Best scheduling apps: a complete beginners guide
Business owners don’t have a lot of time to spare, so finding the right scheduling app is crucial for keeping track of appointments, internal and external meetings, and all the other schedule-related aspects that are necessary to keep your eCommerce business running smoothly.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the top scheduling apps on the market today so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.
11 of the best scheduling apps for 2023
Square Appointments is a web-based appointment scheduling platform. It combines powerful scheduling features like a free online booking website, automated email and text customer communication, and point-of-sale payment options.
On top of appointment managing capabilities, the system also provides customer and team management features and integrations with other Square systems.
- Easy to use and mobile-friendly.
- Ability to change or cancel at any time.
- Free trial available.
- Integrates with popular e-commerce, marketing, accounting, and tax apps.
- No emergency procedures, according to some reviewers.
- Heavily reliant on other Square products.
- Some alternatives have more specialized features.
- The free plan allows for only one location and doesn’t have the calendar sync function.
Who it’s best for:
Square Appointments is well-suited for service-based industries of all sizes. Also, their paid plans are handy because you can get pricing based on a per-location basis instead of a per-user basis.
So, if you want to manage and schedule appointments for multi-users, this can make the app a very affordable option.
Square Appointments offers three standard plans plus a bespoke plan for whatever stage your business is in.
Their free plan allows for one location and up to two users but has limited features. The paid plans start at $29 per month per location and offer more advanced features for growing businesses.
The plans go up from there depending on your needs.
Setmore is a feature-rich scheduling app that allows you to instantly create custom schedules, track appointments in real-time and send automatic appointment reminders to your customers. Additionally, Setmore offers a good user experience due to its customizability.
Finally, the inclusion of unlimited appointments offered through their free plan makes it an excellent solution for any company that wants to use a scheduling app for managing a large number of appointments without incurring costs.
- The minimalist designed interface is interactive and easy to use and navigate.
- Reminder notifications send customers a customized email or text message, increasing the likelihood that they will show up.
- Mobile scheduling options allow you to create and manage appointments from anywhere.
- Reliability features like multi-level backups, alerts for potential problems, and constant monitoring and maintenance help ensure that your data remains secure and available.
- Modest businesses won’t have a problem with the features that Setmore offers. But bigger and more complex operations might find it inadequate.
- Many users quickly move from the free to the premium plan to get more comprehensive features.
- Some users have complained that its video conferencing tool needs to be updated and more functional. They also reported that customer support could be slow to respond.
- Its limited reporting and sparseness of analytical data may not be suitable for modern businesses.
Who it’s best for:
Setmore works best for small to medium organizations looking to connect to clients online.
Setmore users include petcare businesses, accounting businesses, and real estate businesses.
Setmore’s free plan gives access to the platform’s basic features for up to 4 users. In addition, users can enjoy features like payment reminders and unlimited appointments.
They can also make payments with Square. The premium plan is $5/user/month and offers features like SMS reminders and staff schedules.
Finally, for organizations with large teams (3 or more users), Setmore offers a Pro plan for the same $5/user/month as the Premium plan. The main difference between it and Premium is that it is geared more toward growing teams.
Calendly lets you automate booking meetings and appointments, helping you organize your business agenda.
An easy-to-use interface, intuitive features, and customization options are a few reasons it is recognized as the scheduling leader for more than 50,000 companies worldwide.
With the Calendly app powering your appointments, you can connect to your clients faster, easier, and at a lower cost than ever before.
Plus, Calendly has lots of integrations, so savvy business owners can use automation tools like Zapier to integrate their bookings system with their website or CRM.
- Simple, intuitive interface that is easy to learn and use.
- Options include customizable scheduling options, styling, branding, and more.
- With integrations with popular tools like Google Calendar and Office 365 Outlook, it’s never been easier for users to create professional online appointment calendars for free.
- You can integrate Calendly into Slack and Intercom for better workflows.
- Problems with syncing between Outlook to the Calendly account.
- A reviewer on G2 said, “The URLs of existing calendly blocks (in the free version) persist despite the title change of the actual meeting.”
Who it’s best for:
Businesses with customers and clients who regularly book appointments will likely find Calendly an ideal scheduling option.
