The nature of business has been changing for a while now, and the internet has become an integral part of the modern company. Any business that once relied solely on walk-ins, word of mouth, or even the dreaded snail mail, has had to rethink.
Online tools have provided them an opportunity to revolutionize their company, and attract a different kind of customer.
As businesses evolve and grow, so does the workload. Keeping track of all your schedules and appointments can become overwhelming if you don’t have a clear system in place.
And as more and more of the business moves online, this scheduling needs to integrate with the rest of the operation.
Which is why your business needs an online scheduling app. The scheduling software allows business owners to stay on top of the day to day, plan for the future, and better connect with customers.
There is plenty of scheduling software out there, each promising to be the best for your business. We’ve taken a look at the 10 best scheduling apps available, and compared what makes them stand out from the pack. Read this guide to find the best scheduling app to streamline, adapt, and grow your business.
What A Scheduling App Can Do For Your Business
Standing out in a crowded marketplace is tricky, particularly when you’re trying to make your mark online. But as well as grabbing people’s attention, it’s important to ensure that clients and customers keep on coming back.
To do so, you need to create a user experience that’s, at a minimum, pleasant and appealing to clients. Even better is a business that offers rewards for repeat services, and initiates contact.
Unfortunately, organizing and scheduling can become time-consuming. To ensure your customer is receiving the best service, you need to consistently manage your schedule.
Or, you can get an app to do it for you.
There are many advantages to a scheduling app, but these are some of the main uses:
- Create free time for your business. By reducing the need for time-consuming phone calls, streamlining the email process, and taking care of the details, scheduling software can save you time. That allows you, the business owner, to focus on the important details, and continue to expand your business.
- Improve customer interaction. An easy booking system is useful for both business owner and client, and many apps offer room to customize communications.
- Quick payments. Good scheduling apps can connect to payment systems, for reducing no-shows, avoiding cash payments, and simplifying the process.
- Organize global meetings. Finding the right time for a meeting involves a lot of back and forth. A scheduling app cuts that problem down significantly, creating easy calendars that can even convert to different time zones.
When you think of all the positives, it’s hard to imagine any reason not to add a scheduling app to your business. But before you go ahead and download one, keep on reading. Not all scheduling apps are created equal, and you need to make the right choice for your business.
What Features Are Important For An Appointment Scheduling App?
Before you start choosing the right scheduling software for your business, you need to understand the kind of features that make an app great. Remember, not every feature will be right for every market. Consider exactly what your business needs, and which features aren’t worth paying for. You may require:
- A customizable booking system. Your booking system should be able to provide both you and the customer with all the details necessary. Customizing your booking system allows you to create a flexible calendar that works for your business.
- Calendar sync. Avoid going back and forth between apps with calendar sync, which puts all the information in one convenient place.
- Reminders and notifications. Email and SMS reminders can reduce no-shows, and encourage repeat customers. Email is often included as standard, while SMS might require an advanced service.
- Payment. Making payments online can help avoid no-shows, and simplifies the business.
- Access Points. How can customers and clients access your booking page? Is it via your website, or does it integrate with social media?
- Customer interaction. Some scheduling apps will provide options to reach out to customers, send reminders, and encourage them to choose your service again.
- Organize meetings. As well as scheduling appointments with clients, a scheduling app should make it easy to book meetings with members of the team etc. For a global company, look for scheduling apps that can accommodate time zones.
- Device support. Whether you use a desktop or a mobile, your scheduling app needs to work with your device.
- Integrations. There are many tools needed to successfully run an online business. Your scheduling app should be compatible with the tools and software you already use.
- A clear interface. No one wants to waste time learning to use a scheduling app. The best apps are clear and intuitive, so you can get to work right away.
The Top 10 Scheduling Apps
- Acuity. Best overall scheduling app.
- Calendly. Impressive collaboration features, unlimited appointments.
- SimplyBook.Me. For global businesses.
- SetMore. An inclusive free tier, that allows for multiple logins.
- Zoho Bookings. A fuss-free way to organize group bookings.
- Square Up Appointments. Unlimited options for solo business owners.
- Appointlet. Generous free plan with an intuitive interface.
- Doodle. Organize and schedule meetings with ease.
- Vcita. Customer focused booking options.
- Genbook. Optimize your calendar.
