16 Best Scheduling Software Services for Small Businesses 2020

By Daniel Lewis
Advertiser disclosure

It can seem like there are almost too many online solutions coming out with an aim to improve your business efficiency. Payroll. Accounting. Legal Services. HR. Networking. And now appointment scheduling.

But the fact remains that the most efficient businesses are the ones that make the best use of these new innovations. Scheduling software is not just the next “new” thing on the market. It can really serve to improve customer experience and assist in back end operations.

Below, we will explain why, and will further compare the best scheduling software services on the market right.  

What Are the Benefits of Scheduling Software?

Scheduling software might seem like something of a fancy term and a little bit of an “extravagance”. Until you realize what it can do for your bottom line and your organizational efficiency.

These days, small business owners with an online booking model need a neat scheduling software that ties in nearly with other systems and sends out optimized reminders to clients about upcoming appointments.

Scheduling software is usually industry-agnostic. Whether you are a therapist, yoga instructor, hairstylist, or dog trainer, legal professional, or dog trainer, scheduling software can be incredibly useful. The ultimate benefit is that it will increase your sales and profitability. And the way that the software achieves this will include:

  1. Increased customer retention
  2. Increased customer relationship
  3. Increased organization and efficiency
  4. Improved marketing and data collection
  5. Potential staff reduction
  6. Customer 24-hour self-scheduling
  7. No-show penalties for customer cancellations
  8. Avoid overbookings
  9. Improved customer experience overall
  10. Ability to let employees know when they are working
  11. Ability to review employee holidays to identify roadblocks

Short on Time? Quick Online Scheduling Software Comparison

#1 – SimplyBook: The most all-around appointment-setting solution for service-based industries. Super intuitive and a pleasure to use with a high level of functionality, but a little pricey. Read more.

#2 – SetMore: Known for an extremely high standard of customer service. Offers an excellent live agent service for specialized businesses. Read more.

#3 – ZohoBookings: Wonderful integration with the well-known Zoho suite. Great for those in the asset rental space. Read more.

#4 – AcuityScheduling: A simple, professional, and powerful online scheduler that works without any gñlitches or errors for a diverse range of business models.

#5 – HubspotMeetings: A sales-optimized meeting scheduler aimed at sales-driven business models. Integrates with the HubSpot suite, but not a standalone product.

#6 – FindMyShift: The best price employee scheduling system on the market that allows unlimited employee additions.

Vendor Type of Service Price Best for… Summary
SimplyBook Appointment Scheduling. $29.99 Service-Based Businesses Excellent software that is easy to use with a high level of functionality.
SetMore Appointment Scheduling, Live Agent $25 a month ($89 for Live Agent) Businesses requiring a live agent. Great customer service and excellent live agent service.
Zoho Bookings Appointment Scheduling $15 Businesses involved in asset rental. Decent level of functionality. New product that needs more time to flourish in full.
Acuity Scheduling Appointment scheduling $23 All business models. A simple and powerful platform that works flawlessly.
Hubspot Meetings Sales Focused video conferencing $30 with a basic CRM package. B2B businesses, sales drive businesses. Not an online scheduler in the strict sense, but excellent for online appointments.
Find My Shift Employee scheduling (and basic payroll processing) $35 All kinds of business requiring employee scheduling. Excellent employee scheduling for businesses with a hierarchical management system.

Top 6 Online Scheduling Software Services

#1 – SimplyBook

SimplyBookSimplyBook (“SimplyBook.me”) is ideal for service-based industries of all kinds (it does not specialize in one particular industry). It is more than just a booking system. If you sign up with SimplyBook.me you will get your own website along with widgets to integrate with Facebook, Google, and Instagram. Whether you are a small, medium, large, or corporate service-based organization, SimplyBooks.me works flawlessly.

It comes with an amazing number of marketing features (more than any other system) and you can also accept payments through its Point of Sale technology. If you are a specialist that is thinking about going freelance, then SimpleBooks can save you a lot of hassle, right off the bat. It is a one-stop-shop with its sophisticated email marketing, point of sale, social media integrations, employee scheduling, appointment setting, and ticket resolution. 

Simply Books offers both IOS and Android applications, We tested both and were extremely satisfied. Having intuitive and fully functional mobile applications is essential for service-based businesses. Modern consumers are on the go all the time and need the ability to book and cancel appointments from mobile devices. This trend is going to increase as the world goes increasingly mobile. It is important for all businesses to keep up with such trends.

SimplyBooks has a large number of payment integrations, including some niche integrations such as Skill, Dwolla and Bitcoin. Other payment integrations include PayPal, Mollie, CCAvenue, Zooz, and PayFort.

The Free SimplyBooks package allows 50 bookings, which is not much but should do as a test. You can also try out a 14-day free trial. The Basic package ($9.99) allows 100 bookings, the Standard package ($29.99) 500 bookings, and the Premium package ($59.99) 2000 bookings.

For a small business with few bookings, the Basic package makes a lot of sense. You can get up to 100 bookings for the month, and use the Point of Sale services. Support is excellent and the application is available in numerous languages. You get more customizations depending on the package you choose, but it is a very innovative and creative solution. You will certainly have fun with it.

SimplyBooks has amazing reviews on Trustpilot, Capterra, and GetApp. On GetApp, it has a rating of 4.56 stars out of 5 stars. On Trustpilot, it has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customers are very happy with the customer service and with the intuitive nature of the website. It has a super functional dashboard for administrators and is easy to use after the configuration.

Are there any real disadvantages to this awesome service? Not much, but there are some (as always). First off, it is by no means the cheapest solution on the market.

