7 Top-Rated Affordable Salon Software

By: Barkha Bali on January 30, 2024
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As a salon owner, you have to juggle appointments, schedule shifts, and manage inventory while also developing new strategies to expand your client base. Using salon software can be an ideal solution to fulfill these multifaceted demands of your business. These solutions not only automate appointment and employee scheduling but also provide tools such as email marketing and loyalty programs to support marketing initiatives.

With the range of options available at affordable prices, every salon or spa business can purchase software to manage their daily operations, regardless of their size or budget. But how do you identify software that offers the best value for your budget?

This article lists seven top-rated affordable salon software based on verified user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products priced less than $55 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices.

We’ve categorized these products into two groups: appointment scheduling tools and employee scheduling tools with time tracking capabilities. Regardless of the category, all products offer the core features of salon management software: client database, appointment scheduling, and staff scheduling.

1. BookyWay

BookyWay is an appointment scheduling tool that lets you create a custom business profile, set business hours, and describe your services in detail. Customers can view the available services, book appointments, and pay via in-app purchases on the BookyWay platform. Additionally, you can set a booking threshold to limit the number of appointments you can take (e.g., 25 appointments per week for a particular service).

Product features of interest:*

  • Waiting lists: Automatically add clients to the waiting list once appointment slots are fully booked. When a slot becomes available, the next person on the waiting list is automatically notified and offered an appointment.

  • In-app payments: Leverage the integrated payment system to process customer payments directly within the app. Appointments are automatically confirmed once the payments are made.

  • Virtual bulletin boards: Use a bulletin board to share client updates, post available time slots, make announcements, and share business updates or other relevant content.

Starting price: $1.50 per user, per month

Billing cycle: One-time payment

Customer support options: Email and knowledge base

Who should consider BookyWay?

Salon service businesses looking to centralize appointment management and client communications could consider BookyWay. It offers a virtual bulletin board where businesses can share their available time slots, service announcements, or special discounts, making it easier for clients to access information in one place. They can also send automated appointment reminders and collect client feedback via email and SMS, saving time and reducing the administrative workload.

Analysis performed January 2024**

BookyWay

BookyWay

4.69 out of 5 stars

288 reviews

2. When I Work

When I Work is a staff scheduling and time tracking platform for salon and spa businesses. It lets you create customized schedules and send your staff notifications about upcoming or updated shifts. It offers timesheets to track employee attendance, breaks, and time off. You can set break hours for shifts and generate labor distribution reports to identify where your labor costs are being spent. You also receive alerts for employees approaching overtime hours and adjust their schedules to prevent overtime. You can also import timesheet data for payroll calculations.

Product features of interest:*

  • Shift swaps: Allow staff members to swap shifts with fellow employees. All shift swaps are routed to managers for approval, and employees are automatically notified of any shift change.

  • Payroll management: Track staff work hours, breaks, and wages to automate payroll calculation. This feature eliminates manual data entry and reduces human errors.

  • Team chat app: Centralize team communication with a chat app. The app enables real-time collaboration, and sharing of updates or important information.

Starting price: $2.50 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Email and knowledge base

Who should consider When I Work?

When I Work could be suitable for salon owners looking to streamline employee scheduling and optimize labor budgets. The software allows users to build staff schedules, track employee hours, and automate payroll calculations from a unified dashboard. It generates reports, such as labor distribution and payroll expense reports, to provide insights into employee work hours, breaks, and wages. By leveraging this data, salon owners can identify trends and understand cost drivers to check where they are overpaying or underutilizing staff. Accordingly, they can make adjustments to improve cost and operational efficiency.

Analysis performed January 2024**

When I Work

When I Work

4.48 out of 5 stars

1062 reviews

Pro tip

Check the availability of marketing automation capabilities, which help access stored client data and design personalized marketing campaigns. They enable you to automate recurring emails (reminders and follow-ups), create email newsletters, offer loyalty programs, and increase social media engagement. Also, check whether the salon software integrates well with social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to build your brand’s virtual presence.

3. SimplyBook.me

SimplyBook.me is appointment scheduling software that lets you accept appointments via multiple channels, including your business website, Facebook, Instagram, and Google. It automatically sends an email notification to clients about confirmed, upcoming, or canceled appointments. You can accept online payments or confirmation fees upon client booking. You can also issue coupons and gift cards and run loyalty programs to boost customer engagement, retain existing clients, and attract new customers.

Product features of interest:*

  • Booking website: Create a customized booking website where clients can book various types of appointments, such as recurring appointments or multi-session packages. You can also use this website to set your availability, accept payments, and send appointment reminders to clients.

  • Employee management: Schedule and manage staff availability by defining each employee’s work hours, breaks, and days off. You can also set up individual profiles for each employee, showcasing their expertise, specialties, and availability. 

  • Client mobile app: Allow clients to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments; purchase gift cards; and view upcoming reservations and booking history on a mobile app. Clients can also raise queries or complaints via the app.

Starting price: $8.25 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email, knowledge base, and live chat

Who should consider SimplyBook.me?

