The 10 Best Scheduling Apps for Small Businesses

/ 9 min read
Vivian Tejeda

If you’ve ever been tasked with scheduling appointments you know it can be like playing call tennis. There’s a lot of back and forth in the quest to find a time that works for both parties. You’re often in different time zones, last-minute cancellations catch you by surprise, and key scheduling information can get lost in the shuffle.

Thankfully, scheduling apps can streamline and automate the scheduling process for you. They can help you save time, minimize no-shows, and make it easier to reschedule appointments when necessary.

Before we dive into the best scheduling apps for your business, here’s a walkthrough of what features you want to look for when taking your pick.

What should you look for in a scheduling app?

When vetting different online booking tools, you want more than something that gives a list of available times. Ideally, you want an appointment scheduling software that can automate as much of the process as possible.

Here are some helpful features to consider.

Advanced features

Plug-and-play schedulers that give a list of booking options are okay, but the best apps give you more choices. Advanced features allow you to block out the time you want to keep free of appointments, schedule appointments with multiple attendants, or automatically include a Zoom link for video calls.

The number of advanced features you’ll need depends on the complexity of your appointments and how you break your schedule down. If you’re a remote business that constantly books appointments with multiple attendees across time zones, a simpler appointment tool like Calendly may not be your best bet.

Calendar sync

Most scheduling apps have this built-in at some level. Still, you want to make sure that any scheduling app automatically syncs with Google Calendar at the very least. Without calendar sync, you’re much more likely to have scheduling conflicts.

The last thing you want to do—especially as a small business—is work with disjointed apps that silo your most important data. Calendar integration adds an extra layer of visibility to your appointment booking system and ensures everyone, including you, stays in the know.

Payment processing

The best scheduling apps allow you to collect online payments at the time of booking, so you can do things like have clients pay a fee for a consultation.

Say you’re a freelance graphic designer that requires 50% of your total fee upfront. A calendar tool with built-in payment capture features makes the client intake process a breeze.

Scheduling features like these save you resources in the long run. Instead of having to fumble with payment processors separately, it can all be done in one place.

Integrations

Small businesses use an average of 73 apps to run operations. For that reason, a scheduling app that comes with little to no integrations can be a deal breaker. Scheduling apps that support integrations will be easier to incorporate into your existing workflow.

You could integrate your scheduling app with Slack to be notified via message before an appointment. Or if you’re using a project manager like Asana, you could sync your appointments with their corresponding card.  

Integrations open up a world of possibilities for cross-platform automation. With a few well-placed connections, you can turn your scheduling form into a reliable booking and payment system that saves you time and money.

Branding features

When it comes to booking appointments, you don’t just want an ugly page that reflects the brand of whatever application you’ve chosen. You want a booking page to represent your brand.

The best apps enable you to edit and customize the visuals of your appointment booking tools—whether that means editing colour schemes, fonts, images, or form sizing.

The 10 best scheduling apps for small businesses

These 10 apps can help keep your business on schedule, without the hassle of endless back-and-forth email chains.

1. Paperform for branded booking pages that take payments

What if you could use an app that checks off every one of the features we outlined above? As the swiss army knife form builder, Paperform covers all your bases.

Paperform has a built-in calendar field that allows you to accept bookings or schedule meetings seamlessly. Pair this with our Google Calendar integration and built-in automatic email reminders and you can say goodbye to double bookings and no-shows.

Plus, we don’t put a limit on your scheduling needs. Paperform gives you access to unlimited bookings and unlimited appointments on any plan.

You can also automate communication across platforms through our direct integrations with apps like Mailchimp, Slack, Trello, and more. With over 3,000 direct and Zapier integrations to choose from, you can be sure to find a connection that will make your life just a little bit easier.

It’s this level of versatility that makes Paperform the most holistic solution of the bunch. It empowers you to create branded intake forms with payment capture abilities and appointment booking fields, all from one place. While you’re at it, you can ease the process of collecting feedback with customer survey templates.

With Paperform, your options are truly limitless. It’s the perfect scheduling tool for individuals and businesses alike.

Check out a few more of Paperform’s best features:

  • Easily process payments through PayPal, Square, or Stripe
  • Share your booking page via direct link, embed it in a website (or use the Paperform WordPress plugin) or create a pop-up button
  • Automatically hide times when you don’t want to be bothered
  • Set a limit on how much notice you need before an appointment is booked
  • Use automated time zone conversions when you book international clients

Paperform pricing:

Paperform offers an obligation-free 14-day free trial on the Essentials plan with no credit card details required. Paid plans start at $20 a month.

2. Acuity Scheduling for hassle-free scheduling that just works

You can think of Acuity scheduling as your handy scheduling assistant. Not only does it ensure the privacy of your appointments with HIPAA compliance, but it also allows you to customise your scheduling forms to match your brand.

This online scheduling software goes beyond providing you with the basic tools to schedule and confirm appointments. Its simple interface enables users to have full control over the look and functionality of your bookings, from updating availability, to auto-adjusting to accommodate different timezones.

You can also send confirmation emails or custom text or email reminders as a way to reduce no-shows (and avoid the dreaded back-and-forth emails).

Acuity pricing:

You can start using Acuity Scheduling for $14 a month to get access to its client self-scheduling and automated text reminder features.

