Chosing booth rental software.
My husband and I have been taking a look at some of the software offerings for booth rental. The catalyst for this was Mitchell's Salon switching me from an employee to booth rental with 2 weeks to get everything set up. Due to the time constraints we decided to entertain only three options.
After looking at all three, I found a clear winner for what I am trying to do but I tried to provide good information on two of the three. The third, hairbop, appears to be nothing more than website without an offering.
The three we are evaluating are Hairbop ( www.hairbop.com ), Vagaro (www.vagaro.com ), and Rosy Salon Software ( www.rosysalonsoftware.com ). These are all solutions with a focus on booth rental and are priced accordingly.
We are going to take a look at the basics (price, features etc) as well as some anecdotal information. All data is taken from their sites and opinions are encouraged in the comments.
I hope my research helps.
***!!! Urgent Update!!!***
Vagaro is not a secure program, it will expose your client information to anyone on the Vagaro system. While inputting a client list, I put a name into the email field and it pulled a client from another salon into my client list. I contacted Vagaro about this and they were aware of this flaw, but tried to frame it as a way to allow a client to go to another service provider (or competitor) and be able to login there. In fact, this allows anyone with a trial of vagaro installed to pull your clients up with no more than an email address. This exposes the personal information that your client has entrusted you with to the web.
The cavalier attitude in which Vagaro dealt with a severe breach client privacy is more than enough to dump them as a provider and find someone else more secure.
After hours of working to get this salon software set up, I am deleting all my client information and highly recommend anyone else that has used this system to do the same. I will update with what I come up with as a better alternative.
The lack of security and professionalism is a shame, as it seemed a good package overall.
I have chosen to use Vagaro, despite the wait time for tech support. While both Rosy and Vagaro provide good PC platforms, the tablet functionality in Rosy is made to complement their Desktop piece as opposed to working as a stand alone product. Due to the fact that I plan on working almost exclusively with an Android tablet, this was a deal breaker for Rosy.
Monthly Cost: $25 per month. 1 month free trial. REQUIRES a credit card for trial.
Support: Both phone and email support are available. I received a response on a support request in less than an hour. On calling Vagaro, I went through the normal prompts and selected support. I was on hold for three minutes before being offered the option to leave a message or to continue holding. I remained on the line and it was answered approximately 10 minutes after I selected support. Of note, there are a lot of videos and it really seams they go out of the way to make sure they provide their clients to tools to be successful.
Importing Client list: Client lists can be imported by sending Vagaro a .csv file that they would then convert to match their system and populate your site.
The only option to manually import with out providing them your client list is if you have your clients on an iphone or Ipad. I will attempt importing a file to an iphone, then uploading it. I will update when I determine the feasibility of this option.
I don't know if this is a valid concern, but I prefer not to send anyone my client list as it is my proprietary information.
General Usability: Both Vagaro and Rosy have an intelligent and intuitive desktop solution. Both are fairly easy to use and provide you with a vast array of options. Where Vagaro shines is in it's mobile apps. The tablet and phone versions for Android are nicely laid out and easy to understand how to navigate. Vagaro's checkout and scheduling are work quickly and easily and setting up customers and products are both straight forward.
Website: Vagaro provides a template to create a basic web page. It charges an additional $10 a month to use this service. The fee is relatively low and would seem a good investment. If I choose to go with Vagaro, I will update on the functionality of their offering.
Credit Card: Vagaro does provide a credit card acceptance platform. The cost is a bit higher than other free standing offers, although not crazy. It is $8.00 a month, 2.65% processing fee and $.10 batching fee for days you use it. There is an additional fee to process AMEX. For more on Credit Card Processing options there will be a separate blog that will lay out your options and costs.
Reporting: Vagaro provides a good number of reporting options covering the major reporting needs. As I get the site more data I will report back on the functionality and ease of use.
Email and SMS Notification: Automated SMS and email confirmations are available in Vagaro.
Online Booking: Vagaro provides some nice options for online booking. You have the option of setting up your facebook page with a 24/7 option to book online or choose to use their widgets to add a booking link to your existing site. There are many options as to the required information when booking online as well as booking multiple services at one time.
Email Marketing: There is a nice email marketing wizard that provides numerous options for promotion and contact with your customers. The wizard simplifies the process and looks like something anyone can and should use. The cost is included in the monthly fee.
Rosy Salon Software
Monthly Cost: $29 per month. 1 month free trial. Does not require a credit card for trial.
Support: Both phone and email support are available. I received a response on a support request in less than an hour. On calling Rosy, I went through the normal prompts and selected support. Upon selection, I was immediately talking with support. He seemed knowledgeable and was willing to help me find a solution to the problem I presented him. Like Vagaro, there are a lot of videos and and training opportunities to get you set up and ready to go.
Importing Client list: Client lists can be imported by sending Rosy a .csv file that they would then convert to match their system and populate your site.
Manual importing is available if you are comfortable with mapping from one database to another. While this may sound super techie, it really means you are lining up the excel columns to match the Rosy columns. I prefer this option as I do not have to share my client list.
General Usability: Rosy has a very nice user interface on a PC. It is very customizable and plenty of options for scheduling and customer information . Tech support is quickly accessible and knowledgeable. If you plan on having a computer at your booth, this is not a bad option. That said, there are some weak spots for this offering. It's abilities on the Android platform are disappointing which makes this a bad choice if you want the ability to do more than scheduling from a mobile device. Much of the marketing options as well as many of the tools offered by Vagaro are not present. With the monthly cost running $4 more a month than Vagaro, I would have to recommend Vagaro.
Website: From what I found, Rosy does not offer website options outside of facebook integration.
Credit Card: Rosy offers credit card acceptance through a third party. If the rates are listed, I could not find them on the site. I hesitate to use any service that is not transparent enough to say what they charge, so I definitley recommend using a third party processing service. I chose squareup.com, but there are other options that will be listed in a separate blog.
Reporting: Rosy has many of the basic reports necessary to run your business. This is one of the areas where Rosy sets itself apart from Vagaro. In their advanced reports section (listed as a beta project) there are about 100 detailed reports to choose from. This is a great way to get a granular view of your business and react accordingly.
Email and SMS Notification: Automated SMS and email confirmations are available in Rosy, although I was not able to figure out how to use them. Since I like to see things laid out in an easy to use manner, I found this to be a black mark.
Online Booking: Online booking is in the advanced setup under the management tab. There are several options and it seems a fairly strong offering for online scheduling.
Email Marketing: Rosy provides email marketing though a third party that will charge you for your emails. As Vagaro is free to do the same things, Vagaro wins hands down here.
Hairbop.com is a non starter. To begin you cannot sign up for the free trial as the sign up page is broken. There was no response to an inquiry by email and no option for a phone call. The price $25 a month. I would assume this is an abandoned effort or a terribly incompetent attempt.
After reading the reviews above, you can probably figure out what we chose . With the exception of the vast reporting capabilities in Rosy and the quick response with tech support, Vagaro seemed our best choice for booth rental software.