Best scheduling apps for small businesses
One of the most time-consuming parts of running a small business is scheduling appointments. In many cases, booking an appointment for your customers requires a lot of back and forth over email or the phone, making sure your timetable matches theirs so you can find an empty slot to connect.
Things get even more complicated if you have to factor in different time zones or book multiple parties for the same appointment. Sometimes, you may even spend more time scheduling the appointment than attending the actual appointment itself.
To make appointment scheduling easy, use a scheduling app for small businesses so you can spend less time booking appointments and more time interacting with your customers.
Acuity Scheduling is a leader in scheduling apps, with several calendar customizations and an intuitive user interface — and it’s available as an iOS and Android app. It offers affordable pricing tiers so businesses can select a plan that meets their needs.
With Acuity, users can integrate with their CRM, customize intake forms, and sync schedules according to the end user’s time zone. Businesses can also accept online payments with Acuity through PayPal, Stripe, and Square. If you’re unsure whether Acuity is right for you, take advantage of the free seven-day trial.
Calendly is a scheduling app designed for efficiency, so businesses can stop the back-and-forth emails usually required to find a time to book a meeting.
“The Calendly online booking system is suitable for people who want to collaborate with several team members,” says Daniela Sawyer, the founder of FindPeopleFast. “It has many of the same features as the other popular tools, but it also has some of its own, such as round-robin, communal, and one-on-one meetings.”
Businesses can use Calendly to create rules for their schedule and availability, then send their Calendly link to customers so they can book based on their preferences. Calendly offers multiple app integrations, and it can sync with multiple calendars as well.
One standout benefit of Calendly is its buffer feature, so you don’t end up in back-to-back meetings without a break in between.
If budget is a concern for your small business, check out 10to8, which has a free-forever plan. It can sync with Google Calendar, Outlook, and other calendars to ensure zero scheduling conflicts. 10to8 provides some powerful integrations as well, such as with Zoom, Weebly, Salesforce, and more.
The app sends automated booking reminders to customers, which helps reduce no-shows by up to 90 percent. In addition to the free plan, 10to8 also has paid options for growing businesses, plus a Bespoke plan for enterprises to customize based on the features they require.
Setmore is ideal for non-techies because of its intuitive user interface. In fact, with Setmore, customers don’t even need to head to a scheduling web page — they can actually book appointments directly from Facebook or Instagram.
Setmore is available for desktops and mobile devices. It offers several pricing tiers, including a free plan for up to four users. Features include custom branded messages, calendar syncing, and reporting tools to track booking performance.
If your small business needs a built-in point-of-sale system, Square Appointments is a good option. With Square Appointments, businesses can track their payments in real time, in addition to making scheduling a breeze.
Businesses with no-shows and latecomers can use Square Appointments to create an enforceable fee for cancellations and tardiness. Other features include syncing with Google Calendar, automated reminders via email or text, and a free online booking web page.
Sometimes, the specifics of your business require certain functionality that isn’t built into any scheduling app on the market. In this case, you can create your own. Alex Lefkowitz, founder of Tasty Edits, notes that with the no-code and low-code app builders available, businesses can create a custom scheduling app that does exactly what they need.
What’s the best scheduling app for small businesses? There’s no right or wrong answer — it all depends on the requirements for your particular business. Take a look at our suggestions, and consider your long-term needs, budget, and number of users, as well as any unique features, such as e-commerce.
Photo by Michael Burrows from Pexels