Here is the list of the top small business booking software.
Booking software has been rising in popularity over the last few years with most customers now preferring to book their appointments online. There are a lot of options out there but not all small business booking software is created equal. In this article, I compare the most popular products available and give my opinion on which one would work best for your business…
Every business owner dreams of making a profit with their business. The million-dollar question is how to accomplish this! And one of the best ways to achieve this is through effective bookings. [In this article] I’m going to show you the best booking software for small businesses. This will allow you to make profits out of your business. Do you run a small business? You’re no doubt aware of the importance of using the most efficient methods available to you, and this includes using the best booking software for your needs. Remember, technology can make your small business run like a well-oiled machine – and there’s nothing more frustrating than not having it work properly. It truly doesn’t matter what type of business you own – picking the right system for you is essential. Picking the right software for your business is critical. The best bookings software can make or break your business as an independent service provider. A great way to start is to determine how many businesses you manage per day. The number of appointments you process per day dictates the major requirements of booking software. Booking software is the leading solution for business owners looking to improve their customer interviews, make them easier to process, and be sure they are processed accurately. A good booking software allows you to manage multiple bookings at once; it will capture accurate information; increase your revenue, and provide your team with the information needed to succeed. There are plenty of options for small businesses to book appointments online, but only a few of them are worth it. Bookkeeping can be an interesting challenge for small business owners. There are some ways to make things easier, so you have more time to spend on getting your services out there or on maintaining them. It is very difficult for a small business to manage all the day-to-day tasks they encounter in running their business.
Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Businesses of 2021
- Best Overall: Acuity Scheduling
- Best on a Budget: Picktime
- Best for Teams: Doodle
- Best for Calendar Management: Calendly
- Best for Payment Integration: Square Appointments
- Best for Project Management: Setmore
- Best for Customization: Appointy
- Best for Online Businesses: 10to8
BEST OVERALLAcuity Scheduling
LEARN MOREWhy We Chose It?
Acuity Scheduling is our top pick because it has an intuitive setup, affordable pricing, robust integrations, calendar customizations, and supports up to 36 users for its powerhouse plan.Pros & ConsPros
- Seven-day free trial
- User-friendly interface
- Customizable intake forms
- Advanced features cost more
- Some users reported booking errors
Founded in 2006, Acuity Scheduling is a cloud-based scheduling software designed to manage appointments online. In April 2019, Acuity became part of Squarespace, and since then, it has grown to become the best appointment scheduling software for small businesses. It is easy to set up and is available as apps for iOS and Android.
Acuity Scheduling lets users automate appointment bookings in real-time and it can automatically sync calendars according to users’ time zones. Acuity’s features include organizing schedules and client information, customizable intake forms, and CRM integrations. Acuity is more than appointment scheduling software; it offers gift cards, group classes, and memberships. It accepts online payments via PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
The scheduling software has 500+ integrations through Zapier and includes a seven-day trial with no credit card commitment. Once the trial expires, pricing starts at $15 per month for a one-user basic account. For advanced features, there’s a $25-per-month plan that supports six users and a $50-per-month plan for up to 36 users.
BEST ON A BUDGETPicktime
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The utterly free scheduling solution makes Picktime the best appointment booking software for anyone on a budget.Pros & ConsPros
- Completely free
- Automatic time zone conversion
- Customized booking forms
- Free plans are limited to early adopters
- No recurring appointments
Picktime is a relatively new appointment software founded in 2017. It’s designed to simplify scheduling for individuals and businesses. The software is free and offers tons of features and customizations, making it the best app for individuals and small businesses on a budget.
Picktime offers several features, such as scheduling appointments, sending reminders, invoicing, and managing teams. You can sync your Google, Outlook, Exchange, Office 365, and iCloud calendars with Picktime, so you’re never overbooked or miss appointments. It also has video chat integrations with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Jitsi Meet, and more, allowing you to manage appointments anywhere.
