Vagaro vs. Boulevard: The Salon Software Feature Battle 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...

Vagaro vs. Boulevard – Which salon and spa software is best for you?

In this comparison, I’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision between Vagaro and Boulevard

While most salon and spa owners have probably heard of Vagaro, many might not be too familiar with the newer (and much smaller) Boulevard.

Vagaro is located in Dublin, California, and was started in 2009 to sway businesses away from traditional pen-and-paper booking with an affordable salon and spa software solution. Vagaro has come a long way since its founding, integrating a whole tool chest of features and a massive client marketplace over the last decade and a half.

Boulevard, founded in 2016 in Los Angeles, is a much smaller company and a fresher face in the salon and spa software world that has grown rapidly, serving over 2,000 customers.

While Vagaro is directed at cost-conscious solopreneurs or smaller teams, Boulevard is marketed as a premium, luxury software for businesses with an eye on design and client experience.

Whittling down the Vagaro vs. Boulevard comparison to just a few words is difficult. I see these two as a battle of “value vs. polish.”

Vagaro is known for its excellent client marketplace and kitchen sink-full of features. Its low price point and breadth of included tools make it an attractive option for solopreneurs and small salon and spa teams.

Boulevard offers a level of sophistication and modern convenience through a clean UI design that speaks to its positioning as a luxury brand. Their robust feature set is tailored to high-end salons, spas, med spas, barbershops, and other wellness businesses that want a premium experience for their clients and themselves.

Vagaro is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Boulevard is currently only available in the US.

To help you find the best salon software for you, let’s examine these two platforms more closely.

Vagaro vs Boulevard

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

Vagaro

Boulevard

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
4.3

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.

$120 per month
$425 per month

Who is it for

For cost conscious solopreneurs or smaller teams who are looking for an all-in-one software, with a lot of features, to support their salon, spa, or fitness business.
Established beauty and wellness businesses with several service providers who want flexible reporting options and need an all-in-one marketing suite baked right into the software

Ease of use

3
4.5

Customer Service

3
5.0

Countries

U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK

U.S.

Key features

  • A client marketplace where they can browse and find your business
  • Very comprehensive marketing suite.
  • Vagaro branded POS hardware
  • Support for classes (as also used by fitness businesses)
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Excellent online booking
  • Integrated email marketing suite
  • Highly detailed custom reports [on Premiere and above]

A Double-Click on Each System: Vagaro vs. Boulevard

Let’s cover what these systems are and the pros and cons of each.

Vagaro At a Glance

Vagaro, headquartered in the US, is one of the most popular salon software options. It is a complete system for salons, spas, barbershops, health, and fitness businesses.

It’s one of the most feature-rich platforms on the market and comes with POS, online appointment scheduling, email/SMS marketing, credit card processing, subscription payments, video streaming, website builder, eCommerce, payroll, hardware, and advanced business reporting just to name a few.

Despite the large amount of built-in features, it’s one of the cheapest platforms on the market. So if you want to spend as little as possible for as much as possible, Vagaro could be the right platform for you.

Pros and Cons

  • Rich in features
  • Affordable price
  • Client marketplace that could help you attract more new clients
  • Integrations with other software (QuickBook, Xerox, Facebook, Zoom)
  • Pages could load faster, and you may find some glitches as you use it
  • Clients need to create a Vagaro account when booking, which some find annoying
  • There is a slight learning curve in the beginning, as a lot of features

Boulevard At a Glance

Boulevard is an up-and-coming cloud-based beauty and wellness software that offers a strong toolset of core features like appointment booking and POS, as well as advanced marketing features and two-way messaging.

It natively integrates with over a dozen apps, including Quickbooks, Instagram, Shopify, and more.

It is quite a pricey option, however, coming in at a starting price of $175 for the lowest-tier plan, which we (and Boulevard themselves) don’t recommend as it lacks some of Boulevard’s best reporting, marketing, and inventory features.

Boulevard offers a free trial, but they require a 12-month minimum contract to sign up, so make sure you are 100% sure about your choice before signing up.

Pros and Cons

  • Client data that you can actually use to boost client retention and sales
  • Can integrate with a large number of third party applications
  • Precision Scheduling tech to fill the best gaps on the calendar first
  • Well designed & easily-searchable help center
  • High price-point across all plans
  • Essentials plan lacks many of the best features Boulevard offers
  • Boulevard Professional mobile app is buggy & has low ratings on iOS & Android
  • Marketing suite can’t differentiate between bookings from emails vs other factors (you may end up paying more)

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Every software package has its pros and cons.

