[This article was updated in Mar. 2023 to include new salon appointment and hair stylist app recommendations. We also added financial app recommendations for self-employed business owners.]
When you’re running a salon, spa, or studio, the best salon apps make all the difference.
Often, it’s a juggling act.
You’re trying to sync up your appointment scheduling software over here…
Your payment processing over there…
Attempting to remember which supplies you need to reorder and —wait…
Which Thursday did you volunteer to host book club this month?
Whether or not you’re into the whole New Year’s resolution thing, a new year is still the ideal time to get your business and life more organized.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best salon software to carry you into 2023.
Some of the apps and tools on our list help keep your calendars in order (and bonus: cut down on no-shows), while others help double-down on marketing efforts.
Some just help keep you organized and ready for business.
Mix and match however you like! They’re all great resources for running your business better.
In this article:
- Best Appointment Scheduling Software and Online Booking Apps for 2022
- Best Productivity Apps for Salon Owners, Solo Stylists, and Salon Managers
- Best Marketing Tools for Stylists and Salons
- Best Finance Apps for Hair Stylists
The Best Salon Scheduling Software: 2023 Edition
Whether you’re running a 20-person team at your salon or you’re a stylist flying solo, every hair and beauty business can benefit from an online salon scheduling app.
Using one makes the booking process much easier for your clients and saves you time.
No more returning phone calls between appointments or setting aside time to answer DMs about your availability.
No more awkward double-bookings or three-hour gaps between client appointments.
If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, 2023 is the ideal time to choose a new online appointment scheduling software.
Below are our thoughts on some of the most useful apps on the market, including — cough — the one we think is the absolute best.
Any salon business from solopreneurs to multi-location chains.
Schedulicity is especially great if you want to run your business from a single software and/or if you want the control to mix-and-match features.
Why we’re best for salons specifically:
Look, we can’t write an article on software for salon businesses without covering our own.
We happen to think it’s the very best salon scheduling app, because we started in the trenches with businesses just like yours.
Schedulicity is built for barbers, salons, and spas, so we know our stuff.
We also prioritize customer support, which means (rather than doubling-down on hiring sales teams like many of our competitors) we have a friendly team on-hand to answer your calls any time you run into trouble.
(You’d be surprised how uncommon that is.)
Over the last couple of years, we also expanded beyond appointment scheduling. We offer our own built-in payment processor (with a Stripe integration, too!) for contactless payment, automated marketing tools, plus mobile and iPad apps.
All the tools, plus a human touch. That’s us!
“Everyone at Schedulicity is always so nice. I’ve recommended your online booking platform to so many people over the years, and that’s one of the many reasons why.
Almost every one of the hair stylists who ever worked at my salon (and now have their own salons) is using Schedulicity.” —Kim, Hair Stylist
- We’re an all-in-one software. You can run everything, from marketing to payment processing, from one account.
- We offer built-in payment processing with contactless payment, customizable payment policies, and more.
- You can call, email, or chat our full-time support team of Schedulicity Rockstars.
- Scheduling: appointment scheduling, class and workshop management, personal time off, ability to manage multiple staff members and locations, customizable waivers and policies (that clients must acknowledge before booking), Waitlist
- Marketing: Client appointment reminders and follow-ups via text or email; Book Now button integrations for Instagram and Facebook, and your website; automated email marketing with templates; client scheduling features, like Fill My Book and Deal Manager
- Pay: Built-in payment processing with contactless tipping, optional card reader, access to financial reports, an industry-low processing rate, and a Stripe integration for Canadian businesses
- Apps: Client and consumer apps for iOS and Android
Read all about Schedulicity’s features here.
A 14-day free trial, then Schedulicity Unlimited Plan with all our scheduling features, starting at $34.99 per month.
- Proponents of minimalism
- Salons that already use Square for processing payment
- For individuals who want to try online booking with a free appointment scheduling software
- If you’re already on Square, the payment processing is built in, which certainly simplifies your business management
- The free plan is definitely a good “get started” option for new salon business owners; although you’ll pay more for payment processing long-term (see under Cons)
- You’re locked into Square’s pricing for payment processing, which is currently 2.6% + $.10 for individuals on the free plan and 2.5% + $.10 for teams of 2-10. (As we mentioned above, we offer 2.5% + 15¢ for every transaction.)
