What if I could save you even more time . . .
. . . after all that is what I am ultimately here to do – save you time, help your business to grow and to reach your business goals.
In a perfect world I would like to think you would follow the advice I have given across the articles and podcasts throughout this software themed month – February 2016 – to help you to choose the perfect salon software for your business.
However, I also recognise that you independent salon and beauty business owners and managers are incredibly short on time. While choosing software to help manage your business is an important decision to make and you should take your time about it . . . sometimes you just want the choice made a little bit easier.
So for the past few weeks I have been researching the various salon software systems available . . . and trust me there are lots to choose from!
I looked in to approximately 20 of the most popular systems available as well as a few less well known ones to see which ones stood out that I could recommend to you for your shortlist.
I came up with two salon software solutions that in my opinion you would be wise to check out if you are at all considering software for your salon!
But first, a couple of things to note . . .
I can’t possibly account for every requirement – I’ve said it many times throughout this series of articles and podcasts that all salons and spas are different and in 17 years of working with salons, spas and health clubs, I have never come across two businesses with EXACTLY the same requirements.
For that reason I created a set of requirements that I believe would best fit the majority of my readers and particularly those looking for their first salon software system.
I did my best to put myself in the position of a brand new or fairly new business. Either a home based salon, a mobile therapist or a small to medium salon salon with 1 to 8 members of staff.
I looked mainly at what I considered to be entry level systems, but crucially ones that could grow with your business so you don’t have to change systems to continue to meet your needs over time as they might change.
I focussed on:
- Online or Cloud Based systems – to keep initial purchase costs low
- Low overall price – but looking for best value rather than just cheapest products
- Speed and Ease of Set Up
- Ease of Use
- How easy it was to learn deeper features
- Well Designed Web Bookings as standard
- Bookings & Payments Functionality
- Simple but Relevant Reports
- Outstanding Support
I wasn’t sure how many systems were going to come out as noteworthy, ideally I wanted more than just one system, but less than five to still give you a little bit of choice.
As I mentioned in the end, my research revealed two systems that stood out as ones you should take a look at if you are considering software to help you manage your salon or beauty business or looking to improve what you use already.
Each product had its own particular strengths and I have created a brief review of each one below . . . I’ve also created a video for each system showing you just how easily you can get up and running!
To help make your decision even easier I have secured some great deals for my readers only, should you want to check them out . . . . more about these deals later in the article.
Software System No. 1 – Appointedd.com
Appointedd (with the two d’s – that’s not a misspelling) is a fairly new system to the market being only couple of years old, but what the creators have done in that time is truely impressive.
Not coming themselves from a traditional salon or spa background has enabled the folks at Appointedd to look at salon software from a different point of view and focus on the most important aspects of:-
- saving your time
- getting more clients
- building client loyalty
The simplicity of use, yet hidden power of Appointedd just blew me away. The sign up process is also the set up process and it walks you through set up the software as you sign up. Everything is online so there is no software to install and most importnatly you can access the software from anywhere and pretty much any device . . . there is even a dedicated iPhone app.
The software sticks to just the main features that a new and growing salon or beauty business would use, so no screen space or options are wasted. There is certainly room for the software to grow, but the team at Appointedd have focussed on getting the important stuff right and then building strategic interfaces with other software companies to increase its usefulness.
If you remember back in a previous article I talked about software either specialising in one aspect of salon management and linking with other systems (best of breed) or the alternative being a software system trying to do everything itself (jack of all trades).
Well Appointedd is a classic example of the first option. They have built partnerships with leading accounts software providers, online payment companies, POS Software companies and many more to allow you to tailor the system to exactly meet your needs as and when they might change.
But it was the simplicity and flexibility of their online booking offerings that most impressed me.
Online Booking Options
Starting out with an online booking microsite that somehow magically builds itself from the questions you are asked in the sign up process. The microsite is live on the internet and ready to take bookings as soon as you complete the sign up process which takes about 10 minutes.
This is amazing as it means you can take online bookings without even having your own website . . . indeed the microsite could function as your website for a time. Here is an example:
Next is the option to take bookings on your own website if you already have one. Appointedd have created a booking ‘widget’ which is essentially a little bit of website code that you can drop in to your own website and like magic . . . online bookings from your website. Ta-dah!
Finally, and possibly best of all . . . a Facebook Booking option. If you have a Facebook page for your salon or beauty business, chances are that this is where you do the vast majority of communicating with your clients. Imagine being able to take online bookings right from your Facebook page.
There are lots and lots of other capabilities including very clear and easy to understand reports, email and SMS confirmation, reminder and marketing abilities, rotas and staff management functions, but let me tell you about the last two reasons I chose Appointedd as the first piece of software to recommend.
The Price & The Support
You can start using Appointedd for just £10 per month and that price isn’t limited to number of staff, logins or anything like that. There are more options to be had by paying a little more money, but the most critical features for a new or growing business can be had for this tiny price.
The support, help and assistance is fantastic. I know this for a fact because I tested them out . . . I created an account, set up a fake salon and rang them up with questions. They always answered the phone and were extremely knowledgeable and helpful and most importantly, solved my fake problem straight away.
Don’t worry I came clean in the end . . . and they were totally OK with it, particularly when I told them I would be recommending them!
