Fresha vs. Mindbody: Salon Software & Marketplace Showdown 2024

Editorial note: We're committed to providing correct and up-to-date software reviews that help guide you to the solutions that best fits your needs. The Salon Business is a subsidiary of Mangomint (a salon and spa software we love). However, any opinions shared are solely based on our editors' first-hand experience using the tools we review. Learn more...

Fresha vs. Mindbody – You’re not the only salon owner trying to decide between these two popular platforms.

Fresha (previously known as Shedul) burst onto the scene in 2015, offering a subscription-free model, only charging fees when the software starts generating revenue. This appealing model has attracted many solo entrepreneurs for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Mindbody has been around in some form since 1998 and has become synonymous with extensive features and global reach. It shines with its client acquisition features, marketing tool kit, and the ability to host classes and sell video courses online.

At first glance, Fresha prioritizes ease of use and affordability, while Mindbody flexes its enterprise-level capabilities. However, there’s more nuance to uncover to determine the best choice for your business needs.

In this Fresha vs. Mindbody face-off, I’ll arm you with everything you need to know to make the right call, whether you’re a cost-conscious solopreneur or an enterprise managing multiple locations.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these platforms and dive into their strengths and weaknesses, features, pricing, and ideal customer fit.

By the end of this head-to-head comparison, you’ll be confident in your choice of which software best suits your salon or spa’s unique roadmap.

Fresha vs Mindbody

Let's kick off with an overview of the two platforms we're diving into today.

Fresha

Mindbody

Overall score

Note

The overall score considers ease of use, customer service, features, user ratings, and cost. Scores are determined solely by our editorial team.

4.1
3.3

Average price

Note

Assumes you run a business with a mid-size team and have activated the more common add-ons. What you will pay will be lower or higher than this. See the separate section about pricing for full details.

$80 per month
$450 per month

Who is it for

For the independent professional or business on a budget that want to avoid subscription fees and a big technical learning curve.
Salon, spa, and wellness businesses that place a focus on engagement through digital channels — especially those who teach courses — and want to be able to monetize that content directly through their booking platform.

Ease of use

5
3.0

Customer Service

2
3.5

Countries

Available in 22 languages in over 120 countries worldwide

Available in 130 countries

Key features

  • FREE subscription with unlimited staff
  • Fresha marketplace where clients can discover your salon
  • Easy to use with a modern minimalistic design interface
  • Available in over 120 countries!
  • Two-way messaging available (only on Ultimate and Ultimate Plus)
  • AI chatbot feature to help with scheduling (only on Ultimate Plus)
  • Ability to create a custom branded app and sell classes online (additional costs apply)
  • Mindbody Explore Marketplace listing included with all subscriptions

A Double-Click on Each System

Let’s look closer at what these systems do differently and assess the pros and cons of each in this Fresha vs. Mindbody guide.

Fresha At a Glance

Fresha (formerly known as Shedul) is the only subscription-free software for salons and spas with no trial period and no limits on usage. Fresha is headquartered in London, UK, but is available in 120 countries.

The strengths of Fresha lie in the ease of use, the subscription-free plan, and the continuous development of the platform.

It’s important to note that subscription-free is not the same as free. You’re paying for each transaction, and when new clients find you on the Fresha marketplace.

Pros and Cons

  • Free subscription for unlimited staff. Only usage-based pricing.
  • User-friendly and easy to learn
  • Available in many countries and languages
  • Limited options to customize the appearance (default designs look good, though)
  • Clients are required to create a Fresha account to book
  • Online booking cannot be integrated with your website (need to link out to your Fresha page)
  • Limited support for integration with other platforms. You’re locked into using the Fresha tools.

Mindbody At a Glance

The company has been around in some capacity since 1998, when the company was initially founded as Hardbody Software, officially becoming Mindbody in 2001. Since then, Mindbody has exploded in popularity, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and purchased several other companies, including Booker, Classpass, and FitMetrix. Mindbody is headquartered in San Luis Obispo CA, and is available nearly worldwide.

Mindbody’s strengths lie in its new client acquisition opportunities and integrated marketing and content monetization capabilities.

Just like its sister software, Booker, while Mindbody’s lower-tier plans are relatively affordable, they lack many of the noteworthy features that make Mindbody an attractive option, putting them somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to price-to-feature comparisons.

