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  • Writer's pictureDenis Yankovsky

How To Choose The Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Business in 2024 (Free & Paid)

Running a small customer-facing business always means a loooot of moving parts, and big customer expectations to meet, making every single meeting or appointment very impactful. Yet scheduling employees and keeping the bookings and appointment schedules up-to-date and well-organized is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face. With more and more customers, vendor invoices, calls, customer inquiries plus employee requests — it’s so easy to make mistakes and let something slip through the cracks. So it might be a good idea to get your small business insured from the potential risks.

Scheduling appointments and manually dealing with incoming requests might also easily be one of the most time-consuming parts of running a small business. Back-and-forth phone calls, emails, and text messages just pile up making it all a big mess, leading to things like clopening shifts, overbooking, shipping mistakes, and missed deals with customers left hanging when no one’s available to serve them. Add to that last-minute changes and recurring appointments and you have a recipe for a scheduling disaster.

The good news for entrepreneurs and small business owners is that these days software companies are working day and night, competing for the title of the best appointment scheduling app or software of the year. That means that the best online booking systems and appointment scheduling tools are getting even better, but also means the price and quality of different solutions may vary a lot.

We at BestSoftwareTests are sure that finding the best software for your needs is important but should take too much of your time and effort, so went ahead, researched the top meeting scheduler apps and booking software, and created create a shortlist of the absolute best appointment scheduling apps and online booking systems for small business in 2024.

What Does A Typical Online Booking System Or Appointment Setter Look For Business Look Like?

Appointment schedulers are online tools that allow you to simply schedule appointments for your employees or let customers book a service or a meeting themselves online through some kind of calendar view or contact form. If you’re looking for a calendar app to use yourself, visit our best calendar apps for Mac blog.

They’re often accessible on both mobile devices and desktops and may come in form of browser-based online dashboards, or apps so that you and your employees could book appointments and manage meetings even on the run.

What Can Online Appointment Scheduling Apps & Software Do For Your Small Business?

The appointment scheduling and meeting booking apps vary a lot, so based on your needs and the software complexity it can be as simple as a friendly calendar with a scheduling function for you and your employees, or an open online booking system for your customers, integrated with other systems and databases.

Some tools even work with payment processors, so you can charge and collect fees before the meeting takes place. The tools may also serve as a lead magnet on your website for people who want to know more about your services.

The main benefits of using the appointment scheduling software for small businesses are:

  1. prevents double-booking when you use multiple online calendars

  2. cuts down unnecessary back-and-forth discussions on meeting times

  3. frees up your time by letting customers book online themselves

  4. keeps all parties updated with built-in appointment reminders

  5. allows you to create an online booking system available in your pocket at all times

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

How To Tell The Best Online Appointment Scheduling Software Apart From The Rest?

A great appointment scheduling software should streamline your appointment booking and meeting scheduling process, help you and your employees assign shifts, and simplify your workday – in short, it should make your life easier.

So now that you hopefully agree that a solid online booking system, or maybe even a mobile meeting scheduler app could do a lot of good for your business, the question is how to choose the best possible booking system for your small business, that will cover all the needs, without breaking the bank. Those are the key features and capabilities we were searching for when creating our shortlist of the best meeting scheduler apps and appointment booking software we think would fit small businesses the most.

What To Look For In The Best Online Booking Systems And Appointment Scheduling Apps?

To get the best possible meeting scheduler app or an online appointment setter for your money, make sure it offers the following features and abilities:

  1. Easy to use with drag and drop and quick schedule shuffling. Having preset weekly or monthly templates to tweak and add on is ideal

  2. Friendly and intuitive for customers, employees, and yourself to master quickly

  3. Available from any desktop, Android, and iOS device. Employees need to view their schedules from anywhere and make any requests or changes on the go

  4. Provides self-service for employees. Allows employees to view schedules, request time off, and make changes themselves, from their phones

  5. Provides self-service for customers by letting them book or request visits online

  6. Offers communication features: Employees may have questions that arise due to scheduling and will need to be able to communicate with the manager that scheduled them or with coworkers.

  7. Integrates with other software/systems your small business is using

So What Is The Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Business in 2024?

Considering all the above said, this is the shortlist we came up with after researching and testing a bunch of them.

In a nutshell: Appointlet serves businesses of all sizes and various industries – from SAAS businesses to consulting companies to small service businesses.

Appointlet appointment scheduling app was originally designed for salespeople but it’s easy enough and universal to use for anyone who needs to easily book meetings online. With Appointlet meeting scheduler, you can create customized booking pages that you can share with customers and prospects. You can also integrate the booking system easily into your existing websites, landing pages, and emails.

Price: There is a free forever option available, which may be enough for entrepreneurs and very small businesses. Paid plans for this online scheduling software start at $8 per month. Paid versions offer unlimited bookings, and you can integrate them with Google Calendar, Office 365, Zoom Unbounce, Leadpages, Wishpond, Zapier, and more.

