Salon software is used for online booking, employee scheduling, inventory tracking, point of sale, and more. We compared the best salon software to identify the top six for your business based on price, online appointments, payment processing, employee scheduling, inventory management, ease of use, customer service, and additional features and identified the best salon software overall.
Top 6 Salon Software Options for 2018
|(Best Overall) Salons that want robust calendar management and other salon management features for free.|
|Small businesses that require calendar functions for employee scheduling, equipment/room availability, and double bookings.|
|Salon owners who want salon software that includes software-based marketing campaign functionality.|
|Salons that want salon software with a well-integrated payment processing system and basic scheduling capabilities.|
|Businesses that want a customized salon software experience with a variety of a la carte add-ons.|
|Business owners wanting to incorporate customer preferences and social media accounts into client profiles.|
How We Evaluated Salon Software
Salon stylists and owners typically need easy-to-use salon software with a low price point, online appointment and employee scheduling, and inventory management. Budget is often a factor and some salons need an inexpensive option with basic functionality like calendar management, while larger salons need more robust options with POS processing and inventory management.
Therefore, the specific criteria we used to determine the best salon software includes:
- Price – To compare salon management software, we evaluated the monthly cost for each option and compared overall value based on standard features, ease of use, and other criteria.
- Online appointments – This criterion evaluates one of the most important aspects of the client’s experience: booking. The online appointment process is often your client’s first perception of your business, so it’s important to choose a software that’s simple, professional, and visually appealing.
- Calendar management – Like online booking, the best salon software features employee scheduling capabilities that allow salons to manage and track employee productivity and maximize revenue.
- Payment processing – Integrated payment processing technology allows salon owners to keep all of their customer data in one online platform.
- Inventory management – Inventory, equipment, and room management tools enable salons to prepare for clients and use their resources as efficiently as possible.
- Ease of use – Whether salon software is intuitive and easy to use directly impacts client satisfaction and employee success.
- Customer support – Responsive customer service teams make salon software more attractive—especially for new businesses that are unsure of how to optimize features.
- Additional features – Additional features like text confirmations, automated marketing campaigns, and client personalization tools make the best salon software stand out.
Based on the above criteria, the best salon software is Shedul. We selected Shedul because of its robust, free option that offers flexible appointment scheduling and online booking, client management tools, and point of sale (POS) capabilities. Plus, all of Shedul’s services are free, so salons can schedule unlimited appointments without paying.
Best Free Salon Software: Shedul
Shedul is a free and versatile cloud-based salon management software that works for all beauty industry professionals, particularly salon owners. The software offers robust features like appointment scheduling, online booking, client management, and retail management with POS, invoicing, receipts, and taxes. Check out Shedul if you’re a beauty industry professional who wants user-friendly salon management software for free.
Currently, Shedul is free salon software that enables salons to schedule appointments and manage daily operations. The platform will eventually introduce fees, but users who register now will never be charged. Shedul is constantly improving the software and releasing new features, so users don’t have to compromise service quality to get full-service management software.
Shedul’s software is the only completely free option on our list. All of Shedul’s users benefit from the same features, including appointment scheduling features and online booking capabilities, client management tools, an integrated salon POS system, and inventory management. Shedul’s features are extremely robust, even at a free price point.
Appointment Scheduling & Online Bookings
At its core, Shedul lets small business owners manage salon appointments for multiple service providers and makes online booking for clients easier. Clients can easily make, change, and cancel appointments through your salon’s website, on Facebook, or on other online booking apps. The software also helps you stay connected with clients and reduce no-shows by letting you send automated reminders and custom messages.
Salon Client Management
Shedul also improves the customer experience by letting salon owners track booking histories, preferences, and contact information for each client. This feature enables salon owners to stay ahead of the game by preparing appropriate service providers, hair products, or equipment in advance of appointments.
Point of Sale Capabilities
Unlike some salon management software, like Rosy that doesn’t come standard with integrated a salon POS system, Shedul has a built-in point-of-sale system that tracks sales transactions, invoicing, receipts, taxes, and inventory management. The features are fully integrated with the Shedul appointment scheduler so all of the software features are user-friendly and in one place.
Shedul allows users to track inventory by product, brand, category, and supplier. For each product, you can monitor retail and supply costs, total on-hand inventory and stock costs, and stock history. Shedul’s inventory management capabilities are standard but do not include features like storage location organization and loyalty points like Vagaro.
