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    The ultimate guide to salon management software in 2024

    best salon management software

    In the dynamic realm of salon management, one thing stands true — modern problems require modern solutions. For salon owners, complex daily tasks, from handling calendars and bookings to tracking inventory and payments, can get overwhelming. It can also lead to poor client communication, bottlenecks, and lost revenue.

    Whether you’re still navigating your salon manually, or you’ve simply outgrown your current software — a more robust cloud software will give you peace of mind by automatically streamlining every aspect of your business, while you commit to client care.

    Let’s get into the options — we share the best salon management software in 2024 to help take your business next level.

    The rise of digital solutions in salon management software

    The global salon software market size is expected to reach $1,345.25 million by 2028. This makes digital solutions crucial in addressing the evolving needs of the beauty industry. 

    Nowadays, beauty stylists are also business owners, staff managers, and marketers. They wear many hats and need tools to enable them to manage these broad responsibilities. 

    To streamline patient data, automatically track sales and revenue, and ensure patient success, salons require robust solutions. They need salon management software.

    Salon software

    Key features to look for in a salon management solution

    67% of decision-makers believe implementing software solutions is vital to remaining competitive. When choosing the best salon management software, you have to consider a few essential features that enable comprehensive business management. 

    1. Automates client scheduling

    Effective salon software means easier scheduling. Being able to pay easily, manage online bookings, and automatically send email/SMS reminders can enhance communication and prevent no-shows. A smart calendar is also important for reducing double bookings and filling in available online appointment slots to boost attendance.

    2. Optimizes client management

    A comprehensive client database is vital for salon success. You can automatically manage client profiles, collect feedback, and track visit history for successful client experiences. Look for salon software that lets you easily store client information (e.g. preferences and appointment history), send personalized notes, and send targeted marketing campaigns.

    3. Simplifies inventory management

    Manually inserting patient data into spreadsheets can get exhausting. But, software tools will help you automatically keep tabs on your inventory and stock – from your top-selling products, like skin serums to your most used equipment, like lasers. You’ll replace admin time with more client time, enhancing satisfaction and reduce the costs of understocking/overstocking by 10%

    4. Generates comprehensive reports and offers analytics

    For salon owners, understanding your business is key. Salon management software can keep you informed with robust reporting and automated no-show tracking. You can generate salon performance reports, analyze real-time data, and create customizable dashboards for attracting clients, boosting sales, etc.

    The top 11 best salon management software solutions

    Salon management software should provide you with different solutions for everything holding your business back. We rounded up the 11 best salon management software solutions in 2024 — see how they compare below.

    1. Pabau

    Best salon software

    Pabau is an all-in-one salon management software for beauty, hair and nail salons, and med spas. It handles more than just bookings, helping manage every aspect of your salon, from client records to marketing, and sales — securely and swiftly. 

    Pabau boasts a user-friendly point of sale, a swift online client portal, and online bookings with appointment reminders, recurring appointments, recalls, etc. It helps track salon success with 40+ customizable reports and real-time analytics for inventory.

    Related:  Optimizing bookings: The 5 best management systems for your business

    Pabau’s calendar features color coding, multiple views, and appointment/staff filters for seamless scheduling. Its branded email/SMS campaigns, facial plotting, automated surveys, and loyalty tools are a click away, on all devices. Share patch tests, online forms, or before-and-after photos with clients, anytime and anywhere. 

    Pabau integrates with Stripe, QuickBooks, Zapier, Xero, etc. so you can easily run payments, reports, and bookings. Instead of integrating with a marketing tool, Pabau actually built a marketing automation so you can easily create everything you need on the spot. 

    With every tool on deck, including HIPAA support, Pabau is among the best salon management software you can get.

    • Key features — online bookings, inventory management, appointment/client scheduling, marketing, reporting, and analytics
    • Payment processing options — Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna, Stripe, credit card, Microsoft Pay, etc. 
    • Pricing — Monthly subscription, based on what you need. Request a demo to see pricing options.
    • Best for — beauty salons, hair salons, nail salons, and medspas of all sizes

    2. Mangomint

    Mangomint is a smart software for salon businesses and spas and it’s only available in the US and Canada. It includes core salon features — calendar scheduling, online booking, and an easy point-of-sale. Their client interaction tools, like 2-way texting, are handy, as is the robust inventory for streamlined purchase orders.