If you would like to give Appointedd a try then you can get a FREE 30 Day Trial of their software by clicking this link only: Try Appointedd for 30 Days
The last thing I will say about Appointedd is this . . . I thought that their software was so easy to use and their approach so fresh that I became a customer myself
Yep . . . even though I don’t run a salon, spa or beauty business, their online booking system is so flexible that I now use it for booking appointments, calls and even whole consultancy days.
Check out my microsite page here: CHECK OUT MY MICROSITE from Appointedd
Software System No. 2 – Kitomba 1
Unlike Appointedd, Kitomba 1 (or k1 for short) comes from a software company with a history of working with salons and spas. Based in New Zealand, Kitomba started out with a more traditional installed software solution, which they still maintain as their top end product. (See This Article for info about the difference between Online and Installed software).
The first thing you will notice about the k1 screen is that there is a lot more information on there than at first glance with the Appointed software. This is neither better nor worse – it is going to come down to a users preference. As well as the Appointment Book, k1 keeps some client detail on the screen on the left hand side of the screen to make things more easily accessible.
The sign up process with k1 is very cleverly designed to help you set up the software to match your requirements. One thing I particularly likes was that it asks you what type of business you are (e.g. Hair, Beauty, Salon) and not only configures the software to best meet your needs from the start, but it also populates the system with a standard set of treatments for you to amend, rather than you having to start from scratch.
This feature also means you can try the system out easily without having to spend a huge amount of time setting it up in the first place . . . a fantastic time saver.
You have extra options when creating treatments to categorise them and even colour code them so that when you see them on your appointment book it is immediately obvious what treatment is what. It’s seemingly little features like this that show the history behind this software company.
Making and amending bookings is incredibly simple, moving bookings is as simple as dragging them around the screen.
There are useful email and sms features for appointment confirmations and reminders. There is also a great marketing feature to allow you to keep in contact with your clients using either email or text message.
This marketing feature deserves a special mention as it allows you to very quickly run a ‘query’ of your clients. Want to know who hasn’t been in for their regular facial, who hasn’t tried one of your relaxing back, neck and shoulder massages or who is running low of their last retail purchase? K1’s marketing feature can tell you this and then send out an email to these people, quickly and easily.
Best of all k1 can link with popular online marketing programs that you might be already using such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor – so no reason to learn new software here.
As you would expect from a company with more experience in the salon and spa world there are lots of excellent reports. There was one report I found which is designed to give your salon a quick overview of the most important Key Performance Indicators that I particularly liked. (Check out my #1 Google Rated Article on Salon KPIs’s)
K1 also has online booking options with the ability to book from your own website and also from facebook. Their support is also excellent . . . I didn’t test this quite as much as I grilled the team at Appointedd, but I have spoken to users of Kitomba who all mentioned how good their support was.
K1 also boast a built in POS and payments system which is something that Apppointedd doesn’t have as standard and coming myself from a traditional spa software background I did miss this. Appointedd make up for this with excellent links to systems like Square for payments and eposnow for till functions, but these are extra systems to sign up and also pay for.
Having the POS and payments built in with k1 is a real benefit and one that does place k1 over Appointedd as a more fully fledged system. However, with these additional features comes additional set up, additional learning, more administration and potentially additional time to get up and running.
The fact that k1 has these additional features also affects the price. While the price is, in my opinion, still incredibly low, k1 is priced depending on the number of bookable staff you have. It costs £2 per week per bookable member of your team.
So if you work on your own then the software is incredible value . . . sign up now! If you have a small team then k1 is still incedible value, but might start to cost a bit more as your team grows . . . but then again I still think the price is outstanding value for money.
If you would like to give Kitomba k1 a try then you can get a FREE 30 Day Trial of their software by clicking this link: Try Kitomba for 30 Days
I will leave the ultimate decision to you. For my money I would say that k1 is a more advanced system and is the choice if you want to get a little more out of your software and spend a little more time learning and using it. K1 is probably the better choice for a salon with a team of therapists or one looking to trade up from another existing software system.
However, if you are just getting started or want to focus simply on growing your business and you want your software to get out of your way, save you time and just work in the background . . . then definitely check out Apppointedd.
To help you get started I have created two videos, one for each system, which walk you through the set up of a salon in each system to show you exactly what is involved and how easily you can get up and running.
Watching the videos will even save you time as you will know exactly what information to have to hand when you do sign up.
What’s more is that both Appointedd and Kitomba have very kindly offered special deals only for readers of SalonBusinessSecrets.com.
Special Deal from Appointedd
If you like the look of Appointedd, you can get a FREE 30 Day Trial (normally only 14 Days) plus 10% discount should you decide to become a paying customer on whatever package you choose FOR EVER!!!
To get this offer you must CLICK HERE and sign up (no payment details required for trial)
Special Deal from Kitomba
If Kitomba k1 is more what you are looking for then you can get a FREE 30 Day Trial then if you decide to become a paying customer your First 2 Months FREE (on top of the 30 days trial) but only if you CLICK HERE (no payment details required for trial)
Don’t forget . . . I walk you through the whole set up process for both systems in the youtube videos above!
So go and check them out, let me know what you think and if you have any comments you can leave them in the comments section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to join me on The Beauty Business Podcast for the next episode (Number 8) where I will be discussing what other software tools are available online, most of them FREE, with a very special guest.
To get this go to www.beautybusinesspodcast.com/episode8
See you there . . .