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Salon point-of-sale (POS) systems keep track of your inventory, sales, and even staffing hours. This type of salon management system makes running the back end of the business easier while at the same time improving the client experience on the front end.

The best part is, you can experience the benefits of these systems even if you’re a single individual working as a booth renter. Affordable POS solutions for the “solopreneur” equip you to keep better records and improve efficiency, which will eventually increase your bottom line. But not all systems are the same, and once you start looking, you’ll see there is no shortage of options!

It can be confusing trying to figure out who to trust and which salon software is best for you. So, here’s a recommendation when you’re in the market for new salon management software. The first thing to do is to make a list of everything you think your POS system should do. Next, make a list of software you currently use to run your salon or spa: bookkeeping software, marketing software, etc.

Now that you have your two lists in hand (software you currently use and tasks you want your salon software to do), ask yourself these six questions while you shop.

 

What Can It Do?

Keep in mind that it might seem like a POS system should be able to do everything. Track sales, calculate staffing hours, book appointments, send reminders, manage a client loyalty program, automate the phone system, use text to follow up and ask for an online review … you name it. But all those features could encompass multiple types of salon software.

Many salon owners are surprised that two main forms of software exist: One is a point-of-sale system, the other is reservation management software. Now, to be fair, some salon management software does do both. But it can be far more expensive than a standalone POS solution meant to manage the sales side of transactions.

Don’t worry if the POS system you’ve chosen doesn’t provide reservation and marketing capabilities, such as online booking, text reminders, requests for online reviews, and other business-building tools. It’s likely any POS system you choose will offer seamless integration with reservation software.

Just understand it could require two separate purchases to get all the features you want.

 

What Does It Cost?

Cost isn’t limited to the price tag of the software! Consider what else is required. You’re going to need both the POS software and the POS station.

•        What hardware will you need (devices, registers, and displays)?

•        Will the display allow customers to see transactions as you’re adding them? Will a customer-side display cost more?

•        Does it increase the cost if you choose a station in a color that complements the design of your salon?

A POS station could run thousands of dollars, so make sure you know all the accessories the system requires and include the total package in your cost comparison.

          

Does the POS software have cloud-based technology?

This is an important consideration. If it’s cloud based, you’ll be able to access the salon’s management software using only a browser. That means you can pull up daily receipts, retail sales, client records, etc., even if you’re traveling with only your tablet or phone.

Being cloud based means you don’t need an actual hard drive to house the software. This is important if you wanted to do bookwork or other salon management activities from home. Rather than having to network with the salon computer, you can just log in and view your software system just as if you were in the salon.

 

Do you maintain control of your credit card processing fees? 

Some POS solutions allow you to maintain control of your credit card processing rate, which could save you thousands of dollars. Consider: If the company that installs your POS solution controls the credit card vendor, you are powerless if the vendor raises the rate. If you are able to choose who processes credit transactions, you’ll be able to shop for more competitive rates.

How well does the POS software integrate with other software systems?

We’ve already discussed the possibility that a POS system would need to integrate with a reservation management system, but you also want it to play nice with other software you might depend on in your salon.

For example, do you use an email solution to nurture clients? Will the POS system integrate with the one you’re currently using or will you be required to use different email software that is compatible with the POS system?

 

What is the level of training and support?

The most important thing to remember when you choose a POS system is that you want it to make your life easier. It will take time to adjust to any new salon software but the transition will be a lot smoother if there is a structured onboarding process and access to ongoing support.

Make sure whatever POS system you choose for your salon or spa has good reviews of their customer service and tech support. This way, you’ll be happy with your new software solution long after the initial purchase and setup.