3. Setmore for scheduling on a tight budget

Sometimes we’re in growth mode, which can mean our business is running on a tight budget. In that case, Setmore is a free scheduling app you can start using to get a handle on all your appointments.

One of Setmore’s best features is its one-click ability to add Zoom links to your video meeting appointments. Beyond that, Setmore offers a surprising amount of additional features considering it’s a free app. Users can securely accept payments within the app, which integrates with Google Calendar, WordPress, Stripe, and Square.

This free appointment scheduling tool even offers a class booking option to schedule meetings with multiple attendees.

Setmore pricing:

You can start using Setmore for free.

4. TimeTap for tech-savvy businesses managing teams

If added flexibility is what you’re aiming for, then take a look at TimeTap. Though it can get a bit technical to set up, TimeTap takes care of a lot of your existing administrative tasks.

These include things like coordinating multiple staff schedules, sending automatic booking confirmations via text or email, and saving key customer information so it can be automatically delivered to you at the time of the appointment.

TimeTap pricing:

Individual users can try TimeTap for free with their Starter plan. Paid business plans start at $67.45 a month for five staff members and five locations.

5. vCita for combining scheduling and customer management

Does your small business heavily rely on customer management? Scheduling apps like vCita are built to help you manage the customer service process. It provides personal client portal features so clients can schedule themselves and make payments without your direct involvement.

While we wouldn’t call vCita a full-blown CRM platform, it definitely comes with features that bring it pretty close to being one. You’re able to do more than just schedule appointments. You can customize and automate email campaigns and personalized reminder messages. Businesses in service industries like education, healthcare, and fitness can work well with vCita’s combination of tools.

vCita pricing:

Start using vCita with its Essentials plan starting at $19 a month when billed annually.

6. OnceHub for booking appointments with sales prospects

OnceHub is designed for engagement acceleration. It’s another multi-functional option on the list. It’s a scheduling app that ensures your appointment scheduling system runs smoothly, and it’s built to work well with sales prospects and lead generation needs.

With its chatbot feature, OnceHub sets you up to interact with potential clients with automated chat messages. Not only that, once a lead does enter their information, OnceHub is smart enough to route that lead to the most qualified team member.

With OnceHub, teams can connect instantly by video or phone. You can even engage prospects in real-time through its live chat feature for added engagement.

OnceHub pricing:

Use the OnceHub app for free for up to three users. Its paid Growth plan starts at $10 per user per month.

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7. SimplyBook.me for global businesses

If you’re a service-based business with a global client base, you’ll want to pay special attention to SimplyBook.me.

As a booking app, you can expect the essential features. We’re talking appointment booking tools, notifications via SMS or email, the ability to capture payments, and even integration features with a number of tools, including email marketing software and social media.

Now, where it gets a bit more interesting is SimplyBook.me’s custom features. With them, you’re able to do things like create tickets for sale for online events, generate coupons and gift cards, and even capture deposits. Once you integrate SimplyBook.me with Google Analytics, you’re able to see how your sales and custom booking efforts are performing.

SimplyBook.me pricing:

You can start using SimplyBook.me for free for up to 50 bookings. Its most affordable Basic plan starts at $8.25 a month.

8. Google Calendar for Google power users

If you’re already an avid Google Calendar user, you may not need a scheduling app. With Google Calendar’s bookable appointment schedule feature, you’re able to set up a block of appointment times other users can book.

For example, maybe you want to set aside a three-hour time slot on Mondays where clients can book an appointment at any time within those constraints. Once the appointment has been set, you’ll see the notification within that block on your calendar.

Besides that, Google Calendar has handy scheduling features that enable teams to book multiple meetings with multiple users, block off busy hours, and send appointment notifications.

Google Calendar pricing:

Google Calendar is free to use.

9. Microsoft Bookings for Microsoft 365 users

If you don’t rely on Google tools to run your business, chances are you’ll at least have a Microsoft subscription. It’s one of the best ways to get bookings without having to pay more.

With Microsoft Bookings, organising schedules and managing appointments becomes easier. Users are able to book and host virtual meetings with Microsoft Team features without having to toggle between applications. Best of all, it’s highly customizable. You’re able to set availability hours, the types of appointments you accept, and even how large you want meetings to be.

Microsoft Bookings pricing:

Microsoft 365 Business Basic starts at $6 per user per month with an annual subscription.

10. Square for brick-and-mortar bookings

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business that’s already familiar with Square for physical payment capture, consider its appointment scheduling app. It’s an all-in-one point-of-sale solution that allows you to set calendar availability through its mobile app to ensure you don’t run into any scheduling issues.

Plus, it comes with features to set up recurring appointments, the ability to charge fees for cancellations and no-shows, and automated appointment reminders via SMS or email.

Square pricing:

You can start Using Square for free for one location and access to its essential booking features.

Get more done with Paperform

There’s no shortage of scheduling apps to choose from, and no right answer for every business. The best appointment booking app is the one that works for you.

However, if you’re looking for a tool that’s as easy to use, comes with plenty of templates and customisation options, and offers all the essential scheduling features you need, Paperform is a great choice. Our intuitive doc-style editor empowers you to schedule meetings, gather payments, and automate everyday workflows across platforms, all from one place.

Why not try it out for yourself? Start scheduling today with Paperform's 14-day free trial, no credit card required.


About the author
Vivian Tejeda
Paperform Contributor
Vivian Tejeda is a B2B SaaS and marketing writer.

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