Add Style To Your Business With 5 Amazing POS Systems For Salons & Spas
Spas and salons need specialized point of sale systems, because these businesses do a lot more than just sell and take payments. Hairdressers, beauticians, aestheticians, manicurists, massage therapists, and the like have specialized needs that standard retailers and restaurateurs do not share. Service professionals need robust scheduling tools, for example, and must interact with their customers in a much more personal way than the average cafe or bike shop owner. Fortunately, POS companies have begun to pay more attention to these unique requirements, and many of them now offer features or add-ons that are specifically designed for hair salons, med spas, yoga studios, and other service businesses.
Finding the right point of sale system can seem like a daunting challenge for any business. When you need specialized features, wading through all your options can be even tougher! Here are some great POS providers that offer the capabilities you need to run a spa or salon, plus excellent integrations to add even more helpful features. Whether you need a hair salon POS system, nail salon POS system, or a spa POS system, we’ve got you covered.
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
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The 5 Best Salon POS Systems For Small Businesses
Salon POS systems have all the standard POS features to help businesses process payments, track sales, and manage customers. A salon POS system will also have service industry features like appointment booking, staff scheduling, and commission tracking. Now let’s learn about the best salon POS software.
1. Square Appointments: Best For Independent Contractors
Since launching as an integrated point of sale system and booking service, Square Appointments can provide just about everything you need to run your salon or spa, including built-in payment processing. The app runs on both Android and iOS, as well as Square’s proprietary Square Register hardware.
Square Appointments is free for one-person businesses—for example, an independent hairstylist or a personal trainer. For businesses with employees, it’s still quite affordable, especially when you consider that you’re getting both a powerful booking tool and a point of sale system. Multi-employee users of Square Appointments also receive a discount on Square’s standard payment processing rate.
Some notable features of this spa POS system include a free online booking website, staff scheduling, pre-auth and pre-payment capabilities, the ability to add a cancelation fee for no-shows, automated text and email reminders for customer appointments, and Square Assistant digital messenger which handles confirmations and rescheduling.
Square Appointments pricing is as follows: $0/month and 2.6% +10¢ payment processing for individuals; $50/month and 2.5% + 10¢ for 2-5 employees, $90/month and 2.5% + 10¢ for 6-10 employees
- Free plan for individuals
- Clean & simple interface
- Integrated online booking feature
- Integrated flat-rate payment processing
- No video conferencing feature for online appointments
- Limited customizability
2. Lightspeed Retail: Best For Salons That Sell Products
Lightspeed Retail POS
While primarily serving retail shops, Lightspeed Retail is also versatile enough to work for service-based businesses such as salons, with the aid of an appointment scheduling integration called booxi. With its excellent inventory features, Lightspeed might be a good choice if your salon also sells retail products, whether in-store or online. You can use Lightspeed with an iPad or a desktop setup, having customers check out from their chair with a digital signature, or on a laptop before they walk out the door. Like Square, Lightspeed offers in-house payment processing, though you can also opt to use a compatible merchant account for an added monthly fee.
Lightspeed’s booxi integration allows customers to make appointments online or in-store. The integration also includes automated text and email notifications reminding customers of their appointments, as well as the ability to take full or partial payments at the time of booking. The app supports rental management too, though this feature is probably not relevant for a spa/salon.
Lightspeed isn’t the cheapest POS out there, but it’s a high-quality product and one we rate 5 stars. Lightspeed Retail pricing starts at $69/month for one terminal and up to five employees, with built-in flat-rate payment processing at 2.6% +10¢. To add eCommerce, loyalty, or the booxi integration for appointment scheduling, you’ll pay another $59/month.
- Appointment scheduling requires third-party integration
- Costs extra to integrate your own payment processor
3. Clover Station: Best For Customizability
Like Square, Clover is an unusual POS system, essentially designed to replace standard, old-fashioned POS terminals. On its own, the Clover POS offers just about all the tools salons need to run a functional POS, including built-in credit card processing. However, when combined with tools from Clover’s comprehensive app market, Clover can be customized to do just about anything. And the hardware is compact enough to fit easily into even the smallest establishment.
