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  • Writer's pictureDenis Yankovsky

How To Choose The Best Scheduling App for Small Business In 2024? (Free & Paid)

Running a small business — is a big challenge. Managing your employees, communicating with the customers, operating the offices, restocking the inventory, dealing with invoicing and payments, building your online presence, marketing your services, and dealing with complaints — the list goes on and on. Starting a small business might seem like less trouble, but in fact, it’s usually quite the opposite — you need to do all the same but with fewer people (if any), less money, and less time. So it might be a good idea to get your small business insured from potential losses.

Despite that, small businesses have become critically important for many countries’ economies, sometimes a primary 573.23 driver of their financial growth. In fact, according to small business statistics from the SBA, small businesses comprise up to 99.9% of US businesses and employ up to 47.1% of all US employees.

And most of those small business owners agree that staff scheduling and customer appointment scheduling are crucial aspects of the daily grind and probably some of the biggest challenges small businesses face day after day, week after week. Lack of staff, frequent last-minute changes, and customer requests make up for unpredictable, unstable, and often insufficient work hours. That causes unstable incomes for both business owners and employees, understaffed shifts, and unhappy customers, and also puts higher pressure on the employees who need to juggle schedules to match work and family responsibilities.

Among the many roles of a manager in a business, one of the most important is scheduling the staff. After all, you can’t complete work without any workers. You must put thought into the scheduling process and treat your staff professionally. – Small Business Chron

One of the easiest and most robust ways to tackle that is to start using some kind of small business scheduling software or scheduling app for your mobile device. It’s time to ditch pen and paper, after all, it’s the 21st century and there are many great options of employee scheduling apps and appointment scheduling software for small business (affordable or even free) that could be perfect just for your use case. If you’re looking for a simple calendar app for private scheduling, visit our best calendar apps for Mac blog.

We at BestSoftwareTests are sure that finding the best software for your needs should be quick and easy, and shouldn’t take up all your valuable time. That’s why we dove into deep research, tested a lot of different scheduling tools, and spoke to a handful of experts — all so we could present you with the absolute best scheduling apps and software for small business in 2024.

Most Common Scheduling Errors Small Businesses Suffer From

Effective and efficient employee management is as important as it is challenging, especially for small businesses where resources are limited, and any additional appointment or sale can make a big difference. These are the main mistakes small business managers make when building work and appointment schedules:

  1. Last-minute scheduling that leaves no time for roster changes, or for employees to plan their personal lives.

  2. Overbooking & double-scheduling, when you or your employees suddenly realize they need to be in two different places at the same time, or you have two customers booked for the same time.

  3. Uneven shifts & job allocation, when someone gets too many or too few shifts compared to others.

  4. Excessive overtime when a single employee is working too many hours on any given day or week.

  5. Wrong people for the job, when not the best suited for the job, or worse — not properly trained people have to take shifts and jobs only because no one else can.

Of course, the main and the biggest change to avoid those costly mistakes would be a change in approach to creating the employee schedule and thinking it through strategically.

With that said, most of the operational errors might be fixed or avoided if the scheduling process is done digitally through a small business scheduling app or some smart software with automatic algorithms, that leave almost no chance for mistakes. And to literally avoid mistakes when you write anything, you can also utilize one of the dedicated AI writing assistant apps.

Benefits Of Using A Scheduling App For Small Business

One of the researches done by the dedicated restaurant staff scheduling software 7shift showed that by using the scheduling software for business, you can reduce the time spent on creating employee shift schedules by up to 80% and cut your labor spending by 3%! The numbers are really impressive, and they equally apply to any other small business niche you may be working in. With the amount of time and money it can save, you might even be able to finally carve out some time for some pilates sessions online between running that business.

So if you were to include a small business scheduling software and one of the best appointment scheduling apps into your daily routine, you could easily:

  1. Save time and resources. When you use a small business scheduling app, you reduce labor costs and free up time to focus on tasks that improve the customer experience.

  2. Delegate tasks with zero stress. Scheduling and appointment apps for small businesses can take your preset data and preferences into account and build an accurate schedule, for example making sure that the most experienced people are working the busiest shifts or that requests for time off have been taken into account.

  3. Make smarter staff scheduling decisions based on actual data. A small business scheduling software can make decisions based on your business’s historical data and highlight some potential overlapping and conflicts before any errors are made. That ensures that you schedule just the right amount of staff to fulfill your customers’ needs, without wasting money on overstaffing.