Currently, Picktime is entirely free, but it plans on introducing paid plans in the future—early adopters will likely continue using the software for free. It has multiple app integrations and accepts online payments through PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
BEST FOR TEAMSDoodle
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Doodle can organize meetings for large groups where everyone’s schedule varies.Pros & ConsPros
- Makes it easy to meet in a team
- Zoom and Slack integrations
- Connect with 1000+ apps through Zapier
- No phone support
- Priority support is only available for enterprises
Founded in 2007, Doodle is a provider of online scheduling services. Its primary goal is to make it easier for people to schedule meetings or events with other people who may have conflicting schedules, earning the nod for best team scheduler. Doodle lets you organize meetings with large groups of up to 20 people where everyone’s time zone varies.
Doodle is a simple and easy-to-use web-based scheduling application with apps for iPhone and Android. It makes this possible through an intuitive interface that allows users to see availability across multiple time zones. You can sync your Google calendar, Office 365, or iCal to avoid double bookings. Other features include the Doodle poll, which lets participants vote on the ideal time to hold a meeting. Doodle also has integrations with Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, keeping everyone on the same page about the meeting.
The software offers a 14-day trial with no credit card commitment. Once the trial expires, pricing starts at $6.95 per month for the pro plan with only one user. There’s an $8.95-per-month plan for teams that includes five to 20 users. If you’re an enterprise, you can contact Doodle for custom pricing.
BEST FOR CALENDAR MANAGEMENTCalendly
LEARN MOREWhy We Chose It?
Calendly offers multiple app integrations and can sync with several calendars, so you’re never double-booked.Pros & ConsPros
- Syncs with multiple calendar programs
- Free 14-day trial
- Buffer times in between meetings
- Limited features for the free plan
- Pricing is user-based
Calendly was founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona and it currently manages scheduling for over nine million businesses and individuals. The scheduling software has a valuation of over $3 billion and acts as a personal assistant for several companies. The ability to sync with multiple calendars makes Calendly the best scheduling software for calendar management.
The software connects all your calendars to avoid double bookings. You can easily set up and customize calendars based on your needs. It has a buffer feature, allowing you to take a break in between meetings before the next appointment. In addition, Calendly detects time zones and automatically shares the right time to meet with customers based on their location.
Calendly has more than 700 app integrations with Zapier and three pricing tiers: free, premium, and pro plans. The free plan offers basic features and gives access to one calendar, but you can schedule unlimited appointments. The pro plan is $10 per month and supports two calendar connections, while the premium plan costs $15 per month with up to six calendar connections.
Calendly has a free 14-day trial with access to all features. It’s cloud-based and also available on the go with mobile apps for iOS and Android. Payment integrations include Stripe and PayPal.
Calendly provides online support via email and lives chat. Users like the multiple integrations and the ability to sync with several calendars.
BEST FOR PAYMENT INTEGRATIONSquare Appointments
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Square Appointments is a scheduling software with a built-in point of sale (POS) system that tracks online payments.Pros & ConsPros
- Free for individual users
- Built-in POS system
- Can book recurring appointments
- Few customizable features
- Higher cost for multiple users
Square was founded in 2009 and launched its first platform in 2010. It initially provided mobile payment solutions but currently offers POS, appointment scheduling, sales tracking, and more. Square Appointments is part of the Square family and simplifies scheduling for individuals and businesses. The software has a built-in POS system that tracks payments in real-time, which is why it takes the payment integration category.
The software is easy to set up and lets you sync your schedules across multiple time zones. Its features include a free online booking website, Google calendar sync, automated emails, and text reminders. Square Appointments also has website integration, allowing customers to book appointments directly from your website. It can also create an enforceable fee for late bookings and cancellations.
Square Appointments has a unique pricing structure among appointment scheduling software for small businesses. It’s free for one user, but there’s a 2.6% processing fee plus $0.10 per transaction. Two to five users pay $50 per month, while six to 10 users pay $90 per month. All paid plans include a processing fee of 2.5% plus $0.10 per transaction. If your company has more than 10 users, you can contact the sales team for custom pricing. Square Appointments is cloud-based but also available in apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
BEST FOR PROJECT MANAGEMENTSetmore
LEARN MOREWhy We Chose It?