Many business owners in the service industry will have a need for more than the basic package that only allows 50 bookings. So they will have to pay $29.99 a month for an appointment scheduling software that allows 500 bookings. An intermediary package that allowed 250 bookings for about $15 a month would be ideal. Despite the flawless software, it is a lot to pay for appointment scheduling without payroll or employment scheduling functionality.   

Aside from this, it could have more integration, with solutions such as Jimdo Dolphin Shop, FastBill, Datev, Lexoffice. It would be nice to have invoice customization features, but this is typically the domain of payroll processing service, so it cannot be described as a disadvantage.

Features

  • Online Bookings.
  • Email/SMS Notifications.
  • Facebook & Instagram Books.
  • Coupons & Gift Cards.
  • Online Payments
  • Google and Outlook Calendar Synchronisation.
  • Google Forms.
  • Membership Reward System.
  • Directory Listing.

Price: $9.99 Basic, $29.99 Standard, $59.99 Premium

Why We Recommend
An absolute pleasure to use for any business owner. Makes appointment-setting a breeze. 
Best for…
All kinds of service-based industries. Particularly suited for professional services (therapy, medicine, business consultancy) that need a high-quality appointment setting interface.
Pros
  • Creative and innovative platform.
  • New features continually added.
  • Easy to use.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Functional mobile applications.
  • Conferencing functionality.
Cons
  • Little bit expensive.
  • Could do with more integrations.

#2 – SetMore

SetMoreSetMore is a strong rival to SimplyBook but is differentiated on the fact that it has employment scheduling software capabilities added in. But aside from this, both companies offer similar features. With SetMore, you can expect:

  • Appointment Booking.
  • Text & Email Notifications.
  • Social Media Integration.
  • Customer Reviews
  • Android And Ios Mobile Applications.
  • Online Payments
  • Google Sync
  • Website Plugins
  • Recurring Appointments.
  • Square Integration.

The Square payment integration is very useful. Square is the owner of Weebly (a popular website creation tool) and is a popular eCommerce solution. Setmore can integrate with other major business applications, like Salesforce, Mailchimp, QuickBooks and Zendesk. It also has an iOS and Android app that your employees and customers can use to set appointments, sync data and receive push notifications for upcoming appointments.

Set More offers 3 packages. The basic package is free, with all of the features listed above, and also allows up to 4 staff logins, which is quite neat. The premium package costs $25 and you can increase staff to 20. One-click video meetings are also easy to schedule with the Teleport Integration. Setmore integrates with the most important applications including Zoom, Facebook, Weebly, Instagram, WordPress, Google Calendar, Square, Office 365, and Teleport for video conferencing.

The Live Options sets SetMore apart from most of its competitors that typically would not offer this kind of service. This is only available in Canada and the USA. it allows you to deliver services while the booking is handled by an agent. This can really serve to enhance customer satisfaction. We did not get to try this service out directly but customer reports are satisfied with the equality of care associated with the skilled receptionists. The service is available all year round, 24/7.

The Live option is available in addition to the Premium package and contains all the same features with the bonus of a live agent. As great as this feature would be, most businesses will not really have the need for it. The purpose of an online booking system is to streamline things. However, it is possible that you might need a live agent now and again to handle specific queries, and can get this package on an as-needed basis while keeping the Premium package as a default.

On average, the booking process takes about 3 minutes. Which means you get about 30 appointments in 90 minutes. You do not get charged for calls that are less than 30 seconds and basically have your own in-house receptionist, which is kind of cool. The price for this service is $89 a month. The base package gives you 90 minutes of calls with a small cost of $1.25 per additional minutes. The service is not the cheapest, but you are getting the Premium service and for a professional business alive receptionist can be a necessity.

While great as an online scheduling system, Setmore does not quite excel so much in terms of the employee scheduling side of things. If you require an all in one scheduling solution, then this may not be the one for you. The company has a Triple-A rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 4.7-star rating with Capterra.

It is on par with SimplyBook when it comes to inline scheduling, though the SimplyBook user interface is certainly a little more intuitive and sophisticated (by a small margin). If unsure, try out the free version that allows 4 staff logins.

Like all software, it may take a while to configure it and to get used to it. But once you do, then it is quite easy to manage. We also found the customer service staff very friendly and knowledgeable about the service. Nothing is quite so frustrating as a new customer service staff who cannot answer basic questions – this did not seem to be the case with SetMore.

Features

  • Appointment Booking.
  • Live Agent Service.
  • Video Conferencing Through Teleport and Zoom.
  • Text & Email Notifications.
  • Integration with Major Social Media Platforms
  • Customer Reviews.
  • Android And IOS Mobile Applications.
  • Online Payments
  • Website Plugins
  • Square Integration.

Price: Free for the basic version, $25 a month for Premium, $89 a month for Live Agent service.

Why We Recommend
One of the few companies that offer both a functional online scheduling system and an excellent live booking service, for a reasonable price.
Best for…
Professional companies that need an automated online scheduling service as well as a live booking reception to handle complex queries. 
Pros
  • Live agent service.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Integrates with all major platforms.
  • Fantastic video conferencing capabilities.
  • Works well with Zoom video.
  • Easy to use.
  • Good booking functionality.
Cons
  • Little bit more expensive than competitors.
  • Lacking in the employee scheduling department.

#3 – Zoho Bookings

Zoho BookingsThe thing that has to be understood about Zoho Bookings is that they have a product for everything. So while Zoho Bookings is only an appointment scheduling service, you can easily integrate all of the other Zoho products into it. The most well-know Zoho products include:

  1. Zoho People
  2. Zoho Books
  3. Zoho Inventory
  4. Zoho CRM
  5. Zoho Sites
  6. Zoho Projects
  7. Zoho Desk
  8. Zoho Social
  9. Zoho SalesIQ
  10. Zoho Expense
  11. Zoho Recruit
  12. Zoho One

This is the beauty of Zoho. You can just buy one product as you need it and integrate it within the extensive Zoho suite. Practically all of the Zoho suite of Zoho products are rated above 90% on the disparate review sites such as GetApp and Capterra.