Clover’s POS hardware is flexible, with options to work in just about any size space. The actual hardware tends to retail for around about $500 to $1,400, depending on whether you opt for the handheld Clover Flex, pint-sized countertop POS Clover Mini, the full-sized solution Clover Station, or some combination thereof.
Clover integrates with several relatively inexpensive apps that work well in a spa or salon environment: Salon Scheduler, Booker, and Appointments Pro. For example, Appointments Pro starts at $9.99/month and integrates fully with Google Calendar; it allows you to manage multiple employee calendars (with different availability for each employee), set up appointments in 15, 30, 45, or 60-minute increments, send out SMS appointment reminders, and manage customer contact information and appointment histories.
Clover monthly pricing varies depending on where you buy it and how many integrations you use, but the standard package if you purchase from Clover directly is $39.95/month with 2.3% + 10¢ built-in processing (powered by Fiserv).
- Hardware has aesthetic appeal & compact design
- Large app store and wealth of integrations for scheduling, loyalty, email marketing, & more
- Easy to set up and start using
- Mobile hardware options let you bring the POS right to your client
- Requires use of Clover hardware, which you can’t resell or reuse with another POS system
- Must use with Fiserv merchant account
4. Vend: Best For Choice Of Payment Processor
Vend by Lightspeed
Vend is a full-featured point of sale solution with software packages starting at $99/month. Though Vend is usually used in retail environments, when coupled with Timely appointments, this software becomes a powerful all-in-one tool that allows you to manage your service business, accept payments, and schedule appointments. In addition, this software makes it possible to schedule your employees (or yourself), maintain a centralized inventory (this is helpful if you sell hair products, nail polish/accessories, massage tools, etc.), and print customizable receipts that can include notes with after-care instructions, special discounts, or other targeted offers
Vend can operate on an iPad, Mac, or PC, and works both online and offline. In addition to its flexible hardware options, Vend has numerous payment processing options too. Vend is partnered with WorldPay, PayPal, CardConnect, EVO, North American Bancard, and Square, and if you have an online store, you can set it up to process payments via Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, or Payment Express.
The Timely integration is what really makes Vend a good fit for service businesses. This impressive app can handle one-time bookings and repeat bookings, as well as deal with multiple services and products. It can also help with invoicing and online payments. Best of all, you can actually pull up sales in Vend directly from your Timely appointment calendar (no switching between apps is required). Any products you want to sell can be added to the appointment payment, though you can make one-off sales as well. Timely packages start at $15/month.
- Works on any device—all you need is a web browser
- Multiple payment processing options
- Unlimited users on all plans
- Retail features for salons that sell products
- Needs Timely integration for salon features
- Expensive starting price
5. Shopify POS: Best For POS With eComm Website
Another lightweight cloud POS option, Shopify POS is an excellent and affordable choice for salons that want a beautiful eCommerce website for their business in addition to a modern POS. Shopify POS runs on iOS and Android and integrates with numerous appointment scheduling and booking apps that let you manage appointments from your POS and online.
There are numerous price points for different Shopify services, starting at $9/month for Shopify Lite mobile sales, but the $29/month plan gives you nearly everything you need to run your spa or salon, including gift cards and a hosted website complete with eCommerce and a blog, as well as 2.7% + 0¢ payment processing through Shopify Payments (rate depends on your plan level). The only added service you will need to pay extra for is whichever appointment booking software you integrate with Shopify—and there are many to choose from, including some inexpensive options. BookThatApp, onHand, Appointment Booking, Zenoti, Sesami, Acerill are some options, and that’s not even a complete list.
Of the various scheduling integrations for Shopify, Sesami, in particular, is highly rated and has all the features you need to run a service-based business in Shopify. Sesami lets customers book and pay for appointments directly from your Shopify website or Shopify POS. An intuitive calendar, team-based scheduling, customer notifications, and mobile (smartphone) compatibility are just a few benefits that you get with this app. Best of all, it’s free for individuals and just $19/month for small businesses.
Shopify also has gorgeous health-and-beauty-themed website templates, making Shopify is an amazing tool to bring your salon into the online sphere, and with a price that’s hard to beat.