Scheduling App Feature Comparison
Below, we’ve considered an in-depth review of 10 of the best scheduling apps around. We’ve considered the pros and cons of each service, and what business the software is best suited for. We’ve also compared the pricing options, and whether the app is worth paying for.
Two other features that you must consider are availability and calendar syncing. How useful an app is will partly depend on how well it integrates with the systems you already have in place.
An app such as SetMore is available on iOS and Android, as a desktop app with Mac or Windows, or online. However, an app like Appointlet is only available online. Depending on how you work, this may not be suitable.
If you already have a calendar set up, you either need a scheduling app that syncs with your calendar, or be willing to move your details across. Many apps are compatible with Google and Outlook, but if you use a more niche service such as iCal, you may struggle with integration.
An In Depth Look At The Best Scheduling Apps
Acuity Scheduling has been a popular choice for businesses for a while, even more so now that it’s part of online giant Squarespace. This highly customizable service allows clients and businesses to design the booking space down to the fine details.
Simplicity and adaptability has made Acuity one of the top scheduling tools for all types of businesses.
The major pro to Acuity is that it allows the user to create a scheduling system that really works for their business.
There are plenty of options for coupons, ways to take payments, and to create booking slots that match your needs. Payment can be via PayPal, Stripe, Square, and you can vault credit cards for later usage.
There’s also a fun and unique feature called “Make Me Look Busy”. This hides some of your free times, encouraging bookings, and creating demand.
Acuity isn’t just customizable, it’s also user-friendly. The service is pared back, which can initially mean it looks a little simplistic. But once you’ve mastered the tools, and you’re likely to do so quickly, Acuity can really work for you.
There’s no free tier with Acuity, which is a real drawback. If you want to try using Acuity, there’s a short free trial where you can explore the service, but then you have to pay.
For small businesses, and those just getting used to scheduling, Acuity might be out of the budget.
What Business Can Benefit From Acuity?
Acuity really is designed for all businesses, and there are enough features and options to make it adaptable for a variety of scheduling needs.
Acuity has 3 pricing options. The Emerging tier is $14/month, Growing is $23/month, and Powerhouse is $45/per month. Annual subscriptions are also available.
Calendly is a scheduling service with an impressive free tier that’s become popular with start-ups and new businesses. The easy navigation of the interface and affordability has made Calendly the choice for those looking to grow a company.
Using Calendly is incredibly simple. Start by setting the rules for your meeting, send out a link or embed the link in your website, and once a time has been decided the event is added to your calendar.
Automated reminders and even automated thank you notes can all be scheduled via Calendly, reducing the chance of no-shows and simplifying time-consuming tasks.
Automation is a big part of Calendly, and impressive integrations allow these automations to work for you. As Calendly itself says, it’s like hiring an assistant (without the expense).
Many of the connections are unavailable on both the free and basic tiers, including the ability to connect to PayPal and Stripe. That means you’re unable to take payments via Calendly without the upgrade.
What Business Can Benefit From Calendly?
Calendly works best for small and individual businesses, who are looking to schedule meetings with clients, rather than organize appointments. The pricing tiers are all reasonable, including the most expensive options, so Calendly is a good choice if you’re curious about future expansion.
For those running a business alone, the free Calendly option makes scheduling meetings incredibly simple.
The free tier of Calendly is a useful tool, which can help a small business.
There are 3 paid business tiers. Basic, which is $8/user/month. Professional, which is $12/user/month. And Teams, which is $16/user/mo.
SimplyBook.Me is one of the original app scheduling services, and it’s maintained its popularity since being founded in 2008. The software has grown to incorporate multiple features, which has made it popular with companies just starting out.
SimplyBook.Me has become more than just a scheduling app. Instead, this inclusive service allows you to build a website, analyze sales, and attract new customers.
The scheduling service itself is incredibly high quality, and includes features such as “book soon” reminders. For salons especially, this feature is an excellent way to get people back through the door.
Coupons and gift codes are also available via SimplyBook.Me, keeping customers loyal and encouraging repeat purchases.
With automated reminders, customizable web pages, and affordable price tiers, SimplyBook.Me is an inclusive option.
The free tier for SimplyBook.Me is limited, and the paid tiers are generally a necessity. Plus, the large company can run a little slowly.
What Business Can Benefit From SimplyBook.Me?
SimplyBook.Me is great for businesses looking for an inclusive tool. Salons and other repeat services will also appreciate many of the features available on SimplyBook.Me.