Pros and Cons

  • Enhanced new client acquisition opportunities through MindBody Marketplace
  • Integrated payments though MindBody Payments (US & Canada only)
  • Integrated email marketing suite (on Accelerate, Ultimate, and Ultimate Plus plans)
  • Ability to monetize educational classes and content
  • No free trial
  • Must commit to a minimum 12-month contract before ever using the software
  • Stateside customer support only available to Ultimate and Ultimate Plus plans
  • App interface and menus are clunky and outdated

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Fresha and Mindbody serve almost entirely different businesses, but there is also a ton of overlap when it comes to the features they offer and the functions they perform. Fresha sports a sleek, intuitive interface that makes setting up a breeze, while Mindbody offers a more old-school look and feel to its software and a bucketful of features.

A key advantage of Fresha is its free subscription tier that lets solo entrepreneurs hit the ground running. You only pay fees as Fresha generates revenue for your business.

Mindbody lacks a free option but tempts established businesses instead with its pedigree in the industry paired with its robust scheduling, reporting, and video content monetization features.

In terms of client acquisition, Mindbody and Fresha are competing head-to-head with their respective client marketplaces.

Neither software allows you to use a booking widget on your website out of the box. Mindbody requires you to license its API, which means licensing fees and custom web development work on your end, while Fresha doesn’t give you the option at all.

When comparing the in-app experiences, Fresha feels more polished and modern, while Mindbody feels cluttered, and its features feel bolted on in comparison. However, Mindbody does allow for more customization that Fresha, albeit with a steeper learning curve.

Fresha vs Mindbody

Let's kick off with an overview of the two platforms we're diving into today.

Fresha

Mindbody

Ease of use

5
3

Design

3
2

Customer service

2
3

Pricing

3
3

Calendar and appointment management

4
3

Online booking

2
4

Point of sale and check out

3
3

Client data

4
3

Client communication

3
4

Inventory management

5
3

Team Management

2
4

Payroll

2
4

Marketing support

4
5

3rd party integrations

1
4

Mobile and tablet apps

5
3

Let’s Talk Features

What I appreciate most about Fresha is the simplicity factor.

It truly is designed to be a plug-and-play solution that allows stylists and estheticians to focus on their clients rather than fussing with software. Fresha scores points for an intuitive interface that lets you hit the ground running.

Mindbody offers more advanced features like two-way texting with clients and an AI chatbot to help with scheduling.

Both apps include email marketing tools that allow you to take advantage of the client lists you have to market your business more effectively. Both also have impressive client marketplaces for new client acquisition.

When it comes to integrated features, Mindbody pulls ahead with payroll reporting you can manually export and send to your payroll app. Fresha does not offer the same level of integration in this area.

Mindbody brings more to the table functionality-wise, especially for larger businesses. But Fresha keeps pace by excelling at user friendliness and core salon- and spa-centric software features.

The choice comes down to your business needs. Mindbody has power, but Fresha simplifies the fundamentals and caters better to the simpler operations of most salons and spas.

Fresha vs Mindbody

Mindbody offers more features than Fresha. Let's go through what these features are and where they differ.

Fresha Mindbody
Online Booking Fresha Mindbody
Website booking widget

Note

Can you integrate the entire online booking experience directly into your website?

Note

Available on all plans except Starter plan

Branding control

Note

Can you customize the look and feel of the booking experience to fit your brand?

Note

Available on all plans except Starter plan

No-show protection

Note

Can you store credit card details and charge deposits to reinforce your cancellation policy?

Service customization

Note

Can clients adapt their service when they book, and can this change the price and duration of the booked appointment?

Free from account creation

Note

Can clients book without having first to create an account with the software?

Integrated gift cards

Note

Can you sell digital gift cards as part of the booking process?

Calendar and Appointment Management
Customize notification messages

Note

Can you change the text sent to your clients as part of appointment reminders and other messages?

Customize notification timings

Note

Can you change when reminders and other messages go out to your clients?

Client waitlist management
Rooms and resource scheduling

Note

Can you manage equipment, rooms, and other resources required to complete a service?

Repeat appointments

Note

Can you schedule clients for recurring appointments?

Time block

Note

Can you block out time on your calendar?

