It’s time to consider the right software solutions for your business. Timely Salon and Spa Software CEO and co-founder Ryan Baker reveals the things you need to consider.
Step 1 – Think about what you need
The right salon software will simplify your life and make running your business a breeze. It will run on your computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone, no matter where you are, and be easy for both staff and clients to use.
Your clients are used to having an amazing experience at your salon, so their experience booking appointments or making payments shouldn’t be any different!
We know that choosing the right salon software is an important decision, not just for you and your business, but for your staff and clients as well. If your booking software doesn’t match the vibe of your salon, it could mean the difference between a potential client choosing your salon, or not.
Some salon software solutions only do simple scheduling, while others have tons of bells and whistles you probably won’t use (but will still pay for). Most businesses need something in the middle that combines a flexible calendar with simple, yet powerful business tools like visual reporting and marketing.
Jot down a list of what you need your software to do, and compare it to what’s on offer.
FREE SOFTWARE BEWARE
There’s a saying when it comes to getting things for free. If you aren’t paying for the product, then you are the product. Free software can be great for personal use. When it comes to your business however, you need the best solution…and it doesn’t come for free.
Often if the software is free, you’ll be bombarded with advertisements the whole time you’re using it. There have also been cases of clients data being ‘sold’ and then they’re targeted with ads instead. You might not even be aware of what’s happening to your clients, but it could end up reflecting badly on your business.
Tip: Take the time to actually read the terms and conditions of the software you’re considering. Be weary of any that state they’re able to use your clients’ data as they see fit.
“Consider a program that has more than your business needs, not less. Cheaper is sometimes not better, and customer service is key – especially in the beginning when you need lots of help.” – Phillippa Middleton, Buoy Salon & Spa, NZ Salon of the Year
Step 2 – Making it work
Not all software will run on all devices, so it’s important you take this into account when looking at your options.
Will my existing equipment work with the new software I choose?
Does your existing computer meet the minimum requirements to run the software efficiently? Contact the software provider to find out.
Is there an iPhone or Android app? Will it work on your phone, or your staff’s phones?
Will it need to work with your current point of sale system, cash drawer, barcode scanner and/or receipt printer?
Is the software cloud-based (across all your devices), or stuck on one computer at my front desk?
Will the same information and tools be available on my desktop, tablet, and smartphone?
Can my staff access the software and check the calendar on their devices from anywhere?
Can we move around the salon and still have access to the software?
Will my other software work alongside the new solution?
Will it work with my accounting software like Xero or Quickbooks?
Does it work with my marketing software like WordPress and Mailchimp?
Can it take payments using Afterpay or Paypal?
“I was constantly on my phone or computer, and it wasn’t fair to me or my kids. Now, with Timely, I have put the interactive calendar on my Facebook page and website and clients can pick their own day and time. I’ve had so many clients tell me they LOVE this feature and that it was so easy to use. I use the Timely app on my phone so that I can make changes or take payments wherever I am.” – Amber, Enso Float Room
Step 3 – Ask around
Talk to others in the industry to get an idea of what’s already working for people. Read reviews, check social media accounts, and get an idea of how the company behind the salon software interacts with it’s users. Do they release features often? Is their customer support helpful and accessible?
The best way to see if a piece of software is right for your business though, is to just give it a go. If there’s a free trial available, test out the software and get your staff’s opinions too.
If you’re not sure exactly what you want or need, have a look at online forums and social media community groups to see what other business owners are using or talking about.
“Not all software is created equal. Just because it says salon software, doesn’t mean it’s what you need or want. Do your due diligence.” – Larissa Macleman, Salon Coach.
For more news and updates, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.