  4. Reduce employee turnover. Using one of the best appointment scheduling software for small businesses will allow for predictive scheduling, which is the practice (now demanded by many state laws!) of giving employees notice of their work schedules in advance. When employees can plan their lives outside of work ahead of time, their workplace satisfaction increases. And happy employees are known to be much more productive.

  5. Get more happy customers and fewer missed opportunities. When you spend less time on employee scheduling, it enables you to focus your energy on making sure your business is running smoothly.

  6. And, finally, boost your top line, thanks to all of the above!

How To Choose The Best Online Scheduling Software For A Small Business?

Cost

This is a no-brainer that requires little explanation. Some staff scheduling software is free or is available at a low cost, however, the right fit should align with your company’s size and goals. So take your time before thinking that price is the only factor!

Ease of use

You and your employees need staff scheduling software that is incredibly easy to use. If training is long and the software is just too complicated to use, no one will be motivated to actually use it. And that’s the last thing you want, otherwise, why spend money on a software solution if no one uses it?

Tax and labor compliance

Make sure the software complies with state and local labor laws, such as overtime and sick leave.

The last thing you want is to pay fees and penalties because your small business scheduling software wasn’t up to date with the latest state and local labor laws.

Accessibility

Mobile access is vital when finding the perfect staff scheduling software. On-the-go viewing gives employees access to their schedules from anywhere. Employees can set their availability, request PTO, and claim open shifts, allowing them more control over their schedule and thereby creating a better work-life balance. You as a manager, on the other hand — can easily see the status of each employee’s shifts. Did the employee reject or approve the shift? Are they running late? Are they clocked in and working to complete the shift? However, not all employee scheduling software is made equal so this feature may not be available across the board.

Versatility

In 2024, the new feature that most software companies are rushing to develop is allowing for an all-in-one experience. They recognize that managers and employees want to get everything done in one place and not jump from software to software. We can see this unique feature in a handful of software tools, and after playing with this, we believe 100% that this is a must-have for your business!

What Are The Best Scheduling Apps for Small Business In 2024?


In a nutshell: The best free scheduling app for small businesses with the majority of deskless or field employees, that also offers truly peerless capabilities if you’re willing to upgrade to one of the premium plans.

Connecteam app is a powerful, user-friendly, and arguably, one of the best employee scheduling apps for small businesses overall, that combines all the tools and features to avoid the most common scheduling problems and provides shift scheduling and job dispatching managers with everything they need to quickly create efficient and errorless work schedules, and make them known to employees in a matter of minutes.

Connecteam app was designed and built around the work schedule building for non-desk employees, so it has all the features needed to create and distribute a perfect work schedule and communicate with your team remotely.

Probably one of the easiest staff scheduling software we’ve tested, the Connecteam app allows you to schedule shifts and dispatch jobs easily and quickly. Create single, multiple, or team shifts, or just upload a bulk using an Excel file. With calendar view, drag & drop options, and copying last week’s shifts, you save valuable time.

Connecteam’s robust staff scheduling software tool can save you time and effort thanks to quick actions, easy customization, automated reminders, and an intuitive interface with bright colors and good-looking fonts.

Here’s a short overview of how easy and quick a perfect work schedule creation can be with a simple, but capable small business scheduling app like the Connecteam app.


Price: Free to use with a free-for-life plan, or you can choose one of the premium plans, starting at just $39/month for up to 50 users, so you don’t need to pay per user. There is also a free 14-day trial.


In a nutshell: Best appointment and scheduling app for service companies that integrates seamlessly with the world’s most popular payroll software from the same brand.

As far as staff scheduling goes, TSheets offers similar scheduling and time-tracking software as other software tools do. Its mobile app sends your employees updates about their upcoming shifts and shift changes, then it sends you a notification if an employee is late or forgot to clock in.

However, the system is a little complicated and does need a lot of implementation. In any case, two main features are worthy of mention: GPS Time Tracker that maps employee locations from when they clock in all the way to when they clock out. And the second feature allows employees to attach photos to timesheets.

Price: Starts at $4/user/month, plus there is an additional base fee depending on how many users you need. A free 14-day trial is offered.


In a nutshell: Best scheduling app for small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations.

Homebase has several features, like scheduling, timesheets, time clocks, and messaging, but it also has special recruiting software that can post to online job boards. Homebase can also sync data from many payrolls and POS companies.

Price: Free for just one location and unlimited users. There are 3 more feature-rich paid plans starting at $19.95/unlimited users/per location/month, with custom pricing for enterprises. A free trial is also available.


In a nutshell: Best scheduling software for small service, non-profit, and multi-site businesses.

When I Work is a great option for employee scheduling software for small businesses with less than 75 employees. They have a free version that doesn’t limit you to one company location but it doesn’t let you schedule weeks into the future.

