9 Best Scheduling Software for Small Business 2021

Best overall
Acuity Scheduling
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited appointments on all plans
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payment processing
Most customizable plans
Sage
Sage HR
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Modular plan building
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Variety of different modules
Best for projects
DeskTime
DeskTime
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Times tracking capabilities
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Invoice creation (on some plans)
Best for restaurants
7shifts brand logo
7shifts
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Restaurant-specific features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Per-location pricing
Most affordable
set more logo
Setmore
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free plan for up to four users
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Low per-user pricing

Tired of spending as much time scheduling appointments as attending them? That’s where scheduling software comes in handy. A good scheduling app can speed things up and keep you organized.

We know businesses have lots of different scheduling needs―from employee scheduling to client appointment scheduling―so we’ve rounded up the best scheduling tools for all kinds of businesses and booking needs. We’ll tell you what makes our picks great and what kinds of businesses will get the most out of them.

Let’s dig in.

Best scheduling software for business 2021

Compare the best business scheduling software

Brand
Starting cost
Free trial
Industry focus
Learn more
Acuity Scheduling$0.00/mo.7 daysService industries
Sage HR$5.50/mo.14 daysGeneral
DeskTime$0.00/mo.14 daysMarketing & IT
7shifts$0.00/mo.60 daysRestaurants
Setmore$0.00/mo.N/AService industries
GoReminders$12.00/mo.14 daysService industries
Buddy Punch$25.00/mo.30 daysGeneral
SimplyBook.me$0.00/mo.14 daysService industries
TimeDoctor$7.00/mo.14 daysGeneral

Data effective 1/22/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Acuity Scheduling: Best overall appointment scheduling

For most businesses that need client appointment scheduling software (especially self-scheduling), Acuity Scheduling offers the best solution.

In large part, that’s because Acuity Scheduling gives you lots of bang for relatively little buck. All its plans (including the free plan) let you create an unlimited number of service types and appointment slots. (Other software often limits the number of appointments you can make.) And all paid plans come with loads of useful features, from group appointments to coupons to reporting about your past appointments.

And while we’re talking about what you get for the cost, we need to mention that Acuity Scheduling doesn’t charge per-user (though plans do limit the number of users). That can make Acuity way more affordable for larger teams, where a flat monthly fee costs much less than paying for two dozen users.

Acuity Scheduling software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. staff/locations
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.$0.00/mo.1
Emerging$14.00/mo.$15.00/mo.1
Growing$23.00/mo.$25.00/mo.6
Powerhouse$45.00/mo.$50.00/mo.36

Data effective 1/22/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

But let’s get back to the features. Acuity Scheduling also works nicely with other software and products you may already use. For example, Acuity lets you take credit card payments through Square, Paypal, and Stripe. It integrates with Zoom and other meeting software. It syncs up with popular business calendar software. It can also work with some accounting software, and loads more apps besides.

Add in lots of customizability, helpful automated reminders, a HIPAA-compliant plan, and way more, and you’ve got yourself a powerful client scheduling tool.

With such excellent features and competitive pricing, Acuity Scheduling is our favorite online booking software for most businesses.

Sage HR (formerly CakeHR): Most customizable plans

While other scheduling software makes you choose from a few tiers of paid plans, Sage HR offers way more customizability by letting you build the plan you want.

Here’s how it works: Sage HR is an employee management software that lets you pick from different “modules,” each with their own per-employee cost. You’ll always get the Core HR + Leave Management module by default, but you can add as many (or as few) other modules as you want. And since other modules include things like shift scheduling tools and timesheets for attendance, Sage HR lets you build a perfect plan for your scheduling needs.

Sage HR software pricing

Module
Cost/mo.
Module type
Learn more
Core HR + Leave Management$5.50/employeeStandard
Performance$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Shift Scheduling$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Timesheets$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Expenses$1.50/employeeAdd-on
RecruitmentStarting at $200.00Add-on

Data effective 1/22/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Fortunately, there’s a lot to like about Sage HR’s modules. The Shift Scheduling module, for example, gives you a drag-and-drop employee scheduling tool for a painless scheduling process. It also offers reporting features, so you can get a birds-eye look at scheduling patterns. Similarly, even the basic Leave Management module offers reporting, custom rules, and software integrations. All handy stuff.

So if you’ve ever griped about paying for features you don’t use on other software, we suggest using Sage HR to build your own employee scheduling solution―just the way you want it.

DeskTime: Best for project-based businesses

If your team tends to tackle big billable projects (like IT or marketing), then you’ll like DeskTime’s staff scheduling and time tracking.

Now, we want to be upfront and say that you need DeskTime’s Premium or Enterprise plans to get shift scheduling features. But all of DeskTime’s plans come with time tracking, which makes it easy to make sure you’re staying on schedule.

DeskTime software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. users
Lite$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/mo.1
Pro$3.85–$6.00/user/mo.$4.20–$7.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Premium$5.01–$8.00/user/mo.$5.46–$9.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Enterprise$7.70–$12.00/user/mo.$8.40–$14.00/user/mo.Unlimited

Data effective 1/22/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Even better, each paid plan comes with project time tracking, so you can track both how long an individual employee is spending on something and how much time everyone has spent on a specific project. And with the Premium or Enterprise plans, DeskTime includes invoicing tools, so you can use your time-tracking data to easily create and send client invoices. Like we said―great for marketing or IT.

Put simply, DeskTime isn’t right for businesses that just want a team scheduling solution―but for project-based businesses, DeskTime’s time tracking makes it a standout app.

7shifts: Best for restaurants

7shifts caters (get it?) specifically to restaurants, with scheduling tools, time clocks, and other tools designed to make restaurant management easier.