    Despite their email marketing toolkit (which costs extra!), Mangomint doesn’t include a loyalty program, vital for salon success. They offer reporting but don’t integrate with apps like Quickbooks, preventing salons from getting detailed growth insights.

    Clients can book appointments online. However, group bookings are not an option. Mangomint charges extra for certain addons and only caters to teams — a huge setback for independent salon owners.

    • Key features — calendar and scheduling, online bookings, inventory, POS
    • Payment processing options — no integrations, they process payments via Mangomint Pay
    • Pricing – monthly plans, from $165.00- $375/month, plus chargeable add-ons
    • Best for – hair and nail salons, beauty salons, day spas, massage studios

    3. Fresha

    Fresha is an affordable software for beauty/hair/nail salons and spas that are just starting and want to limit overheads, because it’s free! Its calendar streamlines appointment, staff, and location management, allowing bookings via social media, Google, and websites. 

    Fresha has a built-in marketplace for promoting salons, but charges for every new client booking made via their Marketplace. They have limited pre-care options, and lack a waitlist, which can lead to bottlenecks. Finally, it’s unclear how and if Fresha supports HIPAA, which can be a security risk for US salons.

    • Key features — scheduling, online booking, SMS/email alerts, loyalty, reports
    • Payment processing options — credit card processing; Fresha card terminal
    • Pricing — subscription-free plans; fee for ‘new clients’ via their Marketplace
    • Best for — beauty salons, spas, massage studios, wellness centers

    4. Vagaro

    Vagaro is a cloud-based solution for salons, medspas, and the fitness industry. It packs salon-friendly features, like personalized client profile management and email/SMS communication, and has a cool waitlist feature for ‘first in line’ clients, or top spenders. 

    Vagaro is affordable for basic features. However, add-ons like storing client files, forms, and a check-in app, are charged separately. They integrate with Xero, but not Apple Pay or MailChimp, creating a need for extra tools. 

    Vagaro can get pricey if you require specific add-ons. It also requires clients to create an account first before booking, which some users find annoying.

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    • Key features — face plotting, online bookings, marketing, calendar management
    • Payment processing options — limited. They offer credit card transactions via the Vagaro Credit Card Reader at an extra charge
    • Pricing — plans start at  $25/month, with extra charges for add-ons
    • Best for — med spas, day spas, salons, and estheticians

    5. Mindbody

    Mindbody is a strong solution aimed at wellness, fitness, and beauty businesses.
    It covers everything from appointment management to reporting, inventory, POS, and online bookings. Its custom email builder and AI messenger tool for booking clients stand out, but such add-ons, including email/SMS marketing, are only included in their higher plans.

    Mindbody is excellent for selling and livestreaming classes. But, their booking and checkout experience requires more steps, bad for busy salons. 

    Mindbody is a solid but not comprehensive choice for salons, especially without features like patch tests and facial plotting. Another factor to keep in mind — to even try their software, you’ll need to enter a 12-month contract first, paid monthly.

    • Key features — client scheduling, marketing, reporting, inventory management
    • Payment processing options — integrated through MindBody Payments
    • Pricing — monthly subscription, from $129/month-$699/month
    • Best for — wellness centers, fitness centers, beauty businesses

    6. Square Appointments

    Square Appointments, part of the Square suite, offers a flexible scheduling system for small businesses. Accessible via an app, Square Appointments combines a POS with online bookings and a solid client portal for easier appointment management. 

    However, it’s essential to highlight that Square Appointments lacks a desktop version and salon tools like injection plotting and before-and-after photos. Larger salons may find its inventory management too basic, while smaller ones could pay more for payment processing, reports, a waitlist, and calendar sync.

    Square is a sweet POS and marketing tool, but it may not be the most inclusive option for salon-specific needs.

    • Key features — scheduling, online bookings, POS, marketing, invoicing
    • Payment processing options —  credit/debit card; Afterpay and Cash App
    • Pricing — free plan, Plus ($29/mo); Premium ($69/mo); extra fees
    • Best for — salons, barber shops, spas/medspas

    7. DaySmart Salon (formerly SalonIris)

    DaySmart seems to be the umbrella business for aesthetics software, and salons are one of its main focuses. They offer automated reminders, scheduling, online bookings, POS, and reporting features. 