Calendly offers four different pricing plans that are available on a monthly or annual basis. The Basic plan is free and allows unlimited events for one person and one event type (say, a 30-minute lunch meeting).
If you need more bookings, their Essentials plan ($10/month) adds more meeting options as well as the ability to integrate other users in your organization.
Each subsequent tier adds more bells and whistles, such as text message reminders, group meetings, and even meeting analytics.
Zoho Bookings is free appointment scheduling software that allows businesses to manage appointments and automate booking processes online easily.
Zoho Bookings syncs with your calendars and lets you enjoy intelligent scheduling with features like:
- Buffer times.
- Personalized booking pages.
- Custom fields for collecting customer information.
- Resource scheduling for single or multiple bookings.
- Easy to set up and customize to match the look of your website.
- Very, very competitively priced premium plan.
- A robust suite of features helps you qualify bookings and avoid surprise bookings and last-minute cancellations.
- Integrates with Google, O365, and Zoho Calendars.
- Competitively-priced premium plans.
- 2-way calendar syncing.
- Robust analytics tools that provide detailed insights into customer interactions, appointment trends, resource utilization, and more.
- Some users have reported that the scheduling app can be slow to load at times.
- A common complaint is that the customer service team can be difficult to contact.
- It has limited CRM integration.
Who it’s best for:
Zoho Bookings is a good resource management app for professional consultants and service providers that want a straightforward scheduling solution for managing appointments, events, and other booking-related tasks.
Zoho Bookings Plans offers two plans that start at $6 per month for small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed individuals. With it, you get perks like customizable confirmation, reminder & cancelation emails, and round-robin allocation.
Their premium plan at $9 per staff/month includes three workplaces for organizations that want to provide their clients with a more personalized experience. In addition, you can get 25% off that monthly price if you choose the annual plan.
The Appointy app offers the convenience of a 24/7 online booking portal, a mobile app for on-the-go bookings, and the option to connect a custom domain to your booking page.
And with key features and tools like real-time analytics, automated reminders, 100 appointments per month with the free plan, and unlimited services with the paid plan, you can stay organized and in control of all your appointments, simplifying scheduling and saving you time.
- Users praised Appointy software for being super easy to use.
- Good integrations and API;
- Customizable booking page with a custom domain option
- Reviewers rated their customer support as excellent and Appointy’s free online setup assistance as “fantastic.”
- Tracking and reporting tools that provide insights into appointment trends, customer behavior, and more.
- Users cited issues with premium versions, such as pricing and the inability to cancel or pause subscription plans.
- Users stated that Appointy has a big learning curve
- Reviewers say they don’t like the fact that Appointy plans displays ads.
Who it’s best for:
Appointy is a great fit for businesses that use a lot of integrations to organize their workflows.
Appointy has four plans, ranging from $0 to $79.99. With the free plan, you get five services for one staff member, including:
- Google bookings
- Website integration
- Automatic reminders
- 100 appointments/month
- Zapier integration
Their paid plans include gift certificates, unlimited services, staff/staff member count, and custom branding.
You can use Doodle software to help you schedule any kind of meeting and then sync them to the online calendars you use, including Outlook and Google.
You can also create a free Doodle poll for your next meeting or try out its premium version for free in a 14-day trial.
In addition, Doodle is remote-ready, letting you add video conferencing links to events and automatically connect it to Zoom, Google Meet, or Webex.
- Very affordable. Their most popular paid plan, Doodle Professional, is only $6.95/month/user.
- Unlimited meetings, group polls, and booking pages.
- Multilingual support that allows you to schedule meetings in any language.
- Great customer support, including live chat and email assistance.
- No ads.
- User-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and understand.
- Some users have complained that Doodle can be cumbersome to use and slow to load, especially when you’re adding complex events or meetings.
- Some users have noted that while they like the cost of Doodle, they wish it had more features in its free plan.
- It has no appointment reminders.
- Doodle does not offer many customization options, which can be a drawback for businesses that want a high level of control over their scheduling.
Who it’s best for:
Doodle works best for teams who divide and allocate tasks between appointment setters and schedulers.
