Work smarter—not harder—to fill up your book.

Open your business. Check. Set up a website and social media. Check. Secure a space, whatever trainings you need, or permits. Check, check, and check. 

Now what?

It’s time to get clients to start showing up—or, if you’re already well underway with your business—to get more clients in the door. 

Instead of juggling a paper calendar, taking calls at all hours, and hoping you’ll write down appointments correctly, consider taking your business to the next level with online scheduling software (this is 2019, after all!). 

Scheduling apps are designed to save you time and money—and to grow your client base. Customers can book you up any time they want, without you having to be on phone duty. 

But with scores of online scheduling apps out there, how can you narrow down the best fit for your business? We’ve rounded up our five favorite scheduling apps for 2019, breaking down exactly what scheduling software features are necessary.

What’s more: We’ve found apps at every price point.

What are the benefits of an online appointment scheduling app?

On the fence about online scheduling software? Let’s get specific about exactly what you get from an appointment scheduling app.

  • You can manage your schedule. Scheduling software gives you access to your calendar updated in real time—from any device. You can easily edit or cancel appointments 24/7.

  • You’ll save time and money. Are you spending your days on the phone booking appointments, interrupting time with your clients to manage your schedule? Or, are you throwing money at the problem, stretching your budget to pay someone to stay on top of your calendar? Online scheduling software cuts down on the time and money you’re wasting, giving you more of both.

  • You can market your business with ease. Any online scheduling software worth the price tag should include marketing features, like email marketing, deal management, and a business listing. (The business listing is especially key: By adding your salon or studio to the software’s online community, you’ll benefit from their marketing efforts that bring customers to their site.)

  • You can share information easily and safely. Client information can be super sensitive, and it’s not safe to share details over email or text. Scheduling apps let you maintain all client notes in one secure platform, allowing you to provide a streamlined service without the risk.

  • You can get paid right away. When you’re looking at online scheduling software, look out for a payment feature that allows clients to pay through the app. You can take deposits (which cuts down on cancellations) and process payments all in one place, making getting paid a seamless process for you and the client.

What features should online scheduling software have?

Every online scheduling app comes with unique features, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what you need. To help with your research, we’ve narrowed down five critical elements to consider when it comes to picking an appointment scheduling app.

  • Scheduling. Scheduling software should have multiple options for booking, such as appointments, classes, workshops, and more.

  • Marketing. These features grow your business and include deal promotion options, business listings, email marketing campaigns, and social media booking integrations.

  • Automation. Scheduling apps should take care of daily, repetitive business tasks, like client reminders, automatic billing, and emails.

  • Administrative support. Any software should deal with the logistics of staff and client management and managing multiple locations.

  • Cost. Scheduling software should save you money—and even help you make more of it by filling up your calendar—so apps should come with a reasonable price tag.

The 5 Best Online Scheduling Apps of 2019

1. Best Scheduling Software for Any Service-Based Business: Schedulicity

We couldn’t put together a list of the best online appointment scheduling apps without mentioning our own—which we happen to think is the very best option out there. Schedulicity is an all-in-one scheduling solution for all kinds of small businesses with marketing, client management, and payment integrations. 

Whether you’re starting out or expanding your business to another location, Schedulicity provides all the essential features to grow as you do. Because of the à-la-carte pricing, it’s easy to pay for what you need—and nothing more. 

Schedulicity Features 

SchedulingMarketingAutomationAdministrativeCost
Appointment bookingFacebook & Instagram booking integrationClient text/email remindersClient managementStarts at $20/month
Class bookingsAutomated email marketingPackage managementStaff schedule management
Workshop bookingsPromotion marketingAutomatic billingMultiple locations
Personal time offMarketplace listingOnline paymentsBusiness analytics
Multiple staff schedulesWaivers
Waitlists

Our Favorite Schedulicity Feature

Schedulicity Pay is our proprietary payment processing solution that integrates seamlessly into the scheduling experience. Schedulicity Pay has a low flat rate starting at 1.99%. Make getting paid a snap.

2. Best Scheduling Software for Fitness Classes: MindBody

MindBody is an enterprise-level scheduling platform, mainly marketed towards businesses in the fitness industry. The app comes with a robust set of fitness-specific features, such as fitness performance tracking, gym memberships, and more. MindBody also services salon, spa, and wellness businesses, and includes the core essentials for online scheduling.

MindBody Features

SchedulingMarketingAutomationAdministrativeCost
Appointment bookingFacebook & Instagram booking integrationClient text/email remindersClient managementStarts at $129/month
Class bookingsAutomated email marketingPackage managementStaff schedule management
Multiple staff schedulesPromotion marketingAutomatic billingMultiple locations
Personal time offMarketplace listingOnline paymentsBusiness analytics
Waivers
Waitlists

Our Favorite MindBody Feature: 

For an added fee, you can set up a branded mobile app to personalize your client booking experience. A feature like this takes your brand to the next level, upping your credibility and professionalism. 

3. Best Scheduling Software With Ecommerce: Vagaro

Vagaro specializes in appointment management for the beauty industry, offering more advanced features like an ecommerce store for salon products. (They do also offer core scheduling services that would be a fit for fitness businesses.) Mainly used by small businesses, Vagaro can grow with you as your business expands. 

Vagaro Features

SchedulingMarketingAutomationAdministrativeCost
Appointment bookingFacebook & Instagram booking integrationClient text/email remindersClient managementStarts at $25/month
Class bookingsAutomated email marketingPackage managementStaff schedule management
Multiple staff schedulesPromotion marketingAutomatic billingMultiple locations
Personal time offMarketplace listingOnline paymentsBusiness analytics

Our Favorite Vagaro Feature

Vagaro offers an integrated website builder with the booking app already in place—it’s perfect for a business that’s just starting out and doesn’t yet have a digital home.

4. Best Scheduling Software for Tool-Junkies: Acuity Scheduling

Acuity Scheduling by SquareSpace is a super simple platform covering all the essentials, including website integration, reminder emails, and package management. This software is an especially good option if you use SquareSpace to manage your site—you can keep all of your business needs in one place.

Acuity Scheduling Features

SchedulingMarketingAutomationAdministrativeCost
Appointment bookingFacebook & Instagram booking integrationClient text/email remindersClient managementStarts at $15/month
Personal time offPackage managementStaff schedule management
Multiple staff schedulesMultiple locations
Business analytics

Our Favorite Acuity Scheduling Feature

The beauty of Acuity Scheduling is its ability to work with other tools you’re already using. The app integrates with tons of other softwares like MailChimp and QuickBooks, for example.

5. Best Scheduling Software for the Beauty Business: Styleseat

Styleseat is a scheduling platform built for solo providers that includes the necessary scheduling features and some marketing options to help manage your client relationships. The app is geared towards the beauty industry, with highly visual features across the board, like a customized business listing banner. 

SchedulingMarketingAutomationAdministrativeCost
Appointment bookingFacebook & Instagram booking integrationClient text/email remindersClient managementStarts at $35/month
Personal time offOnline paymentsBusiness analytics

Our Favorite StyleSeat Feature

StyleSeat shows verified reviews for every business listing to help boost credibility and establish trust.