The True Cost of Most Salon Booking Apps, Explained

As the personal care industry goes high tech, more and more salons are turning to apps to streamline their business operations. Booking apps are some of the most popular ones, giving hairstylists a convenient and high tech way to book appointments with new and returning customers. Although most salon booking apps work similarly, not all are created the same: not only are the features different, the costs are too.

The Booking App Pricing Model

Depending on the features offered, there are different levels of prices and fees to match. GlossGenius has flat, simplified pricing and a payment processing fee of 2.6%, and you can buy additional text messages in low-cost bundles. But many salon booking apps implement hidden fees for things like keeping cards on file, setting up multiple accounts, and booking an appointment, as well as fractional fees for credit card processing. They might not seem like much upfront, but these extra costs can make a huge difference over the long run.

Credit Card Processing Fees

Processing fees are where nearly all booking apps make their money. Credit card processing fees are fees your business has to pay to the financial institution that securely facilitates the transaction to accept payment by card. These fees vary by card issuer and financial institution.

Some booking apps charge a percentage on every transaction, while others charge a percentage and a flat fee. Let’s do some math.

Booksy charges a fee of 2.69% + 30 cents for every card transaction. Schedulicity charges 2.5% + 15 cents on every transaction. StyleSeat charges a flat rate of 3% for customers on their Basic Plan, and 2.75% for customers on their Premium Plan (which costs an additional $35/month). GlossGenius charges a flat rate of 2.6%.

Suppose your salon does $10,000 worth of sales this month across 100 appointments:

  • Booksy: $10,000 * 2.69% + $0.30 * 100 = $299
  • Schedulicity: $10,000 * 2.5% + $0.15 * 100 = $265
  • StyleSeat: $10,000 * 2.75% * 100 = $275
  • GlossGenius: $10,000 * 2.6% = $260

In this scenario, the difference can be a few dollars or over $100 a month, but for businesses with high volumes of appointments like nail salons, flat fees per transaction can really add up. Paired with other fees, this can rack up to a difference of hundreds of dollars a year.

Multiple Users

Unlike GlossGenius, some booking apps will charge additional fees for adding multiple salon employees and users. Since many salons are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, paying for additional users on a booking platform can have huge ramifications in monthly overhead.

StyleSeat doesn't offer a multi-user option, but if you have say a salon of eight users, Schedulicity will charge $95 for the monthly subscription with basic add-ons and Booksy will charge $100.

Custom Booking Website and Marketing Support

Booking apps are crucial to your customer experience: they’re often the first interaction you’ll have with a customer, and can set the tone for their expectations coming into your salon. If the app is ugly, or if every booking experience looks and feels the same, it’s harder for your salon to stand out from others. Some booking apps offer custom websites, but will charge a setup fee and even recurring monthly fees.

Another aspect of the booking experience is marketing support. Online booking apps can help you build a contact list of customers' phone numbers and emails for reminders, promotions, and recurring marketing campaigns. However, some platforms charge extra for features like automated client reminders as well as text and email marketing. If you’re not paying attention to the bill, you’ll be racking up extra monthly charges just to fully leverage your booking app.

How to Evaluate Salon Booking Apps

When you’re evaluating a salon booking app, it’s important to understand the features you’ll get and how much you’ll pay for each. A fully kitted booking app doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – there are table stakes features you should look out for. Here’s a shortlist:

  • Customized booking experience
  • Reasonable credit card processing fees
  • Automated client reminders
  • Marketing support for your customer contact list
  • No hidden fees / sneaky add-ons

GlossGenius offers the most competitive pricing on the market, with all the features you need and expect, without any of the hidden fees. Our no-frills pricing includes a customized website, unlimited employees, email and text marketing, and automated reminders, all in one low monthly price. We’ll help you build your empire and scale for the future, without skimming off the top. To learn more about how GlossGenius can help your salon reach more customers and save money on hidden fees, contact us today.

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