Appointment scheduling software allows clients to view a calendar of your business’s available meeting times and self-book an appointment. It also lets business owners manage appointments, send automatic reminders, and accept deposits online. Free appointment scheduling software can be hard to find, as many programs are simply limited versions of larger, paid services. However, we identified six programs that provide comprehensive features at no cost.
The best free appointment scheduling software for 2020 are:
- Square Appointments: Best overall choice for solo providers who want scheduling, payment, and SMS reminders for free.
- Setmore: Best for service businesses looking for multi-staff scheduling or class booking.
- Acuity Scheduling: Best for medical practices and businesses that need custom intake forms.
- Fresha (Shedul): Best for salon and spa owners wanting a free option for their entire staff.
- Appointlet: Best free appointment scheduling that syncs with Office 365 and Outlook calendars.
- Calendly: Best for businesses that want a more feature-rich program than Square (although some features require paid upgrade).
If you’re not sure which software is best for your needs, take this 3-question quiz:
How We Evaluated Appointment Scheduling Software
For appointment scheduling software to work for your business, it needs to account for all the nuances that go into booking an appointment. For example, some businesses charge clients during the booking process or need clients to fill out a questionnaire before confirming their appointment. Others need support for multiple employees or may want a Zoom integration that automatically adds meeting links to the confirmation email.
To evaluate free appointment scheduling software, we looked carefully at all of these features. We also noted which are available for free versus which require a premium upgrade—because the last thing you want is to get all set up, then find out you need to pay a monthly fee to access one essential feature. Lastly, we evaluated each software’s quality, ease of use, and customer support. If the system shows ads on your booking page or requires users to register an account, this might hinder the customer experience and hurt your brand.
Square Appointments: Best Free Appointment Scheduling Software for Solo Providers
Square gives you all the main features of appointment scheduling software without hiding anything behind a paywall or showing pesky ads. You can set up a webpage where clients can view your open time slots and book an appointment, send automatic email or SMS reminders when the appointment is drawing near, and sync your appointments with Google Calendar, so any conflicts you have are automatically removed from your booking page.
Square Appointments Strengths
Square Appointments Weaknesses
All features are free for one user
Expensive to add multiple users
Automatic email and SMS reminders
Can’t customize sign-up form
Syncs with Google Calendar
No classes or joint calendars
Square Appointments Pricing
- Free: Full appointment scheduling software free for one user plus a transaction fee of 2.5% plus 10 cents for any payments processed through the platform
- $50 per month for two to five users
- $90 per month for six to 10 users
- Custom pricing for businesses with 11 or more users
Square Appointments Features
- Booking Page: Square lets you create a custom booking page or embed the booking feature on your own website. Unlike Setmore, Appointlet, and Calendly, Square does not try to brand your booking page or show ads for Square Appointments. There is just a small Square logo at the footer of the page.
- Accept Payments: Square is also a payment processing company, so you can enable customers to pay online when they book their appointment. Users can also send a bill later with Square’s built-in invoicing.
- Dynamic Calendar: View your weekly appointments on Square’s dashboard. Should you need to reschedule, simply drag the appointment to a new time slot. Square will automatically notify the client via email or SMS.
- Calendar Sync: A two-way synchronization with Google Calendar means that any prior engagements marked on your calendar will automatically be unavailable on your booking page. Likewise, any appointments booked through Square will appear on your Google Calendar. Currently, only Google Calendar is supported. If you use a different calendar, like Office 365, check out Appointlet or Calendly instead.
- Customer Support: Phone, chat, and email support are available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time. At the time of this writing, email support has a 24- to 48-hour response time.
Learn more about why Square Appointments is our best overall pick by visiting our full Square Appointments review.
Setmore: Best Free Appointment Scheduling for Multiple Staff Members
Setmore supports up to four users for free and is loaded with features that make it great for managing teams. Clients can book online and see which employees are available at a particular time. Or, you can add appointments manually from the dashboard, as well as reschedule or reassign appointments with just a few clicks. Should you need additional users, Setmore gives you up to 20 employee calendars for $17 per month (when paid annually). This is far less expensive than other platforms on our list, especially considering the wealth of features.
Free for up to four users
Must upgrade for two-way calendar sync
Allows customers to register for classes
Setmore branding on sign-up page
Accepts payments via Square
No joint calendars (two employees assigned to the same appointment)
- Free: Use a nearly-complete version of Setmore free for up to four employees.
- $17 per month covers up to 20 employees and adds features like two-way calendar sync, SMS reminders, and custom branding for your sign-up page.
- $89 per month for Setmore’s Live Booking service; an in-house receptionist will take calls and book appointments on your behalf. This is competitively priced compared to other answering services.
- Booking Page: Create a booking page for clients to view open appointments or sign up for classes. While the page overall looks great and feels professional, the free version does include a banner with the Setmore logo and slogan. Also, when clients book an appointment they are invited (though not required) to create an account with your business, so they can view or edit their appointments. Setmore allows you to embed the booking form on your own website.