Doodle offers both free and paid plans. The free version of Doodle is their starter plan and gives one booking page and unlimited group polls.
Their Professional plan is $6.96/month and includes unlimited 1:1s, booking pages and polls, custom branding, and Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Zoom web conferencing.
An Enterprise plan is also available to businesses that want enhanced customization, control, and support options.
With Picktime software, you can easily create a custom booking page that allows your clients to book appointments with you quickly and easily.
With its advanced scheduling tools and seamless and intuitive interface, you can manage all of your appointments in one convenient place.
Also, Picktime is a great choice for anyone involved with equipment rentals, room management, class bookings, and event or course management.
- Reliable, fast performance that makes the scheduling process seamless and easy.
- Customizable booking page design options to match your brand and style.
- Intuitive interface that even first-time users can understand quickly and easily.
- Automatically reminds clients and team members of bookings that are coming up.
- Recurring bookings let you automatically schedule appointments on a repeating basis.
- Picktime integrates with many of your favorite apps like Google Meet, Mailchimp, Square, Zoom, and Shopify.
- While Picktime is a solid choice for scheduling appointments, it lacks some advanced features and customization options that may be important to business owners who want a more robust software solution.
- There is only a way to notify all members booked when there is a change in time and venue, etc., if the entire schedule is canceled.
- One G2 reviewer said that Picktime’s payment methods weren’t compatible with their country.
Who it’s best for:
With its room management, class booking, and event or course management features, it’s easy to see why teachers preparing online courses are some of the top users of Picktime.
Picktime has a free plan with many great features to try out, including unlimited appointments, an online booking page, 8+ integrations, and client management tools.
Their paid plans start at $9.99/month for the Starter plan and go up to $19.99/month for their Proplan.
Acuity Scheduling is a Squarespace company. And with their scheduling software, you can wave bye to phone tag and easily create a custom booking page that allows your clients to book their own appointments quickly and conveniently.
Acuity offers more than just appointments, and you do things like sell gift certificates, packages, memberships, and group classes.
With its powerful scheduling tools and intuitive interface that lets you run your business end-to-end, Acuity makes it easy to manage all of your appointments in one place.
- Integrates with powerful 3rd-party apps.
- Offers a wide range of custom options and integrations to help you customize your scheduling experience.
- Automated appointment reminders quickly inform both you and your clients about upcoming appointments.
- Everything is mobile-ready so that you can access all of your data on the go.
- Acuity Scheduling may not be ideal for large businesses or those with a high volume of appointments since it’s not the most flexible software out there. For instance, there’s no easy way to delete entire sections of appointments.
- While Acuity offers several advanced features and customization options, it can be difficult to use for those who are less tech-savvy, with one reviewer saying, “Some of the functions are hidden in weird spots.”
Who it’s best for:
Business owners in all types of industries can benefit from using Acuity Scheduling for all of their appointment management needs.
Medical offices can particularly benefit from privacy features like signing for BAA for HIPAA compliance and features that optimize availability for max appointments and fewer gaps.
Acuity’s paid plans start at $14 per month. The next tier up, the Growing plan, costs $23 per month. Both plans offer advanced scheduling tools, appointment reminders, and more.
For additional features like Sign BAA for HIPAA compliance and Custom API & CSS for Developers, you can opt for the Powerhouse premium plan starting at $45 per month.
The Bookafy app sets itself apart in design, flexibility, and the human component. Through beautiful design, Bookafy embeds into websites through popups, iframe, and as a free booking page.
The flexibility in Bookafy lies within how it integrates with other products like Google, iCloud, and CRMs, including Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot, and video conferencing with Zoom, GoToMeeting, and 24Sessions.
Finally, the human component comprises Bookafy’s customer success team, who are dedicated to helping you get the most out of the app and support every use case.
- Great customer support and customer success team.
- Appointment reminders that help you stay on top of your calendar.
- Customizable options, including design, branding, appointment reminders, and more.
- Mobile-friendly scheduling software that is easy to use on any device.
- Free and affordable plans are available.
- Lack of calendar customization
- Tracking Data
- Configuration is confusing
- No support for staff in multiple time zones.
