The Ultimate Tools You Need to Start & Grow a Salon Business
I’m regularly asked about recommendations for different tools, services, and salon software to use when starting out or growing a salon business. This is why I put together this list of resources I strongly recommend for building, optimizing, and to grow your salon business.
My intent here is to bring your all the best, most cost effective, resources to help grow your salon business.
- Salon software: Salon business management systems and appointment scheduling apps
- Salon website solutions: Tools and services that help you build a professional salon website
- Salon brand design: Tools and services that help you design a compelling salon brand
- Salon marketing platforms: Solutions to attracting new clients and marketing your salon
- Salon business services: Save money and improve salon business operations with these services
I’ve used all the recommendations on this page. In fact, many of the resources listed here have been crucial to running my business and for growing the business of many successful salons so I’m excited to share it with you.
Please note that the page contains special offer links and discount codes. If you decide to make a purchase using these links and offers, I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you).
Best Salon Software and Appointment Scheduling Apps
Your salon must offer online booking today or you’ll lose out on many potential new salon clients. But the right salon software can do so much more than just salon appointment scheduling – it can be your most important companion to grow your salon business. Below are the salon software solutions I recommend.
SQUARE APPOINTMENTS | The Best FREE Appointment Software (US & Canada Only)
A free appointment scheduler with minimalistic design that is easy to use and functional. Square Appointments comes with all the features you need to manage your appointment book effectively. It also has advanced support for SMS & email appointment notifications.
Square Appointments is ideal for booth renters or individual stylist as it’s free to use for individuals. It also integrates with all other Square products (like POS system, credit card reader, and marketing suite) which combined makes a complete solution also for the large salon business.
ACUITY SCHEDULING | The Most Customizable Appointment Software (Available Worldwide)
The most sophisticated appointment scheduling solution. Acuity Scheduling allow you to redesign everything to fit your brand while it also integrates seamlessly with almost any other software. This makes Acuity the most versatile appointment solution out there.
Acuity Scheduling is ideal for the salon that want complete freedom to design and integrate booking with the salons other software solutions (like payroll systems and marketing tools). It also attracts many booth renters and individual stylist as it’s free to use when you only need one calendar. However, when you’re on the plan for individuals, you don’t get access to the advanced customization features.
VERSUM | The Best Value-for-Money All-in-One Salon Software
Are you looking for a complete, all-in-one, salon software solution at an affordable price? Versum offers rich salon operations and marketing support at the highly competitive rates. It’s one of the most easy-to-use solutions on the market and shines with its advanced business reporting features and client loyalty program.
Versum is Ideal for the small to medium size salon that want a comprehensive salon software solution, with advanced features, but still want to stay on a smaller budget.
SALON IRIS | The Most Advanced All-in-One Salon Software
Salon Iris is a top rated and award winning system that takes care of everything for your salon. It comes with a strong battery of features – everything from appointment scheduling and client reminders to marketing and complete payroll management for your business. No wonder this is one of the most popular solutions on the market.
They do offer light versions for individuals and smaller salons but I typically recommend Salon Iris to the most demanding salons that need a complete solution. If this is you, no need to look further but try it out for yourself with their free trial. As a reader of The Salon Business, you also have access to a 50% discount on your first two months.
Building a Professional Salon Website
Your salon’s website is in most cases also your salon’s first impression with new clients. So you want it to look stunning, be functional, and help you convert visitors into salon clients. Below are the services and tools I recommend to grow your salon business online with a professional website.
WIX | Easy-to-use Salon Website Builder
Is your website in need of a new fresh design? Or do you not yet have a website for your salon? Wix is, hands down, the best website builder for salons you can find. And don’t worry, you don’t need any technical knowledge to create a professional and modern website with Wix. Just follow the step-by-step guide.
I just love this tool and I know it’s helped thousands of managers grow their salon business online. It doesn’t cost much. In fact, you can create your website for free but then you’ll need to show ads on it. So I recommend you spend a few bucks a month and you’ll have a modern salon website.
LEADPAGES | Turn Your Website Visitors and Social Media Followers Into Salon Clients
Leadpages is landing page creator that I use when running salon offers online. It helps you create and manage pages that are proven to convert the visitors into paying salon clients. For example, if you’re promoting your salon on social media, you want to send people somewhere where they get access to an offer that turn them into a client of yours. This is where Leadpages comes in.
If you send them to an offer page you’ve created with Leadpages, they are far more likely to become a client than if you were just to send them to your salon website’s homepage. This is powerful stuff and can mage a hugh difference to your business. Try it for yourself and you’ll see. They offer a free trial so you can test it out before you buy.
BLUEHOST | Hosting for Your WordPress Salon Website
If you have a little bit of technical knowledge, and want more freedom to how you design your website than what you get with Wix, you should sign up for a Bluehost account where you can install any type of website.
Bluehost comes with a one click install solution for WordPress (which is the most commonly used website platform) so it’s very easy to get started. They are a very reliant website hosting provider and they offer very attractive prices (plans starting at $3.95/month).
However, if you don’t feel comfortable with configuring a website yourself, I’d recommend that you create your salon website using Wix. This is only for those of you who want complete freedom and have a little bit of technical skills. In fact, TheSalonBusiness.com is created on Bluehost using WordPress and the Divi WordPress design theme.