In a nutshell: Free appointment scheduler for service business with both POS and online use.

Bookafy is a free appointment scheduler that includes all the standard goodies like synchronized calendars, time zone recognition, and rules for how you want to set up your meetings.

Small business owners should appreciate the unique feature that lets you assign meeting requests to the most appropriate team member. This streamlined approach ensures that anyone scheduling a meeting gets facetime with the appropriate department or expert, such as a customer seeking support versus a prospect looking for more information and ways to order.

You also get custom forms and templates featuring your company colors and forms, so you can customize Bookafy and create your own online booking system.

Price: Bookafy generously offers the Free plan, the more advanced plans cost $ 9 per month for the Pro plan and $13 for the Pro+ plan.

In a nutshell: Best appointment scheduling app for small businesses with websites built on Squarespace or those who want a complete online business front to be a single system.

This online booking system was one of the leading appointment scheduling apps for small businesses even when it was called Acuity Scheduling, and now it’s a part of the wide Squarespace small business suite offering, 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.

Squarespace Scheduling (Ex Acuity) is an appointment app that lets you block out the times that work or don’t work for you, allowing your meeting attendees to only pick from available slots. Businesses can also accept payments via Stripe, Square, or PayPal, vault credit cards for charging later, accept tips, offer coupons, schedule group workshops, and upsell with add-ons at checkout.

You can also integrate with their CRM, customize intake forms, and sync schedules according to the end user’s time zone.

Price: Plans start at $14 per month for one calendar, no free version is available, but you are getting a free trial.

In a nutshell: A friendly self-service appointments scheduling tool that you can offer your customers on your business social network profiles.

Setmore appointment scheduler 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.

Features include custom branded messages, calendar syncing, and reporting tools to track booking performance.

Setmore booking app is available for desktops, as well as iOS & Android mobile devices.

Price: It offers a free plan for up to four users and a few more advanced options to upgrade for starting as low as $5 per month.

5. 10to8

In a nutshell: A budget-friendly meeting booker for small businesses with a free-forever plan and all the necessary integrations.

If budget is your small business’s main concern, 10to8 with its free-forever plan might just be the solution. 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.

Price: In addition to the free plan, 10to8 also has paid options for growing businesses, starting from $9,6 up to $40 per month.

In a nutshell: The best appointment booking and reminder app for global businesses that supports many languages and integrates with several international payment systems.

SimplyBook.me booking software is a favorite among small businesses with a global client base because it lets your clients book online meeting times in 32 languages. It also seamlessly integrates with more than 20 payment processing apps, so you can make sure you get paid for your time.

You can pick your industry to see pre-loaded default fields, such as those for gym owners or consultants, among other roles. Then, be sure to check out all the reporting features, including a rundown of your appointment statistics and a log of SMS reminders.

Price: Free plan is available, premium plans range from $8,25 to $49.9 per month.

In a nutshell: Calendly is a very friendly free online meeting scheduling app that allows you to collaborate with multiple team members.

Calendly is a meeting scheduler app designed for small businesses to simplify scheduling and save time and effort on back-and-forth emails usually required to book a meeting, and instead, simply schedule appointments with partners and customers in a few clicks. Heck, with all that time saved you might even be able to finally carve out some time for some pilates sessions online.

Small businesses can create rules for their schedule and availability using Calendly and then share their custom Calendly link to customers so it’s very easy to invite others to pick a date and time. This way it functions as a “book me app”, and clients can book appointments with you, in a self-service manner, based on their preferences.

A very smart and useful benefit of Calendly is its buffer feature, meaning it will automatically create an adjustable buffer around your meetings, preventing overlapping appointments and back-to-back meetings. This free appointment booking and reminder app also offers some unique features, like round-robin, collective, and one-on-one meetings.

To finish off, the Calendly meeting scheduler app offers multiple 3d party integrations, so it can sync with multiple calendars as well.

Price: Calendly offers a free version with basic booking capabilities and a single calendar view. Paid plans, with team solutions, cost $8 to $16 per month.

In a nutshell: The best simple scheduling management software for small businesses to integrate all of your different calendars into one.

If you want to combine all of your meetings scheduling from different calendars on a single desktop or phone – Google Calendar, Apple’s iCal, and Outlook, for starters – Calendar.com is a solid pick. It helps you to simply schedule appointments, easily sync across all devices, receive reminders and notifications, and even receive meetings auto-transcriptions in the paid version.

The best part is its AI function, which monitors your schedule and can automate certain tasks without your input. Plus, you’ll receive valuable analytics that tells you how you spend your time.

Price: The paid versions range from $6 to $8 per month, and there’s also a free limited version.

In a nutshell: The best meeting scheduler app for connecting multiple people across multiple time zones.