Setmore provides a free plan that supports up to four users, and booking can be done directly from social media. Pros & ConsPros
- Free plan that supports up to four users
- Booking directly from social media
- Online group classes with multiple customers
- PayPal is not available
- Limited features for the free plan
Setmore was founded in 2011 as an offshoot of its parent company, Full Creative. The company aimed to provide solutions for non-techies through online scheduling and came up with an intuitive, free appointment scheduling software. Setmore allows clients to book appointments directly from social media.
Setmore makes it easy to book appointments and send reminders to customers. The software can be used with desktops, tablets, and phones. It’s easy to use and has the features you need: automatic booking confirmation, sync calendars, social media integrations, custom branded messages, email and text reminders, reporting tools for tracking your performance—all in one place, giving it the edge as a project management booker.
The scheduling software has three pricing tiers: free, premium, and pro. The free plan includes up to four users with unlimited appointments, custom booking, email reminders, and more. For more advanced features, you can choose a premium plan for $12 per user per month, including up to two users, or the pro plan for $9 per user per month for more than three users. All paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and accept online payments through Square and Stripe.
BEST FOR CUSTOMIZATIONAppointy
LEARN MOREWhy We Chose It?
With Appointy, you can customize emails, receipts, text messages, and even personalize your calendar.Pros & ConsPros
- Free-forever basic plan
- Offers multiple customization options
- Website and social media bookings
- Free plan has limited features
- SMS customization is only for the enterprise plan
Appointy is scheduling software that allows businesses to manage appointments online. The company was founded in 2006 with a mission to cut down hours of admin work and reduce no-shows. Appointy gives you the freedom to customize your available slots, emails, SMS, receipts, and calendar.
The software is intuitive and lets users schedule appointments 24 hours a day from anywhere. Appointy has a unique feature—you can customize how long an appointment can be and how many people can sign up for the meeting. There are several integrations for existing apps and social media platforms. It is web-based, and you can also use it on any device.
Appointy has a free-forever plan available for one user that includes 100 appointments per month, website integration, Square payments, and more. Pricing starts at $29.99 per month for one user, $59.99 per month for five users, and $99.99 per month that includes two locations. All paid plans come with a 14-day trial. Appointy accepts online payments through Square, Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.NET.
BEST FOR ONLINE BUSINESSES10to8
LEARN MOREWhy We Chose It?
A free-forever plan, access to multiple features, and over 1,500 integrations make 10to8 suitable for remote businesses. Pros & ConsPros
- More than 1,500 powerful integrations
- Pay as your business grows
- Free 30-day trial for paid plans
- No branding for the free plan
- Phone support is only available for enterprises
10to8 is a company that helps businesses reduce no-show rates and increase productivity. It was founded in 2011 and has turned out to be the best appointment scheduling software for online businesses. The software has a free-forever plan, ample features, and more than 1,500 app integrations.
The software is a cloud-based appointment booking system that’s easy to set up, and customers can schedule appointments in minutes. You can sync with Google calendar, Outlook, and other calendars to avoid double bookings. 10to8 has powerful integrations with existing apps, including Zoom, WordPress, Salesforce, Weebly, and more.
There’s a free-forever plan for small businesses that comes with limited features, up to 100 appointments per month, and two staff logins. Paid plans go by tier: $12 per month (two staff logins), $25 per month (three staff logins), and $50 per month (six staff logins). For enterprises that have more than 600 appointments per month, contact 10to8 for “Bespoke” pricing. It accepts online payments via PayPal and Stripe.
10to8 customer support is available online. Users like the robust integrations and the ability to pay as their businesses grow.
We have reviewed the best appointment scheduling software for small businesses based on several factors. Some offer a free trial period before committing to paid plans; others are entirely free. The one you choose depends on your business needs and goals. The budget may play a big factor for some while other companies will automatically opt for more robust plans.
Overall, Acuity Scheduling is our top pick. The service is easy to set up, supports multiple users, and has an intuitive interface, affordable pricing, and tons of features and customizations.
