Square Appointments vs. Booker: Features, Pricing & User Reviews

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...

Square Appointments vs. Booker – two popular salon management platforms go head to head, each with unique strengths.

Square Appointments shines with its free basic plan for solo businesses and seamless integration with other business solutions. Booker is known for its user-friendly interface, specifically designed for salons and spas, and its availability worldwide through its parent company, Mindbody.

For solo entrepreneurs or very small salon teams, Square Appointments provides a capable free-to-low-cost option to handle bookings and process payments. The software is intuitive and has a smooth onboarding process but lacks some specialized features tailored to the beauty industry.

Comparatively, Booker offers features purpose-built for spas and salons. It streamlines scheduling, payment collection, and marketing campaigns. The platform does come with monthly subscription fees but enables robust business management capabilities.

Of the two, Booker offers greater complexity and customization for established salons looking to scale operations.

Both Square Appointments and Booker have fans among salon owners. In this comparison, we’ll explore the ideal user, strengths and weaknesses of each platform, pricing, and top features of each software solution.

Square Appointments vs Booker

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

Square Appointments

Booker

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.

4.0
3.4

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.

$45 per month
$450 per month

Who is it for

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.
For the new and growing business with funds to spare that needs integrated marketing tools and must have a first-party online marketplace to drive new client acquisition.

Ease of use

4
4

Customer Service

3
3.5

Countries

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

Available almost worldwide

Key features

  • 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
  • Two-way messaging available (only on Ultimate and Ultimate Plus)
  • AI chatbot feature to help with scheduling (only on Ultimate Plus)
  • Integrated payments through MindBody Payments (US & Canada only)
  • Mindbody Explore Marketplace listing included with all subscriptions

A Double-Click on Each System

Let’s cover what these systems are and the pros and cons of each in my Square Appointments vs. Booker guide.

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

Booker At a Glance

Booker by Mindbody, is a subscription-based salon and spa software that has existed in some form since 2007. Booker is headquartered in San Luis Obispo CA, and is available nearly worldwide.

Booker’s strengths lie in its new client acquisition opportunities and integrated marketing capabilities.

While Booker’s lowest-tier plans are relatively affordable compared to the competition, they lack many of the noteworthy features that make Booker an attractive option, putting them somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to price-to-feature comparisons.

Pros and Cons

  • Straightforward pricing
  • Enhanced new client acquisition opportunities through MindBody Explore marketplace
  • Integrated email marketing suite (on higher-tier plans)
  • No free trial
  • Must commit to a minimum 12-month contract before ever using the software
  • US-based customer support only available to Ultimate and Ultimate Plus plans (outsourced on Starter and Accelerate plans)

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Square Appointments is easy to use out of the box for core business functions like bookings, payments, inventory, and reporting. However, customization is limited when it comes to branding elements like booking pages.

In contrast, Booker stands out with its purpose-built interface for salons and spas. The system is still intuitive despite offering robust features and customization. However, the software does feel outdated compared to some newer software options on the market. The menu system can also feel clunky at times, both on desktop and in the mobile app.

Square Appointments is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. Booker by Mindbody is available in several countries worldwide and has a broader availability than Square.

Square may prove the better choice for cost-conscious solopreneurs who want an easy-to-use single-location platform. Booker excels in growing salon and spa brands that want to unite scheduling, marketing, and payments under one salon software program.

Square Appointments vs Booker

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

Square Appointments

Booker

Ease of use

4
4

Design

4
3

Customer service

3
3

Pricing

4
3

Calendar and appointment management

4
4

Online booking

3
4

Point of sale and check out

5
4

Client data

5
4

Client communication

4
4

Inventory management

5
4

Team Management

5
4

Payroll

5
4

Marketing support

4
5

3rd party integrations

5
4

Mobile and tablet apps

5
2

Let’s Talk Features: Square vs. Booker

When it comes to design and customization, both Square Appointments and Booker offer out-of-the-box templates that cannot be adapted much. Square does allow more personalization of booking pages and integration with other software compared to Booker out of the box, but Booker has an open API that can be licensed to create a fully customized and branded online booking widget on your website (for a fee).

For scheduling and booking management, the two platforms are quite capable for teams. However, solopreneurs may find Booker’s pricing relatively high for their needs. Appointment scheduling and calendar syncing are robust in both solutions.