- Class Booking: Setmore is the only free service we reviewed that lets you book classes in addition to regular appointments. Simply create a new class on your dashboard, enter the number of available seats, and set the class schedule.
- Accept Payments: Clients can pay for their appointment online through a Square Payments integration. Alternatively, if you’re on Setmore’s premium plan, there’s also an integration with Stripe.
- Calendar Sync: Paying users can set up two-way calendar sync with Google, Office 365, or Outlook Calendars. Free users can set up one-way sync that displays your Setmore appointments in your personal calendar, but not the other way around.
- Customer Support: Setmore provides 24/7 phone and live chat support. During my evaluation, my questions were always answered immediately, even during non-business hours.
Check out our full Setmore review for more information on its features and pricing.
Acuity Scheduling: Best for Medical Businesses (And Those Needing Intake Forms)
Acuity is the best-looking and smoothest platform we reviewed, both for visitors booking appointments and users managing them on the back-end. It’s loaded with handy features, including custom intake questionnaires that are useful for medical practices and other businesses that need detailed information from clients before confirming appointments. As a top-shelf program, however, Acuity does not give away too much for free. The free version is quite limited compared to the other programs.
Acuity Scheduling Strengths
Acuity Scheduling Weaknesses
Create custom intake forms for when clients schedule appointments
Must upgrade to embed sign-up form on your site or accept payments
Book unlimited appointments and appointment types
Must upgrade for two-way calendar sync
HIPAA-compliant and supports joint calendars (with paid upgrade)
Must upgrade for SMS reminders
Acuity Scheduling Pricing
- Free: Acuity provides a very basic version of their software free for one user. Clients can book an unlimited number of appointments with intake forms, but there are no automatic reminders, payments, or calendar syncs.
- $15 per month adds the aforementioned features (but with email reminders only; no SMS) and gives you the ability to embed your booking page on your website. It’s still only for one user.
- $25 per month supports up to six users and includes SMS reminders, as well as subscription and membership management.
- $50 per month supports up to 36 users, adds gift certificate management, custom CSS, API support, and has the option to become HIPAA-compliant.
Acuity Scheduling Features
- Booking Page: Acuity provides an attractive, minimalist booking page that can also be embedded on your website. The free version does not let you customize the booking page with your own logo but the design still looks neat and professional. Besides a “Powered by Acuity” badge at the bottom of the page, it doesn’t feature any pesky ads or branding.
- Custom Forms: Have clients fill out a custom questionnaire before they schedule an appointment. You can design a detailed form with text fields, drop-down lists, yes/no buttons, and more. This can help you determine if the client is truly a good fit before confirming the appointment and/or requiring payment.
- Advanced Booking Options: Premium users can set up memberships, sell appointment packages in bulk, and set up joint calendars. This latter allows you to have multiple employees booked on the same appointment such as a couples massage that requires two therapists. Acuity is the only program we reviewed that can do this.
- Integrations: Premium users can integrate Acuity with video chat software (Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.), which will automatically create meeting links and send them with reminder emails. CRM and email marketing integrations allow you to add new appointees to your customer databases.
- Customer Support: Email support is available Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Visit our full Acuity Scheduling review to learn more about the platform’s user experience.
Fresha: Best Free Appointment Scheduling for Salons & Spas
Fresha (formerly known as Shedul) takes the bold approach of giving you a completely free appointment scheduling platform for an unlimited number of employees. In return, it requires you to add your business to Fresha Marketplace, a Yelp-like directory for salons and spas where they take a 20% commission for first-time customers. That, and the fact that Fresha lacks two-way calendar syncs and joint calendars, may make it less desirable for some businesses. However, others may find it a useful tool to fill some vacant seats.
Completely free for unlimited users
Only for Spas, Salons, Fitness, Tanning, and Tattoos
Built-in email and SMS marketing (as well as appointment reminders)
Doesn’t sync with any other calendars
Promote your business on Fresha Marketplace
Can’t embed sign-up form on your own website
- Free: Fresha is completely free to use for an unlimited number of employees. However, in order to use online booking, you need to use Fresha’s online payment processing, which has a fee of 2.19% plus 20 cents per transaction.
- Booking Page: Appointment bookings are handled through Fresha.com, a network that aims to be the Yelp or LivingSocial for salons and spas. When you sign up, you get a customizable profile on Fresha where visitors can view your open appointments. However, visitors will have to register an account with Fresha, which means an added step before they confirm the appointment. Also, Fresha’s booking tool cannot be embedded on your own website.
- Dynamic Calendar: Like Square, Setmore, and Acuity, there’s a simple dashboard where you can view all your employee’s schedules and simply drag and drop to reschedule appointments. Fresha lets you send automatic appointment reminders and notifications of cancellation and rescheduling requests.
