressed with its payroll tools, something no other POS software had as completely. However, its recurring appointments, invoicing, and SOAP notes are why we chose it for service businesses tied to health and medical centers.
Vagaro earned a 4.49 out of 5 in our evaluation, with excellent marks across the board. It lacks a free plan like Square and Fresha, and charges for tools that others like DaySmart or Rosy Salon include in their plans, such as advanced marketing tools, intake forms, and its check-in app. Depending on the tool, DaySmart may be cheaper than Vagaro with the add-ons. It was second to Square for integrations.
Since our last update:
Vagaro has added a Vagaro Pay Later that, such as Square AfterPay, lets customers divide large tickets into several installments while still paying you in full immediately.
- Monthly subscription fee: Like Rosy Salon, pricing depends on the number of users or calendars:
- One: $25
- Two: $35
- Three: $45
- Four: $55
- Five: $65
- Six: $75
- Seven or more: $85
- Additional fees: Vagaro charges extra for the following tools. Some of these tools are not offered at all with other salon POS software, although for forms, look to DaySmart Salon.
- Automated text marketing: $20 per month
- Email marketing: Free “to start”
- Forms: $10 per month
- Online store: $10 per month
- Website builder: $10 per month
- Vagaro Drive (cloud storage): $10 per month
- Livestream classes: $10 per month
- Check-in app: $10 per month
- Featured on Vagaro Marketplace: $10 per month
- Branded app: $200 per month
- Payment processing fee: Vagaro is unique in that it has two payment processing plans, depending on your sales volume. You may have to sign a contract.
- Less than $4,000 per month: 2.75% for in-person and 3.5% plus 15 cents for keyed-in transactions
- More than $4,000 per month: 2.2% plus 19 cents for in-person and 3% plus 19 cents for keyed-in transactions plus a $10 monthly fee
- POS hardware costs: You get a free chip reader. Vagaro no longer lists prices online.
- Online directory: Like Fresha and MassageBook, Vagaro has an online directory that people can use to find salons in their area. However, it can also post your livestream classes so you can build your virtual audience no matter where you are. Fresha does not offer this. Further, Vagaro does not charge a new-client fee as Fresha does.
- Billing: Vagaro’s invoice system makes it easy to bill clients. It incorporates payment processing, so clients can pay right from the email, and even allows tips. (Square’s invoicing does not.) Invoices are tied to customer profiles and include automatic reminders. With Vagaro’s pay later tool, they can even elect to pay in installments while you get paid instantly.
- SOAP notes: SOAP notes capture details of a client’s history and record progress, such as for personal trainers or massage therapy for a specific condition. While all the software on our list have places for notes, only Vagaro and MassageBook have the specific SOAP notes format, which has profiles for the human face and body anatomy—to identify pain points easily—and a pain scale.
- Payroll: Vagaro tops the list for payroll functions, with time clocks, commission tracking, and hourly pay. You can also access pay stubs and payroll history through Vagaro. It integrates with Gusto and QuickBooks for more advanced payroll functions. DaySmart has payroll processing but not the integrations, while Square Payroll costs extra (but includes benefits).
- Built-in (free) client management features: Vagaro charges extra for some features you’ll find free with other software. It charges $10 a month for form building, something you’ll find free on Fresha Plus or DaySmart Salon’s Deluxe and higher plans. Square gives you a free online store; Vagaro charges $10 a month for this.
- Consistency of software performance and good customer support: Vagaro averages 4.69 out of 5 on user review sites. However, those that complained (and even those that scored it high), mentioned lags, difficulty getting some features to work, and some complaints about rude customer support.
Rosy Salon: Best for Hairstylists & Booth Rentals
Rosy Salon is a newcomer to our list, but brings a lot of unique tools for stylists, including a special plan for booth renters, suggestive upselling, and smart scheduling. Its pricing is comparable to Vagaro’s, and it offers payment processing with multiple merchant services as well as through CardConnect. Overall, we liked it for established hair salons, especially those that rent booths to independent contractors.
Rosy earned 4.47 out of 5 on our list. Pricing was its lowest score because it lacks a free plan, and is more expensive than several when using it for over five stylists or calendars. However, it rated high for all categories, losing points for a couple of advanced features and because it lacks form creation.
Rosy Salon offers two plans. Like Vagaro, prices vary by the number of people per plan.