That means that you’ll find a lot of the standard employee scheduling software tools you want. 7shifts lets your employees indicate their availability and time off requests, allows you to create and publish schedules (and notifies employees of new schedules), and makes it easy to track attendance with a time clock.

7shifts software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. employees
Learn more
Comp$0.00/mo./location$0.00/mo.10
Appetizer$17.99/mo./location$19.99/mo.20
Entrée$39.99/mo./location$43.99/mo.Unlimited
The Works$69.99/mo./location$76.99/mo.Unlimited

Data effective 1/22/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

But 7shifts, as we said, tailors all those tools (and more) to restaurants. So 7shifts plans operate on per-location pricing, rather than per-employee. Likewise, you can get add-ons that allow you to upgrade your time clock with task management, so employees will get a to-do list when they clock in (perfect for opening, prepping, or closing). You can even use 7shifts to have employees answer a health screen as part of clocking in.

All of which is to say that 7shifts understands how restaurants run, making it an ideal staff scheduling software for businesses in the food industry.

Setmore: Most affordable appointment scheduling

Setmore offers good (not amazing) appointment booking―but it does so at unbeatable prices.

Take its free plan. While other booking tools offer free plans, Setmore has the most robust free plan. It supports up to four users (most free plans are for one user only) and it comes with an unlimited number of appointments. Setmore’s free plan even includes the ability to take customer payments, as well as some software integrations.

Setmore software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. users
Learn more
Free$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/mo.4
Premium$9.00/user/mo.$12.00/user/mo.2
Pro$5.00/user/mo.$9.00/user/mo.3+

Data effective 1/23/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

But it’s not just the free plan that makes Setmore affordable. If you prefer a paid plan with more features, both its Premium and Pro plan have low per-user prices. To sweeten the deal, Setmore offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on paid plans―meaning you won’t have to pay for a scheduling tool you end up hating. Oh, and Setmore offers sales sometimes (like 50% off an annual Pro plan) to make things even cheaper.

So while other online scheduling software might have more fancy features, we love Setmore for its low, affordable app pricing.

Honorable mentions

GoReminders: Best booking customization

GoReminders offers a good alternative to the appointment booking software above, with one standout factor: its customization features.

While most booking systems offer at least some customization, GoReminders might offer the most. You can customize your appointment reminders (when they go out and what they say). You can customize how your scheduling tool actually works (whether it’s by staff, time, or or something else). You can customize labels (for appointment organization), required field, and more. In other words, you can customize a lot.

That makes GoReminders perfect for service-based businesses that want more control over their booking experience.

Buddy Punch: Best GPS capabilities

Buddy Punch has two plans, one of which offers time and attendance tracking, while the other adds scheduling tools. But both plans give you nifty GPS tools.

With Buddy Punch’s GPS tools, you can tie employee punch cards to locations. To be clear, that means you can set it so an employee can’t punch in unless they’re where they’re scheduled to be―not just when. So if you have a construction company, your team will have to be at the right job site to clock in. Or if you do home-based services, you can make sure your employee makes it to the right client.

Again, you will need to get the higher-tier plan if you want all of Buddy Punch’s scheduling features. But if you want control over schedules and locations, then you’ll find it worth the cost.

SimplyBook.me: Best for health professionals

SimplyBook.me has the best online scheduling for health professionals, from doctors to dentists to massage therapists (and others).

One big reason we like SimplyBook.me for healthcare businesses? It has not one but two HIPAA-compliant plans―so you won’t end up in hot water for using a less-secure scheduling tool. Plus, SimplyBook.me makes it easy to add intake forms to your online scheduling. And SimplyBook.me lets people book from social media, your website, and more, letting clients find you however works best for them.

SimplyBook.me can work well for other business types too, of course, but we think it offers the most value to health-related businesses.

TimeDoctor: Best for remote working

TimeDoctor offers a suite of tools to make sure your employees are using their time wisely and staying on schedule.

TimeDoctor offers both traditional time tracking as well as activity tracking (including screenshots). That can make it very helpful for businesses trying to get a remote workforce in place. (We do suggest you use the surveillance features sparingly and purposefully, as you don’t want employees to feel you don’t trust them.) And since higher-tier plans include payroll tools, you can easily make sure your team gets paid for their scheduled time.

For time tracking and other remote-friendly features, TimeDoctor gets the job done.

Scheduling software FAQ

What is the best free scheduling software?

We think Setmore offers the best free appointment scheduling software plan. It lets you set unlimited appointments for up to four users.

Realistically, though, many businesses will want to get a paid plan from one of the software companies above. Paid plans give you way more features and customizability. And if you’re worried about the commitment, most software gives you a free trial before you ever pay.

What are the different types of scheduling software?

Business scheduling software can refer to very different types of scheduling, but the most common are for scheduling employees, scheduling appointments (for example, with salon customers ), and keeping projects and employees on schedule (a.k.a. time tracking).

No matter which type you need, we’ve got your covered―we’ve included picks for each type in our rankings above.

How do I choose the right scheduling software?

To choose the best scheduling software for your business, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What type of scheduling tools do I need? (Client, employee, or time tracking)
  • How much can I spend on my software?
  • How many users will need to use this software?
  • Are there specific features I want? (Like software integrations, appointment reminders, etc.)

If you can answer those, you should be able to narrow down your choices to a software that fits your needs and budget.

The takeaway

Business scheduling software covers a lot of territory. Whether you want to create an employee schedule, track employee and project time, or let clients book appointments, the right app can help your business streamline all things scheduled.

Our software recommendations above can help with many types of scheduling needs for businesses in many industries.

So whatever software you go with, we hope it saves you more time on your business’s time management.

Now that you’ve got your scheduling down, take a look at the best project management software for keeping projects organized and on track.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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