What I really like about Vagaro, beyond its rich feature set and low price, is its client marketplace. The client acquisition opportunities offered by the marketplace are highly valuable, especially if your area is not overly saturated by other businesses competing with you on the platform.

Boulevard gives you access to your client data in a way that helps you directly impact your client retention and sales. You can create custom reports with your appointment and purchase data and send reminders and marketing communications to clients based on their preferences and visit frequency.

A downside for Vagaro is although it offers many features, many could use some additional polish. Additionally, your clients need to create a Vagaro account to book online. Some may find this an annoying step they would prefer to avoid.

Boulevard also has its downsides. It has a high average price point and mixed mobile app ratings, with many users reporting a glitchy experience.

Vagaro vs Boulevard

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

Vagaro

Boulevard

Ease of use

3
4

Design

3
4

Customer service

3
5

Pricing

5
3

Calendar and appointment management

5
4

Online booking

5
5

Point of sale and check out

4
4

Client data

5
5

Client communication

4
5

Inventory management

4
4

Team Management

3
3

Payroll

4
3

Marketing support

5
5

3rd party integrations

3
4

Mobile and tablet apps

4
3

Let’s Talk Features: Vagaro vs. Boulevard

Both apps are feature-rich and feature fantastic marketing suites, integrated payment processing, and custom POS hardware.

Vagaro offers capital lending as well, allowing salon and spa owners access to loans for their business directly through the platform and its capital partners.

Boulevard offers most of the same features that Vagaro does, but renditions of those features have a bit more polish across the board.

Boulevard definitely has some advantages, as well. The interface is very clean and easy to navigate, and Boulevard’s Front Desk View calendar feature makes seeing all your appointments at a glance really convenient. Boulevard also has a robust two-way messaging feature built-in.

Vagaro has the advantage over Boulevard when it comes to payroll, featuring an all-in-one integrated payroll processing feature that allows you to pay your staff and cut checks via their partnership with Gusto.

Boulevard offers payroll reports that can be manually exported, but the software cannot directly process payroll from start to finish like Vagaro can.

And, as I mentioned earlier, Vagaro features a client marketplace with millions of users – something that Boulevard currently does not have a competing feature for.

Vagaro vs Boulevard

Vagaro offers more features than Boulevard. Let's see what those features are and where they differ.

Vagaro Boulevard
Online Booking Vagaro Boulevard
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?

Note

Very limited: Change accent color but all else is Vagaro standard.

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?

Note

Full customization not available. Options are limited to: 2 Days Before, 1 Day Before, and Same Day.

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
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?

Note

Not available on Essentials plan.

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

Both Vagaro and Boulevard integrate with third-party platforms. Boulevard also offers custom integrations on their Enterprise plan, whereas Vagaro does not offer custom integrations at this time.

Vagaro vs Boulevard

Both platforms offer integration support even though Boulevard is has the richest support out of the two.

Vagaro Boulevard
Custom integrations

Note

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

Note

On Enterprise plan only.

Native integrations

Note

Built-in integrations that you can activate as needed

  • Gusto
  • Quickbooks
  • Zoom
  • Xero
  • Green Circle
  • Okta SSO
  • Shopify
  • Facebook & Instagram Book Now
  • Zapier
  • Quickbooks Online
  • Reserve with Google

Pricing: Vagaro vs. Boulevard

As you can see, Vagaro is a less expensive software option than Boulevard. Even at the lowest subscription tier, Boulevard is considerably more expensive than Vagaro, and offers considerably less features for the money.

Ensure you understand what you are getting before signing on the dotted line. Boulevard requires a minimum 12-month contract. Vagaro does not require a contract or additional fees to sign up, and they do not charge a fee to cancel your subscription.

Vagaro still has one of the most cost-effective plans in the industry and wins this category, hands down. To see more affordable options, check out our top salon and spa software of 2024.

Vagaro vs Boulevard Pricing

Vagaro has a better price point and more features per dollar than Boulevard.