Processing time

Note

Can you allow for double booking of service providers by accepting appointments during service processing time?

Duration and price by staff

Note

Can you adapt the price and time needed for a service based on who is performing the service?

Automated check-in

Note

Can clients check in to their appointments themselves?

Point of Sale/ Check out
Tablet compatible

Note

Can you run the POS on any tablet or do you need special hardware?

Dedicated POS hardware

Note

Does the system provider offer hardware to improve the check out expereince?

Self check out

Note

Can clients check out from their appointment themselves?

Route payments to renters

Note

If you have booth renters in your business, can you route payments directly to them?

Cards on file

Note

Can you store credit card details and charge the customer later?

Integrated payments

Note

Does the software offer a first-party payment processing solution?

Client Data & Communication
SMS Notification
Email Notificition
Dedicated business SMS number

Note

Do you get a business phone number that your messages and notifications are send from?

Two way SMS communication

Note

Included in Mindbody’s Ultimate software package. Optional add-on for lower-tier plans.

Forms

Note

Can you create intake forms, store SOAP notes, and have clients sign your forms?

Client notes

Note

Can you store notes about clients on their profile?

Client files and images

Note

Can you store files and image on in the client’s profile?

Inventory and Product Types
Inventory tracking

Note

Will the system keep track of stock levels, notify you when it’s time to re-order?

Purchase orders

Note

Can the system create automatic purchase orders for you?

Retail
Memberships
Packages
Gift cards
Team Support & Payroll
Fully integrated payroll

Note

Can you run payroll and cut paychecks directly through the software?

3rd party payroll integration

Note

Does the software allow you integrate and share data with a 3rd party payroll solution (e.g. Gusto, ADP, Paychex, etc)?

Payroll reports

Note

Fresha offer reports on staff commission, working hours, tips, and service and product sales by staff

Commission support

Note

Can you track and report on commission for service, retail, and other product types?

Multi-location support

Note

Does the system have specific support for businesses with multiple locations

Booth renter support

Note

Can the system help with rent collection, payments, and other booth renter management tasks.

Marketing Support
Email marketing
SMS marketing
Website builder
Client marketplace

Note

Does it offer a platform where potential clients can browse businesses using the software?

Add-on offers

Note

Can you promote service add-ons/upsells as part of the online booking flow?

Cloud & Mobile App Access
Full-featured mobile app

Note

Can you access all software features in the mobile app?

Web browser
iPad
iPhone
Android

Integrating with Other Platforms for Additional Features

One of the limits of Fresha is that it has few integrations with other platforms. This makes it difficult to connect your other business apps to Fresha and automate certain processes.

In contrast, Mindbody has dozens of third-party integrations available in its Partner Store, making growing and scaling your business and its tools a real possibility.

Fresha vs Mindbody

Mindbody has a far better selection of partner integrations.

Fresha Mindbody
Custom integrations

Note

Does the platform allow you to create new integrations to support your business-specific needs?

Native integrations

Note

Built-in integrations that you can activate as needed

  • Reserve with Google
  • ADP
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Equifax
  • Groupon
  • Paychex
  • Vish
  • iCal
  • Google Calendar

Full list available in the Mindbody Partner Store.

Pricing

Fresha’s biggest draw is its subscription-free model. You only pay transaction fees on bookings, payments, etc, once revenue is flowing. This helps solo entrepreneurs get started at very little cost to them.

Fresha is free initially, but once you add extras like online booking, credit card processing, or marketing tools, you will incur transaction fees. Costs scale as Fresha drives more revenue, meaning it may be harder to predict your revenue each month as your business scales.

Mindbody lacks a free option and requires a 12-month contract upfront. Mindbody’s entry-level “Starter” plan starts at over $100 monthly. However, this tier lacks many of the features that make Mindbody an attractive option.

So while Mindbody provides more advanced capabilities, expect pricing that piles on fees as you scale up tiers. That’s not to say that Mindbody is a poor value, but you can expect to pay several hundred dollars per month for its best feature packages.

If low cost is important to you and you only have one or two service providers, then you will likely be better served with Fresha or another low-cost alternative on my top salon on spa software list for 2024.

Fresha vs Mindbody Pricing

Fresha is more attractively priced than Mindbody.