Although the free tier is basic, there is the option to customize what’s included. For small businesses, this is a great way to get a free plan that caters to you.
Monthly fees on SimplyBook.Me range from $0 to $59. Paid plans can be customized, and provide access to more appointments, better customizations, and a POS system.
An easy-to-use service with a decent level of coverage in the free plan, SetMore is a scheduling appointment app that’s particularly popular with anyone on a tight budget. A free plan with SetMore gives you access to unlimited appointments, payments via Square, and usage for up to 4 users.
For free plans, there are few that can compare with SetMore. In fact, SetMore might have the best free scheduling service around. Up to 4 users are granted access to the platform, and you’re able to book unlimited appointments every month.
There’s also email reminders, video meetings, and the opportunity for social media integration.
The payment tiers are really well priced, especially if you choose annual billing. It’s also an incredibly intuitive service. Working through SetMore for the first time should be a quick and easy process.
SetMore is a more refined service than those such as SimplyBook.Me and Acuity. There are fewer integrations offered, and it works almost exclusively as a booking app. If you have a larger business, and you like all your features in one place, SetMore might not have what you’re looking for.
What Business Can Benefit From SetMore?
SetMore is simple-yet-powerful, and it works for small businesses interested in growth, and midsize businesses looking to simplify. For a large company, SetMore doesn’t quite have it all, but small teams will love the free tier.
The free service from SetMore provides access for 4 users, unlimited appointments, and social media integration.
The Premium tier is $12/user/month, and includes SMS reminders and a two-way calendar sync.
There’s also the Pro tier. This is $9/user/month, and is for 3+ users. It has everything included in Premium, at a better price for larger teams.
Scheduling is just a small part of what business software company Zoho provides. Their scheduling service is a facet of a company that has supported online business for decades. For those who’ve used a Zoho service before, their scheduling app is a fuss-free way to integrate bookings.
There are several tiers to Zoho, including a free option that gives you access to two-way calendar sync, online meetings, and notification emails.
The paid plans offer a lot more, at a lower price. There are plenty of customizations available for the booking page, integration with Zapier, and mobile apps for staff members. There’s even automatic time zone conversions, for a business with an international reach.
If you pay for the top tier, you have access to more again, including online payments.
Zoho only offers online payments at the top tier, which does decrease the usability of the Basic tier. For many, the Basic tier won’t offer enough to make the service worthwhile.
Also, Zoho doesn’t offer SMS reminders on any price plan. Although notification emails are available on the free tier, you have to look elsewhere for SMS reminders.
What Business Can Benefit From Zoho Bookings?
Anyone currently using other services from Zoho should consider the scheduling software, as it allows a better level of integration.
The free service is also pretty good, especially as it offers email notifications.
Zoho offers a free tier for a single user.
There are two paid plans on offer. The Basic plan is $8/user/month, with customization options, better integrations, and a round-robin allocation. The Premium plan is $12/user/month, and includes online payments, 3 workspaces, and even more customizations.
Square Up Appointments
Square is a payment service that many stores have come to rely on. Able to take payments both online and in person, Square has become a cornerstone of the online store. The integrated scheduling app hopes to become as ubiquitous as the payment service.
For a small business, the Free service offered by Square Up is one of the best around. It’s easy to set up, so you can quickly create an easy to navigate website in no time at all.
Square offers services to cater for your business, including customer notes, professional invoices, and an integrated point of sale. And this is all available on the free plan. If you run your own business, Square Up Appointments are a fantastic way to stay on track and simplify your time.
Square Appointments has limited integration options, and is best used in conjunction with other Square products.
The big issue with Square Appointments is the pricing. For one user, the free plan is wonderful. But as you add users, the price increases massively.
What Business Can Benefit From Square Appointments?
Solo business owners from all sorts of industries can appreciate the way Square works. There’s so much included in the free plan that it has to be an option to consider.
A business with 4 or 5 users will also appreciate Square. This number offers the best value for different price tiers.
Square has an incredible free tier, and then the price increases depending on the number of users. This falls into several price brackets, some of which are a bargain (5 users, for example), and some are overpriced (2 users pay the same as 5).
Appointlet is a clear and understandable service with a robust free plan. The software aims to take away all the difficulties of manual scheduling, with a simple app that offers easy solutions.
The free tier of Appointlet provides unlimited bookings, and unlimited meeting types, making it a handy service for different types of business.