Vagaro Boulevard
Average Price
$120 per month
$425 per month
Trial Options
30 day free trial
Must request trial via a demo call
Minimum contract length
Cancel any time
12 months
Plans
  • Monthly subscription fee starts at $25 for individuals
  • $10 for every additional user
  • Everyone after the 7th user is free
  • Multi-location businesses require Vagaro’s enterprise platform with personalized prizing.
  • Essentials: entry-level plan – $175 per month
  • Premier: most popular plan – $325 per month
  • Prestige: upper-tier plan – $455 per month
  • Enterprise: custom plan for chains and franchises – pricing is custom
Plans
  • Monthly subscription fee starts at $25 for individuals
  • $10 for every additional user
  • Everyone after the 7th user is free
  • Multi-location businesses require Vagaro’s enterprise platform with personalized prizing.
  • Essentials: entry-level plan – $175 per month
  • Premier: most popular plan – $325 per month
  • Prestige: upper-tier plan – $455 per month
  • Enterprise: custom plan for chains and franchises – pricing is custom
Add-ons
  • Automated text marketing: $20/month
  • Website builder: $10/month
  • Forms: $10/month
  • Cloud storage: $10/month
  • Check-in app: $10/month
  • Additional visibility at the Vagaro client marketplace: $10/month
  • Branded app: $200/month
  • SMS marketing: $20/mo for 500 sms and they offer plans up to $400/mo for 20,000 sms.
  • Email marketing: 1000 emails/mo are included in your plan. If you need more, you pay $10/mo for 5 000 emails up to $90/mo for 100 000 emails.
  • Forms and Charts – $55 per month per location
  • Contact Center – Starting at $25 per month per location
  • QuickBooks Integration – $45 per month per location
  • Automated Email Campaigns – $2 per completed appointment
  • One-Time Blast Emails – specific # included with each plan, $0.01 per email thereafter
Add-ons
  • Automated text marketing: $20/month
  • Website builder: $10/month
  • Forms: $10/month
  • Cloud storage: $10/month
  • Check-in app: $10/month
  • Additional visibility at the Vagaro client marketplace: $10/month
  • Branded app: $200/month
  • SMS marketing: $20/mo for 500 sms and they offer plans up to $400/mo for 20,000 sms.
  • Email marketing: 1000 emails/mo are included in your plan. If you need more, you pay $10/mo for 5 000 emails up to $90/mo for 100 000 emails.
  • Forms and Charts – $55 per month per location
  • Contact Center – Starting at $25 per month per location
  • QuickBooks Integration – $45 per month per location
  • Automated Email Campaigns – $2 per completed appointment
  • One-Time Blast Emails – specific # included with each plan, $0.01 per email thereafter
Credit card fees
  • Small merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.75% per swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
  • Multiple merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.5% + $0.10 per swipe, 3.5% +$0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
  • Large merchants (more than $4000/month): 2.2% + $0.19 per swipe, 3% + $0.19 per keyed-in transaction. Monthly cost $10.

With “Offset” Feature

  • 3% charged to client, business charged 1%.

Without “Offset” Feature

  • In-person transactions: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Virtual transactions: 3.5% + 10¢
Credit card fees
  • Small merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.75% per swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
  • Multiple merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.5% + $0.10 per swipe, 3.5% +$0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
  • Large merchants (more than $4000/month): 2.2% + $0.19 per swipe, 3% + $0.19 per keyed-in transaction. Monthly cost $10.

With “Offset” Feature

  • 3% charged to client, business charged 1%.

Without “Offset” Feature

  • In-person transactions: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Virtual transactions: 3.5% + 10¢

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

Alright, now that you’ve read what I think about Vagaro and Boulevard, let’s see how salon and spa owners rate the two platforms.

Vagaro vs Boulevard

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

Vagaro Boulevard
4.7
4.6
4.4
4.1
4.5
3.5
4.4
2.1

What Alternatives Should You Consider?

Vagaro and Boulevard are both good options with their own benefits and quirks. If you are still unsure which salon or spa software to choose, I have two other suggestions for you.

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.

Booker has been around even longer than Vagaro and is made for new and growing businesses that need integrated marketing tools and want an even bigger new client marketplace than the one Vagaro offers.

Mangomint vs Booker

A quick comparison of these two Vagaro and Boulevard alternatives.

Mangomint

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.

4.9
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.

$245 per month
$450 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 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

5
4

Customer Service

5
3.5

Countries

U.S. and Canada

Available almost worldwide

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
  • 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

Conclusion

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

For more alternatives, please read my list of the best salon and spa software of 2024.

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