However, it can get really complicated in terms of subscription packages, as the premium version of one item will often contain the basic version of another. Zoho Booking is itself a subsidiary of Zoho One. If you have Zoho One, you automatically get Zoho Bookings included in the package. This is typical of many Zoho offerings.

While Zoho Bookings does not offer sophisticated employee scheduling functionality, Zoho People takes care of all HR-related tasks so employees can upload work hours remotely. It is a complete HR solution if you want an easy integration.

The real value of Zoho People rests on a centralized hub that covers all of your HR management operations, which makes resources easily accessible on the go. With it, your employees will now be in a position to report times from mobile devices, check their schedules, ask for time-offs, or communicate with the manager and their peers at any time. Eventually, this operating module leads to better performance and improved productivity, due to the fact you’ve finally laid for your team the ideal collaborative environment to solve problems and share ideas with each other.

But back to Zoho Bookings! In terms of what it does, it is excellent but limited. Zoho likes to keep its suite of products very compartmentalized. Because if Zoho Bookings was to offer video functionality, then it would infringe on Zoho Meetings. And if it was to offer employee scheduling, it would infringe on Zoho People. So with Zoho Bookings, all that you can do is…let your customers book.

It does offer some employee scheduling functionality so that employees can set their future workdays as well as their break times. But it is not the most extensive. The page customization options are also a little limited in comparison to the competition. The Zoho free package includes :

  • One-on-one service booking
  • Two-way calendar sync – Zoho, Google, O365, Outlook.com
  • Mobile apps for admin and staff
  • Customizable, mobile-responsive booking page
  • Automatic confirmation, reminder, and cancellation emails
  • Outlook, GoToMeeting and Mailchimp integrations using Zoho Flow

The basic package includes all of these but with the addition of Zoho CRM Sync, Customizable Email Notifications Template, Reports On Appointments And Staff, Custom Fields To Appointment Booking Form, Booking Page Embedment On-Site.

The premium model further includes Online Payment, Recurring Group Events (Classes, Workshops, Webinars Etc), Book Resources (Rooms, Equipment Etc), Reports On Revenue, Portal Sign-up For Customers, Booking Page, Customizable Text Notifications Template, and the ability to remove advertising text.

The free plan with Zoho Bookings is extremely limited in comparison to its competitors, offering just one staff user. This is not enough to test out the software, but a free trial is also available. Zoho Basic costs $15 a month with 4 staff users and Zoho Premium costs $40 a month with 10 staff users.

Zoho Bookings has integrations with most of the major payment processors include Stripe, PayPal, RazorPay, and Authorize.Net. To be honest, Zoho Bookings is not quite at the level of SetMore or SimplyBooks at the moment. It is a relatively new offering and they are still adding new features and ironing out the kinks.

Still, it is a booking tool that works well and we do not have any major complaints with the software. If you already use Zoho products, it’s a no-brainer. Other than that, we do feel that there are superior options on the market right now. The ability to analyze revenue is perhaps one of the few functional features that Zoho Bookings has over competitors.

Features

  • One-on-one service booking
  • Two-way calendar sync – Zoho, Google, O365, Outlook.com
  • Mobile apps for admin and staff
  • Customizable, mobile-responsive booking page
  • Automatic confirmation, reminder, and cancellation emails
  • Customizable email notifications template
  • Reports on appointments and staff
  • Add custom fields to appointment booking form
  • Embed the booking page on your website
  • Brand color palette for the booking page
  • Online payment
  • Recurring group events (classes, workshops, webinars etc)
  • Book resources (rooms, equipment etc) – 10 resources included
  • Reports on revenue
  • Portal sign-up for customers
  • Booking page hosted in your domain
  • Customizable text notifications template

Price: Free, $15 for Basic, $40 for Premium

Why We Recommend
Strong brand with an amazing suite of associated products. We think Zoho Bookings is going to get better and better.
Best for…
Specialises in asset rental, a space that is quite a niche. Hotel owners or those who rent cars might find it ideal.
Pros
  • Easy to use.
  • Integrates with all major providers.
  • Integrated with other Zoho products flawlessly.
  • Decent level of functionality.
  • Report generation features.
Cons
  • Not very customizable.
  • Not as cheap as competitors.
  • Limited staff on all models in comparison to competitors.

#4 – Acuity Scheduling

Acuity Scheduling“Simplicity, Meet power” is one of the slogans on the Acuity Scheduling pages. And it is very true. We were blown away with how simple and straightforward everything was with Acuity Scheduling, from the pricing to the setup and execution. 

Acuity Scheduling offers 4 pricing models – Freebie, Emerging ($14 a month), Growing ($23 a month), and Powerhouse ($45 a month). A free 7-day trial is available on all plans. All paid plans offer the following full list of amazing features, more extensive than perhaps any other online scheduling service:

  • Embed scheduler into your website
  • Accept payments and deposits through Stripe, Square, or PayPal
  • Vault credit cards for charging clients later
  • Optionally let clients tip you
  • Offer coupons and vouchers for discounts
  • Offer classes, workshops, or group events
  • Easy upsell clients with check-out add-ons
  • Advanced reporting about appointments, no shows, & performance
  • Optimize your availability for maximum appointments and fewer gaps
  • Sync with Google Calendar, iCloud, Outlook.com, Exchange, and Office 365
  • Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting integrations for online meetings
  • QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero integrations for invoicing and accounting
  • Squarespace Email Campaigns, MailChimp and others for sending email blasts
  • Pipedrive integration for sales/CRM
  • Integrate with 500+ other apps through Zapier

It offers more integrations than nearly all other scheduling providers. The capability to integrate QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero is especially niche (and useful).