Doodle meeting booking software makes it easy to get a group of three or more people on the same page, even across time zones. You can simply book meetings by letting attendees choose and mark their availability. With that, you can pick the time that works best for all parties, and synchronize the reminders for all attendees.

Anyone who struggles to find a time that works for everyone will love the reduction in back-and-forths along with the user-friendly interface.

Price: Doodle scheduling manager software offers a free trial for its plans, which range from $6.95 to $8.95 per user per month.

In a nutshell: The best team meetings scheduler with calls and video-conferencing built-in, so you don’t need to use Zoom or other 3d party channels.

If you need to manage your team meetings and let your customers book appointments online, ScheduleOnce is worth considering. Features include group meetings, one-on-one calls, and video conferences, so you can host webinars or jump on customer demonstrations without the need for them to install Zoom. It syncs across your website, email, and payment processor, so you’ll always have the most up-to-date schedule view.

ScheduleOnce’s branding preferences are impressive, letting you put your special touch on any of your customer-facing tools.

Price: A free plan lets 25 users collaborate at no cost, premium plans with no limits start at $10 per user per month.

In a nutshell: The best online meeting booker that you can put on your business social media or website.

With YouCanBook.me, online meetings booking app you can create a booking grid that you can share anywhere, including on social media or your website. Pick your display preferences, including custom fields, and view your meetings as they’re requested by your staff or clients. YouCanBook.me saves time & boosts productivity by taking the hassle out of setting meetings. With its help, you can avoid the back-&-forth emails to find a good time, seriously reduce the no-shows, and offer your customers a way to simply book inline for free. You can also integrate the tools your business already uses, and created your own customized booking pages & emails.

This tool works well with Google and Apple calendars, and it integrates with Zapier, Zoom, and other related platforms. Plus, you can further reduce your monthly no-shows by sending out customized notifications and reminders.

Price: Free forever plan is offered, or you’ll pay $10 per calendar per month for the unlimited paid plan.

In a nutshell: The best meeting solution built into the mighty all-around business Marketing & CRM platform.

HubSpot is a powerful Marketing, Sales, and CRM platform, but it comes with an enterprise price tag, and their online scheduling for small business is a part of their Sales Hub. If you’re currently looking only for an appointment booking calendar solution, this may be too robust, but this is a great one-stop-shop solution for also digitizing your sales, emails, and payments — all in a single system.

Price: There is a free “lite” plan for you to check out, and the full-featured scheduler is free for paid HubSpot users (it Comes standard as a part of the Sales Hub starting at $45 a month).

In a nutshell: The best software to manage your appointments and other business operations aspects with a single suite of business online tools.

Dubsado meeting scheduler is also a part of a wider small business platform that also handles invoicing, project management, and reporting, but it’s well-designed, with clear menus and good-looking fonts, so it is simple and rather straightforward to use.

With this booking management software, you can collect booking fees at the time of appointment setting, attach custom photos or forms to meeting confirmations, and pad your meeting slots.

It also integrates with most major tools, and there are minimum notice settings to prevent overscheduling.

Price: Dubsado offers a free trial of their entire suite, and it costs $35 per month or $350 annually.

In a nutshell: The best appointment scheduling solution for businesses that already use the Square payment services suite of tools or their POS system.

If your small business needs a built-in point-of-sale system, Square Appointments is a smart choice for appointments or bookings management, especially if you can also use the Square payment services suite.

With the Square Appointments online booking software, small businesses can simplify their appointment scheduling, track payments in real-time, and even conquer no-shows and delays by setting fees for cancellations and late arrivals. You can also integrate it with Google Calendar, and the automated text and email reminders are helpful as well, especially for those with the busiest calendars.

Price: There is a free plan with a single calendar, but it comes with payment processing fees of 2.6% + 10¢. The same applies to the paid plans ranging from $29 to $69 per month.

So What Is The Best Appointment Booking App For YOUR Small Business?

The trivial answer is the best appointment scheduling tool for you is the one that best fits your business’s unique needs. If you’re a heavy Square user, for instance, it only makes sense to use their booking tool. And if you have a global footprint, Simplybook.me will help you keep everything in check from one week to the next. So if you’re still not sure —review them again and find the one that describes your use case the best, or just looks simpler for you from the interface. And of course, you can learn much more details about every solution on their website.

What is true for every meeting scheduler app on the list is that it will modernize your daily workflows, save you time and money, help tackle overbooking and double scheduling, reduce employee turnover, and improve your customer satisfaction! You want the best small business scheduling app to be as simple as possible, and your end schedule to be employee-friendly. Go through the best online booking software for small businesses we’ve shortlisted above and choose the one that fits your company best.

Using a scheduling app can help streamline your business operations, but did you know that optimizing its content for SEO can also increase your website’s traffic?

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