choose a salon software package?

I'm opening a salon spa and I looking for a good software. I found one, but the price is crazy expensive $5,000 just for the software.

Thats a hard one.. Foremost understand every one of these software packages has their own criteria and individual set of features

I highly suggest using the links area at beautytech and getting the demos and trying them all yourself. Make a list of the features you LIKE, NEED, HATE as you demo each package.
But.. if this expensive package does what you need, you can recoup the cost in no time with what it saves you in the long run.
A short story to put forth this point..
A close friend owns an auto body shop.
Much like some salon owners, he doesn't have the greatest business head. After all we are "creative" types not "business" types!
The insurance companies all started to go to computerized estimating. He kicked & screamed because he didn't have a computer, didn't know how to use one either.
They pushed and said he had no choice or he would not be referred by the insurance company for insurance claim jobs.
So he gave in and low and behold he did learn how to use it and found out.. that he was underestimating by an average of 25% of every job.
Now that does and does not apply here to us as beauty professionals.
It does because now you have better bookings..
You can see when you slow times are and better schedule your employees (if you are an employee shop)
Increase retail by (if the system allows) paying commission for retail sales.. some shops make monthly or quarterly contests for retail sales
It will make your accountant happy in March
Research is fine, but hands on this the way to make the final decision, so.. get the demos.. and play with them extensively. THEN make your decision.

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