SimplyBook.me is worth considering for salon owners looking to improve client experience. Its mobile app allows customers to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments at their convenience, providing flexibility and control over their schedules. It also lets customers access upcoming appointments, booking history, and past invoices. Additionally, it sends push notifications for booking confirmations and appointment reminders or changes. These capabilities ensure less administrative burden for salon owners, reduced no-shows, and better operational efficiency.

Analysis performed January 2024**

SimplyBook.me

SimplyBook.me

4.56 out of 5 stars

1149 reviews

4. Trafft

Trafft is another appointment scheduling software suitable for salons, spas, and other service businesses. Its no-code website builder offers pre-installed templates to create a booking page for your salon business. You can embed this page into your website, share it directly with clients, or place it on your social media accounts. From the admin page, you can edit your services catalog and manage customer appointments. Additionally, you can access a KPI dashboard to get insights into performance metrics such as the number of new customers, percentage of returning customers, and revenue over a specific period.

Product features of interest:*

  • Customer profiles: Create dedicated client profiles, which include their contact details, service preferences, and a record of historical appointments. You can use these profiles to schedule recurring appointments or send targeted marketing offers.

  • Admin page: Use the admin page to add services and available time slots; set up your team’s schedules and working hours; and get a daily, weekly, or monthly overview of all appointments in one calendar. You can also create, browse, and edit appointments and change their status from the admin page.

  • Invoices: Choose from pre-installed invoice templates, customize them with your brand logo and colors, and edit elements such as the invoice title and number. You can also export the invoices and send them to customers on payment completion.

Starting price: $13.30 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Call, email, knowledge base, and live chat

Who should consider Trafft?

Trafft could be suitable for salon owners seeking centralized control over their operations. Its admin page allows salon businesses to add services, create staff schedules, modify appointments across time frames (daily, weekly, and monthly), and access client information from a centralized location. Additionally, it analyzes appointment data to help track performance metrics and monitor staff workload to identify improvement areas in resource allocation. Moreover, the admin page can be tailored to user roles and access levels, ensuring data security and preventing unauthorized access.

Analysis performed January 2024**

Trafft

Trafft

4.97 out of 5 stars

38 reviews

5. Acuity Scheduling

As an appointment scheduling platform, Acuity Scheduling lets you create a customized booking page to match your salon brand. It allows you to create an appointment intake form to collect client information, such as contact details and service preferences. You can set a maximum daily appointment limit to prevent overbookings. You can integrate payment processing systems, including Stripe, Square, and PayPal, to accept and manage customer payments. You can also integrate social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to promote your business, engage with clients, take bookings, and collect feedback online.

Product features of interest:*

  • Appointment reminders: Send email and text reminders to clients to notify them about upcoming appointments. This feature keeps clients informed and helps reduce missed appointments.

  • Self-scheduling: Sync your business calendar so clients can view your real-time schedule and cancel or reschedule appointments themselves. This feature helps streamline the appointment booking process and reduces client waiting times.

  • Customer loyalty tools: Create package discounts, coupons, and subscriptions to enhance customer loyalty. You can encourage repeat bookings by offering discounts for bulk purchases and rewarding frequent customers with exclusive offers or free sessions.

Starting price: $16 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Help center and knowledge base

Who should consider Acuity Scheduling?

Salon owners looking to improve customer relations and reduce churn could consider Acuity Scheduling for its loyalty tools. These tools help create package discounts and coupons to incentivize customers and foster repeat bookings. For instance, salons can create an appointment package that offers a free session when clients buy in bulk (e.g., five sessions at a price of four), or they can provide a free appointment coupon to recurring clients. These complimentary offerings not only encourage customers to purchase but also make them feel valued, ultimately reducing churn and boosting revenue. 

Analysis performed January 2024**

Acuity Scheduling

Acuity Scheduling

4.78 out of 5 stars

5577 reviews

Pro tip

Check whether the salon software lets you create a customizable appointment booking page that reflects your brand identity. This means you can change its color, fonts, layout, and content to match your company’s branding. You can even use the booking page as a promotional tool and add information about special offers or discounts to drive client engagement.

6. AgendaPro

Appointment scheduling software AgendaPro lets you create a reservation page for your salon business and share it on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. On this page, you can add your availability, create custom appointment types (e.g., individual, group, recurring), and set a buffer time between appointments. You can send automated email, SMS, or WhatsApp reminders to inform clients about upcoming appointments and minimize no-shows. Additionally, the platform lets you track incoming and outgoing payments in real time and allows your clients to pay for services in advance through an integrated payment and bank terminal (POS).

Product features of interest:*

  • Automate commissions: Configure commission rates for each staff member based on their designation, sales, or other criteria. You can also generate reports to see how much commission each staff member has earned.

  • Inventory control: Track your product stock levels in real time and set automatic alerts to notify you when stock is running low.

  • Marketing tools: Use client information and historical appointment data to create personalized email marketing campaigns to provide unique offers, promotions, or loyalty rewards. You can even run customer surveys to gather customer feedback.