Fresha Mindbody
Average Price
$80 per month
$450 per month
Trial Options
Free subscription
No free trial
Minimum contract length
Cancel any time
12 months
Plans
  • No fixed monthly charge
  • Marketplace new client fee: 20% (min $6 per new client). This only applies to new clients who book via the Fresha marketplace.
  • Starter: entry-level plan – $129 per month
  • Accelerate: mid-tier plan – $269 per month
  • Ultimate: most popular plan – $429 per month
  • Ultimate Plus: premium plan – $549 per month
Plans
  • No fixed monthly charge
  • Marketplace new client fee: 20% (min $6 per new client). This only applies to new clients who book via the Fresha marketplace.
  • Starter: entry-level plan – $129 per month
  • Accelerate: mid-tier plan – $269 per month
  • Ultimate: most popular plan – $429 per month
  • Ultimate Plus: premium plan – $549 per month
Add-ons
  • Automated notifications: $0.01 per text (50 included for free)
  • Email blast campaigns: $0.02 per email
  • Text blast campaigns: $0.02 per email
  • Insights (enhanced reporting): $9.95 per team member
  • Branded mobile app
  • Messenger[ai]
  • FitMetrix
  • Branded web tools
  • Video on Demand
  • Live Stream
  • Insights
Add-ons
  • Automated notifications: $0.01 per text (50 included for free)
  • Email blast campaigns: $0.02 per email
  • Text blast campaigns: $0.02 per email
  • Insights (enhanced reporting): $9.95 per team member
  • Branded mobile app
  • Messenger[ai]
  • FitMetrix
  • Branded web tools
  • Video on Demand
  • Live Stream
  • Insights
Credit card fees
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization

Credit card processing rates through Mindbody Payments:

  • US:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.75% per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 3.5% + .15 USD per transaction
  • Canada:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.39% + .10 CAD per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 2.89% + .25 CAD per transaction
Credit card fees
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization

Credit card processing rates through Mindbody Payments:

  • US:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.75% per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 3.5% + .15 USD per transaction
  • Canada:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.39% + .10 CAD per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 2.89% + .25 CAD per transaction

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

To read more about our experience testing these software suites, we invite you to explore our comprehensive reviews of Fresha and Mindbody.

However, if you’re interested in what everyday business customers have to say, take a look at the user review scores and platforms below.

Fresha vs Mindbody

Let's compare scores for these systems on the major user review sites.

Fresha Mindbody
4.8
4.0
4.2
3.6
4.1
4.6
4.2
4.3

What Alternatives Should You Consider?

Fresha and Mindbody are both awesome choices for a range of businesses. But, if you’re still not quite sure if either is the right fit, take a look at these great alternatives:

Mangomint is the highest-rated software for salons and spas. If you have a team and you want the best customer service in the industry, I highly recommend you give them a try.

GlossGenius is my recommended alternative for independent professionals.

Mangomint vs GlossGenius

A quick comparison of the two Fresha and Mindbody alternatives.

Mangomint

GlossGenius

Overall score

Note

The overall score considers ease of use, customer service, features, user ratings, and cost. Scores are determined solely by our editorial team.

4.9
4.4

Average price

Note

Assumes you run a business with a mid-size team and have activated the more common add-ons. What you will pay will be lower or higher than this. See the separate section about pricing for full details.

$245 per month
$48 per month

Who is it for

The highest-rated software for salons & spas. Designed for businesses with a team who want the best design experience, smart automations, and the flexibility to integrate with other systems.
For independent professionals who want to start accepting payments and get appointment scheduling, a website and marketing up fast without compromising on the experience of their brand

Ease of use

5
5

Customer Service

5
3

Countries

U.S. and Canada

U.S.

Key features

  • Modern, intuitive, and easy to use
  • Smart automations that help cut down on time spent managing business operations
  • Open data ownership and no contracts (you’re not locked into anything)
  • Can integrate with any other platform who allows for integrations
  • Highest-rated customer service on the market
  • Premium beauty-inspired interface design
  • Professional-looking website in just a few clicks
  • Integrated payment and card reader with customizable design
  • Affordable, transparent, flat fee pricing

Conclusion

I hope this comparison was helpful in your search for the right salon and spa software for your business!

For more great software alternatives, see my list of the best salon and spa software of 2024.

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