However, many software schedulers can sometimes deploy certain techniques that make every have to bump up to the more expensive packages anyway. They hold off on key features that make the upgrade essential, which is actually a very effective way of doing things. In the case of Acquity, its text notifications and appointment packages are only available for the “Growing “Level. The number of staff is limited to one person until Growing, where it increases to 6. Realistically, most businesses are going to need to use this package.

But $25 is industry standard for a full-service appointment scheduling software, and Acuity software comes in a little cheaply at $23. And it is truly a pleasure to use this simple software. It might not have quite the same level of sophistication of SetMore or SimplyBook, but it is not far off. And it is the most simple of all appointment scheduling software systems to use and customize. The easier it is to schedule appointments, the easier it will be for you to retain customers. And Acuity Scheduling is one of the most simple and straightforward out there.

As if that was not enough, the customer reviews are simply outstanding. It has a 4.8-star rating on Capterra out of a whopping 3,769 reviews at the time of this writing. One of the things we loved about Acuity Scheduling is that you can set different hours for different calendar groups. This enables high levels of customization and is not offered with many other software as a service provider.

The only potential downside is that it does not offer any payroll, employee management, or point of sale services. The calendar views do not sync properly across platforms and the IOS application is a little buggy.

Features

  • Calendar sync.
  • Accept online payments.
  • Video conferencing.
  • Tonnes of integrations (including Square).
  • Color customization.
  • Gift and membership options.

Price: Free, $14 for basic, $23 for professional, $45 for Enterprise.

Why We Recommend
Simple, professional, customizable, and very functional. There is so little to complain about with the product.
Best for…
All kinds of business owners. A fantastic all-around tool with few flaws.
Pros
  • Simple and powerful.
  • Customize colors to match branding.
  • Easy to use.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Set different hours for different appointment types.
  • Transparent pricing.
  • Lots of integrations.
Cons
  • Calendar views are inconsistent across platforms.
  • Not suitable in a fast-paced environment.
  • Weak email marketing.

#5 – Hubspot Meetings

Hubspot MeetingsHubspot Meetings is a little different from other entries on the list. It is still technically a scheduling service, but it seems to be more orientated as a meeting tool between businesses. So it is really more of a B2B model.

Hubspot is best known as an inbound marketing company, and they are a huge player in all things related to online marketing, with an enormous number of tools and resources. HubSpot Meetings is their latest expansion.

HubSpot  Meetings was designed specifically with small to medium-sized businesses in mind. Needless to say, it works with other HubSpot tools such as HubSpot Sales and Hubspot CRM. But aside from this, it has a gigantic number of integrations available, though not so much as Acuity Scheduling. The software is also designed specifically to increase sales, which is something most business owners will love to hear. So it is not 100% aimed at small businesses, but really more towards medium-sized businesses in eCommerce as opposed to service-based businesses.

This is an important distinction. Most appointment setting software is orientated towards a positive booking experience for customers to efficiently attend a particular service. But HubSpot Meetings is geared for business owners to meet with other business owners in order to increase sales. So it is not strictly an Apples to Apples comparison.

What we can attest to is the fact that HubSpot Meetings is the best calendar service we have ever tried, its only real rival being Calendly. If your business is involved in sales of an online product, then HubSpot Meetings is perfect. 

HubSpot Meetings is part of HubSpot’s CRM and can sync to your sales team’s calendar through either Google or Office 365. Once the HubSpot meetings tool is connected to the salesperson’s calendar, setting up and maintaining the meeting scheduling software is relatively simple.

Your sales team can set meeting preferences to decide on schedule availability, length of the meetings, and meeting attendees. The meetings tool can be customized with the following branding elements on the booking page:

  • Company information.
  • Company logo.
  • Company colors used as an accent color.

Once the HubSpot meetings tool is set up, a specific meeting link URL can be shared with prospects to book meetings directly on the sales rep’s calendar. The meeting link can be shared in a variety of methods. It can be shared through sales emails, embedded on your website, and highlighted on sales documents—to help increase the likelihood of booking more sales meetings.

Like many of the large software providers, HubSpot Meetings makes sense for people who already use HubSpot products or for those looking to make online sales in a non-service based business. If you are looking to generate leads and prospects then HubSpot Meetings is an intuitive, simple, attractive, and sales-orientated tool. No time will be wasted between your sales representative and the prospect as the tool is designed for flexibility and ease of communication. If this isn’t enough, Hubspot automatically creates a record of meeting attendees and slots them into a database for retrieval.

HubSpot offers a tonne of free tools including:

  • Contact management
  • Contact website activity
  • Companies
  • Deals
  • Tasks & activities
  • Forms
  • Email marketing
  • Ad management
  • Landing pages
  • Conversations inbox

Unfortunately, HubSpot Meetings does not seem to be available as a standalone product. You need to get Hubspot CRM to obtain HubSpot Meetings. This is kind of annoying, but on the other hand they do offer an amazing array of free services. It is marketed as “free”, but you have to purchase HubSpot CRM to get it, and this costs $30 a month for 2 paid users.

While HubSpot does offer lots of free stuff, keep in mind you will be continually enticed deeper into the ecosystem. This is what all software providers do.

