How to choose salon software?

How to choose the right software for you and avoid hidden costs

Choosing the right salon software for you

There are so many types of software on the market but which one is right for you?

How do you get the right tools yet avoid hidden costs and pitfalls?

Here are the different types of software and the associated pros and cons!

Marketplaces: low cost with high commissions

If you are new to the industry and your business has been going less than a year then a marketplace such as Treatwell, Booksy or Fresha could be a good option.

By advertising your business to their customers, you will gain exposure to new clients to build up your client list.

These platforms are typically suited to new, smaller businesses. They usually charge a small subscription or might even offer basic features for free.

This makes them great for new business owners just starting out as they are free to set up although you will need to do the heavy lifting yourself.

They make money from you by charging a % commissions (typically 20%-40%) on any new clients booked via the marketplace.

This means that on a £100 bill, you will be charged anything from £24-£48 for that client booking.

In addition you will pay extra for every SMS reminder or marketing SMS. This means your bill increases as you grow or get busier so costs can quickly increase.

As a marketplace merchant you are also expected to take control of your listing and account so the feedback from owners is you typically receive less support when you are stuck or have an issue.

*Based on 5 staff members using industry standard activity data and average costs

Contract Software: software for the chains or multi-sites

For those owners with multiple salons or 20+ staff then a contracted software such as Salon IQ, Phorest or Shortcuts might be on your radar.

Packed full of features these softwares will give you the tools you need to run your big business and will allow you to manage your clients, bookings and reports.

These are typically used by larger, established salons with 2 or more sites.

Typically they will set up the software for an initial set up fee before you then download a programme on your device to install it.

They will charge a monthly fee in the region of £90-£250 depending on size.

However extras such as SMS won't be included. If your business sends reminders and you also send retention messages or Google review messages, you will pay another bill for your SMS each month. This can often be the same as your subscription. Typically a 5 stylist salon will spend in region of £70 a month on SMS on top of the subscription

In order to get the best rates you will often need to agree to a 3 or 5 year contract which can't be cancelled or reduced if your business or circumstances change.

*Based on 5 staff members using industry standard activity data and average costs

Subscription Software: all inclusive platforms for independents

Many independents want an easy software with fixed monthly costs: no hidden bills so they know what they will pay each month.

Softwares such as Slick and Timely provide all the tools you need but crucially include free SMS so you know what you will pay each month.

Cloud based software doesn't require a download and can be used on any device. With no downloads or updates, its hassle-free and you can sleep peacefully knowing you've always got the best and latest version.

These softwares are perfect for salons of all sizes from 2 to 22 staff members. As you get busier you are not penalised for growth. These softwares don't charge extra per SMS or per booking so when you get more bookings you keep 100% of the revenue increase

Because SMS are included, as you increase staff and increase columns in the diary, you will need to pay for an extra 'seat' or column. This is because a lot of the cost of providing the software is in the free SMS allowance. More staff = more SMS being sent = more cost. Hence the small increase in monthly subscription when you add a column.

*Based on 5 staff members using industry standard activity data and average costs

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