However, it does have scheduling features like GPS locations and job instructions. Also, admins can view historical timesheets of a user on mobile, but editing past user entries/ shifts from the mobile is not available, and you will need the desktop version for it.

Price: Starts at $2.25/user/month. Time and attendance tracking can also be added for an additional $1.50 per employee, per month. It does also have an enterprise version with volume discounts.


Best appointment scheduling software for small businesses operating in multiple locations

When you join the Deputy online scheduling software, they ask for all your pen and paper timesheets and scheduling sheets in advance so they can customize the software for you, and only then you can begin your onboarding.

Deputy might not be dedicated to small business exclusively, but it is an employee scheduling and appointment software that overall is well-rounded and time-efficient. Additionally, it easily integrates with other business systems; it integrates with more than 35 payroll, POS, and accounting programs. Use Deputy to forecast sales traffic and schedule shifts automatically.

Price: Starts at $2/user/month.


Best small business appointment scheduling software for hourly employees that integrates with multiple popular HR platforms

Humanity is pretty easy to use and their apps make it simple to edit and check schedules straight from your phone. It is easy to manage schedules, all employee availability, employee shift trades, and day-off requests.

Humanity is known for its customer support team and also offers lots of integrations with other software platforms, such as Oracle, Workday, and BambooHR, as well as multiple payroll partners.

Price: Starts at $2/user/month, but includes a $60 minimum fee. You can trial Humanity for free for 30 days.


Best employee scheduling app for small businesses with visual human resource allocation analytics

Hubstaff is the best employee scheduling app for small businesses that allows you to see how many hours your employees are working. It also lets you keep track of how much of your time is spent on various projects. All this data is analyzed through reports on Hubstaff’s dashboard. This product is best suited for small business owners with its pocket-friendly pricing.

Hubstaff also includes screenshots and activity levels. It tracks employees’ time spent on projects, tasks, and meetings, thus letting managers see where time lags are happening in real-time. Hubstaff integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, and payroll software like ADP and Gusto. Support is available via email, chat, and a quick start guide.

Price: Starts at $7 per month for their basic plan and comes with a 14-day free trial.


Best online scheduling software for small businesses with project management tools included

Zoho People is a cloud-based online scheduling software for small businesses that also includes time tracking and project management tools. It’s easy to use with customizable dashboards and drag-and-drop functionality. It automates and simplifies all the tedious and repetitive HR tasks that can bog down a small business owner. The product allows you to streamline the hiring process from a single location.

You can collect and consolidate attendance data from multiple sources and cut down on mistakes due to manual entries. You can fully customize schedules, conduct leave management by leave types, and create timesheets with ease. There is also a feature for employee queries that can be used to better integrate employees with the project at hand. The product has automated mail alerts and intelligent workflow configuration built-in. The product integrates with AdobeSign, Zapier, QuickBooks, and more. Support is by email and chat. There is also an extensive knowledge base available.

Price: Zoho People starts from $1.25/user/month and comes with a 30-day free trial.


Best appointment scheduling software for small businesses working in healthcare, retail, nonprofits, education, or the restaurant industry.

Paycor is a small business appointment scheduling software that helps you focus on what’s important — increasing productivity and reducing labor costs. The built-in reporting provides insight into your shift hours and costs, and this scheduling software also offers AI so you can use historical data to assign the right staff to any shift.

It has an easy scheduling feature and it’s simple to create and reuse schedule templates. Aside from a time-tracking tool, it also includes a staff management feature that can help track time-off requests and employee availability.

Price: Starts at $1/user/month, and Enterprise has custom pricing.


Best FREE scheduling app for small business owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers.

Google Calendar is a cloud creation of Google. However, it is designed to be a calendar so you can view everything in a day, four-day, week, month, year, or schedule format. Easily add events and reminders into a calendar and notifications so employees don’t miss a shift.

Create employee shift calendars and share them with everyone so they can view the shared work schedule calendar from their personal calendar. Although in all honesty, there are a bunch of reasons Google Calendar is not ideal for work and scheduling employees.

Price: Free.

So What Is Your Best Small Business Scheduling Software Of Choice?

With the right small business scheduling software, you’ll save valuable time and money, avoid overbooking and double scheduling, reduce employee turnover, and improve your customer satisfaction! And let’s not forget how much happier your employees will be with a schedule that genuinely works for them. You want the best small business scheduling app to be as simple as possible, and your end schedule to be employee-friendly, otherwise, you are going to have a hard time trying to make your employees actually use it. Go through the best online scheduling 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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