Features

  • Meeting Scheduling
  • Video Conferencing
  • Automatic storage of meeting attendees
  • Marketing/branding of meeting invitations and pages
  • Integration with all major calendars
  • Custom form creation
  • Unlimited meeting links
  • Seamless integration with HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Marketing
  • Embed meeting link on sites easily
  • See when contact books a meeting

Price: Hard to say for certain. Comes with the HubSpot CRM Hub at $30 a month

Why We Recommend
Does exactly what it is designed to do, better than any of its competitors (of which there are few)
Best for…
Business executives that want to boost the efficiency of the sales teams, entrepreneurs looking for a professional meeting service. 
Pros
  • The best meeting functionality on the web.
  • Sales orientated.
  • Seamless integration with other awesome HubSpot tools.
Cons
  • No appointment scheduling or employee scheduling.
  • Not a standalone product.

#6 – FindMyShift

Find My ShiftFirst and foremost, FindMyShift is an employee scheduling software as opposed to an online service booking software. It offers free time and attendance tracking and has been around for over 16 years as an expert in the field.

FindMyShift was a software that we both loved and hated. The thing about FindMyShift is that it does so much extremely well, and then it fails to address a small number of very problematic errors. These points are all quite minor, but kind of consistent.

For instance, having to scroll left and right all the time when adding a new staff member can be a little bit tedious. For the mobile application, you can only look at shifts and not edit anything, which can be a real frustration.

Clock in times cannot be corrected when a person fails to clock in, which is a big concern as it requires some other method of rebalancing. But this is actually deliberate, as the clock in times is supposed to be read-only (the payroll reporting software will reflect the accurate times and will allow for changes.  )

Yet aside from these minor points, FindmyShift is a real gem. The staff and customer service are extremely helpful and really know what they are doing. Reviews from social proofing sites like CapTerra and GetApp are outstanding. Capterra rates it 4.6 out of 5 stars, similar to GetApp. Most of the reviews cite that the software is very customizable while also being easy to use.

As far as employee scheduling software goes, FindMyShift is very reasonably priced, at $35 for unlimited employees. It is built for scale so you do not get charged extra when you expand your team (in contrast to nearly every other online software service out there). The beauty of FindMyShift is that if you have less than 5 employees, then it is completely free, forever. They are also integrated with our favorite online applications, such as

  • Slack
  • Xero
  • Lightspeed
  • Vend
  • Square
  • Google Assistant
  • Wage Stream
  • Alexa
  • Bamboo HR
  • Cake
  • Monday
  • Google
  • People

Not the biggest list of integration, but we like the items on the list, especially Square, Slack, and Monday. The $35 business package offers the following features:

  • Drag & drop scheduling
  • Timesheets & Time clock
  • Email & SMS notifications
  • Push notifications
  • Shift reminders
  • Unlimited employees
  • Forward planning
  • Historical data 1 week backward
  • Real-time reporting
  • Templates
  • Customisable database
  • Customisable filters
  • Payroll calculation

A free 30-day trial is available. This is one of the most affordable and high-value employee scheduling software tools on the market, with amazing customer service and high functionality. We love the fact that it is priced per team with unlimited scalability, and there are no constant upsells associated with the majority of other software providers. A transparent pricing system is something we always appreciate at FinImpact.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you have multiple managers, you will pay $35 for each team. While it is possible to have a team of thousand employees, in reality, it is far more realistic to have a team of around 30 or so reporting under one manager.

But you could simply devise a hierarchy where one team sends their report to a centralized dedicated reporter on the top level that submits all reports as one. It’s also worth noting that while email notifications are free, text messages are around $0.25 per text. They also offer a volunteer package in addition to their business subscription.

Features

  • Drag & drop scheduling
  • Timesheets
  • Time clock
  • Email notifications
  • SMS notifications
  • Push notifications
  • Shift reminders
  • Unlimited employees
  • Forward planning
  • Historical data 1 week backward
  • Real-time reporting
  • Templates
  • Customisable database
  • Customisable filters
  • Payroll calculation

Price: Free for less than 5 employees, $35 for Businesses.

Why We Recommend
Simple, affordable, excellent employee scheduling software that allows an unlimited number of employees. 
Best for…
Any business looking for employee scheduling software at a good price. Also ideally suited for a small business with less than 5 employees.
Pros
  • Super easy to use.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Very reasonably priced.
  • Unlimited employees
  • Excellent visualization and payroll forecasting features
Cons
  • Some minor but persistent flaws
  • Small number of integrations

10 Other High-quality Scheduling Software Providers

The following are some very strong online scheduling software providers that narrowly missed out on the prime cut. But they might be worth taking a look into, especially if you are looking for an appointment setter with CRM integration for further insights and cross-functionality. The 10 remaining online scheduling providers are:

Appointy: An industry agnostic, intuitive, online scheduling software with stellar reviews on all major sites. A customer favorite that has been featured in large news platforms. This only narrowly avoided our top 6 list. The catch? Just a tad expénsive at $30 a month, while still lacking some features we find essential.

Bitrex 24: A strong CRM and appointment scheduling software (the two often go hand in hand). Unlike other scheduling systems that just set appointments, Bitrix24 handles all aspects of client management. If your current client calls you (and yes, Bitrix24 comes with a call center, among other things), you can observe the client’s name and history of the previous transaction. If you miss a phone call, it will be logged and added as a new lead in the CRM. It is similar to Hubspot, in that it is perfect for sales-focused businesses, but more suited for medium and large businesses.

Calendly: One of the world’s most beloved calendars and appointment setters! Calendly works with Google, Office 365 and Outlook calendars and apps like Salesforce, Stripe, GoToMeeting and Zapier for seamless user experience. At $10 a month and a free version, this could be just what you need but does lack certain features compared to the competition, such as recurring appointments.