Ease of Use
Shedul customers report that the software is extremely user-friendly and features a simple interface that makes salon scheduling easy. Some users have complained that the interface is not as visually appealing as other software options, but Shedul is constantly improving their product and reviews for ease of use are consistently high. Plus, Shedul’s customer support team is reportedly very helpful and they offer a variety of online resources to help your salon.
What Shedul Is Missing
Shedul’s developers are constantly updating the software to respond to user concerns. For that reason, the software has most standard salon management features. However, some users have reported that Shedul lacks sufficient online resources for learning how to use the software. Shedul also lacks customizable reporting capabilities that come standard with providers like Vagaro and Versum.
What Users Think About Shedul
Shedul users are enthusiastic about the software’s free price tag and its user-friendly interface. However, some salon owners are frustrated by the inability to collect a deposit when customers book appointments. Even so, the software generally has excellent ratings for all the criteria we evaluated and the company has demonstrated its responsiveness to client complaints by continuously updating software features.
Best Salon Software for Calendar Management: Vagaro
Vagaro is robust salon software that offers an affordable product with standard features like customer notifications and tracking, marketing, and financial reports. Plus, Vagaro’s calendar management tools offer salon owners feature-rich tools for managing employee time, inventory, equipment, and space. Check out Vagaro if you’re looking for user-friendly and highly functional scheduling software.
Vagaro offers a single service tier, with varying prices based on the number of service providers in the salon. Software for one service provider costs $25/month, with prices increasing up to $85/month for salons with seven or more service providers who require their own calendar, with the exception of the front desk.
The Vagaro pricing structure is as follows:
- One service provider – $25/month
- Two providers – $35/month
- Three providers – $45/month
- Four providers – $55/month
- Five providers – $65/month
- Six providers – $75/month
- Seven or more providers – $85/month
Vagaro’s pricing plan is based primarily on the number of service providers in your salon. Even if you have a very small business or are a solopreneur, you’ll benefit from the same robust features that Vagaro’s larger clients use, including online booking, customer notifications and tracking, and automated marketing. You’ll also have the option of adding a website builder and POS/credit card processing for a fee.
Appointment Scheduling & Online Booking
Vagaro’s most comprehensive feature is its calendar and online booking system. Online booking and appointment scheduling are standard salon software features, but Vagaro’s calendar allows salons to track time with more detail than the others on our list by scheduling around time off, allowing double and triple booking, and more. Use Vagaro to sort employees by provider type, create recurring bookings, notify customers of changes, and sync with your Google calendar.
Salon Client Management
Vagaro offers basic client notification features for managing upcoming appointments and enables your salon’s service providers to track important details about each client. By using Vagaro’s software, you can keep a record of client formulas, allergies, and preferences, sell client-specific service packages, and access contact information when you need it.
Point of Sale Capabilities
Vagaro offers a variety of point of sale (POS) hardware as part of their salon services, including complete tablet and computer POS stations for $493 and $583, respectively. Receipt printers and cash drawers are available separately for $120 – $273 and credit card swipers are free to all merchant account holders. Transactions cost between 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent, depending on the transaction and size of your salon—slightly higher than Square’s transaction fees.
The Vagaro platform lets you upload your existing inventory free of charge and add products one at a time, as needed. Some platforms, like Rosy, typically charge a conversion fee that covers inventory uploads. You can also set up low inventory reminders and keep your shelves stocked with automated purchase orders and inventory updates. Vagaro also lets you sell items online and links with UPS, FedEx, and the USPS to calculate shipping and print labels.
In addition to online booking and client management features, Vagaro integrates robust marketing tools into their standard features—an option not available as part of Shedul’s free platform. Use Vagaro to market via email, text message, social media, Google, Yelp, and more. Use Vagaro’s marketing features to share before-and-after photos of your clients on Facebook, automate marketing emails based on client needs, and build a custom lead generating website.
Ease of Use
Vagaro users have shared that the platform is easy to use and self-explanatory, even for people with no computer experience. However, some salons report that the customization tools are lacking, which makes it difficult to use if you’re trying to create customized reports. Ease of use may also be limited by difficulties with credit card transactions, as some users have experienced malfunctions with the processing portion of the software.
What Vagaro Is Missing
In spite of Vagaro’s robust features, including a payment processing option, user reviews reveal that Vagaro lacks a reliable payment processing tool. Many users reported difficulty integrating the software with Square payment processing, and others who used Vagaro as a credit card merchant experienced frequent software malfunctions.
What Users Think About Vagaro
Vagaro users love that the software enables them to track product and service sales, customer retention and satisfaction, payroll, and inventory with customizable reporting. However, some users have struggled with payment processing or have problems getting helpful feedback from Vagaro’s customer support team.
