Vagaro vs. Mindbody: Battle of the Salon Software Marketplace 2024

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Vagaro vs. Mindbody – Which is the best choice for salon or spa businesses in 2024?

These two American-based companies offer tough competition in the marketplace, and it may be unclear which is best for you. In this comparison, I’ll give you all the information you need to decide between Vagaro and Mindbody.

Vagaro, headquartered in Dublin, California, was started in 2009 to sway businesses away from 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.

Mindbody was initially founded in 1998 as Hardbody Software, and went under that name until its transition to Mindbody in 2001.

Since then, Mindbody has also acquired several companies, including Booker, Classpass, and FitMetrix. The platform’s strengths are its new client acquisition opportunities, integrated marketing, and content monetization capabilities.

Vagaro vs. Mindbody: The Basics

Alright, let’s boil down this Vagaro vs. Mindbody showdown to its core. To put it plainly, I see these two as a battle of “value vs. pedigree.”

If you are a cost-conscious solopreneur or have a small team, you might consider Vagaro an attractive option.

This all-in-one software company has many features to support your salon, spa, or fitness business: POS, online booking, advanced business reporting, email/SMS marketing, and credit card processing, eCommerce, payroll, a website builder, and even video streaming.

Mindbody is a mature piece of beauty, health, fitness, and wellness software whose features are primarily oriented toward fitness and wellness businesses that host classes, teach courses, and offer medically-oriented services that require HIPAA compliance. It also features tools to livestream and sell video courses online.

Mindbody also has a major leg up over the majority of salon and spa management software because it’s available nearly globally. Vagaro is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.

It’s challenging to narrow down what makes each of these software suites special in just a few sentences, so to help you find which one is right for you, let’s take a closer look at these two platforms.

Vagaro vs Mindbody

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

Vagaro

Mindbody

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
3.3

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
$450 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.
Salon, spa, and wellness businesses that place a focus on engagement through digital channels — especially those who teach courses — and want to be able to monetize that content directly through their booking platform.

Ease of use

3
3.0

Customer Service

3
3.5

Countries

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

Available in 130 countries

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)
  • Two-way messaging available (only on Ultimate and Ultimate Plus)
  • AI chatbot feature to help with scheduling (only on Ultimate Plus)
  • Ability to create a custom branded app and sell classes online (additional costs apply)
  • Mindbody Explore Marketplace listing included with all subscriptions

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

Let’s cover what these systems are and the pros and cons of each in my Vagaro vs. Mindbody guide.

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

Mindbody At a Glance

The company has been around in some capacity since 1998, when the company was initially founded as Hardbody Software, officially becoming Mindbody in 2001. Since then, Mindbody has exploded in popularity, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and purchased several other companies, including Booker, Classpass, and FitMetrix. Mindbody is headquartered in San Luis Obispo CA, and is available nearly worldwide.

Mindbody’s strengths lie in its new client acquisition opportunities and integrated marketing and content monetization capabilities.

Just like its sister software, Booker, while Mindbody’s lower-tier plans are relatively affordable, they lack many of the noteworthy features that make Mindbody an attractive option, putting them somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to price-to-feature comparisons.

Pros and Cons

  • Enhanced new client acquisition opportunities through MindBody Marketplace
  • Integrated payments though MindBody Payments (US & Canada only)
  • Integrated email marketing suite (on Accelerate, Ultimate, and Ultimate Plus plans)
  • Ability to monetize educational classes and content
  • No free trial
  • Must commit to a minimum 12-month contract before ever using the software
  • Stateside customer support only available to Ultimate and Ultimate Plus plans
  • App interface and menus are clunky and outdated

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Vagaro stands out for its balance of simplicity and affordability, and its broad feature set. For the price, there isn’t another software suite that offers anything close to the number of features Vagaro does, which makes Mindbody look far less attractive in this comparison if I’m being honest.

Both Vagaro and Mindbody offer excellent client marketplaces to help gain new client acquisition opportunities and boost revenue. Vagaro advertises that 35 million appointments per year are booked through their marketplace, while Mindbody claims over 93 million appointments and classes were booked through the Mindbody Marketplace in 2022.

I much prefer Vagaro’s app and interface to Mindbody’s.

