Everybody loves meetings, right? Who doesn’t want to spend an hour or two of their valuable time listening to someone drone on about why cover sheets on TPS reports are so important? Who wouldn’t want to do that instead of getting actual, productive work done?
Sarcasm aside, some meetings are crucial. This is especially true if you work remotely or are self-employed.
One of the biggest challenges of meetings is scheduling them. You could waste a lot of time going back and forth with someone over text, email, or messenger just to settle on a time. It might even take a phone call — which you also might have to schedule.
Calendly promises to simplify scheduling. But is it worth adding yet another tool to your productivity toolbox? What are the benefits and drawbacks of Calendly vs Google Calendar? Let’s dive a little deeper and see.
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Calendly isn’t a traditional calendar tool like Google Calendar or MS Outlook. Instead, Calendly works with your existing calendar application to automate and streamline the often frustrating process of scheduling meetings.
Calendly lets people schedule meetings with you on your terms. And it lets them do it automatically.
You can use Calendly to set the times you’re available, and you can list meeting types. For example, you can dedicate Wednesday afternoons from 1–5 p.m. to giving potential clients free consultations. And you can set two three-hour chunks of time on Tuesdays and Thursdays for uninterrupted time when people can’t schedule meetings with you.
Calendly’s approach works great for contractors and people who communicate for a living. It ties in well with all the major calendar applications, including Google Calendar.
Calendly has a generous free plan that includes calendar integration and unlimited scheduled events. Higher tiers start at $8 per user, per month and include features like custom branding, SMS meeting notifications, and advanced integrations.
Some of those advanced integrations are with financial tools like PayPal. That means you can even automate getting paid for services like coaching.
So what’s wrong with Google Calendar? People have been using it for over a decade to schedule and organize their whole lives.
There’s nothing wrong with using Google Calendar for personal and basic scheduling. It integrates tightly with Gmail and Google Meet, making scheduling directly from your email a snap.
You can also set up a Google Meet session in the calendar invite. That will allow you to avoid the whole Facetime, WhatsApp, or Zoom debate you’ve probably had more than enough times by now.
But when you’re setting up meetings, Google Calendar does leave some things to be desired.
If you’ve already figured out when you want your next meeting, great. You can add it to your calendar and invite everyone you want to attend. But you’ll start seeing problems when you need to set up a lot of meetings.
Google Calendar is great for teams that share a calendar, and having the ability to make your calendar publicly visible makes things a lot easier. But when it comes to automated scheduling, Google Calendar doesn’t provide a simple, streamlined way to do that.
Google Calendar is one of Google’s many free tools. A business-oriented version is available as part of Google Workspace, and that starts at $6 per user, per month.
An even more flexible solution
When it comes to scheduling tools, there’s more to the debate than Calendly vs Google Calendar.
Jotform lets you schedule appointments just as well as Calendly. And you can gather client information ahead of the meeting and accept payments just as well as you can with Calendly. But even better, you can view the data you’ve collected from your clients in Jotform Tables.
Once you have that data, you can tie it into the rest of your customer relationship management (CRM) system, which you can create with Jotform or integrate from another service. You can also accept payments from your form, add flow control to vet your clients, and even share the appointment with your team through Slack.