Have you ever been on call with a customer trying to find time in your schedule for them? It’s likely that you compared schedules multiple times before you found a slot. The best scheduling apps can help your customers book appointments with you from anywhere. No more hassle of going back and forth.
Booking and managing appointments manually is a very tiresome process that can lead to a drop in productivity. Your customers will also be annoyed by the long process.
A scheduling app cuts out all the complex steps and lets your customers decide when they want their appointments. Obviously, you can set times when you are available. But what are the best scheduling apps? Let’s find out.
Table of contents
- What Is a Scheduling App?
- Why Use a Scheduling App?
- Essential Features
- The Best Scheduling Apps of 2023
- Manage Your Booking Effectively!
What Is a Scheduling App?
A scheduling app is a tool that allows your customers and clients to schedule appointments with you on their own. These tools offer a web-based portal that shows your weekly schedule. Customers can pick a time that works best for them and schedule their appointments from the comfort of their homes.
Scheduling is a very tiresome process that often requires a dedicated employee to find a match between your and your customer’s time. This manual process takes a lot of time and resources, both on your and your customer’s ends. A scheduling app is best suited for situations where you can give control to your customers.
To start using a scheduling app for all your booking needs, you have to give it a few parameters. These would include when your business is operational or when you are available for appointments. Certain businesses might also have to provide times when their staff, resources, and services are available.
Why Use a Scheduling App?
Businesses had used a variety of apps and tools to manage their calendars before the onset of scheduling apps. Most calendar apps allow you to make appointments, share them with your customers, and set notifications. This is an ineffective way to schedule because you still have to work out a time with your customers.
These calendar apps are cheaper options that may be cost-effective at the time. But as a business grows, they’ll need a more powerful tool to handle their growing needs. A good scheduling app will help resolve this challenge for your business. Scheduling apps save you from going back and forth between your and your client’s calendars to find a time when both are available.
The app will sync with your calendar to find all the times you’re available for appointments. When customers log in to your website, portal, or app, they’ll be able to see all of these booking options. They can then select a time that suits their own schedule. Neither you nor your client will have to waste time calling or emailing each other to find a slot for your appointment.
The best scheduling apps will do so much more than just let your customers book a slot in your calendar. They offer a host of features like canceling, rescheduling, or starting a quick conversation with your business. Here are some essential features that indicate a good scheduling app:
No two businesses are the same. This holds true even for businesses in the same industry. Every business has its own needs and customer preferences. As such, a good scheduling app is one that will adapt to your business and its individual needs. Such apps are very flexible and offer various customization options, so businesses can create a booking system that meets their needs.
With a scheduling app, you can customize a lot of aspects of your booking system. If you offer off-site services, like landscaping, your customers must be able to specify a location with their appointment. If you offer multiple services, they should be able to choose from a whole menu or select a specific service provider. All of these options will increase customer satisfaction.
When it comes to picking the best tools for your business, you need to consider how they will impact productivity. After all, all these tools need to aid you in conducting your business more efficiently. As such, the best scheduling apps will integrate well with your current technology to give you a smooth experience.
Your scheduling app must integrate with an email platform such as MailChimp. Such an integration will send you an email with all the information for any booking made through the app. It must also integrate with your communication tool (such as Slack) to give you reminder notifications before an appointment.
Another great integration to look out for is with video conferencing tools. For businesses that provide online services, they can easily go from the scheduling app to the video meeting for their appointments.
One of the most essential features of a scheduling app is calendar syncing. Most apps have this feature, but the best ones will make it mandatory for you to sync your calendar. It’s a very useful feature to have in your scheduling app. Without it, you’ll have to take each appointment made from your app and manually add it to your calendar.
With calendar syncing enabled, the scheduling app will automatically add each booking to your calendar with accurate dates and times. With this feature, the app will also be able to view your availability, so it can prevent any double bookings and avoid bookings for holidays. While good scheduling apps will offer calendar syncing, the best ones will offer two-way sync.
Like we said earlier, every business has its own needs, and a good scheduling app must cater to them all. One of these needs is the ability to process payments at the time of the booking. Many businesses charge a small booking fee or require the entire amount upfront. For these businesses, it is absolutely essential that their scheduling app can process payments.
A payment processing feature also helps protect businesses. It’s a very common occurrence for people to make bookings and then back out at the last minute. It’s a loss for businesses that could’ve booked that time for another customer. Charging a deposit fee at the time of booking appointments can protect businesses from these losses.
There’s an extensive list of additional features that the best scheduling apps offer. The app that you choose should portray your brand’s values. It needs to be pleasing to the eye and have a seamless booking process. The ease-of-use should be spectacular, so your customers don’t feel like it’s a hassle.
A good app will offer several access points. Customers should be able to access the booking process from your website, social media pages, or even a unique webpage. The best apps on the market offer real-time tracking and notifications to update you on booking status and changes. Other useful features include client portals, multilingual support, task management, and invoicing.
The Best Scheduling Apps of 2023
Here are the best scheduling apps on the market in 2023:
Setmore tops our list of the best scheduling apps for 2023. It’s a feature-rich app that is just perfect for small businesses. One of the best things about this app is that it offers an abundance of features in the free plan. Most apps only offer a few basic features with their free plans.