- Fresha Marketing: Built-in marketing via email, text, and Fresha’s salon network allows you to easily create a variety of marketing campaigns. However, Fresha does take a 20% commission for clients they bring you via the Fresha Marketplace (for their first appointment only).
- Customer Support: Email support is available 24/7. However, during my evaluation, it took about 12 hours to receive a response.
Visit our full Fresha review to find out more about how the platform can help your business.
Appointlet: Best Free Appointment Scheduling for Office 365
Unlike the other programs, Appointlet gives you a strong set of features for free: You can book an unlimited number of appointments with custom intake fields and sync your calendar with Google Calendar, Office 365, or Outlook. These are two of the biggest reasons why you might choose Appointlet over Square, as Square does not sync with Office 365 or Outlook, and does not let you create custom forms.
Two-way sync with Google Calendar or Office 365
Can’t embed sign-up form on website
Create custom intake forms for when clients schedule appointments
Must upgrade to accept payments or send email reminders
Zoom, GoToMeeting, Join.Me, and Google Meet integrations are temporarily free
Appointlet branding on sign-up page
- Free: Appointlet provides most features free for one user
- $8 per month adds automatic email reminders, online payments (via Stripe), and the ability to remove Appointlet branding from your scheduling page
- Booking Page: Create a booking page with your own logo for clients to view your open appointments. The appointment booking tool is simple and easy-to-use; however, when visitors reach the confirmation page, they see an ad that reads “Get your own Appointlet page for free.” Also, unlike most of the other programs, Appointlet does not let you embed the booking tool on your own website.
- Calendar Sync: A two-way synchronization with Google Calendar, Office 365, or Outlook means that any prior engagements marked on your calendar will automatically be unavailable on your booking page. Likewise, any appointments booked through Appointlet will appear on your personal calendar. Appointlet is the only program to offer an Office 365 integration for free (besides Calendly, which has severe limitations).
- Video Chat Integrations: Due to changes in work caused by COVID-19, Appointlet is providing video chat integrations (Zoom, Join.me, Go2Meeting, and Webex) to free users. However, Appointlet customer service representatives said that they have no plans to make this a paid feature. Video chat links are automatically generated and added to booking emails for you and your clients.
- Customer Support: Email and live chat support are available during regular Pacific time business hours.
You can learn more about these features on our full Appointlet review.
Calendly: Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Large Teams
Calendly is loaded with features for teams that deal with a high volume of appointments: You can assign team members round-robin based on various rules, or based on when all necessary team members are available. Unfortunately, none of these features are available with the free version of Calendly as the version only supports one user. However, should you be looking for a free program that has the ability to scale, Calendly may be a good bet.
Two-way sync with Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud
Free users can only offer one appointment type (e.g., 60-minute phone call)
Zoom and GoToMeeting integrations are temporarily free
Must upgrade for SMS reminders or to accept payments
Premium (paid) version offers group booking and advanced team scheduling
Calendly branding on sign-up page
- Free: Calendly provides a basic version free for one user. You can only book one event type, which means you can only set up a single meeting duration, name, location, and description.
- $8 per month Premium plan removes the free restrictions and adds support for up to two users. It also removes Calendly branding from your booking page.
- $12 per month Pro plan supports up to six users and adds online payments and SMS notifications.
- Booking Page: Calendly gives you a slick booking page for clients to view your open time slots and schedule an appointment. You can also embed this booking tool on your own website. Overall, the feature is simple and professional, however, after confirming their appointment, clients will see an ad to sign up for Calendly.
- Team Booking: For Premium users, team booking allows you to separate your employees into different groups (such as a support team and sales team), then distribute new appointments based on predetermined rules. For example, when a new sales request comes in, you assign it based on who’s available or assign it to multiple sales agents if it’s a particularly big account.
- Group Bookings: Set up classes, webinars, or lectures that allow multiple attendees.
- Video Chat Integrations: Due to the pandemic, Calendly is temporarily providing video chat integrations (Zoom and Go2Meeting) to free users. It is not clear if/when this will return to being a paid feature. Video chat links are automatically generated and added to booking emails for you and your clients.
- Customer Support: Email support is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. For paid accounts, Calendly guarantees a three-hour response time. Live chat support is also available for accounts with 10 or more users.
Discover why Calendly earned 4.7 out of 5 stars by visiting our full Calendly review.
Your appointment booking software is an extension of your brand. If the software doesn’t work correctly or displays pesky ads, it will hinder the customer experience and reflect negatively on your brand.
This is a big reason why we recommend Square Appointments for solo entrepreneurs. The free version provides every feature you’ll likely need, and the booking experience is smooth and ad-free. You can accept online payments for deposits, send automatic SMS reminders to your clients, and sync your appointments with Google Calendar, so any prior engagements are automatically marked off your booking website. To start using Square for free, click the button below.