The customizable intake form allows you to integrate Appointlet within your brand identity, while the “adapt to any timezone” feature helps the business to expand globally. The free tier also integrates with Google Calendar and Office 365, making keeping on top of your schedule easier than ever.
There’s one paid tier, which opens up the service greatly. At this level, you’re able to accept payments with Stripe.
Appointlet has limited integrations, even at the paid tier. For an established business, this may necessitate some changes in service.
What Business Can Benefit From Appointlet?
The generous free plan offered by Appointlet is a good choice for a business that’s struggling to keep track of appointments. Designed for salespeople, Appointlet is easy to use, clear, and takes out the hassle of manual appointment management.
There are two pricing options from Appointlet: the Free tier, and the Premium tier. The Premium tier is $8/user/month.
A user-friendly interface and some simple to use functions have made Doodle a popular scheduling app with anyone who’s tired of the back and forth. Anyone struggling to balance wall-to-wall meetings should consider Doodle’s features.
Doodle is all about making meetings easier, so the service is clearly organized and intuitive to use. The app is able to organize across time zones, putting together clear schedules that cater to everyone.
When you have your meetings organized, Doodle pulls everything together for you. The simplified service uses streamlined updates and reminders, keeping your calendar from getting messy.
By using Doodle, you can schedule a block of time free for meetings, allowing clients and teams to grab a space when needed. Everyone can feel included, and time is used effectively.
Doodle is a meetings-focused scheduling app, rather than a booking app. Organizing to meet clients is easy, but you can’t accept payment.
Doodle doesn’t offer a free tier, only a 14-day free trial.
What Business Can Benefit From Doodle?
Freelancers, consultants, marketing teams — anyone who finds too much of their workday is lost trying to schedule meetings will appreciate Doodle. It’s particularly useful for team leaders and educators, who can schedule time into the calendar for first come, first served meetings.
Doodle offers no free tier, but there is a 14-day free trial for different plans.
The Pro tier is available from $6.95/user/month. This is for a single user.
Team is available for $8.85/user/month. Team has all the features of Pro, but can be used by 5 or more admins.
Vcita is one of the more advanced scheduling services, offering plenty of features to complement the calendar management tools.
Unlike some other apps we’ve reviewed, Vcita is an inclusive software service, with the booking and scheduling features forming a bulk of the product offered.
Vcita is a fantastic service for getting to know your clients. There are features for note making, interaction, and viewing your customer history. Although this isn’t unique to Vcita, the complete service they provide really helps you learn about your customers. And this kind of personal service keeps customers coming back.
The integration features are also incredible, and by connecting to Zapier, Vcita becomes a customizable and automated tool to adapt to your business.
Vcita only offers a 14-day free trial, and there’s no free tier. As many of Vcita’s best features involve repeated usage, the 14-day trial is only really good at introducing you to the interface.
What Business Can Benefit From Vcita?
Customer and client focused businesses will appreciate how Vcita encourages interaction, while streamlining the process. Growth is also supported by Vcita, making it a good option for businesses looking toward expansion.
Vcita has 3 tiers, and none of them are cheap. The Essentials tier is $29/month, Business is $59/month, and Platinum is $99/month. All prices are for single users. Annual subscriptions are discounted.
Genbook hopes to be a scheduling app that can complete your business. Offering some interesting features that provide the opportunity to connect with clients, Genbook focuses on the organization and management of your small business.
Genbook offers some excellent client management features, to optimize your bookings and attract new visitors. Set up a waitlist, offer last minute discounts, and even keep track of your no-shows. Personalized reminders and updates invite clients to book again, keeping customers happy and informed.
There are plenty of integration features, including Stripe and Square supported payments.
Genbook also offers analytics, turning it from a simple scheduling app into a tool for expanding your business.
Genbook’s user interface isn’t the easiest to navigate, which is a frustration when you consider all the features. Hopefully, this will be something Genbook improves moving forward.
There’s no free tier available for Genbook.
What Business Can Benefit From Genbook?
Client-focused businesses with an interest in creating a personal service will enjoy using Genbook. The service is helpful for a range of companies and services, but the personalized features really do bring the focus onto the client experience.
Those hoping to expand will also appreciate the flexibility of the Genbook booking experience.
There’s no free tier to Genbook, and the pricing is determined by team size. The Solo service is $29/month, for a single user. Team covers 2 to 5 users, for $59/month. Company is for 6 to 12 users, and costs $99/month. Annual discounts do apply.
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