It’s what sets Setmore apart from the competition and makes it a great choice for businesses that are still growing. Without even paying anything, you get unlimited appointments. By upgrading to the paid versions, businesses get calendar syncing, recurring appointments, SMS notifications, and more payment options.
Setmore supports a lot of third-party integrations. It works with your social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, so bookings can be made directly. It integrates with many payment platforms, including PayPal, Square, and Stripe. Other integrations include video conferencing platforms and web host providers.
The interface is very user-friendly and easy to navigate through. The booking process is simple and seamless. Setmore lets you add an interactive widget to your website so your clients can make bookings from multiple access points.
The Free plan is available for up to four users and offers many essential features. The Pro plan supports only two users and costs $5 per user per month. It offers more integrations, recurring appointments, and two-way calendar syncing. The Premium plan also costs $5 per user per month and has all the features of the Pro plan. But it is available to unlimited users.
Next on our list of scheduling apps is Square Appointments. This app is mainly targeted toward ecommerce businesses that are existing users of Square’s payment gateway. But that doesn’t mean other businesses can’t take advantage of this scheduling app.
Square Appointments has a unique booking process. It creates a special booking website for your business. The app has a lot of interface designs and templates that you can choose from to create a dedicated website that matches well with your brand. When you’re done creating a custom booking website, you can embed it anywhere you like, for example, on your primary website or social media pages.
The biggest advantage that Square Appointments offers is that it eliminates the need to find and subscribe to another payment processing service. With Square, you can charge late cancellation and no-show charges to protect your business from losses.
Another great advantage that Square Appointments has is that it charges by location and not by user. So if you have multiple users in the same location, it can be a cost-effective option, especially for small businesses.
The Free plan is limited to just one location. The Plus and Premium plans have no limitations for location. They cost $29 and $69 per month per location, respectively.
Calendly leads the scheduling app space with its wide range of integrations. It integrates with popular third-party calendars like Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud. It supports Stripe and PayPal for payment processing.
Integrations with video meeting tools include Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Zoom, and GoToMeeting. It even supports internal chat platforms like Slack and Intercom. All of these integrations allow you to set up a seamless workflow for booking appointments.
Calendly offers a web portal and mobile apps for both Android and iOS, making it very convenient for business workflows. A unique feature that Calendly offers is the ability to create one-on-one events with notifications. But the text notification feature is only available on paid plans.
The only drawback of Calendly is that it offers the most basic scheduling types. So if your business has complex scheduling needs, Calendly might not be the best option for you.
Calendly offers a free plan and three paid plans with varying features. The Essentials plan costs $8 per seat per month and offers six calendars and unlimited events. The Professional plan costs $12 per seat per month and has automation and analytics features. The Teams plan is $16 per seat per month and supports Salesforce CRM integration and round robin event types.
Appointy provides end-to-end booking and scheduling services for businesses. You can create access points on your website, app, and social media accounts. It offers high-end security protocols to protect your business data. It allows calendar syncing, real-time notifications, and a mobile admin console. With the console, you can manage your appointments and schedule from wherever you are.
It has powerful analytics features. Equipped with Appointy’s dedicated analytics dashboard, you can review your monthly appointments, sales, new clients, and even client satisfaction. It even allows you to review individual staff performance through graphical data.
A great advantage of Apointly is that it is highly customizable. You can personalize all the emails that you send to your booked clients. You can add logos and match your forms, emails, receipts, and social media posts with your corporate identity. This allows you to present a unified and seamless experience to all your clients.
Appointy is best suited for businesses running out of multiple locations. The app can manage all your locations and individual occupancies right from its admin console.
The app offers three plans on top of the free version and a fourteen day free trial. The Growth plan costs $29.99 for five users with live chat support, customization, and unlimited bookings. The Professional plan costs $59.99 and offers gift certificates and resource scheduling. The Enterprise plan supports multiple locations and offers SMS customization and a relationship manager. This plan costs $99.99.
SimplyBook.me is an excellent choice for a scheduling app for businesses of all sizes and industries. It’s specifically geared towards service businesses, but other businesses can also leverage its abundance of features. An advantage this app holds over others on this list is that it is very useful for international businesses.
This scheduling app supports over thirty languages, ranging from Ukrainian to Greek. It also integrates with over thirty five payment processing services that include Stripe, Square, PayPal, 2Checkout, blockchain payments, and other international payment platforms. This allows businesses with international locations or clients to support their customer base.
The setup process is very simple, and a guided interface lets you get used to all the features available. This easy onboarding process is a major reason why SimplyBook.me has a huge customer base. You can integrate SimplyBook.me with your social media accounts, Google profile, or create a custom webpage for booking appointments.
The drawback of this app is that it does not offer unlimited bookings. The free plan is limited to just fifty bookings each month. It can also get very expensive, and the customer support isn’t as responsive as it should be.
The Basic plan starts at $8.25 per month for five users. Upgrading to the Standard plan costs $24.9 per month and will get you ten more users. The Premium plan unlocks all custom features and gives you thirty users. It costs $49.9 per month. The Premium Plus plan costs $82.5 with sixty users.