- Standard Plan: Includes online client scheduling, appointment scheduling, email and text communication, mobile access, inventory management, mobile web app, reports, product reservations, salon POS, rewards, referrals, and Facebook/Google integrations:
- One: $29 per month
- Two: $39 per month
- Three: $49 per month
- Four: $59 per month
- Five to 10: $69 per month
- 11 to 15: $79 per month
- 16 to 20: $89 per month
- 21-plus: $99 per month
- Premium Plan: Everything in Standard plus automated and mass email marketing, enhanced text messaging, client images, text confirmations, and an image library:
- One: $37 per month
- Two: $55 per month
- Three: $65 per month
- Four: $75 per month
- Five to 10: $101 per month
- 11 to 15: $127 per month
- 16 to 20: $156 per month
- 21-plus: $192 per month
Rosy also offers a special plan for booth rentals at $19 per month for the standard Rosy plan and $27 per month for the standard plus client connect tools. It’s the only one with a special plan, although DaySmart says its $29 plan works for booth renters.
- Booth rental software: While Vagaro lets you pull rent from commissions and DaySmart’s cheapest plan works for booth renters, Rosy offers a completely separate system for salons that rent booths to independent stylists. Owners can provide front desk support for booking services, while renters can manage their client and financial information independently. They can also purchase products from your inventory. If a renter leaves, they can take the software with them, too.
- Multiservice scheduling: If a client wants multiple services, such as hair, nails, and eyebrows, Rosy works out the schedule automatically and even gives your client a choice of two or three options. While others on our list can do multiple appointments, only Rosy has smart scheduling.
- Suggestive selling: Rosy’s POS system makes intelligent suggestions for product upgrades or additions based on your client’s history and services performed that day. Examples include reminding them to refill or stock up on favorite products and making recommendations based on their appointment. Rosy says that suggestive selling increases sales by 19%.
- Easy rewards program: Rosy says it takes less than 10 minutes to create a loyalty program on its system. The program can not only provide rewards for spending and frequent visits but also for referrals.
- Forms: Rosy does not have form creation. Look at DaySmart or Fresha for the best form programs for hairstylists.
- Payroll: Rosy does have a time clock, but it does not create payroll reports. Consider Vagaro if this is important to you. Rosy will track commissions, however.
- 24/7 live support: Although Rosy lists a phone number on its website, it only provides a contact form for support. If you want 24/7 live support, consider Vagaro.
MassageBook: Most Affordable for Solo Massage Therapists
MassageBook is designed for independent massage therapists, especially those that work with insurance. While not as extensive in features as more expensive plans like DaySmart Salon or Vagaro, it offers an online directory where new clients can find you, strong scheduling tools suited to massage, and intake forms and SOAP notes.
MassageBook earned a solid 3.79 out of 5. It lacks inventory, employee, commission, and product tracking, although you can glean some of this information in the Sales reports. (Look at Square or DaySmart Salon for better tools.) However, it got perfect scores for price, being cheaper than DaySmart Salon and Vagaro, and appointment and customer management tools.
Since our last update: MassageBook added the ability to put scheduling buttons on Facebook and Instagram. It added a deposit tool, giving clients the option to pay partially or in full up-front. It’s also added customizability to its intake forms and website builder.
Tip: The basic (Transition) plan is free for the first year, making it a great choice for new businesses and recently licensed massage therapists. Members of the AMTA get a 25% discount and members of ABMP get 15% off.
- Monthly subscription fee:
- Transition (First year, free, then $19.99): Mobile app, inclusion in the MassageBook directory, membership management, SOAP notes, client records, outcall functions, and social media integrations.
- Simplify ($37.99): Transition features plus text and email reminders, client photos, digital intake forms, and insurance billing
- Amplify ($47.99): Simplify, plus email marketing, gift certificates, promotions, a customizable website, online schedule, and in-app chat support
- Payment processing: MassageBook integrates with Square and Stripe for payment processing. These rates compare well, but if you have your payment processor, look at DaySmart Salon or Vagaro.
- Hardware: The browser-based software works on any tablet and computer, so no specific hardware is required. You must purchase chip and contactless card readers independently.
- Insurance billing receipts: MassageBook is the only POS software on our list that creates receipts specifically suited for insurance companies. These contain the information your clients need to get reimbursed by their providers.
- Daily limits: While most calendars let you set your business hours and block employee breaks or time off, MassageBook takes a different tactic. It can let you set maximum hours in a day for taking appointments. This is a great tool for independent therapists with more fluidity in their schedule or those who want to limit their appointment hours while still having regular business hours.
- Membership plan: MassageBook says you can create a membership program in fewer than three minutes, with custom plans, automatic billing, rewards, and usage tracking. Of our list, only Vagaro also has a membership program.