Vagaro is the newer software, and it genuinely feels like it when comparing the apps side by side. Mindbody‘s app interface feels a bit old-school and clunky, more reminiscent of a spreadsheet app designed for accountants than a piece of salon software for creatives.

Mindbody has been around far longer than Vagaro and offers mostly the exact same feature set, albeit at a higher price point. Mindbody’s major leg-up over Vagaro is its much wider availability across the globe.

Vagaro vs Mindbody

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

Vagaro

Mindbody

Ease of use

3
3

Design

3
2

Customer service

3
3

Pricing

5
3

Calendar and appointment management

5
3

Online booking

5
4

Point of sale and check out

4
3

Client data

5
3

Client communication

4
4

Inventory management

4
3

Team Management

3
4

Payroll

4
4

Marketing support

5
5

3rd party integrations

3
4

Mobile and tablet apps

4
3

Let’s Talk Features: Vagaro vs. Mindbody

Both apps feature some seriously premium features, including a client marketplace, a suite of marketing tools, custom branded apps for your business, and even lending through their capital lending partners.

With Mindbody’s Ultimate and Ultimate Plus subscriptions, you can receive additional features such as two-way messaging and an all-the-rage AI chatbot to help with scheduling – two features Vagaro currently does not have its own version of.

Vagaro has the advantage over Mindbody 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.

Mindbody offers payroll reports that can be manually exported to your payroll processor of choice, but the software cannot directly process payroll from start to finish like Vagaro can.

Vagaro vs Mindbody

Vagaro and Mindbody offer many features. Let's go through what these features are and where they differ.

Vagaro Mindbody
Online Booking Vagaro Mindbody
Website booking widget

Note

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

Note

Available on all plans except Starter plan

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.

Note

Available on all plans except Starter plan

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

Included in Mindbody’s Ultimate software package. Optional add-on for lower-tier plans.

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

When it comes to integration with other platforms, both Vagaro and Mindbody offer a ton of options. Consider which integrations are most valuable for your growing business.

Vagaro vs Mindbody

These platforms both offer third-party integration.

Vagaro Mindbody
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
  • ADP
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Equifax
  • Groupon
  • Paychex
  • Vish
  • iCal
  • Google Calendar

Full list available in the Mindbody Partner Store.

Pricing: Vagaro vs. Mindbody

Vagaro has a clear edge over Mindbody when it comes to price.

Vagaro provides a low entry price and a free trial, whereas Mindbody not only starts at a higher price point, but also offers no trial and requires a 12-month contract.

Just like its sister software, Booker, Mindbody’s lower-tier plans are relatively affordable, but they lack many of the noteworthy features that make either software an attractive option. For the best experience, businesses will have to shell out for Mindbody’s Ultimate or Ultimate Plus plans.

For the full range of salon and spa software pricing options, read my top salon software for 2024.

Vagaro vs Mindbody Pricing

Vagaro is more attractively priced than Mindbody and offers more features for the price.

Vagaro Mindbody
Average Price
$120 per month
$450 per month
Trial Options
30 day free trial
No free trial
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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Branded mobile app
  • Messenger[ai]
  • FitMetrix
  • Branded web tools
  • Video on Demand
  • Live Stream
  • Insights
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.
  • Branded mobile app
  • Messenger[ai]
  • FitMetrix
  • Branded web tools
  • Video on Demand
  • Live Stream
  • Insights
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.

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% + .25 CAD per transaction
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.

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% + .25 CAD per transaction

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

You’ve read what I think. Now, let’s look at the reviews.

Vagaro vs Mindbody

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

Vagaro Mindbody
4.7
4.0
4.4
3.6
4.5
4.6
4.4
4.3

What Alternatives Should You Consider?

While Vagaro or Mindbody are two popular pieces of salon and spa software, here are a couple of other great options that should be on your radar before you make your final decision.

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 is Mindbody’s sister software and offers a much more streamlined experience for salons, with most of the benefits of Mindbody already built in.

Mangomint vs Booker

A quick comparison of the two Vagaro and Mindbody 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 between Vagaro vs. Mindbody has been insightful in your quest for the perfect salon and spa software!

For a look at all the best software alternatives, please read my list of the best salon and spa software right now.

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