Fresha vs. Square Appointments: Which Software is Best 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. Square Appointments – Two very evenly matched salon and spa software options that trade blows in 2024.

And you’re certainly not the only business owner considering these two alternatives…

Although different in many ways, these two online booking and business management platforms share similarities that can make the decision between them difficult.

They’re the two leading platforms with a subscription-free plan.

Yes, you can use their basic features without a monthly subscription payment. This is undoubtedly why they have become two of the most popular alternatives for solopreneurs and small businesses on a budget.

However, these solutions offer more than free tools for independent stylists and therapists.

In this review and comparison, I’ll break down each system and make sure you leave today with a clear understanding of which one best fits your needs.

Fresha vs Square Appointments

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

Fresha

Square Appointments

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
4.0

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
$45 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.
For solopreneurs or small teams in any type of local service business (salon, spa, fitness, repair, cleaning, and professional services) who want access to Square's broad range of products.

Ease of use

5
4

Customer Service

2
3

Countries

Available in 22 languages in over 120 countries worldwide

U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.

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!
  • Large amount of native integrations with other apps
  • Comprehensive, easy-to-use, marketing tools
  • Best looking POS hardware on the market
  • Free, sophisticated, website builder and online store

A Double-Click on Each System

Let’s quickly review each system before we compare these two platforms head-on.

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.

Square Appointments At a Glance

Square Appointments is a cloud-based appointment scheduling software for salons, spas and really any other local service businesses.

It integrates with the full suite of local business solutions from Square which makes it one of the most complete business management solutions on the market.

At the same time, it is free for individuals and has therefore quickly become one of the most popular platforms for one-person businesses like beauty booth renters and individual professionals.

Pros and Cons

  • Free for individuals
  • Well-designed, easy to use, interface
  • Integration with the full suite of Square applications for endless possibilities
  • Robust core business management (inventory, reports, and client data)
  • Limited flexibility when designing online booking page, booking widget, e-mails and other aspects that you may want to adapt
  • It gets a bit expensive for the growing team that expands with more locations
  • Only available in the U.S. and Canada at the moment

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Both these platforms were designed with the non-technical business owner in mind. You can tell they’ve put some work into understanding how they need to design their interface to make it usable for everyone.

Fresha is dedicated to salon and spa businesses, while a broader range of customers uses Square. With Square, you can, therefore, activate different apps, Square Appointments being one, but there are other solutions available to you with Square.

All these solutions combined make the feature offered by Square richer than Fresha’s. But it also means a bigger learning curve to get the system to the place you want it. Fresha just works out of the box.

Another key difference between these two platforms is geography. Fresha is available worldwide, while Square is much more limited in availability. Making the decision easy for many business owners.

But let’s double-click on this and review how they compare the different aspects of the software.

Fresha vs Square Appointments

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

Fresha

Square Appointments

Ease of use

5
4

Design

3
4

Customer service

2
3

Pricing

3
4

Calendar and appointment management

4
4

Online booking

2
3

Point of sale and check out

3
5

Client data

4
5

Client communication

3
4

Inventory management

5
5

Team Management

2
5

Payroll

2
5

Marketing support

4
4

3rd party integrations

1
5

Mobile and tablet apps

5
5

Let’s Talk Features: Fresha vs. Square

These two platforms are, given their price level, surprisingly rich in features. However, you’ll find a lot of out-of-the-box designs that you cannot adapt. For example, if you want to make your online booking experience look like your brand and not Square or Fresha, you’ll be disappointed.

Fresha is the more “locked down” software out of the two. It offers very little customization or integration capability. You can customize and integrate more with Square, even if it’s limited. But it is also for this exact reason that these two systems are so easy to use and just look good out of the gate.

Another significant feature difference is, of course, Fresha’s marketplace. This is an online destination where clients can browse businesses using Fresha. If using software that lists you (and your competitors) on the same marketplace is a good thing or not, I leave it up to you to decide.

Fresha vs Square Appointments

Square offers a rich universe of features while Fresha makes it easier to access and use it's features

Fresha Square Appointments
Online Booking Fresha Square Appointments
Website booking widget

Note

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

Branding control

Note

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

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

Clients can confirm appointments by replying to SMS

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 does not offer integration with other platforms. If integration is important to you, you’ll be better off with Square Appointments or an alternative platform.

Fresha vs Square Appointments

Fresha does not offer integration support but Square Appointments does.

Fresha Square Appointments
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

The Square App Marketplace offer a lot of integrations. Some popular examples are:

  • Quickbooks
  • Jotform
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce

Pricing: Fresha vs. Square Appointments

When comparing Fresha vs. Square Appointments, both offer affordable pricing and a subscription-free plan.

Square Appointments offers a free monthly subscription for very basic features. You’ll need to upgrade to Plus or Premium if you need more.

Fresha’s model is instead based on usage, where you pay if a new client books you via their marketplace or based on how much you use some of its features.

Fresha vs Square Appointments Pricing

Fresha and Square Appointments both offer free basic subscriptions.

Fresha Square Appointments
Average Price
$80 per month
$45 per month
Trial Options
Free subscription
Free base tier plan
Minimum contract length
Cancel any time
Cancel any time
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.
  • Free: $0/month (only very essential features)
  • Plus: $29 per location (includes core features like client notifications and cancellation policy)
  • Premium: $69 per location (includes more sophisticated features like resource management).
  • Unlimited calendars on all plans
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.
  • Free: $0/month (only very essential features)
  • Plus: $29 per location (includes core features like client notifications and cancellation policy)
  • Premium: $69 per location (includes more sophisticated features like resource management).
  • Unlimited calendars on all plans
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
  • Email marketing: $15/month
  • SMS marketing: $10/month
  • Square loyalty: $45/month
  • Square Payroll: $35 + $6 per user/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
  • Email marketing: $15/month
  • SMS marketing: $10/month
  • Square loyalty: $45/month
  • Square Payroll: $35 + $6 per user/month
Credit card fees
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization
  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents (2.5% + 10 cents on paid plans)
  • Online (card): 2.9% + 30 cents
  • Manually Keyed-In: 3.5% + 15 cents
Credit card fees
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization
  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents (2.5% + 10 cents on paid plans)
  • Online (card): 2.9% + 30 cents
  • Manually Keyed-In: 3.5% + 15 cents

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

Now you’ve heard my assessment of these two platforms. But what do other users think?

Fresha vs Square Appointments

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

Fresha Square Appointments
4.8
4.4
4.2
4.3
4.1
4.9
4.2
4.7

What Fresha & Square Alternatives Should You Consider?

Fresha and Square Appointments are two great options for many businesses. If you’re still unsure, consider the platforms below.

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, this is the alternative you should try.

GlossGenius is my recommended alternative for independent professionals.

Mangomint vs GlossGenius

A quick comparison of the two Fresha and Square 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 of Fresha vs. Square has helped you decide which system is right for you.

Want to explore more alternatives? We’ve got you covered.

Check out our list of the best salon and spa software for 2024.

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