As a salon owner or manager, you have to wear a lot of hats, even on a good hair day.
There are clients to please, staff to keep happy, and a business to run and grow. And you love it… but you probably didn’t open your own salon or spa because you wanted to become an accounting or payroll expert.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt that payroll is a thorn in your side because you have to:
- Track employee hours and payments manually from a spreadsheet.
- Bounce between different accounting and time-tracking tools.
- Navigate tax forms like W2s and 1099s to make sure employees working in your space as renters on commission are being paid legally and fairly.
- Rethink and update your systems as your business grows.
Luckily, a salon software with payroll can solve all those problems. To help you choose the right one for your needs, we reviewed and laid out some highly rated options for salon and spa owners that are simple to use, get you away from your pen-and-paper-spreadsheet system, and can help keep you legally compliant through it all.
What is salon software?
Salon software helps you manage every aspect of your daily operations, with tools for everything, including:
- Point of sale (POS) transactions
- Scheduling client appointments
- Communicating with your staff
- Hiring and training new employees
- Organizing time tracking and payroll
But salon and spa management isn’t just about keeping everything running smoothly — it’s also about growing your business. And it’s difficult to do that without a tool that helps you manage your payroll.
Why salons need payroll software
An efficient payroll system will reduce paperwork and free your time to grow and manage your salon business.
Payroll software does more than just make salon owners’ lives easier. It helps you take care of important tasks like keeping records for tax purposes so you stay compliant with local labor laws.
A good salon payroll tool will:
- Save you time
- Reduce the risk of errors
- Automate payroll calculations and payments to employees
- Automatically process your tax filings and issue 1099s and W-2s
Having said that, let’s take a look at our list of the six highest-rated salon payroll software so you can choose an option that fulfills your specific needs.
The top 6 salon and payroll software
We organized our recommendations based on each platform’s pros, cons, pricing, best use case, and integrations.
Bear in mind that some of these tools were created specifically for salons and others for small businesses in general.
But many salons operate just like small businesses and use these kinds of dedicated SMB tools every day.
Homebase is an all-in-one HR and team management tool that helps small business owners and managers with scheduling, time tracking, payroll, HR and compliance, hiring and onboarding, employee happiness, and team communication.
- Full process automation: Homebase streamlines the payroll process so you can pay your team in a matter of clicks. Instantly convert your timesheets into hours and wages in payroll. Homebase calculates wages and taxes; sends the correct payments to employees, the state, and the IRS; and automatically processes your tax filings and issues 1099s and W-2s for you. You’ll also receive alerts when labor laws change or employee certifications expire.
- Works on any device: Homebase is perfect for managers of stylists and other salon employees who often rely on their phones as their primary way to communicate, book appointments, and track hours.
- Many functions offered truly free: Users can access time clocks, scheduling, an employee mobile app, job posting, and applicant tracking — as well as tools to boost employee happiness and keep your team in sync — all for free.
- You need a paid plan for payroll and some other features: To access tools for HR and compliance support, new hire paperwork, and organizing and storing documents, you’ll need to pay for a plan.
- Pricing is per location: If you operate several salon or spa locations, keep in mind that our pricing is per location.
Homebase is unique because of our useful free plan, which even gives you access to POS and payroll integrations.
Here’s a breakdown of Homebase’s monthly plans:
- $24.95/month for the Essentials plan
- $59.95/month for the Plus plan
- $99.95/month for the All-in-One plan
You can add payroll onto any of those options for $39 per month, plus $6 for every active employee.
Who’s it best for?
Homebase is ideal for any salon owner or manager who’s looking for an all-in-one team management platform that’s specifically designed for small businesses and includes great payroll features. You can get started anytime for free.
Homebase connects with payroll tools you might already be using for POS, accounting, or hiring, such as:
- Wells Fargo
- Square Payroll
Vagaro is a booking and business management software specifically for salons, spas, barber shops, and fitness centers. Their features allow users to manage payroll, organize employee calendars, book clients online, accept payments, build websites, and even launch marketing strategies with email and text.
- Flexible payroll function: Pay employees based on an hourly rate or your salon commission rates.
- Created for the wellness and beauty industry: Owners can create customizable commission tiers for their employees based on the specific services and products their salon offers.
- Easy access to employee pay stubs and payment history.
- You can’t pay for access to specific features, like payroll: If payroll or invoicing is all you need, you still have to pay the regular subscription price to use it .
- No free plan: Vagaro offers a free month-long trial, but they charge per employee booking calendar after that.
- No HR or compliance features.
Vagaro plans currently start at $25 a month and go up $10 for every employee who makes client appointments with their online booking calendar.
For example, it costs $35 for two bookable calendars and $45 for three bookable calendars.
Who’s it best for?