Flexbooker: Possibly one of the most straightforward appoint setters on the list, with the exception of Acuity Scheduling. A dream to use that comes with employee scheduling functionality. Ticks every single box…except for pricing, at $49 a month for 1 – 4 employees.  While it offers far more functionality than all its competitors, the price needs to be reduced by $10 or so before it becomes truly viable. Each plan includes 1,000 booked appointments. Each additional 500 bookings within a month is $49.

Invite Once: Possibly the coolest of all the online scheduler services. You customize your invite to each client. Perfect for alternative business models that like to make each customer feel cherished. Part of once hub, this is a new innovation that is free to use in its beta version. Starts at just $10 a month and integrates with the schedule once (which retails at $15 a month).

Up Keep: A little tricky to configure, but one of the most simple providers to use afterwards. The applications are great and the interface is superb. Particularly suited for corporate outfits, especially in the technology field. Most small businesses will not have a need for the level of sophistication on offer.

Time Tap: Expensive but extremely powerful online scheduling software with a massive range of functionality. The business plan starts at $75 a month. But also offers a free account to trial the service with unlimited appointments setting and unlimited clients – just what you need to test it out. The professional plan starts at $25 a month and allows text and customizable reports.

EZ Net Scheduler: Only narrowly avoided the top 6 list. At $23 a month, this is a full features scheduling solution including Appointment Reminders, Automated Scheduling, Calendar Sync, Client Database, Group Scheduling, Mobile Access, Multi-Location, Online Booking, Online Payments, Recurring Appointments, and Room Booking Management. Fully customizable, with Google and ICal integration, 24/7 scheduling, credit card payments, voice reminders, automatic service follow-ups and more.

vCita: Excels in the field of service-based professional services, such as lawyers, doctors, chiropractors, accountants, nutritionists, etc. However, it does not have a free version and price starts at $13 per user. But the beauty of this service is that each subscription is tailored per industry – medical, coaching, chiropractic etc. It is the only top provider we found that does this, with others specializing in only one area or in general services.

Fons: Loved by customers, and loved by us. It has also won numerous awards and is aimed at teachers and instructors, especially music teachers, personal trainers, and wellness professionals. It was originally founded by a former music teacher and is now integrated with Zoom. Perfect for online lessons during COVID-19!

We evaluated each of the Online Legal Services based on a list of criteria, outlined below:

  1. Price – What features were available at what price, in comparison to competitors?
  2. Ease Of Use/Intuitive Capability – How well did the system handle multiple appointments and cancellations?
  3. Basic Functionality – Did each basic service provide email and SMS reminders, appointment setting, customer retention functions, and mobile optimization?
  4. Ratings And Complaints – What are the customers saying on sites such as GetApp, Trustpilot, Better Business Bureau, and CapTerra?
  5. Pricing Transparency – Did the vendor have a uniform price or constantly push customers towards the next tier?
  6. Integrations and Marketing Tools – How many applications did the service integrate with, and how effectively?
  7. Back End – How easy was it for employees and business owners to make changes to the system and get it configured?
  8. Quality Of Customer Service – How quick was the response from customer service, and did the issue get resolved?
  9. Mobile Accessibility – Did the appointment setting and cancellation functionality work smoothly on Android and IOS devices?

These were our 9 overlapping criteria, though we rated the top 3 a little more heavily in our algorithm.

Online Scheduling Software Pricing (Comparison)

Free Trial Basic (Monthly) Professional (Monthly) Enterprise (Monthly)
SimplyBook Yes (14 days) $9.99 $29.99 $59.99
SetMore Yes (30 days) Free $25 $89
Zoho Bookings No Free $15 $40
Acuity Scheduling Yes (7 days) $14 $23 $45
Hubspot Meetings No $30 N/A N/A
FindMyShift Yes (30 days). Free $35 N/A

What Are the Different Types of Scheduling Software?

There are really two major kinds of scheduling software – employee scheduling and appointment scheduling. Employee scheduling is mainly for small to corporate enterprises (from 10  employees to over 500). It is not an essential feature, though it can be very useful depending on what the business is looking for.

Appointment scheduling is for service-based businesses such as hairstylists, barbers, massage therapists, medical professionals, holistic professionals, martial arts and yoga classes, etc. But it is also used in more professional services such as for lawyers, business consultants, accountants, etc.

Keep in mind that both of these services actually overlap. So a scheduling software that allows your customers to book appointments will usually provide the capability for your employees to see when they are working themselves (as well as booking holidays etc). But the issue is that the scheduling software will often not serve as a full-service human resource and employment hub.

Another kind of appointment scheduling would be meetings, which focus on video conferencing functionality. This is primarily for sales focus organizations that need to integrate video details into other systems for analytical purposes. HubSpot Meetings is ideal in this regard.

Core Features to Look for in Scheduling Software

There is a definite number of core features that scheduling software should have in order to fulfill its core functionality. Such features will include:

  • Online Bookings.
  • Email/SMS Notifications.
  • Facebook & Instagram Books.
  • Coupons & Gift Cards.
  • Online Payments
  • Payment integrations with major platforms.
  • Google and Outlook Calendar Synchronisation.
  • Membership Reward System.
  • Customer review system.

You may or may not wish to have payment processing or employee scheduling functionality in appointment scheduling software. It can be a good idea to compare payroll processing functionality against scheduling software for comparison as to what each provides. There is a degree of overlap between all of the disparate applications that are hitting the market right now.

How to Choose the Right Scheduling Software for Your Business

Choosing the correct scheduling software for your business is largely a function of what industry you happen to be in. There are scheduling systems designed specifically for hair salons, dental clinics, psychology, yoga, physical therapy, etc.

