A busy barbershop

Why is there no subscription fee?

Matt Michel
Matt Michel
6 June 20205 minute read

People are often curious why Barber Shop Booking doesn't charge a monthly subscription, some are even suspicious!

The internet has advanced so much in recent years and the quality of free apps and services is mind-blowing. But in the world of booking platforms, this isn't the case. The average monthly cost of a booking platform is very high, so when a new one comes along that doesn't charge monthly fees a few eyebrows are raised!

In this post I'm going to share with you why my overheads are much lower than my competitors' and how I cover my costs.


My business philosophy is to run a lean ship. Really lean, like a greyhound. Here are the 4 ways that I do this:

1- No expensive marketing

Did you know that a certain glossy barber magazine charges £1,400 for a double-page spread? The same mag also charges companies to be featured in their yearly app review; if you give them enough money they will say good things about your app.

If I took out these paid promotions, then I'd have to pass that cost on to my users by charging a monthly fee. I'd also be embarrassed for buying fake app reviews 🤷‍

2 - No sales teams

A website should be simple enough for anyone to master; even if technology isn't their thing, or they are short on time.

I don't want to hire a team of sales staff to get barbers using my platform. That would be really expensive and I'd have no choice but to pass that cost on.

It's also a matter of choice. Personally, I hate getting sold to. I don't want to run a business that relies on heavy-handed sales staff. I want barbers to use my platform because they like it and get value from it.

3 - Using modern technology

Barber Shop Booking is made with the latest technology (you'll be able to see this for yourself - just compare how much faster it is than the competition). Using the latest technology means that it's efficient and has low overheads. Put simply, I don't have to spend much money or time on servers and databases to keep it all running smoothly.

4 - Avoiding feature creep / software bloat

I am an experienced software developer and have worked on many products over the years. I've been a part of teams that have built incredibly successful products, and I've also been in teams that have built apps that failed miserably.

One stand-out difference with the successful teams was their ability to focus on the core value of the product. This laser focus meant time was only spent building features that helped their users be more successful. When teams get distracted by secondary features (e.g. creating a 'shop' for you to sell your hair products in), it diverts resources and time. Time that should be spent making the core product better.

The software industry has a great term for this: 'bloat'.

Barber Shop Booking is focused on appointments for barbers. If I strayed away from this core focus then I'd need to hire more developers to make the bells and whistles. Not only would this mean I'd have to charge a monthly subscription fee, it'd also make the platform more complicated to use.

So how do I make money?

I do charge a fee for card payments as this is the most complicated and intensive part of running the platform. Here's how it works: If you choose to take online payments then a processing fee is applied to each card transaction. Most of the fee goes directly to the credit card company; the remainder goes to Barber Shop Booking. To illustrate: if you take an online booking for £50 then this would be subject to a £1.20 processing fee (you'd receive £48.80 into your bank account) £0.90 of this fee goes directly to the card company and £0.30 to Barber Shop Booking.

Because of this, I only make money if my customers make money. I am fully-aligned with the barbers on my platform. I want need them to make money.

I believe this arrangement is the best one for the barbers. All my focus is on making sure that clients find it easy to make online appointments with you, and repeatedly give you their custom. Also, it doesn't cost you anything extra to have more barbers on the system.

Other platforms are motivated to get you signed-up and paying a regular monthly fee, not to actually increase the amount of money that you make.