Vagaro works well for salon and spa owners who pay their employees a commission and want their payroll tool to show how much money their staff brings in.
You can integrate Vagaro with payroll and accounting tools like:
*As of June 2022
Fresha is a booking software for salons and spas that offers appointment scheduling, payment processing, POS tools, marketing promotions, inventory management, and reports and analytics.
- Subscription-free platform: Fresha is designed specifically for salons and spas and all you have to do is sign up to get started and use the platform.
- Unlimited locations and client bookings: As you grow and add locations, you can operate them all with one Fresha account. You can also use it to book unlimited clients.
- No dedicated payroll feature: You can use Fresha to track your sales, payment types, taxes, reports, commissions, and tips, but they don’t currently offer a timesheet feature for payroll, so you’ll have to export your data to an accounting tool like Excel, Quickbooks, or Xero.
- Optional paid features: Fresha also offers payment processing, new client marketing, and a promotional texts and emails feature
For these, you’ll pay:
- A 2.19% + $0.20 processing fee for every payment transaction
- A 20% commission fee for every new client
- $0.06 per text you send with Fresha
- $0.03 per email you sent with Fresha
Who’s it best for?
Fresha may be a great option if you’re looking for a platform that helps you manage sales and fill and manage appointments, with tools to help you market to new clients, track inventory, and schedule appointments..
With Fresha, you can export your data to salon accounting software like:
*As of June 2022
You’ve definitely come across Square at a salon checkout before, and that’s because it’s well-known for being an innovator in POS transactions.
But the add-on Square Payroll also allows you to do automatic time tracking, file payroll taxes, and receive payroll support. And, it integrates with Square’s POS and team management tools.
- Integrations: Square can integrate with hundreds of other third-party tools, including those you might already be using for accounting, scheduling, and time tracking, like Homebase.
- Payroll processing with your phone: You don’t need to have access to a desktop or physical spreadsheet.
- Calculate and process payroll in a few quick steps.
- Payroll is an add-on: If you already pay for Square’s POS system, you’ll still have to pay for their payroll features. Square charges $35 a month plus an additional $5 for every person.
- Time tracking involves some setup: If you want to enable timecards in Square Payroll, you’ll need access to Square’s POS app or the Square Team app.
Depending on your salon or spa’s payment system — and your local labor laws — you have two options for Square’s Payroll add-on feature:
- The Contractors Only plan: Charges you a $5 monthly fee for each person paid.
- Their Employees and Contractors plan: Charges you a $35 monthly subscription fee and a $5 monthly fee for each person paid.
You’ll have to pay those fees in addition to what you might already be paying for Square POS or Square Team.
Who’s it best for?
Square Payroll is great for salon and spa owners and managers who are using the Square POS system.
Square integrates with accounting and tax reporting tools like:
*As of June 2022
GlossGenius is a booking tool that lets salons and beauty businesses manage their appointments, payment, and marketing services.
- No per-member pricing: GlossGenius offers calendar capabilities for multiple salon employees and doesn’t charge per member.
- A range of features: Users get access to online booking calendars, POS tools, messaging tools, reports and analytics, marketing tools, and a mobile app.
- Customer support options: GlossGenius offers customer support that you can access via phone, text, or email.
- No comprehensive payroll feature: GlossGenius doesn’t offer time tracking or payroll tools like Homebase, so you’ll have to download your sales report from the app and export it to a third-party accounting tool.
- No free plan: GlossGenius currently has a 14-day free trial, but they don’t offer a free plan, so you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription to access any of their features.
- No HR or compliance feature: GlossGenius doesn’t offer tax, HR, or compliance solutions like Homebase.
GlossGenius’s Standard plan is $24 a month, and they also have an Exclusive plan that’s $44 a month.
The Exclusive plan is invitation only, so you won’t be able to access it as a new user.
Who’s it best for?
GlossGenius is best for salon and spa owners who need to upgrade their booking system but don’t need a robust payroll feature.
GlossGenius doesn’t currently offer integrations with accounting or payroll tools, so you’ll have to download your sales reports and calendar data to import it manually to the platform of your choice.
Rosy was actually the first cloud-based salon and management tool to exist. It covers both salon operations and appointment scheduling with online appointment booking, text and email communication, ecommerce options, inventory management, and reports and analytics.
- A platform made by former salon and spa owners: The Rosy founders understand the aches and pains that salon managers and staff go through every day, so they designed their platform with those problems in mind.
- Tools for commission employees: Like Vagaro, you can use Rosy to create detailed commission reports for both flat-rate commission employees and employees on a commission scale basis.
- Time tracking: Rosy allows employees to clock in and out on their platform, and it lets managers control who has the ability to do so.