- Allow for multiple employees and calendars
- Set custom hours and block off personal time
- Built-in payment processing with Square card reader or point-of-sale system
- Automated text and email reminders
- No-show reduction features (similar to Schedulicity’s Policies and deposit-first payment option)
- Google and Instagram integration
See all the Square Appointment features here.
30-day free trial. $50 – $90 per month for 2 or more employees.
- Fitness, yoga, and pilates studios, particularly those who rely on ClassPass for all or part of their client base.
- Mindbody recently expanded its features to appeal to salons, hair stylists, and spas.
- First off, Mindbody is beautiful. That’s not surprising considering it’s a brand built for yogis and fitness enthusiasts who care a lot about branding. It’s an added bonus for potential clients who love the aesthetically-pleasing scheduling app and website search functionality.
- Mindbody also has a partnership with ClassPass, so if you use that for your work (and now many salons and spas do), it’s an option to consider.
- Mindbody is built for and targeted at businesses that book classes and workshops, which is to say… not salons or stylists.
- Mindbody is a pricier appointment scheduling platform. You get some amazing features, but it can feel like a financial stretch for a small business (or solo stylist) on a budget.
- Mindbody is known for its strict contracts. That became particularly apparent at the start of the pandemic when shuttered businesses weren’t able to pause their monthly payments. (At Schedulicity, we waived our fees for all of our businesses for six months.)
- Built-in marketing tools
- A native payment processing app (2.75% – 3.5% + $.15 processing fee, depending if you’re a qualified business), plus a $15 fee if you process less than $550 a month
- Option to build a customizable business app (or list your business on their consumer app)
- Larger salons, especially those that use Yelp for a large portion of their business
- Salons with multiple employees
- Vagaro was built with scalability in mind. This scheduling software can handle a team of 20 (or 50), as well as multiple locations.
- A unique Vagaro feature is payroll management and clock-in and -out capabilities, which appeals to salons with many employees.
- If you’re a smaller salon or a solo stylist, Vagaro may offer more than you need. Remember: The more features, the more complicated things get.
- Yelp, Instagram, and Facebook integration
- One month free trial
- Website builder (similar to the business listings in Our Marketplace – but with templates)
- Customer support via text, email, and phone
Sliding scale from $25/month for one person to $85/month for teams of 7 or more
- Established salons and businesses that need more advanced, customizable features (including integration with external marketing and financial tools)
- Acuity is owned by Squarespace, which recently launched Acuity scheduling integration.
- Acuity offers more integrations than most other appointment schedulers. If you’re someone who loves to use all the tools, this is great news for you. Think PayPal, GoToMeeting, Zapier, Mailchimp, QuickBooks, and more.
- No phone support, which is a big deal when you run into trouble and need help right away.
- To access more in-demand features (text message reminders, packages and gift certificates, time zone conversion), you need to upgrade to the higher-priced Growing account.
- Options for multiple calendars and locations
- Appointment packages and gift certificates
- Customizable, embedded Acuity scheduler with your branding
- Ability to save client credit cards for later use
- Class and workshop scheduling
- PayPal, Square, and Stripe integrations
- Syncing with iCloud, Outlook, Google Calendar and more
7 days free, and then $15 – $50 per month. (The free option for solo stylists offers minimal features — e.g. no appointment reminders)
Best Tools and Apps for Salon Owners
- Salon owners, stylists, and barbers who need help managing everything beyond client appointments
Todoist is like a paper to-do list taken to the next level. It keeps you on track with your errands, PTA meetings, grocery lists – you name it.
We particularly like it for alllll the features it offers, including:
- Customizable to-do lists and categorization (think: one for the salon, one for your personal work, one for your private life)
- Recurring customizable projects
- Recap emails
- An integrated app and website account to jump between your phone and laptop
- Option for using with large teams
- Templates for complicated projects
- App integrations like Google Calendar and Dropbox
You can check out all the other Todoist features here.