- Intake forms and SOAP notes: MassageBook alone on our list had both integrated intake forms and SOAP notes. In addition, it takes the information from the intake form and SOAP notes and makes it available to you via the client’s appointment on your schedule. That way, you don’t have to search for those past files to get basic information.
- An online store for physical products: If you sell products, the others on our list are better choices.
- Advanced reporting, payroll, and inventory management tools: MassageBook’s reporting section is very thin, with only a few basic reports on income, such as sales, payment types, and appointments by members. Rosy, by contrast, has 60-plus reporting options.
How We Evaluated Salon & Spa POS Systems
We’ve considered nearly a hundred different POS systems, selecting those that best serve salons and spas, which meant scheduling and ease of use were necessary. Then, we looked for vital features for customer management and marketing, plus specialty features like intake forms, resource management (so that spas can book appointments based on available rooms or chairs, not just available providers), and no-show protection (with stored credit cards or prepayment). Finally, we considered extra employee management tools, including tipping, commissions, break management, and booking notifications.
Based on our criteria, Square Appointments is the best salon POS. It’s a top-notch POS system with an excellent scheduling plan, plus it has a free plan for smaller businesses while offering tools to grow with you.
Click through to see the scoring criteria:
10% of Overall Score
Salons have enough overhead without adding expensive POS subscriptions. We looked for plans under $100 a month with integrated payment processing and no limits on appointments. Square, Fresha, and MassageBook earned perfect scores.
30% of Overall Score
The backbone of any salon or spa is appointments and scheduling. We looked for online and in-person tools that made it easy for customers to make and keep appointments. Fresha and MassageBook aced this section, but the lowest score (Vagaro and Rosy Salon) was 4.5 out of 5.
20% of Overall Score
To make this list, all the products needed to be strong in this area, handling commissions, memberships, retail product sales, gift cards, and contactless payments. Vagaro and DaySmart Salon earned 4.75 out of 5 while MassageBook ranked the lowest at 3 out of 5.
20% of Overall Score
Like any business, salons need to handle inventory, employees, payroll, and more, plus have access to reports for evaluating the present and planning for the future. Square and DaySmart Salon offer everything we looked for, while MassageBook only provides basic reports.
20% of Overall Score
This score considers our judgment on feature quality and input from real-world users on ease of use and value for the money. Fresha and Square stood out with perfect scores in this area.
Salon POS Systems Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When choosing the best point-of-sale system for your salon, look beyond the register itself and consider your priorities. Do you need booth management? More visibility? Extensive client notes? Programs to encourage return customers? Payroll tools? Or will a basic POS suffice?
Make sure whichever tool you pick can meet not only your current business needs, but where you envision your business a few years from now. If you have a fast-paced or busy salon, also consider how easy it is to use and costs of adding multiple registers.
Learn more about POS systems and how to choose one for your business.
The salon POS systems on our list run from free to up to $250 per month. When considering cost, also take into account what other programs you would need. For example, Square is free, but if you want a loyalty program, you need to purchase it separately. Alternatively, DaySmart Salon’s $69-per-month plan includes loyalty as well as payroll.
In addition, you always need to pay for credit card processing. Some offer flat rates as part of their system; others let you shop around for the best merchant account for price and needs.
Learn more about how much POS systems cost.
Salon POS systems differ from regular POS systems in that they include hefty scheduling tools. The best also let you reserve resources as part of an appointment or separately, and track inventory depletion by use as well as by sale. Some even have accommodations for renting booths to independent stylists, specialized intake forms, and fields for service providers to record appointment notes.
A good salon POS system does more than schedule and take payments. It tracks employee hours, commissions, and inventory. It makes it easy to reach out to customers, whether to remind them of an appointment or let them know about an upcoming sale. Its automations and reports can save you hours of manual work. Low-inventory alerts prevent you from running out of products.
Learn more about the benefits of POS systems.
Most POS software is very easy to use, and many include extensive help libraries and even training videos. Those on our list are highly rated for ease of use. Naturally, as the owner/administrator, you will have a higher learning curve, but for scheduling and checkout, the systems are generally intuitive. You can also contact companies to see what training is available or look up the products on YouTube for user demos.
More on how to use POS systems.
All the salon and spa POS software on our list are great choices. They provide comprehensive calendar tools, text messages to confirm appointments, client notes, and the ability to sell packages, memberships, and at least some types of gift certificates. As you decide what’s best for you, look at specific features (like marketing or SOAP notes) and monthly fees, as well as anticipated transaction fees.
Square Appointments earns the top rank because it’s affordable, user-friendly, and full of POS, inventory, and appointment management tools for online or in person. It’s a versatile system that can grow with your business. Visit Square to start Appointments for free.