Best Salon Software for Digital Marketing Needs: Versum
Versum is a salon software that combines salon management features like online booking and inventory tracking with advanced features like drip email marketing. In addition, Versum offers advanced security features, financial statistics and reports, and more. Try Versum if you want to grow your salon using email marketing campaigns while streamlining appointments and inventory.
Versum’s packages start at $25/month for the Solo plan and go up to $109/month for the advanced Pro package. Generally, packages and pricing depend on the number of service providers in your salon. Services like marketing automation and a customer loyalty program are also available as add-ons for $25 – $35/month.
Versum’s specific add-ons are as follows:
- Marketing automation tool – Additional $25/month for the Solo, Basic, and Medium plans, and enables users to create promotional campaigns using templates.
- Loyalty program – Additional $35/month and automatically gives clients points for booking services, leaving reviews, and more.
Versum Tiered Features
|Number of Service Providers|
|Onboarding, Setup & Installation|
|Appointment Booking & Reminders|
|Bulk Messaging, EMail & SMS/Text|
|Stocktaking, Product Usage & Predicted Usage|
|Financial Reports & Predicted Revenue|
|Client Records/Reports & Customer Return Rates/Reviews|
|Facebook & Twitter Integration|
|Commissions Rates & Tipping Management|
Versum’s Solo package offers salon management tools for a single service provider for $25/month. Like Versum’s other service tiers, the Solo package includes 50 free SMS texts and free software installation and onboarding. This service level also includes robust salon management features like instant bookings with customized settings, financial and client reports, and stocktaking and inventory/service usage tracking.
The Solo package is great if you have your own salon and don’t employ other service providers with their own schedules. This tier offers a variety of standard and advanced salon management features, but limits you to one user and does not include employee statistics, tip management, or secure client data like some of Versum’s other packages. The package also doesn’t include features like resource management that are available in Rosy’s standard tier.
The Basic package offers robust management tools for two to six service providers at a cost of $39/month. In addition to the tools offered in the Solo tier, Basic provides statistics to track employee-specific time and revenue and access restrictions to limit employee use to certain portions of the software. This tier also enables salon owners to schedule availability of equipment and rooms within their business.
Check out the Basic package if you want increased functionality and have between two and six service providers in your salon. If you have more than six providers and want to benefit from the same advanced salon management tools, check out Versum’s Medium and Pro packages. You can also benefit from features like employee access restrictions as part of Vagaro’s standard features for salons of all sizes.
Medium & Pro
Versum’s Medium package is for salons with seven to 12 service providers and costs $69/month. The Pro package allows salons to schedule appointments for an unlimited number of service providers for $109/month. Both the Medium and Pro packages include the same features as the Basic tier, with the exception of automated marketing, which only comes standard with the Pro package.
Check out Versum’s Medium and Pro packages if you’re a larger salon or if you plan on growing and would benefit from the flexibility of having unlimited schedules.
What Versum Is Missing
Currently, Versum does not offer point-of-sale functionality like some of the other salon management software on our list. However, the software does allow salon owners to manage their business’ gift cards and offers some financial tracking tools to help with tax preparation.
What Users Think About Versum
Salon owners are generally pleased with how easily their staff can use the Versum platform and how efficiently the software assigns and reserves space and equipment for appointments. Users also love the platform’s easy to use marketing templates and gift card management tool. However, some users have experienced limitations with respect to clients who want to book multiple services.
Best Salon POS System: Square Appointments
Square Appointments is a general scheduling software that provides integrated payment processing through Square. Square offers a free individual plan and increases in price based on the number of employees in your business. Square Appointments provides basic online booking capabilities, customer notifications, and website integrations, but truly excels because of its built-in POS system. This makes it great for salons that accept credit card payments via Square.
Square Appointments Pricing
Square Appointments offers a free salon POS system for individuals and users are charged 2.75 percent/transaction. Salons with two to five employees pay $50/month plus 2.5 percent and $0.10/transaction. Salons with six to ten employees pay $90/month plus 2.5 percent and $0.10/transaction, and those with more than ten get custom pricing.
Square Appointments Price Comparison
Note: Square has recently changed its flat-rate fee of 2.75% to 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction. We will update the pricing and our ranking of providers in the next update of this article.
Square Appointments Features
Square Appointments offers the same features to customers regardless of the size of their business. In addition to an integrated payment processing system, Square Appointments offers online appointments and customer management, employee scheduling and management, and limited email marketing tools. Try Square Appointments if you want scheduling software that shines as a payment processing tool.
