There is no such thing as a free lunch and this saying rings true when it comes to free salon software. We were curious about how free salon scheduling systems make money and what we found might surprise you.
Here are the key things you need to know about free salon software:
- Free software provides you with basic or limited features at no cost but if you want to use advanced features, you have to pay extra.
- Once you start using premium features it can be hard to keep track of the costs and the billing can lack transparency.
- If you’re planning to grow your business, free software might hold you back and can get expensive once you start using more features.
- While you might be saving a few dollars, if things go wrong, there could be low or no technical support available.
What is free salon software?
Salon software is used by hair and beauty businesses to schedule appointments, for point of sale (POS), store client information, take online bookings, sell vouchers, do a stocktake, reconcile cash drawer, manage staff timetables, for marketing, for business reporting and so much more.
Free salon software enables businesses to use a handful of these features for free but will charge users to use any features not included in the basic free package.
Is free salon scheduling software really free?
The answer? Yes and no. Free salon booking software is free if you only use the basic free package. However, often businesses will outgrow this kind of package quickly due to its limitations, which means they’ll eventually need to pay for the ‘free’ software.
It’s also important to note that by using free software the software provider often owns your data, which means they can share it with third parties for marketing purposes.
How the ‘freemium’ pricing structure works
Free software uses a ‘freemium’ pricing structure, which, according to Harvard Business Review’s Making Freemium Work, is a common strategy used by software companies to attract new customers through allowing them to use the software free of charge, with the hope that they will use paid features.
That means you’ll need to pay for any feature that you start using that’s not included in the free basic version, or when you surpass a usage threshold for a particular feature. Often the premium features can be highly valuable to hair and beauty businesses, like taking online bookings, taking deposits, or selling online vouchers.
You will either be charged a flat rate to use a specific feature or to upgrade, or in some cases you’ll be charged a percentage or a fee per transaction.
This is where the costs can add up quickly. Software companies using a free pricing structure may charge higher rates for premium features due to the need to generate revenue. This can result in the user paying an unexpected bill at the end of the month that could far surpass what they would have paid using software from a company using a different pricing structure.
What are the pros and cons of using free salon software?
Pros of free salon software:
- You can use basic features for free
- Try out salon software without commitment
- Best for single operators with simple needs
Cons of free salon software:
- Expensive when you use more features
- Low or no technical support available if things go wrong
- Not suitable for businesses that want to grow
Is free software the right choice for your business?
It may be tempting to choose free software to save money in the first instance, but it’s important to read the fine print as it could actually end up costing you more in the long run.
Before choosing your business management software, think about the features and functionality that will be most important to your business, and choose software that meets your needs while giving you room to grow.
Be sure to check for hidden costs and fees associated with the features you’ll need, and always do your research.
Salon and spa software with no hidden costs
If you’re looking for trusted salon and spa software with no hidden costs, book your free demo of Kitomba Salon and Spa Software.
Kitomba has been providing salons, spas and clinics with reliable, industry specific, all-in-one business management software since 2002. The tiered package and price structure means there’s a package and price to fit the needs of every business.
Book a free personalised demo to see what Kitomba can do for your business, and get your free quote today.
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Growing a successful business involves many different factors. As a salon, spa or clinic owner, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, but it’s important to create a plan for growth.
In this e-book, you’ll get 100 actionable ways to grow your salon, spa or clinic across the core areas of your business! Even just implementing a few of these ideas can make a big difference.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 10 November 2020 and has been completely updated for relevance and comprehensiveness.