7 Best Salon Scheduling Software for Online Booking 2021

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Are you trying to figure out which salon scheduling software is best for your salon or spa business?

Then you’ve landed in the right place.

This is where I list the best salon booking software for online scheduling right now.

I will focus on the online salon appointment software features in this article. Many systems offer more than this however (like salon management software, point of sales systems, and marketing tools).

To explore the best all-in-one salon software, I recommend you read my review of the best salon software.

Now, let’s go through the best salon booking systems.

7 Best Salon Scheduling Software

Overview of the Best Online Scheduling Software for Salons & Spas

Following the table below, I will dive into each salon appointment software in more detail.

Note: You may need to scroll the table to the right to see all details.

Salon Booking SoftwareSubscription Start PriceFeaturesEase-of-useSMSPrepaymentsWebsite EmbedGoogle & InstagramGeography
Square AppointmentsFree*5(5)5(5)YesYesNoYesUS, Canada, Australia
Fresha/ShedulFree3(5)5(5)YesYes NoYesGlobal
Acuity SchedulingFree*5(5)3(5)YesYes (premium plan)YesYesGlobal
Timely$20/mo4(5)4(5)YesYesYesYesGlobal
Salon Iris$29/mo4(5)3(5)YesYesNoYesUS, UK
Genbook$29/mo4(5)3(5)YesYesYesYesUS, UK
Schedulicity$20/mo3(5)4(5)YesYesNoYesUS, CAN
* Square & Acuity are free for individuals. Fresha is the only 100% free subscription that supports unlimited staff.

This table is a simplistic overview of the leading salon & spa appointment schedulers. Let’s now take a closer look at each booking software so that you can judge what’s best for your salon or spa.


1. Square Appointments: Best Salon Scheduling Software in the US, Canada, and Australia

Square Appointments - Image of Website

Square Appointments is beautifully designed and super easy-to-use. This is the go-to solution for most salons as it is rich in functionality, integrates with the full range of Square tools, and is free for individuals to start using.

When joining Square, you get access to so much more than “just” Square Appointments. Even if that might be the only feature you need right now, you can easily integrate their credit card payment tools, POS system, marketing features, online store, payroll & team management, and more when you need it.

Square is set up to grow with you as your business grows and is a complete business partner for small and bigger businesses. 

Square Appointments - Image of app
(Screenshot image source)

What I found most impressive is how well it supports client/staff notifications and online bookings. While you work in the simple calendar view and arrange appointments, your clients and employees are kept up-to-date with simple, customizable notifications.

You also have several options when integrating the booking feature on your website. You can embed it or link out to your booking page. This makes it very powerful vs. some of the competitors.

On top of that, Square Appointments is very strong at the business fundamentals (like inventory management and client data management).

I highly recommend Square Appointments for all size businesses. Given you can start using it for free, I recommend you give it a try by signing up for a free plan here.

Pros

  • Free for individuals
  • Well designed, easy to use, interface
  • Very strong client notification support
  • Integration with the full suite of Square applications for endless possibilities
  • Robust core business management (inventory, reports, and client data)

Cons

  • Limited design flexibility
  • You can change colors but not completely make it fit your brand
  • Only available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia at the moment


Square Appointments Pricing

  • FREE for individuals
  • $50/month for a team of 5 staff
  • $90/month for a team of 10 staff
  • Credit card process fee of 2.6% + $0.1 when you allow clients to pay for appointments using the app. Note that you will always pay a credit card fee no matter which scheduler you use.

2. Fresha: Best 100% Subscription Free Salon Scheduling Software (Worldwide)

Fresha Salon Software - Image of Website Header

Fresha, previously called Shedul, is a complete system for salons with an easy to use appointment calendar. It’s the only 100% subscription-free salon booking system, so for individual stylists or new salons that need to keep fixed costs low, this is the perfect option.

Apart from the robust salon appointment scheduling, Fresha features a point-of-sale system, staff scheduling, product, and stock management, payment processing, financial reporting and analytics, and a range of marketing tools.

Fresha makes it easy for you to attract clients online through your own website, the Fresha marketplace, or by connecting to their Instagram and Facebook business pages.

Screenshot of Fresha appointment booking app
(Screenshot image source)

You’ll be surprised how much you get with your free Fresha subscription. It’s no wonder it’s the fastest-growing salon appointment system with 250’000 stylists and therapists in more than 120 countries.

It gives you a lot of the advanced features you’d normally need to pay for – like free SMS, built-in no show protection, and marketing automation (e.g. like client birthday emails).

An important difference with Fresha is that they offer a salon client marketplace. This allows you to promote your business and get discovered by new clients. Note that this is also where they earn their money back. When you market your salon or spa on the platform and you get a new client, they’ll charge you 20% of the appointment. Also, as you’ll be using their credit card payment gateway, you’ll also be charged transaction fees when clients pay online (2.19% + $0.2).

This means you only pay when the platform is generating business for you which I think makes a lot of sense.

The main reason I like Fresha is because it’s so easy to use and despite being subscription-free, you get many of the features that other companies charge for.