Compare the Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Businesses
|$15 to $50 per month||Emerging, growing, powerhouse||Gift certificates, packages, memberships, group classes||Display your logo, brand your scheduler’s colors, remove “powered by” on your scheduler|
Best on a Budget
|Free||None||Time zone conversion, website integration||Booking forms|
Best for Teams
|$6.95 to $8.95 per month||Pro, team, enterprise||Time zone detection, private calendars, Doodle poll||Custom logo and branding|
Best for Calendar Management
|$10 to $15 per user per month||Basic, premium, pro, enterprise||Buffer time in between meetings, time zone detection, website integration||Custom email and SMS notifications, branded pages, expanded color options|
Best for Payment Integration
|$50 to $90 per month||One user, 2 to 5 users, 6 to 10 users||Free online booking website, cancellation policy, no-show fees, website integration, Square Assistant||Scheduler colors, layout, and pages|
Best for Project Management
|$9 to $12 per user per month||Free, premium, pro||Website integration, recurring appointments, CRM, and social media integration||Customized notifications|
Best for Customization
|$29.99 to $99.99 per month||Free, growth, professional, enterprise||Time zone conversion, gift certificates||SMS and email receipts, appointments without signup|
Best for Online Businesses
|$9.6 to $40 per month||Small business, basic, grow, bigger business, enterprise||Recurring appointments, 2-way client chat via email||Branding and SMS|
How to Choose the Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Businesses
When you’re ready to purchase appointment scheduling software, the one you choose depends on your business needs and budget. Here’s what to consider when shopping for appointment scheduling software:
- Ease of use: An intuitive interface provides a richer appointment scheduling experience so that you and your clients can use it without facing any difficulties.
- Customizations: You need a scheduler that allows you to customize essential things to suit your company needs—from uploading your company logo and changing brand colors to customizing automation rules.
- Seamless integrations: By the time you bring in scheduling software, you likely have tons of software running. You need a scheduler that can integrate existing apps without losing any data.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Appointment Scheduling Software Do?
It can be difficult for businesses to schedule appointments efficiently and effectively due to a lack of time or resources. Appointment scheduling software is a system that automates the process of booking appointments. Using the best appointment scheduling software for small businesses allows customers to book appointments based on their availability.
When Is It Worth Paying for Appointment Scheduling Software?
If you have a business that manages several clients, you probably need appointment scheduling software for small businesses. A scheduler lets you stay on top of your appointments. The difference between a free and paid platform is dependent on business needs, however, there are several good free options. It’s best to pay for a more robust plan when a significant amount of your time is spent managing your calendar.
What Are the Advantages of Using Appointment Scheduling Software?
Appointment scheduling software for small businesses can save you a lot of time, minimize no-shows, and boost staff productivity. It can also attract and retain customers, which may increase revenue.
How Much Does Appointment Scheduling Software Cost?
The pricing for the best appointment scheduling software varies by provider. Several factors go into the pricing of scheduling software, and many providers will offer trial periods for you to see if the app works well with your business before making any commitments. Usually, it costs anywhere between $7 to $100 per month, though there are free options.
What is Online Appointment Scheduling Software?
Online appointment scheduling software solutions are designed to keep your events and meetings organized. These software solutions are especially valuable to businesses that offer appointment-based services to their customers. Businesses can manage their upcoming appointments and take reservations for future meetings. These solutions tend to offer a customer portal so they can book the appointment themselves right on the platform. Online appointment scheduling software tends to integrate with solutions such as content management systems and website builders so that businesses can integrate these solutions right into their business’ websites.
This software eliminates the need for customers to call businesses and for those businesses to keep paper calendars and planners. Online appointment scheduling software automates the business appointment scheduling process on both sides of the equation. These solutions also let users print schedules and forms, customize schedules, and enforce various scheduling rules.
This software can also facilitate cancellations, help users reschedule their appointments, and assist with online payment options. This software can send reminders to all parties involved in an upcoming appointment and capture customer information so businesses can run effective and targeted marketing campaigns.