For messaging, Booker and Square Appointments allow in-platform communication with clients. Booker also offers two-way texting and AI chatbot add-ons at the higher subscription tiers.

When it comes to marketing, Booker provides an email builder and access to Mindbody’s massive client marketplace. Square Appointments lacks some specialized salon marketing tools but makes up for it with some genuinely great e-commerce features.

Booker wins out for built-in marketing and advanced team management needs. But Square Appointments puts up a good fight with more flexible integrations with the Square eco-system.

Square Appointments vs Booker

Booker offers more features than Square Appointments. Let's go through what these features are and where they differ.

Square Appointments Booker
Online Booking Square Appointments Booker
Website booking widget

Note

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

Note

Not included by default. Requires custom web development and API access fees.

Branding control

Note

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

Note

Not included by default. Requires custom web development and API access fees.

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?

Note

Available on Ultimate & Ultimate Plus plans only

Two way SMS communication

Note

Clients can confirm appointments by replying to SMS

Note

Available on Ultimate & Ultimate Plus plans only

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
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

As salons scale up operations, integration becomes key to ensure the tools you use can communicate with each other. Square Appointments makes it easy to connect other Square products, like payroll and customer management tools. There are also abundant third-party integration options.

Comparatively, Booker is limited unless you leverage their open API. This requires web development skills, a monthly fee, and custom coding work. The options an open API provides can be powerful but create extra work that you will need to sink funds into for development and licensing.

Square Appointments vs Booker

These platforms both offer third-party integrations.

Square Appointments Booker
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

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

  • Quickbooks
  • Jotform
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • iCal
  • Google Calendar

Pricing: Square Appointments vs. Booker

Square Appointments bases costs on transaction volume rather than a flat monthly fee. Initially, costs are very affordable, but expenses scale up rapidly as transaction volume increases. It can become complex to forecast final monthly costs.

Comparatively, Booker uses a traditional monthly subscription model with clear-tiered pricing. Be aware that the plans lack robust features until you get to the higher price points. This puts Booker as mid-market for price-to-feature value.

At the budget level, Square Appointments delivers more value. Yet, for advanced needs, Booker ultimately enables greater customization.

If low cost is important to you, then you will be better off with Square or another alternative on my top salon and spa software list for 2024.

Square Appointments vs Booker Pricing

Square is more attractively priced than Booker.

Square Appointments Booker
Average Price
$45 per month
$450 per month
Trial Options
Free base tier plan
No free trial
Minimum contract length
Cancel any time
12 months
Plans
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Email marketing: $15/month
  • SMS marketing: $10/month
  • Square loyalty: $45/month
  • Square Payroll: $35 + $6 per user/month

Messenger[ai] feature can be added on to Accelerate and Ultimate packages

Add-ons
  • Email marketing: $15/month
  • SMS marketing: $10/month
  • Square loyalty: $45/month
  • Square Payroll: $35 + $6 per user/month

Messenger[ai] feature can be added on to Accelerate and Ultimate packages

Credit card fees
  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents (2.5% + 10 cents on paid plans)
  • Online (card):Β 2.9% + 30 cents
  • Manually Keyed-In:Β 3.5% + 15 cents

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% +Β .25 CAD per transaction
Credit card fees
  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents (2.5% + 10 cents on paid plans)
  • Online (card):Β 2.9% + 30 cents
  • Manually Keyed-In:Β 3.5% + 15 cents

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% +Β .25 CAD per transaction

What Do Users Think of Square Appointments and Booker?

If you want to know more about our experience testing these software suites, check out our in-depth reviews of Square Appointments and Booker. But if you want to hear what everyday business customers of these platforms have to say, check out the user review scores below.

Square Appointments vs Booker

Let's compare scores for these systems on some of the most popular user review sites.

Square Appointments Booker
4.4
4.1
4.3
4.9
3.7
4.7
1.7

What Square and Booker Alternatives Should You Consider?

Square Appointments and Booker are both awesome choices for a range of businesses. But if you’re still not quite sure, that’s ok! We have some incredible alternatives you should also check out.

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 with lean operations who want to keep their costs down.

Mangomint vs GlossGenius

A quick comparison of the two Square and Booker 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 between Square Appointments vs. Booker has answered some of your questions.

For more alternatives, don’t miss my list of the best salon and spa software on the market right now.

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