Designing Your Salon Brand, Website, and Material
When you’re in the beauty business, all you do should be beautiful. Thankfully, you do not need to be a graphic designer yourself to create top notch design. Below are my recommended services and tools to make your salon appear as beautiful as it is.
CANVA | Create Beautiful Designs for FREE
I’m a big Canva fan. I use it for everything design related. It’s the tool all people that are serious about their social media uses to design beautiful images for their Instagram and Pinterest boards. You can also create your full visual brand identity in Canva and it comes with ready-made designs for business cards, logos, posters, social media and much more.
I use their paid plan (at $9.95/month) as that gives me access to loads of royalty free images to use in marketing material and on my website. It also enables some more advanced functionality. However, if you’re on a budget, you can also use their free version which is awesome too (even if you need to buy images elsewhere).
They offer a free 30 day trial so I suggest you register for that which gives you access to all images. You can then downgrade to a free plan if you feel you don’t need all they offer.
ZAZZLE | Beautiful Branded Salon Material
If you’re in need of new salon business cards, salon loyalty cards, price lists, branded salon staff clothing, or other salon decor material, Zazzle is the place for you. You’ll find all the different types of items you need for your salon here – all beautifully designed by designers all around the world.
Just pick the design you like, customize text, and order it to your door.
FIVERR | Hire a Freelance Designer Starting at $5
Do you need help with designing your logo, business card, service menu, or website? Then Fiverr is your go to place. Fiverr is a market place for all type of freelancers where you can request work starting as low as $5.
I use Fiverr all the time to get design work done but you can also use it for other things – like help with social media, translations, and video editing. If you can afford it, I’d recommend you to use their Fiverr Pro service to get the best quality from start.
Looka | Generate a Professional Salon Logo in a Few Minutes
If you’re looking to design a logo for your salon, a very good alternative to using a Fiverr service is Looka. It’s super fast, easy-to-use, and can generate a logo for you at very low cost. I also use Looka to just generate salon logo ideas for free.
iSTOCK | Royalty Free Images for Your Salon Website, Brochures and Other Material
An image say so much more than words. So you want to use good images :). Taking you own photos for your salon material and salon website can be expensive. Especially if you want good quality.
This is why I use iStock all the time. They have loads of high quality beauty images that work perfectly for your salon brochures, social media accounts, and salon website. And you don’t need to worry about usage rights for the images.
Grow Your Salon Business with Effective Salon Marketing Tools
It doesn’t matter how good you are at performing services in your salon unless people know that you exist. The below tools helps you step up your salon’s marketing game so that you attract and retain more clients.
CONSTANT CONTACT | Email Marketing Service for Salons
A salon newsletter is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with your clients in between appointments. Constant Contact is designed specifically for local businesses, like your salon, and make managing your email marketing easy.
To learn more about email marketing for salons, you also recommend you check out my salon email marketing guide here.
TAP BIO | Convert Instagram Followers into Salon Clients with This Bio Link App
Have you noticed that Instagram only allows you to have one link in your bio? On top, you cannot include links in your salon’s Instagram posts. This makes the one link that you can have in your bio VERY important. This is the only place where you can turn your salon’s Instagram followers into salon clients by sending them to your salon’s website.
TapBio solves this problem for you and allow you to include and easily update multiple links. This way you can send your followers to all the different offers and pages to convert them into clients. TapBio is free and something all salon Instagram accounts should use.
SENDIBLE | Manage All Your Salon’s Social Media Accounts in One Place
Do you run a salon with multiple social media accounts? Maybe both Instagram and Facebook. Or even also LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest? If so, you know that this can be very time consuming.
Sendible allows you to manage all your accounts in one place. Respond to comments, schedule posts, and track performance – all in one place. It’s super powerful and takes your salon’s social media strategy and effectiveness to the next level.
I highly recommend Sendible if you run a salon with more than one social media account and you want to truly maximize your social media effort. Try it out yourself for free using their trial program.
Cost Savings, Loans, and Salon Insurance: Helpful Tools when Starting a Salon
AMAZON BUSINESS | Get Better Prices on Salon Equipment & Accessories
You’ll most likely be purchasing a lot of items for your salon on Amazon. In fact, Amazon now even has a dedicated category for salon professional products.
By setting up a business account with Amazon, you get access to exclusive products and prices as well as other business dedicated services. This can save you both time and money. And best of all, it’s free!
ZEN BUSINESS | The Easy (and Cheap) Way to Form a New Salon Business
There’s a lot of paperwork that goes into forming a new business in the US.
ZenBusiness sets itself apart in the industry by offering our customers a fast and simple business formation service with the lowest prices and best customer support available online.
They charge $49 for their service which saves you a lot of time and pain to ensure your business is set up in the right way from start.
It’s challenging enough to open a salon. Let ZenBusiness take care of the business formation for you.
LIVE PLAN | Create a Salon Business Plan in No-Time
Having a good business plan is critical to be successful with a salon.
But it’s not easy to write one the first time.
LivePlan help you create beautiful business plans. It provides helpful videos that guides you through the creation of every step of your plan. This ensures you leave with a perfect plan even if you’ve never done one before.