Choosing Value for Money Salon & Spa Software

13 Dec 2011

Written by Alice Smithson

The question of ïhow much should you expect to pay for salon software and what will you get for your money?’ depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to organise your appointments better there are plenty of very cheap systems that will do the job very well. However, if your goals are more advanced and you want to grow your business, you will need to look into all the choices in more detail.

Why are You Investing in Salon Software?

What are your objectives from the software? If you want an appointment book, look for the cheapest one available and it will probably do the job.

If you want a system that will help to improve your marketing or provide business management information, making the best choice becomes more difficult and the range of possibilities much wider.

Salon & Spa Software: Cost vs Value

There is a huge gap between the cheapest salon software packages available and the most expensive; you can pay from just £300 for a cheap online appointment booking system and up to £10,000 for a top of the range salon computer system including software and hardware.

However, the budget system may not be as good a choice if you want to improve your salon’s turnover.
Bargain systems tend to allow you to organise appointments and client record cards, but can be much weaker in important business building areas like marketing. 

A more expensive system might be much better value if you can use it to improve your cash flow, so the question is really more about value than initial cost. If the salon software you choose can pay for itself, the initial cost won’t be a barrier so long as you can start to see returns soon after making the purchase AND your new system is reliable.

Ask not what you’ll pay for a system, but what a system will pay you

A good salon software package and the right training and support in using it will allow you to grow your business and make more money _ so it shouldn’t cost you a penny!

Training and support are key here, and your agreement should always include adequate access to knowledgeable and helpful people, in the UK, who can help you if you get stuck in a corner. Without the helpful people, the flashy software tools won’t work for you as well as they could, so be sure to get guarantees about the level of customer service you will get. Always ask for recommendations from existing customers to be sure about what you can expect.

Return on Investment

The right salon & spa business management system (rather than simple bookings software) will make significant improvements to your business in important areas like these;

Reducing no-shows

Appointment reminder texts typically reduce no-shows by around 60-70%, an amazing result which immediately impacts on salon profits. Make sure your system includes text marketing as standard and that your supplier text charges are reasonable. Your supplier should be willing to input your text marketing settings for you, so your messages are sent automatically each day.

Increasing re-booking rates

Re-booking reminders at the checkout encourage more clients to book their next appointment as they pay for their last one, making income projection easier and reducing the need to send reminder emails and texts. It should be automatic in any good salon software package that a reminder to re-book your client appears on the screen as they are paying their bill. This can improve re-booking rates dramatically, sometimes by up to 80%!

Improve retail sales

You can expect to grow retail sales to around 20% of your turnover using reminder messages which help your team talk more easily about home care products. Find out whether the systems you are considering include product sales features and how easy they are to set up and amend as your product ranges change. You should ideally be able to link products to services yourself, so that they are flagged at the till when a customer pays for a particular professional service.

These are just some of the areas in which salon software can produce more revenue in your salon or spa. If you want to choose a system that will cover its monthly cost, and more, ask the sales rep to explain _ based on your current situation _ how their software will help to tackle issues like no-shows and re-bookings.

How reliable are salon software packages?

Like training and support, reliability is another aspect of your salon software choice which effects whether different systems offer good value for money. If you invest in a software package for your salon or spa, you need to know that it will work as it did in the demonstration and that it isn’t likely to break down, causing costly down-time in your business.  

Unfortunately, how reliable the software is can also be something which is very difficult to measure before you take the plunge.

Ask suppliers how much they invest in software development and how many people are employed to do this job. They should be able to explain to you how much of your investment is allocated to maintaining a stable salon and spa software platform.

Again, you may pay more for one package over another, but consider the value this investment represents; in terms of a reliable, stable business management system which can really help to put more money in your pocket, for years to come.

Explore features for hair salons and beauty salons & spas, or book a consultation with an i-salon representative to find out about the UK’s number 1 software system for salons and spas.