Best Salon POS Systems for 2023

Square, Clover, Vend and DaySmart have features and pricing especially suited for salons and spas.
Tina Orem
Caroline Goldstein
By Caroline Goldstein and  Tina Orem 
Updated
Edited by Sally Lauckner

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The best salon POS systems are loaded with features beyond just efficiently accepting payments. These point-of-sale systems can also schedule appointments, manage employees and inventory, and automate marketing. Here are four of the best salon POS systems with features ideal for service-based businesses.

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Square

Square POS is one of the most streamlined, tech-forward POS solutions available.

Features

  • The Square POS app — which enables payment processing — can take on employee management, inventory tracking and automated sales reports.

  • Square POS integrates with other merchant services in the Square universe, including Square Appointments, an intuitive appointment-scheduling app.

  • Its customer relationship management, or CRM, tools are handy, too: You can save credit card information to easily check out repeat customers, compile customers’ important information in a centralized directory, and send custom digital receipts. You can also provide tip options upon checkout.

Hardware

You can choose from a range of hardware, including Square Register, Square Stand and Square Terminal.

  • Square Register is a countertop terminal that has two displays and a built-in card reader.

  • Square Stand is an iPad-based register with a built-in card reader.

  • Square Terminal is a mobile card reader that prints receipts.

  • Square Readers plug in to phones and can accept chip, swipe or contactless payments on the go. Square also offers Tap to Pay on iPhone, which lets merchants accept card payments using only a regular iPhone with the Square POS app. Customers hold their cards or their own iPhone wallets near the merchant's phone to pay.

Pricing

Payments processing

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.

POS software

  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.

  • $29 for Square POS Plus and Square Appointments Plus plans.

  • $60 for Restaurant Plus and Retail Plus plans.

  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.

Hardware

  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).

  • $49 for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.

  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).

  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.

  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system.

  • $659-$1,479 for various bundles of stands, cash drawers, printers and card readers.

A customer uses her phone to checkout with a digital wallet. She holds her cell phone against the customer-facing screen of the register while the cashier stands behind the counter of a bakery.

Square Register. (Photo courtesy of Square)

Square POS

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on Square's website

Clover

Clover POS is a highly customizable, all-in-one POS system that can accept essentially every type of payment your customers are using, including chip, swipe and tap cards.

Features

Clover software is loaded with features that are particularly helpful for salon owners, including:

  • Employee management: Through the Clover POS system, you can manage employee shifts, measure employee performance through sales reports and offer customers tip options upon checkout. Clover also integrates with staff management apps like Gusto, a payroll processing software, and Time Clock, time-tracking and employee shift management software, among many others.

  • Customer relationship management: Clover’s built-in CRM tools include promotional tools, rewards and discounts, physical and digital gift cards, customer profiles detailing buying history, and the ability to request private feedback with digital receipts.

  • Inventory management: Retailers can use Clover’s Inventory app to organize and track products.

Hardware

You can choose from a range of Clover hardware.

  • Clover Go is a mobile card reader.

  • Clover Flex is a handheld POS device.

  • Clover Mini is a compact countertop register.

  • Clover Station is a powerful countertop register that comes with a cash drawer and receipt printer.

Pricing

Payments processing

  • 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions for most plans.

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions on Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter and Professional Services Standard plans, as well as Home & Field Services Standard and Advanced plans.

  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.

Note: These prices are based on using Clover’s parent company, Fiserv, as your merchant service provider. If you use a different provider, your costs may differ.

POS software

  • $14.95 for Retail Starter, Professional Services Starter and Standard, Personal Services Starter and Home & Field Services plans.

  • $44.95 for Retail Standard, QSR Starter and Standard, Professional Services Advanced and Personal Services Standard and Advanced plans.

  • $54.90 for Retail Advanced and QSR Advanced plans.

  • $74.95 for Full-Service Dining Starter plan.

  • $84.90 for Full-Service Dining Standard plan.

  • $94.85 for Full-Service Dining Advanced plan.

Hardware

  • $49 for chip, swipe and contactless Clover Go card reader.

  • $599 for Clover Flex mobile POS with printer.

  • $799 for Clover Mini POS.

  • $1,699 for Clover Station Solo.

  • $1,799 for Clover Station Duo.

Clover Station. (Photo courtesy of Clover)

Clover

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on Clover's website

Vend

Vend POS is a cloud-based, all-in-one POS system for retail stores. Vend POS can accept all major payment types, and you can allow your customers to make partial payments or split payments among several types of tender in one transaction.

Features

Vend caters to in-person transactions at brick-and-mortar locations. Its POS systems offer add-ons such as cash management tools, customized receipts, and the ability to process returns, refunds and store credit. Vend carries many CRM features in an all-in-one POS system:

  • Comprehensive customer profiles, including personal information and payment history.

  • A loyalty program with higher-tier plans (that involves simple admin).

  • Discounts for VIP customers.

  • Advanced inventory tools that automate the organization and management of stock.

You can also customize your Vend POS system by downloading compatible apps, such as Timely for scheduling appointments and Deputy for managing staff schedules.

Hardware

Vend’s POS software is compatible with third-party web and mobile devices, and the system will work without an internet connection. It relies on third-party hardware, so if you have existing hardware, check whether it’s compatible with Vend. Once Vend is set up, the interface makes it easy to train staff to use the system.

Pricing

Payments processing

  • Doesn’t directly offer payment processing. Work with your preferred processor or sign up with Lightspeed Payments for Vend.

Monthly software fees:

  • $89 for Lean plan ($69 if billed annually).

  • $149 for Standard plan ($119 if billed annually).

  • $269 for Advanced plan ($199 if billed annually).

Hardware

Vend does not directly sell hardware. Its software works on third-party hardware such as iPads.

DaySmart

DaySmart, formerly known as Salon Iris, is for salons and spas to securely accept payments and automate operations.

Features

In addition to payment processing, DaySmart is preloaded with an online booking interface, a client management portal, targeted marketing tools like email campaigns and loyalty points, text or email appointment reminders, one-click check-in and checkout capability, and time clocks.

DaySmart also offers a QuickBooks integration, payroll checks and a Facebook plug-in.

Hardware

DaySmart does not sell hardware.

Pricing

DaySmart offers free 14-day trials.

  • Basic: $29 per month.

  • Deluxe: $69 per month (plus $9 for every additional user).

  • Premier: $129 per month.

  • Platinum: $249 per month.

  • All-In-One: Quote-based pricing.

  • Professional: $109 per month.

What to look for in a salon POS system

Here are five things to think about.

  • Payment flexibility. A good POS system enables you to accept and process all types of payments from your clients. It should also be easy to set up and have an intuitive interface.

  • Industry customization. Ideally, your POS system should have certain key features used in the salon industry, such as appointment scheduling, employee tracking, and payroll processing capabilities; these features can help ensure your stylists and estheticians are getting paid in full and on time.

  • Inventory and loyalty features. If you sell products like most salons and spas do, sophisticated inventory management capabilities are a must. Because many clients may be repeat customers, it’s useful to have a salon POS system that includes loyalty programs, gift cards, referral codes and other incentives to show your customers how much you value their patronage.

  • Mobile capabilities. A system with mobile POS readers is crucial if you or your staff members make house calls or if you want to share your services outside your main location.

  • Good pricing and good fit. Ultimately, the right POS system is the one whose fees and hardware you can afford; whose features streamline and automate your logistical processes; and that you and your staff feel comfortable using. As you search, watch for free introductory periods. That way, you can trial one or more salon POS systems, risk-free.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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