Book Like A Boss
This scheduling app is for small businesses and startups that don’t have a lot of budget to spend on some of the more powerful apps on this list. Book Like A Boss doubles down as a scheduling app and a cheap website builder. So if you’re looking to develop a website with a booking feature, Book Like A Boss is your best friend.
Book Like A Boss lets you create custom web pages for booking appointments and for events and seminars. You can create unlimited pages with this tool. It also lets you create text-only pages, which can work very well as starter websites. The tool helps you kill two birds with one stone.
The mini-websites you create for your events are highly customizable. You can add visual content, add skins, and customize colors, themes, and text. This high level of customization allows you to match these event sites with your brand identity and provide your customers with a uniform experience.
But if you already have a functional website and only need a scheduling app, Book Like A Boss might not be the best option for you. The payment integration feature is only available on the paid plan. But there are a lot of other native integrations available.
For solopreneurs, there are four plans; Espresso, Mocha, Cappuccino, and Latte. They cost $9, $12, $19, and $29, respectively, with varying availability of features. The Company plan starts at $35 for three users. There’s a sliding scale where you can customize your plan according to the number of users.
Zoho is a very common name in the enterprise solution space. It offers numerous cloud-based productivity solutions that are used throughout the world. Zoho Bookings is one of these, and a spectacular one at that. A clear advantage of this app is that it will integrate fully with your other Zoho solutions and provide you with an end-to-end experience.
This scheduling app allows a lot of flexibility for you to set up your custom booking process. You can add dedicated times for breaks and meetings, buffer times, or create your own cancellation policy. Another great advantage is that you can set up multiple workspaces. These include adding several businesses or locations.
Zoho Bookings has a very simple yet functional calendar dashboard. You can view your calendar in both List view and Day/Week/Month view. You can also combine the calendars of all your businesses or locations to get a more holistic view of all your appointments.
Zoho Bookings is extremely customizable and allows you to test pages as well. You can check how your dedicated booking page will appear to customers. The tool also lets you create a unique booking page for each of your users. Automation features are also very useful, as the tool auto-assigns bookings to users with the most free time.
Zoho offers a Basic plan for $6 per staff per month and a Premium plan for $9 per staff per month. With the Flex plan, you can create a custom pricing plan with only the features you want and the required number of staff.
Acuity Scheduling is a scheduling app that is popular for its ease-of-use. You don’t need to be tech-savvy at all to use this app and build an appointment booking process for your business. It also works as an online assistant that your customers can use to book a slot on your schedule.
Acuity has a number of great features that make it very useful. When you create a dedicated booking page, your customers can make recurring appointments, make payments in advance, and complete onboarding forms. You can also create custom coupons, and your customers can add a range of services.
Your clients can reschedule or cancel their appointments. You can also set a minimum notice period for booking appointments. This helps prevent overbooking, which we found to be a very useful function.
Acuity Scheduling provides multiple access points for your clients. You can share your booking page with a URL or embed it into your main website. You can also add a booking button and QR code to share the page with your customers. It also has a client-end app that they can use to make a quick booking on the go.
Acuity only has paid plans; there is no free plan. The Emerging plan starts at $16 per month and location for just one staff member. The Growing plan is $27 per month and location and is for six users. The Powerhouse plan costs $49 per month and location, and supports thirty-six users.
Last on our list of the best scheduling apps of 2023 is Picktime. This app stands miles apart from its competitors solely based on its pricing strategy. You can set up your booking system and be client-ready in a matter of hours, all for absolutely free. The best thing about this app is that it has a very generous free plan.
The free plan supports three users and allows for unlimited appointments. It supports two locations, and you can add three resources. You can sync your contacts and email. It will create a dedicated booking page for your website and integrate with PayPal for payments.
Despite the loads of features in the free plan, Picktime is not highly customizable. This is the only drawback to the app. But Picktime compensates by having a very short setup process. It takes mere minutes to set up everything and get your booking page running online. It also has many pre-built widgets to improve the functionality of your booking page. For example, widgets for Google Maps and Facebook are available.
For more customization and features, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the two paid plans. Doing so will let you integrate payment processing services other than PayPal.
The Starter plan of Picktime costs $3 per month per user for three users. It also includes two-way syncing and automatic timezone conversion. The Pro version costs $2.25 per month per user. It supports unlimited locations and classes and over a hundred integrations with Zapier.
Manage Your Booking Effectively!
Scheduling apps are the best solution to eliminate the hassle of managing your customers, appointments, and your calendar. These apps are a godsend for both solopreneurs managing everything on their own and businesses with multiple locations and staff members. With an effective app, you won’t have to compare schedules or exchange emails with a customer to find time for an appointment.
Choosing the right scheduling app is a very important decision that must be taken after careful consideration. There are various apps on the market that offer a wide variety of features. Some apps target special types of businesses, for example, those that offer off-site services. So you have to research the apps you’re considering and choose the one that meets all your needs.
Which scheduling app are you using? Let us know in the comments below!