One thing to keep in mind with Fresha is that it works best as a complete system on their platform. If you already have an established website and other marketing solutions, other options might give you more control and flexibility.

Pros

  • Free subscription for unlimited staff
  • Integrates with Facebook, Instagram, and Google
  • User friendly and easy to learn
  • Available in many languages

Cons

  • Limited options to customize the appearance (default designs looks very good though)
  • Limited support for integration with other platforms. You’re kind of locked into using the Fresha tools.

Fresha Pricing

  • FREE for unlimited staff 
  • Only charges you for new clients that you get on Fresha Marketplace (20%) and when taking payments on the platform (2.19% + $0.2).

3. Acuity Scheduling: Most Advanced & Customizable Salon Appointment Software (Worldwide)

Acuity Scheduling - Image of Website

Do you want the absolute best booking experience for your clients? Then it is Acuity Scheduling you’re looking for.

Acuity is the most flexible appointment scheduler on the market and what I find most powerful with Acuity is that it integrates with a broad range of other software. This allows you to achieve whatever you want.

Screenshots of Acuity Scheduling app
(Screenshot image source)

You can customize everything with Acuity. Brand your booking page or website widget as you like. Acuity is the most flexible appointment scheduler on the market and it allows you to integrate bookings with a full suite of third-party software which, together, becomes a powerful salon software setup for you. 

Acuity is for any size salon that wants the ultimate scheduling experience and is ready to invest the time (or money) to configure the platform to work as you want. It’s not difficult to use. But to get the full benefit of the platform, you’ll want to configure it to work with other platforms and design it to fit your brand. 

This makes it more flexible than Square Appointments and Fresha but also more complex. With Square Appointments, you get all the tools you need to work together with the need to learn and configure multiple tools.

Pros

  • Fully customizable website booking widget 
  • Fully customizable SMS & email reminders
  • Integrates with all leading software for marketing, accounting, and POS directly or via Zapier.
  • Available worldwide

Cons

  • Only appointment scheduling
  • All other business support functionality needs to be managed via integrations
  • A bit of a learning curve to get the most out of the tool


Acuity Scheduling Pricing

  • FREE for 1 person but without advanced features
  • $14/month for 1 person with some advanced features
  • $23/month for a team of 6 with text reminders and the ability to sell subscriptions, memberships, and gift certificates
  • $45/month for a team of 36 with text reminders and the ability to sell subscriptions, memberships, and gift certificates

4. Timely: Easy-to-Use All-in-One Salon Software (Worldwide)

Timely - Image of website

Timely is an excellent alternative to the giants above. They offer a powerful appointment scheduler but also full salon business support: All in one solution.

Overall, Timely has most of the standard appointment and booking features. Clients can book online, log in, manage their bookings, update their details, and reschedule a previous appointment. 

Customers can book their appointments online through links embedded in websites or through Facebook and Instagram. If you don’t already have your own business website then you can build your own mini-website through Timely.

Timely - Screenshot of booking app

Other helpful features include automatic follow-up SMS and e-mail messages to clients after an appointment to check-in on their experience and request a review.

Timely has fairly low fixed price packages. This is important for many salon owners who are wary of the additional costs and hidden fees some software providers might add for extra features.

Timely prides itself on award-winning customer support. And their dedication to supporting the salon industry beyond scheduling quickly becomes apparent.

Overall, Timely is a good choice for salon owners who need a basic system and an easy to understand pricing system.

Pros

  • Integration with Google Calendar, MailChimp, Quickbooks, ZVend and MYOB
  • Dozens of payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and more
  • Good guides and help documentation on the website
  • Works on any web browser and with mobile apps
  • Easy to add to your website with plug-ins for Squarespace, WordPress and Wix

Cons

  • Fairly basic features and functionality
  • Works well for a single user looking for basic features
  • Not able to add pictures under the services section
  • A limited number of languages available

Timely Pricing

  • $15/month for a solo owner
  • $30/month for 2-7 staff
  • 8-20 staff has fixed price packages from $200 (See Timely pricing).

5. Salon Iris: Most Feature Rich All-in-One Salon Software (US & UK)

Salon Iris Salon Software - Image of Website

Do you want complete and advanced support for your salon business with the simplicity of managing everything in one place?

Then Salon Iris is for you.

Salon Iris is not just an appointment scheduler but an all-in-one salon software. It has been supporting salons since 1999 which makes it one of the most experienced, salon-dedicated, solutions on the market.

Screenshots of the Salon Iris appointment app
(Screenshot image source)

Nowadays, Salon Iris also has a powerful salon app and one of the more advanced e-mail marketing systems of the significant salon software providers.

Salon Iris comes with a customizable landing page with online booking and a client portal. You can also send automated text and e-mail appointment reminders, manage multiple staff calendars, and drag and drop to reschedule appointments.

Another good feature is two-way texting which enables quick responses and keeps the customers happy.

Overall Salon Iris is a very good solution with extensive features that is suitable for salons with several team members. Solo owners who don’t want to spend time setting up a customized system might want to look at one of the other solutions.