Appointment Scheduling & Online Booking
The online booking tool for Square Appointments is extremely easy to use and can work through your salon’s website or an integrated Square widget. To make an appointment, customers select a service, choose a time, and enter contact information. After booking, clients receive a confirmation text and their information is entered into the software to track loyalty, satisfaction, and feedback.
Square also enables salons to track employee time and performance so you can evaluate employee commissions, tips, and more. Consider Square’s employee management tool if you want to improve your salon’s efficiency and increase revenue based on employee insights. Square’s scheduling and booking software is effective but is not built specifically for salons, so it lacks some of the more industry-specific features like intelligent self-booking present in Boulevard.
Point of Sale Capabilities
Above all, Square Appointments is seamlessly integrated with the Square POS management system and payment processing platform. This allows you to schedule and charge for appointments without jumping between management software. The cost per transaction is also cheaper than other options like Vagaro. For this reason, Square Appointments is the best payment processing software for salons on our list.
Square Appointments offers inventory management as part of their software, but it does not appear to be a focal point of the scheduling platform. However, Square’s parent software offers inventory management with downloadable reports, stock alerts, and premium tools like projected profit reporting and purchase orders.
In addition to scheduling and payment processing, Square Appointments enables users to take advantage of all of Square’s functionality, including customer management and email marketing. However, because Square Appointments is largely a scheduling POS app, its additional features are more limited than the other salon software providers on our list.
Ease of Use
Some users have shared that Square Appointments is more difficult to set up than other scheduling software. In addition, online resources appear to be less robust than other providers on our list and salons have some trouble. However, the software does offer a “Get Started Guide” to help users learn how to use the platform.
What Square Appointments Is Missing
Unlike other salon software on our list, Square Appointments doesn’t manage client-specific data or have the ability to sync with other calendars like Outlook or iCalendar. What’s more, Square Appointments can’t integrate with CRM software and isn’t salon-specific, so you won’t be able to direct a fully customizable email marketing campaign or otherwise grow your business with the software.
What Users Think About Square Appointments
Square Appointments users are generally pleased with the software’s integration with Square payment processing. Overall ease of use, combined with the app’s portability, functionality, and free option, make it a good option for individual business owners. However, customers at larger businesses have found functionality to be limited as compared with other management software.
Best Salon Software for A la Carte Features: Rosy
Rosy is cloud-based salon software with comprehensive standard services and optional a la carte features. In addition to standard management tools, Rosy users can pay for advanced features like credit card processing and email marketing. Rosy is a great option if you want to choose advanced functions but don’t want to pay for other, unnecessary tools.
Rosy’s pricing is based on the number of service providers in your salon and two tiers of features. The Standard package ranges from $29/month for one service provider to $99/month for 21+ providers. Add-on prices for Premium services begin at $8/month for one user and increase to $93/month extra for 21+ providers.
In addition to their standard features, you can purchase the following additional services:
- Credit Card Processing
- Conversion Services
- Purchase Hardware
- Custom Gift Cards
- Website Builder
Rosy Tiered Pricing Table
|Number of Stylists|
|5 - 10|
|11 - 15|
|16 - 20|
In addition to the Standard and Premium packages, the software platform offers credit card processing and hardware and custom gift cards, as well as a website builder for an additional monthly fee.
Rosy Tiered Features
|Online Client Scheduling & Appointment Scheduling|
|Text & Email Communications|
|Mobile Access, Mobile Web App & Facebook Integration|
|Inventory Management & Product Reservations|
|Salon Point of Sale & Rewards/Referrals|
|Automated & Mass Email Marketing|
|Enhanced Text Messaging, Text Confirmations & Client Features|
|Image Library, Product Catalog & Branded eCommerce Store|
The Standard option ranges in price from $29/month for a single service provider to $99/month for 21 or more service providers. Rosy’s Standard features include online client booking, appointment scheduling, text and email communications, mobile access, social media integration, inventory management, and reporting. However, you’ll have to pay extra for features like credit card processing, which come standard with providers like Square Appointments.
The Standard package is a great option for small salons that want a fully functional software to manage appointments, inventory, and POS. If you want a salon software that integrates marketing campaigns into your daily operations, check out Rosy’s Premium option and add-on features.
The Rosy Premium plan offers all of the same features as the Standard tier plus a variety of marketing tools, including automated and mass email marketing, enhanced text messaging, text confirmations, and branded ecommerce store. Check out Rosy’s Premium package if you want to integrate your salon’s marketing strategy into your daily salon software. But remember—you’ll still have to pay for additional tools like a website and conversion services for inventory.