Starting price: $19 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call, email, and knowledge base

Who should consider AgendaPro?

Manually calculating employee commissions and tracking inventory can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Salon owners looking to automate these processes could consider AgendaPro. Its commission automation functionality eliminates the risk of manual miscalculations and data entry errors, ensuring accurate commission payouts. Similarly, its inventory control feature automates inventory counting, updates stock levels in real time, and sends alerts when inventory runs low. It also generates behavior reports to help identify best-selling services. 

Analysis performed January 2024**

AgendaPro

AgendaPro

4.85 out of 5 stars

93 reviews

7. Goldie

Goldie is another appointment scheduling software on our list. It lets you create a booking website and list your salon services along with prices and available discounts. You can sync your calendar apps (such as Google or Apple calendars) to consolidate all appointment details. You can use the team and task management features to manage your team’s calendars, shifts, and work hours and assign them daily tasks. You can send appointment reminders and follow-up messages to clients. You can also generate revenue and cash flow reports to measure financial performance and simplify tax calculations for your salon business.

Product features of interest:*

  • Marketing messages: Send mass text messages to potential and existing customers for service-specific promotions. You can select groups of clients to send messages based on past and upcoming appointments and provide tailored offerings.

  • Client management: Note each client’s preferences to offer a personalized experience. You can also use Goldie’s mobile app to communicate directly with clients and send tailored messages. 

  • Payment processing: Collect payments via debit/credit cards or a link generated through Stripe integration. You can also take a full or partial deposit for bookings to protect yourself from no-shows.

Starting price: $19.99 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Email and help center

Who should consider Goldie?

Salon owners or independent professionals could consider Goldie to reduce customer no-shows. The software allows business owners to take full or partial deposits when clients book appointments online. Collecting a deposit acts as a financial incentive for no-shows. Clients are less likely to miss appointments when they’ve already made payments. Additionally, non-refundable deposits compensate for revenue lost due to missed appointments, minimizing the financial impact on businesses.

Analysis performed January 2024**

Goldie

Goldie

4.75 out of 5 stars

892 reviews

Pro tip

Look for the staff performance tracking feature to stay on top of your employees’ work schedules, ensure proper task allocation, and prevent overburdening them. It should let you manage employees’ time off, payments, and overtime to ensure accurate payroll. You should also be able to seek customer feedback to analyze employee performance.

How much does salon software cost?

Salon management software tools can cost as low as $1.05 per month or up to $248+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and storage. Most salon solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to all or limited software features. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for salon businesses that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer limited access to basic software features. These free plans are ideal for small-salon owners or individuals on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $1.05 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for salon businesses with basic scheduling needs, such as appointment scheduling, job costing, and reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $16 to $159 per month and offer advanced features such as appointment management, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management. These are suitable for salon businesses that have outgrown basic operational tools but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level systems.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $248 per month and offer a range of advanced capabilities, including unlimited features from entry-level and mid-tier plans, employee performance tracking, and detailed analytics. These plans are suitable for larger salons with complex operational requirements.

Hidden costs associated with salon software

Besides the license, additional costs can include:

  • Implementation and training: These comprise data migration, customization, and employee training costs. They can be substantial, especially for complex systems or large organizations.

  • Hidden fees: Beware of per-user fees, transaction charges, and other seemingly minor costs that can add up quickly, particularly for larger workforces.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest scheduling features and security patches, ensuring the small business salon software remains up to date and functional.

Frequently asked questions when selecting salon software 

Here are some questions to ask salon software providers before making a final purchase:

  • Is the software scalable? 

Scalability ensures the software can handle increased data, users, and functionality as your salon business grows. To check this, consider features such as user access control, data storage options, and performance enhancement. Access control allows you to manage who can access what data and functions as your team grows. Ample data storage is crucial to prevent limitations as your small business accumulates more data, while performance improvements ensure the salon software remains responsive even as your operations scale up.

  • What technical support options are available?

Examine the tool’s technical assistance options, and check support guidelines for your staff and customers. Also, consider the technical support channels available, such as real-time chat, voice calls, and video calls. Considering these options is essential to ensure you receive timely and effective support when needed.

  • Does the software offer reporting features? 

If you’re a solo stylist or a small salon company looking to build your business, select a tool that allows you to generate reports on appointments, cancellations, revenue, clients, inventory, and client retention. Having robust reporting features enables you to make informed decisions and optimize your salon operations for better efficiency and profitability.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of Jan. 17, 2024). 

  • Include the core features of salon software: appointment scheduling, staff scheduling, and client database.

  • Meet our market definition for salon software: “Salon software helps salon owners and independent styling professionals manage day-to-day business operations.”

  • For products that met the first three criteria, we assessed the monthly subscription price and found the average price to be $55—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. Based on our assessment, we then shortlisted products with a monthly subscription price lower than $55 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of Jan. 17, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from salon software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor’s website.

**We selected products for this article based on their average ratings as of January 2024; however, the article displays each product’s current average rating, which may differ if more reviews have been left since our analysis.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s salon management software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of Jan. 17, 2024, were considered for pricing calculation.