    The good news is, it’s a straightforward software for managing appointments, patients, and engagement. The bad news is, clients cannot reschedule appointments online.
    DaySmart also doesn’t integrate with other apps, and only supports English, making it unsuitable for global use. 

    DaySmart has limited monthly reports. Yes, its basic plan is affordable, but key features like QuickBooks integration, and email/text marketing are only available in higher tiers, making it a pricier option.

    • Key features — online booking, appointment reminders, scheduling, marketing
    • Payment processing options — credit card processing
    • Pricing — plans start from $29/month – $199/month
    • Best for — hair and nail salons, barbershops, booth renters

    8. Schedulicity

    Schedulicity is a comprehensive scheduling software tool for various small businesses. It has standout features for importing client lists, managing recurring appointments, calendar breaks, and email campaigns. They excel at classes/workshops, offering a handy waitlist for top classes/instructors. 

    Schedulicity integrates with Google Calendar, Stripe, and Birdeye, and also uses Norm for quick transactions via text. 

    Here’s where things are a bit squeaky. Their package reporting is limited to adding tax, essential for swift payments. They also lack a client portal and robust medical history, making it more of a scheduler than salon software.

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    • Key features — appointment booking, class management, marketing
    • Payment processing options — they use Schedulicity Pay, charging 3% + $0.15/transaction; Norm transactions are charged 2.5% + 15¢, each
    • Pricing —plans range from $34.99/month- $94.99/month
    • Best for — small businesses looking for booking/scheduling solutions

    9. Ovatu

    With a catchy name, Ovatu is a designated salon booking software. It delivers a comprehensive solution with a full-on POS, online booking, reminders, and marketing tools. You can easily collect reviews, manage gift cards, and client accounts, or integrate with Zoom, MailChimp, PayPal, and Stripe.

    About the not-so-great,  Ovatu doesn’t include referral fields in intake forms, recurring appointments, and lead management. Their basic plan also excludes marketing campaigns and promo codes. While great for managing bookings, Ovatu is outshined by competitors for managing patch tests, client records, and intake forms.

    • Key features — online booking, reminders and marketing, POS, scheduling  
    • Payment processing options — credit card processing
    • Pricing — monthly subscriptions, basic plan starts at $25/month
    • Best for — salons, medi-aesthetics, laser clinics, GPs

    10. Phorest

    Phorest is an all-in-one software solution for salons, introducing various features for seamless management. You can track no-shows, send targeted messages to clients, and attract them with a branded salon booking app. 

    Phorest packs its own loyalty card and includes a few new reports, a photo editor, and its own Marketing Suite, where you can run social media ads from within their system – very user-friendly. However, they have limited integrations with Xero, Facebook, and Instagram, and salons still need to publish reviews on their website manually.

    Feature-wise, Phorest is a fair enough choice. Price-wise, it might be too much for independent/smaller salons.

    • Key features — online booking, marketing, inventory, scheduling, reporting
    • Payment processing options — card terminal’ cardless payment processing
    • Pricing — monthly/annual; requesting a quote is necessary; a fee for online bookings (60p-£1.50)
    • Best for — salons, beauty professionals

    11. Meevo

    Meevo is a business software for the beauty and wellness industry. It has easy-to-handle email marketing, online bookings, and social media management. The voice-powered appointment scheduling, email templates, and drag-and-drop calendar also add a nice touch.

    Meevo offers plenty of reports, however, extra reports might be needed for proper calculations. There are also costs for add-ons like client intake forms and integrations like QuickBooks. While Meevo is a solid contender, it has room for growth, particularly in meeting the needs of larger salons.

    • Key features — online booking, appointment management, marketing suite
    • Payment processing options — MeevoPay
    • Pricing — monthly flat rate plans, from $139-$529; $37/month for QuickBooks, $29/month for Docs&Forms, and $27/month for WalkIns
    • Best for — hair salons, spas, massage studios, medspa, beauty businesses

    Find out what makes Pabau the ultimate salon management solution today!

    Finding the best salon software ultimately depends on the size of your business, budget, and needs. But an all-in-one software solution, like Pabau, will provide you with everything you need to manage your business successfully without the need for ‘extras’.

    Pabau offers the full package — robust inventory management, a marketing campaign builder, automated reminders, custom templates, multiple integrations, an intuitive calendar for easier scheduling, and more — available on the cloud and via a mobile app. 

    Track your salon growth from every angle — book a demo with Pabau to learn how!

    What you should do now

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