Who it’s best for:
The most common users of Bookafy are from the marketing and advertising industry and small businesses with 1-50 employees.
Bookafy offers free and low-cost plans. In fact, their most expensive listed paid plan is only $13/month/user. Their free version provides all basic functionality, along with the booking page with enhanced booking logic, button and Iframe code, and unlimited appointments.
The Pro plan for $9/month/user comes with 2-way calendar sync, SMS text reminders, skill-based routing, and group events.
The Pro+ has advanced booking features with:
- CRM integration
- Multiple reminders
- Built-in Zapier integration and open API for an additional $4/month/user.
Lastly, the top-shelf Enterprise plan, where you contact Bookafy for pricing, offers Enterprise SSO, white label branding, and customizable features to meet the budget.
Vcita is a cloud-based small business management app that lets you easily manage your time, money, and clients on one platform.
In addition to its scheduling functions, Vcita software helps you bill and collect payments and perform email & SMS marketing.
It supports multiple platforms, and its public APIs embed your integrations into their UI to support entire, wholly-connected workflows, including:
- Payment gateways
- Digital marketing app
- Financial services
- Users said that Vcita offers great ease of use, great value for the money, and great functionality.
- Routing appointments, reports, and more to the right staff member at the right time is a breeze with Vcita’s intuitive contact management platform.
- The calendar/reminder system is highly customizable thanks to its built-in APIs, and the multi-platform support makes it easy to use on any device.
- Some reviewers say that the additional features can be a bit glitchy and that most portal features need to be fixed.
- The invoicing and billing system is less powerful than some other programs available.
- The ability to customize the software needs improvement.
Who it’s best for:
Although Vcita is excellent for businesses of all sizes, it is designed especially for service-based micro-businesses and startups.
Vcita doesn’t have a free trial, and their plans range from $29-$99 per month.
The first one, the Essentials plan, gives you features like:
- Client management capabilities.
- Secure client portal.
- Customized billing & invoicing workflows.
- Online scheduling.
- Business calendar and Zoom integration.
The Business plan, starting at $59, includes:
- Online lead-capturing widget
- Automated campaigns
- Email campaign recipients
- Two-way texting with clients
Sign in App (formerly 10 to 8)
Whether for client appointments or internal meetings, the Sign In App scheduling software and online booking system help you manage your time by automating the process and allowing you to see all of your appointments at once and in one place.
Packed with over 100 features, such as appointment scheduling, client database, recurring appointments, file sharing, and group scheduling, the 10 to 8 scheduling software is built to make your life easier and give you more time in the day.
- 1500+ integrations, including CRM apps and native video chats.
- Great reporting features that give you insights into how your time is being spent and help with forecasting.
- 2-way calendar sync with Google, Exchange, Outlook, and Office 365 eliminates double bookings.
- An easy-to-use interface that lets you navigate quickly between different appointments and calendars.
- Integrates with emailing platforms so you can include those leads in an email workflow.
- Some users find it awkward to work with at first.
- One user said that the number of appointments you get wasn’t enough without upgrading.
- Features are limited compared to other scheduling apps in the market.
Who it’s best for:
From banking and healthcare to alpaca farming, 10 to 8 is suited for businesses of any size, regardless of industry or sector or industry.
10 to 8 has a free plan that includes SMS and an unlimited number of clients.
Their most popular plan is $20/month for:
- 300 appts/month.
- 3 staff logins.
- Customizable branding & SMS and online support.
The premium plan is $40 per month for bigger businesses, and it has double the number of appointments per month and staff logins than the $20 per month plan has.
They also have a bespoke solution that provides a custom price depending on your needs.
Getting meetings on the calendar is one of the most important functions of any small business, especially one that depends on solid client relations and partnerships.
One of the best things about doing business today is the absolute wealth of choices when it comes to scheduling apps.
Many of these tools have a free trial or completely free plan, so give them a shot and see which one you like best.
If we had to pick one, we’d probably choose Calendly because of its wide adoption, great support, and unlimited appointments on the free plan.
For further reading on how to grow and maintain a successful eCommerce business, check out some of our other posts on the best tools, tips, and strategies for small businesses: