Taking appointments and scheduling is an integral part of many small and large businesses.
In the past, you’d call up and enquire about available times, perhaps someone would answer, perhaps you’d have to try again later. Once you got the appointment, you’d make a note on the calendar on your wall or in your diary, which was always going walkabouts.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve often had to move around my appointments due to unforeseeable circumstances. This always involved another phone call or an email, which you feared they might not see.
My diary was a mess. I even missed a couple of appointments because I forgot I’d made them.
Fast forward to 2020 and everyone is booking through their smartphones.
Everything from hairdresser’s appointments to meeting rooms to life coaching sessions are being booked through the use of appointment scheduling software, and Calendly’s a name that keeps coming up.
Calendly first came onto the market in 2013 in Atlanta and has since become a pretty popular scheduling app around the world, boasting 5,000,000 monthly users. It caters to everyone from freelancers to educational institutions, but is it all it’s cracked up to be and are there any better Calendly alternatives?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using Calendly over other popular booking apps.
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Some booking apps set a limit on how many appointments you can take per month. Not Calendly. This is a great advantage as you can simply get on with taking appointments without worrying about reaching your limit, even if you’re on the free plan. Hopefully, your only worry will be if you’ll have enough slots for all your clients!
Ease of use
In general, booking apps are fairly easy to use, though you can still run into UX issues due to a bad design decision. Calendly has a well designed interface, which makes setting up your schedule and booking in appointments a breeze.
These templates help you to automate your workflow, for example, if someone books an appointment with you, you can set it up so that it sends them a confirmation email, a reminder on the day and then a feedback survey request post meeting (though bear in mind that this feature is only available to Pro plan users).
As well as integrating with all popular calendars, including Outlook, Office 365, iCloud and Google, Calendly has a whole host of native integrations, which range from website builders to CRM tools.
Paying per user is costly for big teams
With Calendly, you’re charged $10/user per month. If your company has many users, you’ll be looking at increased costs with this app. Other scheduling apps charge a set price for multiple users, which would make more sense for businesses with really large teams.
SetMore’s paid plan costs $25/month for up to 20 users, which works out at $1.25/user.
SimplyBook.me’s paid plan costs $9.99/month for 15 users, which works out at $0.66/user.
You can’t take payments on the free plan
No desktop software available
Though most will find the web and mobile app sufficient, some might prefer to have their booking system on their desktop. If this is your preference then you might like to take a look at SetMore.
Lacking customization options within the dashboard
Some might find Calendly to limit them when it comes to organizing internal scheduling such as social media and content management. A better tool for this is Monday.com.
So, as you can see, there are a few interesting alternatives to Calendly out there. Let me introduce you to what I consider to be the best scheduling software.
Setmore is my top choice when it comes to choosing a scheduling app, mostly because it’s just so easy to use and it offers a really generous free plan.
It’ll only take you a few minutes to get set-up, even those who have little technical knowledge will find it very simple. In fact, its set-up wizard means that it’s impossible to miss a step.
Where Setmore beats Calendly:
Aside from being a very easy to use tool, Setmore has some unique features that Calendly lacks. The fact that you can download Setmore onto your desktop might be pretty appealing to some as it means you can use it offline.
Price is a big reason why I like Setmore so much. The free plan comes with 4 user accounts or for $25/month you’ll be able to have up to 20 user accounts. When you consider that Calendly charges $10/month per user, Setmore is a much more economical option for larger teams.
In fact, Setmore’s free plan is pretty generous all round, offering unlimited appointments, automated emails and payment processing via Square.
Where Calendly wins:
Calendly does offer a slightly broader range of calendars (Setmore is missing iCloud and Outlook), though you can always use Zapier.
I’d recommend Setmore to anyone looking for a generous free plan, or to those who would benefit from the desktop software. You’ll definitely get more for your money with Setmore if you’re in need of more than one user account.
Founded in 2008, SimplyBook.me is a few years older than Calendly. It also has a nice range of features and design options, which is why I think it makes a great Calendly alternative.
Where Simplybook.me beats Calendly:
Simplybook.me is unique in that it offers a range of really good-looking, responsive website templates. This is great for those who are looking for both a booking app and a simple landing page in one. I have to say that for very little effort, you can get a very professional looking site, albeit a basic one.
The membership feature is also quite unique. This allows you to offer both discounts and treats to your members, for example, lower recurring payments. Having the ability to offer these types of incentives can only help boost sales and retain clients.
Offering over 40 payment processors (including PayPal, Square and Stripe), Simplybook.me definitely beats Calendly’s two (PayPal and Stripe).