- In-house payment processing as low as 2.4% + 0¢ (depending on your monthly plan level)
- Comes with eCommerce website & blog
- Automatic inventory syncing across all sales channels
- Numerous salon-friendly appointment & scheduling integrations available
- Requires third-party booking integration for appointment features
- Additional cost to use your own merchant account
Looking For One Of These Salon Point Of Sale Systems?
Now I’ll talk about some other options for salon software—we haven’t reviewed all of them, but they are popular with salons. Some of these are complete POS solutions with salon industry-specific features, while others are simply booking software apps that can be integrated with a POS, or used separately from your POS.
MINDBODY is unique booking software created especially for fitness centers, spas, salons, and other businesses in the health and beauty industry. It also has a POS component, offering 2.75% flat-rate credit card processing through its integrated payment partners. MindBody makes it possible for clients to book appointments online (though you still have power to add appointments and modify, reschedule, or cancel appointments at your discretion). Clients receive automatic reminders for scheduled visits, and are even automatically prompted to book future appointments as well.
This salon point of sale can get pretty expensive—the cheapest package is $129/month—and it primarily caters to businesses that offer fitness classes, such as yoga studios. So, it may not be the best pick for your business if you do not offer classes. However, MINDBODY did recently acquire booking software company Booker to expand on its appeal to salons.
Appointy is straightforward, easy-to-learn booking software, with excellent customer support and an affordable price tag. Appointy’s free plan includes support for one staff member, up to five services, and unlimited bookings. If you need support for more staff or services, the Pro plan is just $19.99/month (billed annually). Appointy offers SMS/call alerts at an extra cost (approximately 11 cents per message).
Appointy gives you multiple gateway options for payment processing and could be a good choice if you just want to book clients and take payments, but don’t need a full POS. You can take payments in Appointy using one of the following payment gateways: Square, Stripe, Authorize.net, or PayPal. You might also be able to integrate Appointy with an outside POS system using a service like Zapier.
One particularly useful feature of Appointy at the moment is its Zoom integration for online appointments during COVID-19.
Fresha (formerly Schedul) is fresh, new, and geared specifically toward spas and salons, which should be enough to merit a place on your shortlist of POS options. This booking software also has no monthly fee, and unlike a lot of booking software services with a limited free plan, Fresha offers unlimited staff, services, and online bookings. Fresha has pretty good reviews too, with users praising the clean interface, numerous software features, and dedicated team that supports the software.
So if the software is free, how does Fresha make money? Well, it’s not completely free. Fresha charges a 20% finder’s fee when a client books you through Fresha’s online marketplace or app. The fee does not apply to existing clients or clients who book through your website or social media. Fresha also offers payment processing, charging a transaction fee of 2.19% + $0.20 when a client books through the Fresha marketplace, your website or social pages, or pays at your salon. (Fresha only charges you the fee after the appointment.)
Salon Iris is complete salon management software, including POS capabilities if you want them. This mobile-friendly software can be used by any type of salon, from large salons to one-person businesses, such as booth renters. Depending on your plan level, Salon Iris includes many advanced features, such as Facebook and Instagram booking, a client loyalty system, payroll, reputation management, automated marketing, and pretty much any other salon-related feature you can think of. Salon Iris is also pretty affordable for all the functionality it offers, with packages ranging from $29/mo to $119/month.
The main negative about Salon Iris is that you can only choose from two credit card processors—XCharge and CardConnect—and neither are very highly rated. However, it’s also possible to use the other features of the software without using the integrated payment processing.
Vagaro is yet another cloud-based salon management software suite that also includes POS capabilities. However, this one might be my favorite and perhaps the only one that could rival the top salon POS systems as a standalone option. Customers seem very happy with this service, and if Vagaro’s clean, friendly website is any indication of their service quality, it’s pretty spectacular. Features include all the basics like online booking (including social media booking), client notifications, mobile invoicing, reporting, and payment processing, plus some useful add-ons such as automated marketing, a web builder, recurring memberships, class booking, eCommerce, and a branded mobile app for your customers. Vagaro also offers Zoom integration for online appointments during COVID-19.
