How to choose a Barber and Beauty system

Your guide to walk-in or booking apps

A guide for your decision-making process when reviewing walk-in systems or bookings . Understand what problem you are trying to solve and what you want as the outcome.

Key questions to consider about your business

  • How many clients walk-in vs booking?
  • Do you want the structure of bookings, e.g. fixed time periods or the optimised model of queue management
  • Transitioning your clients – What communication and training will be required?
  • Does your business just want to manage existing clients or does the system need to help you find new clients and grow your business?
  • How important is retail to your shop, do you want to grow retail revenue?
  • Are extra staff or training required to administer? What self-service options are available to reduce overheads?
  • Point of Sale needed, does your client system need to connect to your POS. If not, how will you reconcile?

What to consider with your preferred application

  • How does the app handle bookings and walk-ins? How long will it take your clients to check-in and does the process reflect your shop style and quality?
  • What administration is required from you and a daily or weekly basis to keep it running and current?
  • Web and mobile apps – What is provided to achieve maximum client reach?
  • Extra changes – fees for emails, SMS, app notifications?
  • Mobile and online payments are increasing rapidly, how do they work in the app and what are the fees?
  • Directory service apps vs marketplace apps? A directory service will market promotions and offers directly to clients, this could be from other shops. A marketplace will allow clients to find you but never promote other shops to your clients. Are you  trying to grow clients or improve your current client base?
  • What reporting and analytics do you need, how can this system help improve your performance and profit?

It is also important to understand your clients and the target market of your business. Any investment in technology should build your business and be future based.

  • 72% of men prefer to book on the day, that is almost ¾ will not book more than 24 hours ahead and a staggering 90% on the same week.
  • On average guys return every 4.3 weeks and visit 9.75 times per yeah. You need to factor this frequency when thinking about managing your clients and the need for self-service.
  • Staff work at different speeds with up to a 25% variance between senior and junior staff members.

A key point to understand is directory service apps which promote your store vs marketplace apps which allow you to promote your store. See our blog on directory v marketplace to understand the differences.

Doing nothing is actually making a decision. It is important to have a clear strategy for your business. Know your clients and improve to meet their needs.

Shortcuts Software

Arguably one of the largest salon software management systems with over 14,000 clients globally. They do have roots in the salon management so expect a system structure more towards bookings. Walk-in manager is a solution offered for barbers to allow in-store check-in and queue with wait times and SMS alerts. If using booking an app “My Local Barber” is available for mobile bookings. Shortcuts is a long time and stable system but is based on older technology. Pricing is not available online but confirm the initial hardware and installation costs plus the ongoing maintenance.


A dedicated app for Barbers with appointment, scheduling and calendar services based in Canada. It is popular with barber shops and seems to have a good footprint globally. It links to other third party applications such as Mail Chimp for email, Vend for POS and Stripe for payments. This provides a large depth of capability with all products leaders but assess all the subscription costs for the third-party applications. Pricing is based on a monthly subscription per shop/location with a tiered model based on the number of bookings.


A broader booking application for health and beauty services. It does provide a marketplace for clients to find the shop and book a service online and a rating system for the shop. Booksy provides online payments, point of sale, inventory and a host of marketing and reminder tools for your clients. Pricing is based on number of employees and per month.

Squire App

Recently launched in the USA any expanding, it is one of the latest in booking apps dedicated to barber shops. It has a great look and feel and provided a marketplace for people to book into your shop including online payments. Prices are not published online.


A great looking queue app with some excellent messaging features to communicate with clients. It is not specific to barber and beauty but is fast and easy to setup. A kiosk is available but no mobile check-in for the client at the time of this article. Pricing is a monthly subscription based on the number of clients.


Shop and web based queue and check-in system based in the USA. Interface is functional but may not appeal to the younger generation. Reminders and SMS for people waiting help tracking.

Barbers Queue

Similar naming to the app above but different. Based in Australia and launched by an award winning barber this app tracks the queue in-store. It does feature some promotion and advertising on the kiosk to help the shop generate additional revenue. No mobile online check-in at this stage, pricing is very affordable at a fixed $19/month with no limits.


Aiming to take the on-demand and queue system to the next level they created Predictive Queues, to forecast wait time. It offers the ability to combine walk-ins but also check-in online and even a booking style check-in called Queue Ahead. Mobile apps are available for both iPhone and Android plus weblinks are provided to check-in from your Facebook or google. A market place allows clients to search, find your shop to check-in. A kiosk is used to capture the check-ins for clients and the app is free for shop owners. Clients pay a booking fee for any mobile bookings. The reporting and analytics link your staff hours with service and revenue for the most effective reporting on your shop performance.

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