Online appointment scheduling software is leveraged by businesses to help book several different kinds of appointments, including but not limited to classes, workshops, tours, and more. Businesses in many different fields can use these solutions to their advantage as well. For example, fitness organizations can use this software to book workout classes and personal training sessions. Those in the foodservice industry can use online appointment scheduling software for restaurant reservations and catering appointments.
Key Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling Software
- Reduce no-shows to your appointments
- Improve the overall productivity of your staff
- Attract new clients and retain existing clients
Why Use Online Appointment Scheduling Software?
Bringing an online appointment scheduling solution into your business’ software stack boasts many benefits. The following are just a few reasons why a business should use these software solutions.
Reduce no-shows for your professional appointments — With traditional paper calendars and planners, it could be easy to forget about an upcoming appointment, whether you are the customer or the business in question. These solutions can keep track of your appointments and send calls, emails, or texts to notify your customers of your upcoming meeting. This will reduce your no-shows and ensure your staff’s time is well spent.
Attract new customers and retain current customers — If your business has an online appointment scheduling software solution on its website, it will be far easier for customers to schedule time with you, as opposed to going through email or the phone. These solutions allow customers to schedule at their convenience, as they won’t be tied to business hours. This easy appointment scheduling option will prove to be a valuable asset to convince current customers to stay loyal to your businesses.
Improve staff productivity — It can be tricky for representatives from your business to manage various customer appointments during peak business hours. With online appointment scheduling software solutions, employees from your business can keep track of all upcoming appointments. If either party needs to reschedule, this software can easily allow for that option so that potential and current customers are not lost.
Drive business revenue — Without these software solutions, scheduling appointments could be time-consuming. But as online appointment scheduling software allows users to automate the appointment scheduling process, your business can focus on tasks that will drive revenue for the organization.
Who Uses Online Appointment Scheduling Software?
Online appointment scheduling software is used by businesses in customer-facing roles. Users in these industries regularly meet with their customers to maintain professional relationships and gain new business. These organizations regularly juggle multiple meetings at once, so online appointment scheduling software keeps them organized and on top of all their meetings.
Health and beauty organizations — Online appointment scheduling software is heavily utilized in this field. This includes hair salons, medical offices, spas, and more. Clients can directly schedule appointments with the person they’d like to see through this software. If clients do not have a particular person in mind, they can submit their availability and be matched to a health or beauty professional at the time that works for them.
Fitness and recreation centers — Clients sign up for various classes and personal training sessions at fitness and recreation centers. Online appointment scheduling software solutions integrate right into a fitness and recreation center’s website and let customers sign up for classes at their convenience. Some solutions should be able to inform clients if the class they want to sign up for is full.
Field service careers — People in field service careers tend to make house calls to perform particular services for their customers. This includes but is not limited to cleaning services, pest control, and more. Customers can use online appointment scheduling software to sign up for the time that they would like these business representatives to stop at their house to perform that service for them.
Kinds of Online Appointment Scheduling Software
All online appointment scheduling software solutions have the same end game, which is to help users book and manage appointments with clients. For that reason, there is not much variation in the different types of online appointment scheduling software. Some solutions vary in their focus though, whether it is on a certain feature or business size.
Online Appointment Scheduling Software Features
The following features are commonly found within online appointment scheduling software solutions:
Online booking — This particular feature can let your customers book, reschedule, or even follow up with appointments. Some online appointment scheduling software solutions will even automatically sync your appointments across multiple devices, such as desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
Automated scheduling — This feature can confirm or deny an appointment when a party makes a booking request based on the business representative’s availability. This functionality also gives businesses the ability to manage a waitlist so that a customer may be added if an existing appointment is canceled or rescheduled.
Online payments — Online appointment scheduling software typically integrates with payment gateway software. This enables businesses to collect payments as appointments are scheduled through the platform.
Calendar management — This allows users to share their calendars with customers so those customers can take a look at different availabilities. That way, they can request an appointment at a time that works for both parties.