Pros

  • Powerful and flexible appointment management
  • An advanced e-mail marketing system
  • Most complete salon software on the market
  • Store detailed data, images, history, and notes for each client

Cons

  • Many advanced features which can make it appear complex to use
  • Does not offer rescheduling of appointments on client-side
  • Not the cheapest solution (even if pricing is fair)

Salon Iris Pricing

  • $29/month (for single users)
  • $59/month (up to 3 users)
  • $109/month (unlimited users)

Genbook

Genbbok Salon Scheduling App - Image of Website

Genbook is a salon scheduling program that has developed into an all-in-one business solution.

Online bookings now account for 3 out of 5 of all bookings and Genbook has also been one of the first salon software companies to partner with Google and the Reserve with Google program, enabling customers to book appointments directly from Google Search and Maps pages.

Screenshots of Genbook salon software app
(Screenshot image source)

The Genbook Marketplace gives you an SEO optimized booking page that is integrated with Google.

Smart Marketing is an integrated e-mail marketing feature in Genbook that can increase bookings for your salon. Here you can find useful templates like ‘Time for your next appointment template’ and target your clients with the right message.

Geenbook has the feel of a modern and lean solution, with a somewhat less extensive feature set than of some of the other salon systems, but well adapted to salons who connect and meet their customers on the web and on social media.

Pros

  • Clients can book a service directly from the Google Map website page or app
  • Integrates everywhere including your Instagram or Facebook business page
  • Excellent Learning Center with business tips and product help 
  • Modern design and interface
  • Reviews are collected and displayed online

Cons

  • Some clients have problems knowing how to cancel their appointments
  • Not having a section for photos of business and portfolio

Genbook Pricing

  • $25/month for a solo user
  • $49/month for a team of 2-5
  • $83/month for a team of 6-12
  • Free trial available

Schedulicity

Schedulicity Salon App - Image of Website

Schedulicity is another good salon appointment scheduling platform that has grown into an all-in-one system that now offers payment processing, automated email marketing, and a marketplace where local online customers can discover you.

Screenshots of Schedulicity salon software app
(Screenshot image source)

Users can process payments instantly through Square or Stripe or use the built-in payment processing with Schedulicity Pay.

The add-on pricing model means that you can pick and choose from the features you need and potentially save money. However, the fee for the communication/marketing piece can double your monthly cost.

Schedulicity is good for small salons that later can grow into the system. It´s a good all-in-one solution but doesn´t have many integrations.

Pros

  • No contracts, cancel anytime you want
  • Pay only for the add-ons you need
  • Good customer service
  • Option to block repeat no-show customers

Cons

  • Cost increases when adding add-ons
  • Limited integrations apart from calendars sync with Yahoo, Outlook, iCal, Hotmail, and Office 365
  • Limited to the US and Canada

Schedulicity Pricing

  • $20/month for a solo user
  • $30/month for 2-5 users
  • $40/month for 6-10 users
  • $50/month for 11+ users

Only choose the additional add-ons that you need. (See Schedulicity pricing).


Summary

Being a salon or spa owner is not easy.

Running your business, managing staff, and clientele, and trying to get everything done is demanding.

This is why picking the best salon scheduling software for you is important. Not only does it help you manage employees’ schedules, but it also allows your clients to book appointments and get reminders, ultimately making your job easier.

Benefits of using a salon scheduling software

  • Save time. Fewer phone calls, text messages, and e-mails that disturb during client treatments
  • Automatic e-mail or text reminders helps avoid no-shows
  • Clients can book and reschedule 24/7
  • Get appointments via Google, Instagram, and Facebook
  • Take payments. Receiving payments during booking is convenient and helps reducing customer no-shows
  • A client can more easily review appointment details
  • Helps staff manage their appointments

Conclusion and my top picks

You want to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

This means looking for ways to make your business more efficient, which helps you save time, money, and aggravation. Using salon scheduling software is one way you can gain more control over your salon operations and take your business to the next level.

My top 3 choices

Square Appointments logo

Square Appointments is perfect for users who want a complete business system that is free for solo owners and easy to use. You really get all you need with Square Appointments and the other tools from Square.

If you want more control and flexibility and already use other business tools, you might like to look at other scheduling systems that can integrate with your existing tool stack. Also, if you’re located outside the US, Canada, or Australia, Square won’t work for you.


Fresha logo

Fresha is an excellent all-in-one-solution that is free and very easy to get started with. As with Square, you will get the most out of the system if you use the whole package, including Fresha Marketplace, the email marketing tools, and the Fresha payment system. 

More experienced salon owners might want more customization options and control over integrations than other solutions offer though.


Acuity Scheduling logo

Acuity Scheduling is perfect for salons that want to create the best possible scheduling experience for themselves and their clients. Acuity is very flexible and integrates with a wide variety of other software, which is great for salon owners who want to invest more time upfront into creating a customized system.

This can later pay dividends through a more efficient workflow, lower cost, and better integration with their existing website, email marketing, and payment solution.

You however need to be prepared for a bigger learning curve when you go with Acuity as you’ll need to set up integrations and learn other tools to help you in specific areas of your business.


I hope you found this review of the best salon appointment software helpful.

I also recommend you read my review of the best salon software, best point of sale systems for salons, as well as the best website builders for salons.

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