When I interviewed at Timely, I was asked if I knew what Software as a Service meant. I said yes, because I was pretty sure that I did know. Spoiler alert: I didn't.

Why being in the cloud is better for your salon

Before joining Timely, I had a vague understanding of what software was. Well, I was pretty sure that I almost knew what it was. It’s programs or systems that you put on your computer so you can do things like accounting, booking services or activities, listening to music, etc.

And I knew what service was – years of working as a sales associate in retail had me pretty confident that I knew what it meant to be in a service industry.

So, by my understanding, Software as a Service meant…systems for your computer that served you, helped you. Something built around you and your business needs.

Well, it turns out I was wrong – kind of.

Head in the clouds

Software as a Service (or SaaS, pronounced sass) (yes I get a huge kick out of that) actually refers to software that you buy a subscription for, and that’s cloud-based. You can’t really see it, but it’s out there running your business. Google, Spotify, and Xero are all cloud-based.

So, if you’re a Timely user, you pay a monthly fee and we handle everything else. Our brilliant Techbots handle:

  • servers
  • maintenance
  • updates
  • security

….basically all the things that need to happen to keep Timely happy and working, which makes your day easier.

All you have to do is log on each morning and set to work! And if you decide you’re done with Timely, easy as. Just stop subscribing next month – you haven’t paid for a whole year of something you’re not going to use.

More, better, faster


The SaaS model means your version of Timely automatically gets the newest features and bug fixes every time we release them. You don’t have to manually update your software, or hire an IT person to make sure all your systems are working nicely together.

Working in the cloud means we can do updates more often, adding features and enhancing the current ones so they work better. Bug fixes are lightning fast, and since we’re able to track where our customers are having trouble (or craving new features), we can respond directly to those needs.

We can make sure Timely works with the newest iOS or Windows version without you having to reinstall anything.

And when our pals at Vend made some changes to their API a while back, we were able to make updates to how Timely talked to Vend (<< super-tech lingo) so our customers didn’t have to even worry about it.


A big component of SaaS is support, and that’s something we absolutely rock at. And the reason we can have such a wonderful support team is because (you guessed it) we work in the cloud! We don’t have to send someone to your salon to try to figure out what’s going on with your SMS reminders.

We make all the changes or fixes up in the cloud, while you get on with your day down on Earth.

Safe data

Also, it means your data isn’t at the mercy of your chaotic days. Toddler angry-poured his juice on your iPad? Noooo worries. (Except for the broken iPad.) The cloud means that you can just log onto your account from another computer or smartphone and still have access to all of your data.

A giant wildfire wiped out your entire block, along with your salon? That is very, very bad and we are so sorry…but we’ve still got all your data safe and sound when you’re ready, so that’s one thing off your mind.

This whole SaaS situation also lets you take your work on the road – a mixed blessing, maybe. But it’s a huge benefit for all those small business owners who can’t stand not being able to check in on their large, brick-and-mortar babies.

Embracing the SaaS

If you want to know more about what it means to be on the cloud, here’s a good primer.

So now, after 3 months at Timely (which has simultaneously felt like 3 days or 13 months) I finally, actually, for real know the answer to the question: what is SaaS?

And you know what? I don’t think I was that far off. The Timely philosophy is really close to what I thought SaaS was.

All the decisions we make are based on feedback from our customers. As a startup, we don’t have any room for wasting time. We’re super-focused on our actual priority: our customers. Our purpose is to make our customers’ lives smoother, easier, better. That’s why we’re a cloud-based company, and that’s why other SaaS companies like Xero, Vend and Google are so successful.

That’s also why embracing the cloud is also great for salon owners. It takes away worries and expenses and lets you focus on your clients.

So, although Software as a Service might mean something way more interesting than I used to think, I’m not quite ready to give up my personal definition.