Vagaro vs. Fresha: The Salon Software Marketplace 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 Pro vs. Fresha – Which software should you pick for your salon or spa?

Both platforms have obvious similarities – like their client marketplaces and low-price positioning.

But they differ in many ways.

Judging by user ratings alone, Vagaro and Fresha (formerly known as Shedul) are equally popular among their users. Vagaro is headquartered in its home market, the U.S., while Fresha serves a more extensive, global market out of its London, U.K. offices.

Vagaro Pro, one of the leading platforms in the industry, offers more extensive features than Fresha. Meanwhile, Fresha gives you the features you need without all the extras, including a big technical learning curve.

They can both be a good fit for independent professionals and businesses on a budget.

How they serve their users and how this may differ from one platform to the other is what we’re diving into today.

There is so much to be said about these two software platforms. I’ll walk you through all the features of Vagaro and Fresha, along with a comparison of the two products.

Vagaro vs Fresha

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

Vagaro

Fresha

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
4.1

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
$80 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.
For the independent professional or business on a budget that want to avoid subscription fees and a big technical learning curve.

Ease of use

3
5

Customer Service

3
2

Countries

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

Available in 22 languages in over 120 countries worldwide

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)
  • 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!

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

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

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.

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Although Vagaro and Fresha serve similar businesses, they differ in many ways.

Fresha is available almost everywhere. Vagaro is expanding and is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. Both brands have a client marketplace, making it easy for clients to browse businesses listed with them.

Vagaro has moved beyond the salon, spa, and barbershop businesses to incorporate health and wellness. This is why you find strong support for classes, memberships, and more sophisticated intake forms with Vagaro compared to other platforms.

Overall, Vagaro comes with many more features than Fresha. Instead, Fresha is focused on ease of use and makes it possible for anyone to incorporate technology effectively in their business.

Vagaro vs Fresha

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

Vagaro

Fresha

Ease of use

3
5

Design

3
3

Customer service

3
2

Pricing

5
3

Calendar and appointment management

5
4

Online booking

5
2

Point of sale and check out

4
3

Client data

5
4

Client communication

4
3

Inventory management

4
5

Team Management

3
2

Payroll

4
2

Marketing support

5
4

3rd party integrations

3
1

Mobile and tablet apps

4
5

Let’s Talk Features: Vagaro vs. Fresha

I think it’s clear by now that Vagaro is known for the sheer amount of features inside. With this platform, I am confident you will find all the features you need.

Although Fresha offers fewer features compared to Vagaro, it’s still a pretty rich offer. It’s also easier to use in many ways, even if that also comes at the expense of your ability to customize the platform to your needs. Fresha looks and feels as it is, and you cannot do much to adapt that.

Vagaro vs Fresha

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

Vagaro Fresha
Online Booking Vagaro Fresha
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?

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?

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

Integrating with other platforms becomes more important as your business grows.

A key difference to note is that Fresha has limited support for integration with other software tools. Unfortunately, you’ll be stuck using Fresha tools. Vagaro wins here as it can link with some popular third-party platforms even if the amount of integrations is limited.

If software integration is important to you, then you will be better off with Vagaro or another alternative on my salon on spa software top list

Vagaro vs Fresha

These platforms do not put a big emphasis on integration support even though Vagaro is has the richest support out of the two.

Vagaro Fresha
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

  • Gusto
  • Quickbooks
  • Zoom
  • Xero
  • Reserve with Google

Pricing: Vagaro vs. Fresha

Fresha’s subscription-free pricing model does stand out among all other platforms. However, Vagaro still has one of the cheapest plans in the industry. It’s actually pretty likely that Vagaro will come in at a lower monthly cost to you than Fresha, as Fresha’s model is performance-based and you pay for new clients who find you on their market place (details below).

Even if Vagaro also offers a marketplace, they will not charge you for new clients like fresh does (but you will have a monthly subscription fee).

Vagaro vs Fresha Pricing

It's easy to calculate what you will pay with Vagaro. It's a bit harder to understand what Fresha will cost and it will vary month to month.

Vagaro Fresha
Average Price
$120 per month
$80 per month
Trial Options
30 day free trial
Free subscription
Minimum contract length
Cancel any time
Cancel any time
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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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
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.
  • 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
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.
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization
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.
  • Card: 2.19% + $0.20 per transaction
  • Tap to Pay: $0.10 per authorization

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

So you’ve read my opinion on these two systems. Now, let’s see what other users have to say. Check out the ratings below.

Vagaro vs Fresha

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

Vagaro Fresha
4.7
4.8
4.4
4.2
4.5
4.1
4.4
4.2

What Alternatives Should You Consider?

Vagaro and Fresha are two good options for many businesses. However, if you are still searching, check out the other platforms below.

Mangomint is the highest-rated software for salons and spas. If you have a team, I suggest you explore this option.

GlossGenius is my recommended alternative for independent professionals.

Mangomint vs GlossGenius

A quick comparison of the two Vagaro and Fresha 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 Vagaro and Fresha has answered some of your questions.

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

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