What Rosy Is Missing
Rosy does not produce single provider-specific reports for tracking appointments, productivity, and commissions. In addition, Rosy only allows for scheduling appointments in 15-minute increments rather than 10-minute periods. Some salon owners have expressed that this is a costly oversight that prevents them from fully scheduling their days.
What Users Think About Rosy
In general, Rosy users love the platform’s functionality for small to medium-size businesses but feel the software is too limited for larger businesses. Additionally, small businesses report that the platform is very user friendly but that it suffers from frequent server interruptions.
Best Salon Software for Client Personalization: Boulevard
Boulevard is a client personalization tool for salons, spas, and other appointment-based businesses that starts at $75/month. The software helps you create unique client-specific salon experiences for each of your clients using their preferences, social media accounts, and more to provide each customer with a custom experience. Try Boulevard if you want to tailor individual services around specific client needs.
Boulevard offers three price levels, each with varying calendar, location, and feature availability. The Solo option includes one calendar for one location and starts at $75/month; Team costs $175/month for one location and up to five calendars. Check out Boulevard’s Enterprise option if you need advanced features plus multiple calendars and locations.
Boulevard Tiered Features
|Intelligent Self-booking & Recurring Appointments|
|iPhone app w/ iMessage Keyboard|
|Reception iPad App & Workflow|
|Point-of-sale Hardware Support & 3rd-party Integrations|
|Staff-specific Pricing & Durations|
|Services Packages, Bundles & Gift Cards|
|Multi-location Rollup Reporting|
|Staff Goal-Setting, Roles & Permissions|
|Dedicated Product Specialist|
Boulevard’s Solo package covers one service provider calendar at a cost of $75/month. This package includes basic booking features like unlimited appointments, a business dashboard, intelligent self-booking, recurring appointments, and an iPhone app. The service can be billed monthly for $75/month plus a $100 setup fee or annually for a cost of $720 plus a $100 setup fee.
Boulevard’s Solo option benefits from the platform’s intelligent booking capabilities. However, the functionality available with the Solo package is limited when compared to Boulevard’s other options like staff-specific pricing and appointment durations. Check out the Team or Enterprise packages for those tools and advanced features like POS hardware support, third-party integrations, and staff goal setting.
Boulevard’s Team package offers salon software for up to five service provider calendars. This service tier is $175/month plus a $300 setup fee, or $2,160/year plus a $300 setup fee. In addition to the services offered within the Solo package, Team customers will benefit from an iPad app for reception, point of sale hardware support, staff-specific pricing and durations, third-party app integrations, and the ability to sell service packages, product bundles, and gift cards.
The Team package features additional features like staff-specific pricing and appointment durations that make it a customizable option for larger salons. However, Boulevard’s products are more expensive than some of the other options we considered that offer standard features like third-party app integrations and POS hardware support for less.
The Enterprise tier is for salons that need more than five calendars. Boulevard offers custom pricing for larger salons and includes features like staff goal setting, video appointments, roles and permissions for different service providers, and a dedicated product specialist to help you maximize the software’s capabilities. Choose the Enterprise package if you have more than five service providers in your salon or if you want the advanced features offered in the package like staff goal setting.
Boulevard’s Enterprise option is best for larger salons or salons with more than one location because they offer multi-location reporting at this pricing tier. This is the most expensive option of all the software we reviewed, so you should only consider it if you’re a larger salon that will benefit from Boulevard’s advanced client personalization, intelligent scheduling software, and automation features.
What Boulevard Is Missing
Boulevard offers a variety of high-end salon management tools for scheduling and client personalization. However, the software does not offer more comprehensive tools like email marketing. If you’re looking for the best salon software for managing all of your business operations, you may be better suited to one of the other options we reviewed.
What Users Think About Boulevard
Boulevard is a relatively new software option, but it offers a variety of features that set it apart from other providers. So far, users love how the software maximizes their salon calendars to make money while giving clients a personalized experience, including wallet-free checkout and social media insights.
Bottom Line: Best Salon Software for 2018
Salon software varies in use and complexity but generally offers tools for online booking, employee scheduling, inventory tracking, point of sale, and more. The best salon software is both functional and affordable and features scheduling capabilities to keep your salon on track. We reviewed the options so you can choose the best salon software for your business.
Check out Shedul for free salon software complete with scheduling tools, client management, and point of sale capabilities. Their free software is extremely comprehensive and has excellent reviews for both ease of use and customer support.