Whether you’re an independent freelancer or running a service-based business, you likely need a simple way for people to book time with you.
Scheduling apps automate appointment booking, eliminating the need for emails or phone calls.
With everything that’s out there, picking the best scheduling systems and tools can feel overwhelming. The good news is that you have options. Here’s a closer look at some of our favorite apps that will make appointment booking a breeze.
Top scheduling apps for booking client meetings
If you’re already using Gmail, Google Calendar comes with a suite of tools built into your account. It’s the go-to scheduling tool for many teams and freelancers, offering an intuitive interface that makes setting up one time, as well as recurring, meetings with clients simple and fast.
The system is flexible, allowing you to create and view multiple client calendars, automatically set up video conferences with Google Meet or your preferred video platform via integration, and sync appointments and tasks to one main calendar.
Google Calendar is incredibly straightforward, so if you’re looking for an easy to use tool that lets you set up appointments with a select group of contacts, it’s likely all you need. However, if you want to create a dedicated booking page, you’re going to need a Google Workspace account and a paid Business Plan.
Pricing: Google Calendar is free to use, Appointment Booking pages are only available with the Google Workspace Business plan, which is $12.00 a month per user.
Calendly stands out with its ease of use. The appointment scheduling app makes it possible to create a booking page that you can share or embed in your own website in just a matter of minutes. The app has a meticulous layout, with an easy-to-use UI that makes online booking a breeze.
Along with the main booking system, Calendly also offers workflows for client communications that are available through their paid plans. One of our favorite features is Calendly’s automated email reminders and follow ups — saving you the time you’d spend reaching out on your own.
Pricing: Calendly offers a free Basic plan that lets you set up an online scheduling calendar with a customized booking link that generates automated event notifications. If you need more functionality and customization, they offer an Essentials plan for $8/month and a Professional level for $12/month.
Square’s free scheduling app provides all the functionality that most freelancers and small businesses would need for an online appointment booking system.
If you’re looking for personalization, Square Appointments offers plenty of options. Color schemes, typography, and layout options can all be customized, giving you everything you need to create a booking page in line with your brand. Given the creative freedom and functionality of Square Appointments, there’s a bit of a learning curve when working with it.
Pricing: The Free pricing plan likely has everything that a freelancer would need to set up a booking page, and it includes helpful features, like automated SMS reminders, as well as a powerful mobile app for keeping track of your bookings. It also includes a Book Now social media button that easily integrates with an Instagram business page. Though you get quite a bit with this plan, it doesn’t include things like Google Sync or text and email booking confirmations. You’ll have to sign up for Square Appointment’s Plus Plan for $29/month for these and other additional features.
Doodle offers a fast set up process, with a straightforward series of prompts to generate a booking page with a designated URL you can share with clients looking to schedule an appointment. Doodle’s calendar sync allows you to connect with Google Calendar and Office 365, giving you further visibility on what bookings or meetings you have coming up.
One drawback is the amount of ads that come with the free plan. Both the admin panel and booking page have ads occupying multiple spaces across the app — creating a more distracting and cluttered interface.
Pricing: The Free plan is enough to get you started, but you need to be okay with ads on your booking page. The Pro tier is $6.95 a month and is ad free, offers unlimited booking pages with custom branding, and includes conferencing through Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Zoom.
Zoho Bookings is a solid option for those looking for a more robust scheduling tool. Their industry-specific templates are visually appealing and offer user experiences geared toward respective audiences. They also make it possible for your clients to pay you ahead of time through Stripe, PayPal, and several other payment processing options if you sign up for their Premium plan.
Another advantage of Zoho Bookings are its features that discourage no-shows and cancellations. Zoho Bookings lets you set time limits for canceling or modifying appointments, as well charging for a deposit. Anyone who has had to deal with the headaches caused by last-minute cancellations will find these features especially useful.
Pricing: Zoho Bookings’ Basic plan of $6/month offers a wide range of options including customized color palettes, Zoom and Zoho video conferencing, as well as a Zapier integration. If you want to accept online payments, want to sync with Zoho’s CRM, or need 3 or more workspaces, you’ll want to go with their Premium level for $9/month.
SimplyBook offers speedy set up, along with several well-designed themes that will work for almost any type of business. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, SimplyBook offers booking pages with features geared for particular businesses. They offer templates custom tailored for a wide range of industries, including beauty and wellness, sports and fitness, medical and health, as well as several other categories.
SimplyBook also accepts bookings through a variety of channels, including Facebook and Instagram, as well through websites via an embeddable widget. Having multiple ways to display your booking page gives you more opportunities to get in front of clients — potentially bringing in more revenue.
Pricing: If all you need are 50 bookings/month, the free plan will suffice. If you have multiple people on your team and need more bookings, you’ll have to go with one of their paid plans starting at $8.25/month.
Calendar is well established, boasting over 80,000 companies in their customer base. Their booking system is a well=developed product with plenty of functionality — all in a lightweight user interface.
Setting up appointments based on mutual availability is a snap. Calendar takes into account all of your linked calendars, ensuring your availability is up-to-date and accurate. All of this is facilitated by a single link you can send to your clients, which guides them through finding available time slots using a classic calendar interface.
Pricing: The Free plan works well for individuals or those who have just a few team members. Signing up for the Free plan lets you sync to either a Google, Office 365, or Outlook calendar and lets you send out invites that include up to five different people’s availability. The Standard plan for $6/month gives you a bit more, letting you sync to all three of the previous calendar options, access to analytics, enables Zapier integration, and includes additional features you might need if you’re operating at a larger scale.
Run a better business with automated bookings
Trying to juggle multiple appointments and email communications on your own can cut into time better spent doing what you love. Scheduling apps offer a fast and easy way for your clients to book time with you that also works well for them.
With so many different aspects of running a business, booking clients should be the least of your worries. We hope that one of the apps we’ve covered will be the right fit for you and help you get back to focusing on your business.