Rather than integrating an outside payment processor, Vagaro actually offers in-house payment processing at a flat rate of 2.75% per transaction—which is the same rate as MINDBODY’s and cheaper than Square’s standard rate if your average transaction is less than $67. Larger merchants processing more than $4,000 per month can get a rate of 2.2% + 19¢ and $10/month. You also get a free chip-and-tap reader and the option to deposit funds in multiple bank accounts with a single dip, which is useful for businesses with multiple independent service providers.
As for monthly service pricing, you can expect to pay a very reasonable fee of $25 to $85/month for Vagaro, depending on how many staff you have. Add-ons such as the web builder and recurring membership could potentially push your costs upwards of $100/month, however.
Harbortouch offers a POS system specifically for salons that retails for $39/month (Harbortouch Elite POS). The Harbortouch salon POS system isn’t our favorite, but we wanted to include it in this list since it’s a popular point of sale software for salons. So why wouldn’t we recommend it? To use Harbortouch, you’ll have to sign a long-term merchant services contract with untransparent tiered pricing and hefty fees, including an early termination fee should you break the contract. If you are still interested in this spa POS, make sure you read our complete Harbortouch POS review first.
Why Should You Use Specialty POS Software For Spas, Nail Salons, Or Hair Salons?
Specialized point of sale systems for salons and other service-based businesses offer certain features that your business can take advantage of to simplify operations. During COVID-19, a digital POS is especially useful for safety and regulatory reasons. Depending on your business type and needs, your salon might benefit from software features such as:
- Appointment booking at point of sale as well as online booking that integrates with your POS
- Staff scheduling so you can assign staff to line up with bookings
- Socially-distanced selling features like contactless payments, online appointments (via Zoom integration), eGift cards, and an eCommerce website to keep your business going even if you have to temporarily shut your doors, restrict services, or adopt new health and safety practices
- Commissions that can be assigned to individual employees in conjunction with services they book
- Pre-auths ensure the client has sufficient funds on their credit card before you provide the service (similar to starting a tab at a bar)
- Pre-payment lets you collect a down payment when booking a service, preventing lost business from no-shows
- Loyalty programs entice repeat clients by offering discounts, free services, and other rewards for loyal customers
- Mobile invoicing so employees can get paid if they do makeup or hair onsite (for example, at a wedding)
- Retail features for salons that sell a mix of services and goods
Depending on your business’s specific industry and requirements, some of these features might be “must-haves,” while you might consider others “nice-to-haves” or “don’t needs.”
Does Your Salon POS Need To Have A Booking/Scheduling Feature?
Built-in booking functionality is not absolutely necessary, but it will make your job a lot easier.
Some salon POS systems come with an appointment scheduling feature included, while others integrate with separate booking/scheduling software apps. If your POS does not at least integrate with an appointment-scheduling app, you will likely end up using a separate booking software program. This can make it complicated to see who’s canceling, no-showing, etc., and it can require a lot of extra work to track everything down.
It’s much easier to have one central hub where you can see everything that’s going on with your business, including appointments, sales, and staff assignments.
A POS with built-in scheduling, or at least compatibility with a third-party service, also allows you to generate more detailed reports, providing better insights for your business.
Which Salon POS System Is Best For You?
Running a service business isn’t easy—there will always be cranky customers, canceled bookings, and missed appointments—but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it used to be. If you’re relying on un-synced payment processors, inventory trackers, and booking tools, then you’re doing something wrong. With full-featured, integrated software solutions like Square and others, you can sit back and let your POS system do most of the hard labor. Any of the above top five salon POS choices is an excellent alternative to using separate booking and POS software, and all have been tailored to fit the needs of your salon, spa, gym, or clinic in 2021.
Have you used any of these POS systems for salons and noticed an improvement in your business? Give us a shout in the comments section below and let us know how you’re doing! Not sure how you’re going to be able to afford a salon point of sale? Read Small Business Loans For Beauty & Nail Salons to learn about your best salon point of sale system financing options.
In Summary: The 5 Best Salon POS Systems For Small Businesses
- Square Appointments: Best for independent contractors who need built-in payment processing.
- Lightspeed Retail POS: Best for salons that sell products and need to provide a retail experience.
- Clover POS: Best for customizability and flexibility of function.
- Vend by Lightspeed: Best choice of payment processor.
- Shopify POS: Best for salons that have a website or eCommerce presence.