- Charges per booking calendar: Like Vagaro, Rosy’s Standard plan charges a fee for every booking calendar that your stylists and technicians use. To accesso all of Rosy’s features, you need to upgrade to a Premium plan.
- No payroll features: Rosy doesn’t offer payroll, tax, or HR and compliance services like Homebase or Square.
- No free plan: Similar to GlossGenius, Square, and Vagaro, Rosy offers a free trial but doesn’t offer a free plan.
Rosy offers a 30-day free trial. If you want to upgrade to a Standard plan, you’ll pay:
- $29/month for one booking calendar
- $69/month for five to 10 booking calendars
- $99/month for 21 or more booking calendars
For the Premium plan, you’ll pay:
- $37/month for one booking calendar
- $101/month for five to 10 booking calendars
- $192/month for 21 or more booking calendars
Who is it best for?
Rosy is best for salon and spa owners who have some experience with salon management tools and whose salons and spas are growing quickly.
If you don’t care about using a tool that can automate your payroll and are willing to make an investment in a management tool, Rosy might be for you, especially if you want to scale your client management operations.
Rosy doesn’t integrate directly with accounting, payroll, or tax tools, so you’ll have to export the data from your commission reports to another platform like Excel, Quickbooks, or Xero.
*As of June 2022
Other considerations for salon owners and managers
We know that payroll isn’t the only thing salon owners and managers need to think about. You have to hire and train new staff, organize employee schedules, and communicate with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Change to: Homebase simplifies all of that for you by being your all-in-one small business HR partner. Here’s how:
Hire the right salon staff
Finding the best stylists for your salon can be tricky, let alone finding the time to advertise, hire, onboard, and train them.
To save yourself some time in that process, use Homebase hiring and onboarding’s free library of job description templates to post and source the right candidates on top online job boards.
After that, Homebase covers everything from applicant tracking to new hire paperwork and tax forms.
Schedule your salon employees
If you’ve had to manually create and manage a schedule for your salon or spa in the past, you know that it can be a headache. It’s also nearly impossible to efficiently distribute a staff schedule that lives on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet.
The right scheduling tool should have your back when it comes to figuring out your staff and client calendars. Homebase scheduling lets you build, distribute, and communicate your schedule to your team within one platform that can be accessed from any device.
Communicate better with the whole team
It’s exciting when you add more stylists, technicians, and staff to your team, but it can be overwhelming to keep track of their details, circulate emails, and update your group chats.
When you add new team members to Homebase, they’ll automatically be integrated into your team communication app so you can send reminders for shifts, clock outs, and schedule changes. You’ll also be able to send them relevant documents via text and get notified when they’re signed.
Keep your stylists and technicians safe and protected
Small business owners and managers have to do more than handling everyday operations — they often have to act as resident HR experts, even if they have no idea what they’re doing.
That includes keeping track of employee certifications, tax documents, local labor laws, the rising cost of labor, PTO, breaks and overtime, and employee retention.
To make taking care of your small business’s HR needs easier, we recommend creating an employee handbook so that your code of conduct, policies, and mandatory legal information are centralized so they’re easy for everyone on your salon team to read and revisit.
If you need additional HR help, Homebase HR Pro can even create a customized employee handbook for you. And you’ll have direct access to a HR professional who can review your resources, give you templates to use, and help you stay compliant with local labor laws.
It’s time to update your payroll tracking system
You deserve a break from your manual payroll tracking system — and to transition to an intuitive tool that’s affordable, easy to learn, solves your payroll problems, and feels right for your team.
And we don’t think the right salon software is a unicorn. It really does exist.
Salon software with payroll FAQs
What is salon management software?
Salon management software refers to a wide variety of different tools that help salon and spa managers:
- Book salon appointments
- Send appointment confirmations
- Text no-shows
- Collect credit card information
- Integrate email marketing and launch marketing campaigns
- Schedule employees
- Streamline their team communications
- Manage employee calendars
- Track employee timesheets and payroll
Does Homebase have salon management software with payroll?
As an easy-to-use solution designed specifically for small businesses, Homebase does offer management software with payroll features. And if you operate your salon like a small business, which you probably do, Homebase’s payroll tool will make your job much easier.
With Homebase payroll, your team can clock in and out from their phone, which instantly syncs with their timesheets and calculates hours, breaks, overtime, and PTO. Our system also tracks wages and taxes and sends the correct payments to employees, the state, and the IRS. Homebase will even process your tax filings and issue your W2s and 1099s for you.
What should I look for in salon management software?
When looking for a salon management software, you should look for a system that
helps you stay on top of everything you need to operate your salon. That includes tools for scheduling, time tracking, communication, payroll, and beyond. If your platform of choice doesn’t have all of those things, it should at least be able to integrate smoothly with a tool you already use and trust.