- Salon businesses and stylists that want simplified banking with lower fees for their business accounts and their personal lives
It’s hard to figure out which bank to go with when you’re starting a salon, hair, or beauty business.
More frequently, financial experts recommend online banks to small businesses.
Their lack of overhead means they can charge less for banking — and often offer higher interest rates on savings accounts.
Research in-depth to determine the right bank for you, but both Azlo and Ally are intriguing options.
Azlo describes itself as “digital business banking for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits,” which applies to salons and spas.
Ally is a great online bank to consider for your personal accounts, because it’s ahead of the curve with its user-friendly mobile app.
Of course, it’s a hassle to move from one bank to another but still worth crunching the numbers, especially if you’re on-the-go and could use every extra dollar.
Those sneaky fees at national banks add up!
Best for: Salons and appointment-based small businesses that worry about the accruing cost of fees
This is a bit of a no-brainer. Schedulicity’s payment processor is built into our scheduling software, but hey, it’s our article.
We offer the lowest processing fees in the business.
We don’t have hidden costs (or fees for client booking or increasing your prices per service).
We also have available next-day funding.
This is an ideal way to save money over time — and to streamline your booking and payment processing in one platform.
Best for: Busy salon owners who know “self-care is essential” but still struggle to make the time
You work in the business of self-care, which means you know that you can’t work successfully without taking care of yourself, too.
If you haven’t tried Headspace or Calm for meditation yet, give one of them a shot.
Both apps offer a free trial, and you can choose how much time you dedicate each day.
While the apps encourage daily meditation, they expanded into sleep, as well. As in, techniques for helping you get more of it.
And you probably need more of it, right?
Best Tools for Marketing Your Salon Business
- Newsletter lovers
- Those who love a clever sale email
- People who don’t know much about email marketing
Look, Mailchimp is beloved for a reason.
It’s straightforward, unpretentious, and patient. It’s also virtually fail-free.
Use Mailchimp’s templates to send a beautiful newsletter. Guaranteed.
This is ideal if you’re considering sending emails to your salon clients on a regular basis in 2023.
Mailchimp also offers templates for marketing emails, including seasonal sales.
(Although, if your business is on Schedulicity, we’ve got similar email options built-in to our automated marketing.)
“Your customer service is amazing, and that was my turning point toward you – and away from Squarespace scheduling. Seriously… they have no phone customer service?! I need a person’s voice, and your voice ROCKS!” —Angi, Fitness Instructor
- Salons and businesses that want more of a presence than a Yelp profile
Squarespace is easy to use and intuitive.
In recent months, the website-building software launched new features tailored to small business owners, including salons and spas.
(Here’s a list of their “Professional Services” templates.)
There are templates designed for showing off your best work, curating client reviews, and offering an online shop of your favorite hair products.
Recently, Squarespace added Acuity integration for scheduling, too.
- Salons that care about aesthetics — but don’t have the budget for a graphic designer
Think of Canva as an online Adobe Creative Cloud — one with very little barrier for entry.
Most templates are free, but a Pro account sets you back only about $10 / month.
Best Finance Apps for Salon Owners
We spoke with Michelle Lando, CPA, a beauty-world-small-business-owner-turned-accountant. Her recommendations on the best financial tools for salons and independent hair stylists are below.
(You can read all her finance tips here.)
- Simple, affordable bookkeeping for almost all hair and beauty professionals
Michelle says, “I think they’re awesome. I generally recommend the Simple Start version online to my clients.”
Best for: Anyone who makes less than $72,000 per year
“A lot of people don’t know this, but the IRS has free software out there to file your tax return. If you make less than $72,000 a year (and when I say ‘make,’ I mean your profit, not your sales), then there are free options for you,” says Michelle.
Best for: Anyone who struggles with setting aside personal savings
This recommendation comes from Kit Warchol, who’s been using Digit for years.
“You hook up your bank account to the app, and it pilfers a few dollars here and there when it knows you won’t miss them. I’ve saved up for new furniture, a vacation, and pay-off for credit card debt — there’s a setting for that.”
Don’t worry, Digit has an overdraft guarantee.
It won’t take money when you don’t have any, and it’ll pay for an overdraft if it somehow does manage to cause one.