Employee scheduling — Online appointment scheduling software solutions also help employees schedule appointments with one another. This software lets users view multiple calendars at once so that employees can see how their schedules line up.
Additional Online Appointment Scheduling Features
Automatic reminders — These solutions send automatic reminders to all parties involved in an upcoming appointment. These reminders can be sent through email notifications or SMS text messaging.
Promotions management — This feature is particularly useful for those businesses that charge clients for booking appointments. If these businesses offer discounts for a certain period, that promotion will show up on employees’ calendars for the given days.
Trends Related to Online Appointment Scheduling Software
As with any technology, certain trends will begin to emerge in the space. The following are trends emerging in the online appointment scheduling space.
Off-hours appointment scheduling — As it is more common these days for customers to book appointments online, the number of appointments that are being booked off-hours has skyrocketed. With the ability to book appointments 24/7, customers are often booking appointments once they are off work and have free time. It may be a little frustrating for businesses to not be able to see appointments come in during the workday, but businesses will have to adjust to this as we become increasingly reliant on technology.
Mobile appointment scheduling — Mobile functionality and usage is constantly increasing. It has become more and more common to book appointments through mobile devices. We can expect that usage to continue to rise.
Potential Issues with Online Appointment Scheduling Software
Despite the many benefits it offers to businesses, online appointment scheduling software has its own set of disadvantages, just like any piece of technology. The following are a few problems that users of online appointment scheduling software may run into.
The right tool will potentially be expensive — Before you settle on the right online appointment scheduling solution for your business, you will need to take a lot of features into consideration. Does it integrate easily with your business’s website? Does it integrate with your calendar software? Do you need to have the ability for customers to be able to submit payments directly through the platform? There’s a great chance that all these features in one tool could come at a hefty price.
Technology can lead to miscommunication — Arranging meetings in person or over the phone can be incredibly time-consuming. But direct contact typically ensures that all parties involved in an appointment are on the same page. When communication only happens through technology, there’s a chance that it can lead to some type of miscommunication.
Using this software could potentially cause your business to lose personal touch with customers — When you chat with potential and current customers face to face, you build a certain rapport with them. This is part of what attracts new customers and keeps current customers returning for more. Limiting conversations to only online appointment scheduling software solutions could cause you to lose that personal touch with your clients since it will be hard to develop a professional relationship with them.
Software and Services Related to Online Appointment Scheduling Software
For multiple parties to find a time in all their schedules to meet, multiple moving parts need to align perfectly on both sides. That requires different types of software solutions to work in tandem with one another. The following types of software should easily integrate with online appointment scheduling software solutions.
Payment gateway software — These solutions automate payment transactions between a shopper and a merchant. These solutions securely transmit and authorize that payment to the bank. These solutions should accept credit cards so that payment is as easy as possible. Integrating a payment gateway with an online appointment scheduling solution makes it easy for customers to pay for an appointment as they book it.
Calendar software — Calendar software solutions are used by businesses to organize tasks, appointments, and goals in an easy way to view. These solutions are intended to help streamline all internal activities of a business, including but not limited to client meetings. This benefits both customers and users so both parties can see how availabilities line up.
Spa management software — These solutions are intended to specifically help run spas at hotels and resorts, along with independently owned spas and salons. These solutions help businesses organize client information, manage payment collection, and schedule appointments. Spa and salon owners can use online scheduling appointment software solutions for their clients to book their appointments.
Gym management software — These solutions help gym and fitness centers manage their facilities. Gym management software stores member information manages financial records, helps schedule classes, and more. These software solutions can often integrate with online scheduling appointment software solutions to help gym members book classes and personal training sessions.
After looking at dozens of appointment scheduling software for small businesses, we narrowed it down to eight top picks. We reviewed the software based on several factors, including ease of use, pricing, customizations, customer service, and more. Additionally, we considered the price to include free options and premium plans.
So, you’ve just finished a long day of work and decide to relax with a nice cuppa. You switch the kettle on and let it heat up. While you wait for the water temperature to reach boiling point, you put your feet up on the table and doze off . . .