For most general businesses, the best scheduling software is listed above. Even so, it would be very foolish not to try out the free trials which are available on practically all versions of the software. We recommend:

  1. Performing research with regard to the best software for your business or industry.
  2. Identify the top 3 that you would like to use.
  3. Take the free trial on the top 3 and go with your favorite.

No matter how much detail we can give with regard to the best software, it is simply impossible to convey in words the intuitive nature of an online scheduler. Because these are visual systems and customers will have unique preferences.

Trial at least 10 bookings with each platform. If there is any kind of error or delay (related to booking and execution), then leave out that software. The most important consideration of all is that customers can effortlessly book through your platform. It is not worth going with a platform that does not make it easy to book through, despite any other strong features.

While this might seem like a chore, it is free and definitely worth it. You will be using high-quality booking software for years to come, and it could serve to really increase customer retention rates. Making use of the free trial will also help if you have specific preferences that you need satisfied.

6 Questions to Ask Before You Select a Scheduling Software

Before you take the plunge with scheduling software, there are 8 questions you need to ask. They include

  1. How many customers book appointments with me per month?
  2. How many employees do I have?
  3. Do I have a need for a live agent?
  4. Is the calendar system intuitive to use?
  5. Is it easy for customers to book through?
  6. Does the scheduling software have strong employee scheduling functionality?

These are the most important questions you will need to ask when selecting an online scheduler. The price, though important, is actually something of secondary consideration in many respects. Across industries (legal services, payroll, accounting), our team has discovered a trend that all the major companies provide similar functionality for a similar price, with certain points of differentiation.

So it is more about finding the right online scheduler for your unique business than finding the ‘best’ of them all. At the end of the day, shaving off $5 or $10 a month is unlikely to be the turning point in your business. Efficiency and peace of mind, on the other hand, definitely can.

Get an online scheduler that does what you need it to do and then move on to other areas of your business that need the attention. You cannot afford an online scheduler that is glitchy or counter-intuitive. Trial out the product and make sure it performs smoothly.

Features to Look Out for

First and foremost, not all software is created equal. But there are a few key things to look for in your appointment scheduler regardless of the type or size of your business. Broadly speaking, the software needs to be great both in terms of its front end software (the booking page) and backend (the scheduler database).

Choosing software with these key features will allow businesses to get the most out of their software. The best appointment schedulers are not just designed to take online appointments. They should be able to do more, such as client management, automation, and marketing. Again, however, it will come down to what you expect and what you are looking for. 

The following are the key characteristics and features businesses should look for in software to ensure that they choose the best piece of software possible.

#1 – Intuitive and Easy Backend

Ease of use is a critical foundation for any software, and not only for end customers. The software must be easy to use for both staffs as well as for clients who are actually booking appointments (more on this later ).

From an employee or staff perspective, an easy appointment scheduler is necessary to ensure that the system actually gets utilized. In short, look for a scheduler that emphasizes ease of use and/or an intuitive system. Your employees and customers need to love it.

#2 – A One-click Booking Page

When it comes to potential clients, easy booking is critical to your conversion ratio. Customers will simply abandon their shopping carts if they run into any difficulties, even minor ones. 

Consider that once the client is on your booking page, he or she is already halfway there. They are at the check-out and are about to pay for your service. As such, the checkout process needs to be fast and simple. When the check-out process is difficult, people put items back on the shelf and leave the store. The same is true of online booking.

The booking page needs to be easy and quick by eliminating as many steps in the booking process as possible. In addition to a booking page that’s streamlined, it also needs to be responsive. The booking pages needs to be

  1. Streamlined (i.e. easy and quick booking)
  2. Clean, professional look
  3. Mobile responsive

#3 – Customizable and Efficient Scheduler

One of the most important parts of your appointment scheduler is the actual calendar itself. Not only is it important that it’s easy to use, but it should also be highly functional. In other words, it should do what you need it to do.

Look for a scheduler that is highly customizable. Consider what your particular scheduling needs are, whatever they may be, and ensure that the scheduler can accommodate your needs. Make sure that the calendar functions work well, and not just that it looks nice.

#4 – Automation

A major benefit of scheduling software is that it automates many time-consuming tasks involved in appointment-based businesses. If businesses want to run as efficiently as possible, they need to automate as many aspects of their business as possible. In short, businesses need to automate wherever possible in order to increase their efficiency and ultimately their bottom line.

#5 – No Show Reduction

Most businesses have an average of between 1 and 2 no-shows every single week. Businesses inevitably lose a lot of money every year due to no-shows. Therefore, it is critical that businesses take a proactive approach to reduce them. When it comes to schedulers, it is necessary that the software is equipped with some sort of feature to reduce no-shows so that you can maximize your returns. 

One way to do this is to impose penalties for no-shows. Perhaps they can forfeit the fee if they try to cancel on the same day, or perhaps 15% for cancellations. But Email and SMS reminders are the best way to remove no-shows, as people simply forget. The day before the appointment, send them a reminder. This way, it will be on their mind. All online schedulers should provide both email and SMS reminder functionality. 

#6 – Mobile Responsive

Given that most purchases and online bookings are done on mobile devices, this is an absolutely essential element. Your booking scheduler might look great on a desktop, but be completely unresponsive on a mobile site. Rendering it practically useless.

It all boils down to convenience. People want the ability to book appointments at a time that’s convenient for them, whether that’s on their lunch break or after hours. Businesses need to accommodate their requests in order to be competitive.

On the internal business side of things, it’s also important that the appointment scheduler is accessible across all mobile devices, from Android to IOS. That is, it needs to function as a mobile scheduler.

#7 – Reporting, Invoicing, and Client Management

Naturally, you are going to want to get the most bang for your buck. That means choosing an appointment scheduler that offers features such as detailed reporting, invoicing and client management.

