Using an appointment scheduling app can save you money and time — a lot of it, if your business requires you to meet with multiple customers each day. These apps are designed to streamline how customers interact with your business and book with you. Before we get into our favorite scheduling programs, let's describe what these apps can do.
What Is an Appointment Scheduling App?
An appointment scheduling app offers a modern way to interact with customers who are looking to book a time with you or your business. With these apps, you never again have to hear the age-old question, "What time works for you?" With appointment scheduling apps, customers can see in real time what time slots are available and book them accordingly.
These apps are powerful tools for your business to schedule appointments with customers. Individuals can access your calendar through any number of supported websites, such as your company's website and social media pages, and book their appointments for times you've set up as available.
What to Look for in an Appointment Scheduling App
When you're shopping for an appointment scheduling app that works for your business, look for these elements to make sure you're getting the best program for your scenario:
- Payment collection. You'll want your customers to be able to pay when they make the appointment. This feature will streamline the payment process and give the app more of a one-stop-shop feel.
- Calendar-compatible. Be sure the app is compatible with your most-used online calendars. This lets you access your appointments in multiple places. Most importantly, it'll put all your information right where you want it, so you can visualize your workweek.
- Customizability. Your appointment scheduling app should allow you to customize your customers' experience when they book with you. Depending on your business, you'll want your customers to be able to choose not only times but also services, locations, items, and more.
- Other features. Anything else you might be looking for as you interact with customers and team members.
Each scheduling app has its own focus and specialty. Some scheduling apps are designed specifically for salons, while others provide one-size-fits-all solutions. Some are for customers, and some are for you and your team members. Here are seven scheduling apps we think are worthy of your time.
1. Acuity Scheduling
With the Acuity Scheduling app, you can book clients and take payments with ease. Customers can view your availability directly through the app without even talking to you or one of your employees. Acuity prides itself on being simple and easy to use.
- Pros and cons: This app is available for Android, iOS, and desktops. It supports many of the most popular online calendars, such as Google Calendar, Office 365, and iCloud. You can control your availability through the app at any time, get updates when someone signs up for a slot, and make it easy for customers to cancel and reschedule. A downside is there's a bit of a learning curve if you're unfamiliar with apps like this.
- Price: You can use Acuity's free plan for the bare-bones program or take advantage of one of the premium plans starting at $15 per month.
For companies interested in design and establishing branding with their customers, Bookafy offers thoughtful booking pages and experiences. The Bookafy platform is pleasing to look at and focuses on presenting your company to your customers the way you want.
- Pros and cons: Bookafy's design focus lets you customize what your customers see when they book with you. Everything else is up to par with other appointment scheduling apps for business, though you'll have to move past the free plan to get calendar syncing and other features.
- Price: A free version lets your customers book with you, but most of the features that make Bookafy the design-heavy app it prides itself on come with the premium plans. You can pay $7 per user per month to get calendar sync and many other features, or pay $11 a month to fine-tune your scheduling page's design.
This service is a useful app if you're trying to offer a client portal or trying to schedule appointments with your own team members. BookedIN charges by the calendar, which makes this app versatile enough to handle what you need. Have one calendar for internal business meetings, one for booking client appointments, and so on.
- Pros and cons: BookedIN has competitive rates on unlimited users, which makes it one of the best options for small- to medium-size businesses. For customers using mobile devices, BookedIN is easy to use, whether they're simply booking an appointment or entering in their credit card information. However, it isn't as customizable as some other apps.
- Price: You can try BookedIN for free for as long as you'd like, but you'll only be able to book five appointments per month. It's a great way to see if you like the company's setup. After that, prices range from $24 a month for one calendar to $69 a month for unlimited calendars.
GigaBook is another popular scheduling app you might want to check out. For the money you spend on GigaBook, you'll get access to many features that make it a valuable tool in your business. It's a bit more in-depth than other popular scheduling apps for business, but once you learn your way around, you'll enjoy everything it can offer.
- Pros and cons: GigaBook works with a wide array of website builders, including Squarespace and WordPress. Like many other scheduling services, you can take payments online, get notifications when someone books with you, and much more. But if you prefer talking to customer service over the phone, you may need to look elsewhere, as this app offers support through email.
- Price: After the 14-day free trial, GigaBook charges rates according to how many staff members you have. A solo account is $12 a month with an annual payment, and each additional staff member costs $7 more.
For a scheduling app that focuses primarily on your time and your teams, take Homebase for a spin. It makes scheduling with your team easy, whether you're trying to cover shifts at your restaurant or planning one-on-one meetings with your team members.
- Pros and cons: Homebase prides itself on letting you communicate with your team about schedules, but you can also use this app to hire people and integrate payroll services. It works with point-of-sale systems, as well. The service's downfall is that it isn't set up to allow customers to schedule appointments with your company.
- Price: Try the free service to see if you like the way the program works. You'll get quite a bit at this introductory level. If you want more, prices range from $16 to $80 a month per location.
If you're looking for a great deal on an appointment scheduling app, try Setmore. This is a smart choice for small businesses looking to save money and take advantage of scheduling services.
- Pros and cons: Setmore gives your team access to a group calendar so you can see everyone's schedules. It's compatible with the Square and Stripe payment systems and works on desktop, iOS, and Android. It works through Facebook, Instagram, and Slack, as well, so you can connect it to your social media pages for easy access for your customers. One of the biggest perks of this app is its low price. Be aware, with that low price you can sometimes get glitches in the software.
- Price: The introductory package is free. The premium plan is $25 per month and lets 20 people have access to it.
vCita is one of the most thorough appointment scheduling apps on this list. It lets you do what you expect it to: allow clients to book available time slots, make online payments, fill out forms, and more. What makes vCita different from other apps is that its scheduling feature is just part of what it offers. You'll also be able to develop marketing campaigns, track your invoices and receipts, collect credit card payments, make coupons, and more.
- Pros and cons: Though this is one of the more expensive options on this list, it is also one of the most all-encompassing. You can do a lot with vCita, including consolidating some of your other management tasks into the app in addition to your client scheduling.
- Price: After a 14-day free trial, you'll have the option to subscribe to the $19 a month plan when you pay annually, the $45 a month annual plan, or the $75 a month annual plan.
Before You Buy
Many of these services offer a free trial period to allow you to test-drive them before you buy. We suggest taking advantage of these offers to see if the scheduling app has everything you want. Don't start a payment plan for something that won't have all the features you need down the line. Think about everything you want to use the app for, and make the smartest choice for your budget and business.
These apps can save you significant time you would have otherwise spent gathering and entering information into your calendars. Automate the process, and let your customers choose the best times for their schedules and yours.