Detailed reporting allows businesses to measure their bookings and other stats against their performance goals while invoicing allows businesses to track payment methods, inventory, and so much more. But this is a little less relevant to smaller business models.

#8 – Online Marketplace

An online marketplace is a huge asset in a scheduler. An online marketplace essentially connects businesses to thousands of users who are looking for services like yours. In short, an online marketplace means a lot of additional exposure for your business.

Essentially, it’s built-in marketing that doesn’t require any additional time or costs. But, remember, it’s not just any kind of marketing. It’s smart marketing. An online marketplace allows businesses to market their services to thousands of users that are specifically looking for the services that business offers. As such, conversions – that is, the number of people who will go on to book appointments – will be high given that they are specifically looking for those services.

#9 – Built to Scale

A scheduling software needs to be able to accommodate your business as it grows, from time slots to schedules to appointments and staff to locations. This is essential to keeping your business running efficiently over time. Key things to look for include unlimited appointments and clients as opposed to having to increase your subscription model routinely.

#10 – Integration Marketing Business Tools

Last but certainly not least. There are some additional functionalities out there that can really help out. They will likely move you in favor of one software over another if all other elements are equal.

Website and Facebook integration is one such example, given Facebook is the most prominent marketing tool with the possible exception of Amazon. This will place a booking feature on your website and Facebook page so that you can maximize your conversions regardless of where potential clients may be.

It also gives your clients the flexibility to book services however they see fit, making you a premium service provider in the process. This is the kind of scheduling software that will easily set you apart from your competitors.

In addition to website/Facebook integration, an appointment scheduler that also offers other business tools, such as email marketing, Instagram integration, etc that can streamline your business operations even further.

Scheduling Software and Covid-19

With the onslaught of COVID-19, people are actually going online more than ever, despite the fact that service-based businesses were among the hardest hit (people being reluctant to visit in person unless the matter was urgent).

Even if your business was hit hard due to COVID-19, you should take care to use the time as efficiently as you can. Ensure you  have the best

  • Appointment scheduling software.
  • Accounting software.
  • Online legal services.
  • Payroll services.

Now really is an opportune time to automate your business as much as possible and do research in terms of some of the amazing opportunities that are out there. There is always something that can be done, as long as you stay optimistic and proactive about where you and your businesses are headed.

Conclusion

Online scheduling software can truly serve to enhance your business model. It will make you, your employees, and your customers happier. The services are cheap and can be integrated with other online services for enhanced efficiency.

We recommend Simply Book, Set More, and Zoho Bookings as the top contenders in the space. Just make sure you take advantage of the free trial to ensure they work well for you.

FAQ

Do I Really Need To Use Scheduling Software?

Scheduling software is now essential. Customers want a smoother experience across all channels. It allows customers to set appointments, check availability, pay, and cancel more easily. These improvements cannot be ignored. It will also increase your operational efficiency. You will have less need for staff and for customer service, in particular. It is just more straightforward to let people book their own time slots and cancel as they wish. You just have to be upfront with them for the penalties of a late cancellation (otherwise, they will just keep canceling at inconvenient times).

How Can a Scheduling Software Improve My Business During Covid-19?

With COVID-19 running rampant, scheduling software may not be as relevant in one respect. It is often used for physical businesses, such as therapists, yoga, hair salons, computer checkups, and any business requiring the presence of a customer and a specialist. But right now, there are fewer people meeting in person. It can certainly help in terms of online businesses. If you are not running an online business, use your time constructively. Now is the perfect time to read up on all of the software systems that can help you when your business finally goes online – these may include payroll, scheduling, online legal services, and accounting. Now is the time to think about how you will optimize when things start to normalize.

What Are the Different Uses of Scheduling Software?

There are many different uses of scheduling software. The most obvious use is that of setting appointments. The customer can see the available time slots. The business owner also knows how many to expect. This feature, alone, makes scheduling software worth the money, even though there are many more uses. Employee scheduling allows for more efficient use of resources. Because customers are checking in themselves using an automated system, you do not have to pay for employees to manage bookings. Scheduling software also has implications for record-keeping, as it will record who attended classes/appointments, and at what times. Combined with a payroll service, it can be a very formidable combination. In sum, scheduling software allows time management, increases operational efficiency, and is simply better for both business owners and customers alike.

Is Scheduling Software Expensive in Comparison to Other Kinds of Business Software?

This really depends on what kind of scheduling software. Employee software can be quite expensive, at $25 a month for less than 10 employees. While this might not sound like much, it is not a payroll service, just a scheduling service. Scheduling software is often industry-specific. For hair salons, it can be very reasonable. For psychologists and psychotherapists, it can be a little more niche and expensive.

Is Scheduling Software Complicated to Use?

Scheduling software is designed to be easy to use. Otherwise, it would not be worth the money. The customer has to be able to easily fill in their preferences and the classes/appointments they wish to attend. It may require a little configuration, but scheduling software is generally very straightforward. However, some software is definitely more intuitive than others. If a customer experiences difficulties with scheduling software, then they will be quick to take their business elsewhere.

What Is the Difference Between Scheduling Software and Project Management Tools?

Project management tools are geared towards the management and completion of tasks, which might include Kaba boards. It allows a number of people to collaborate on a project (or a number of projects) so it gets completed by a particular deadline. Project management tools are used by corporations and large businesses for more complex projects.

In contrast, scheduling software is designed so that customers can book appointments easily. They are completely separate technologies. Employee scheduling software is also unrelated to project management, as it is for the recording of employee hours instead of the completion of a given task or project.

Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance. After going through many channels for funding, Lewis has found that getting the first loan right is vitally important for future success.