Where Calendly wins:
Unfortunately, Simplybook.me is only available in English, whereas Calendly offers its service in French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese. If you have a multilingual team and need the interface in multiple languages then Calendly would be a better option.
The simple website builder will come in handy for solo-preneurs and small businesses looking for an uncomplicated solution. Having a host of payment processors to choose from will appeal to those wishing to offer more options to their clients.
If you have a Wix site, Wix Bookings, an app from the Wix marketplace, is a great scheduling solution. With this tool, you can take one-to-one or group bookings and accept payments directly on your site, as well as sync it with your Google calendar.
Where Wix beats Calendly:
This is a great app for existing Wix users as it means that everything is managed from your Wix site or the Wix mobile app (iOS and Android) as there’s no need to rely on multiple services.
You can also enable several staff accounts to manage the bookings and sell membership subscriptions online.
Where Calendly wins:
Unfortunately, the Bookings app can only be used on Wix websites, and by those on one of its Business Premium Plans.
A couple of other disadvantages is that the booking feature can only be added to one page and multilingual setup isn’t possible.
Those who need to add variations to the durations of their sessions will find this isn’t possible. Instead, you’ll have to duplicate your services.
Wix site owners who are looking for an easy-to-use app that can take online payments and integrate with Google Calendar.
Novocall is a little different from the other software providers on this list. It’s a call solution for inbound and outbound calls, but also helps you schedule video and phone meetings via the TimeSync feature.
It integrates with Zoom and GoogleMeet for video conferencing, as well as integrating with popular CRMs, Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
Where TimeSync beats Calendly:
A nice feature of TimeSync is it qualifies your leads prior to booking a meeting with you by asking them a series of questions. This can help save you time and mean you’re better prepared when it comes to actually meeting prospective clients.
If you’re in need of SMS notifications, TimeSync offers this feature at a lower cost. It’s Pro plan costs $9/month, whereas Calendly charges $15/month.
If your primary focus is to schedule and hold video calls via Zoom then you’ll be happy to hear that this integration is possible on TimeSync’s free plan. Calendly reserves this feature for paid users only.
Where Calendly wins:
TimeSync offers direct integrations only with Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar whereas Calendly integrates with all popular calendars.
Though you can send notifications and reminders with TimeSync, you’re not able to automate entire workflows like you can with Calendly.
I’d recommend TimeSync to businesses who primarily conduct their meetings online via video call. Its qualifying feature also makes it an interesting solution for larger businesses with lots of new leads coming in.
Monday.com, a productivity tool, first officially came onto the market in 2014, after it was launched in Tel Aviv. A few years later the mobile app was launched, which led them to be named one of the top 15 fastest growing companies of 2018. In 2020 it surpassed 100,000 teams using the platform.
It’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but I thought it interesting to include Monday as this handles internal scheduling matters better than Calendly.
Where Monday beats Calendly:
Monday.com’s offering is much broader than Calendly’s due to its wide range of features. For example, you can have various ‘workspaces’ and multiple dashboards within these. This can be a great way to separate projects or manage the tasks of different teams.
Monday has tons of templates, meaning that you can use it for so much more than simply scheduling. Because it’s an all-round productivity tool, you’ll find templates such as blog planning, social media scheduling, sprint planning (for developers), and much more.
It’s also available in 12 languages, which is much more than Calendly’s 5.
Where Calendly wins:
With Monday.com, you have to purchase a minimum of 3 users, which means that its cheapest plan comes out at $29/month and there’s no free plan. If you need between 1-2 users, this won’t be the right option for you. Calendly, on the other hand, offers a free plan with 1 user account.
Due to Monday’s extensive options, you might be slightly overwhelmed at first. If you’d rather a more simplified tool then Calendly beats Monday in terms of ease of use.
Though Monday has plenty of use cases, it isn’t really for booking appointments with clients. For example, if you’re a hair salon looking for booking software, you’d be better off with Setmore or Simplybook.me.
This is a great project management tool with plenty of features. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you keep on top of everything from sales and marketing to customer service and product development then Monday.com is worth checking out.
We’ve seen that there are some excellent Calendly alternatives out there, but which one is right for you? Well, that totally depends on what your needs are.
The 4 tools we’ve looked at are unique in their own way, and there will be scenarios where one would make more sense to use than another. Let’s take a look:
I need a booking app that can take payments online
I need a simple website to take bookings on
Best Calendly alternative: Simplybook.me, Wix
I need a tool to help with project management
Best Calendly alternative: Monday.com
I need a scheduling app that can help me qualify leads
Best Calendly alternative: Novocall’s TimeSync
I need an affordable solution for a large team
Best Calendly alternative: Setmore
If you have any questions about the tools or would like to share your experience using them, leave me a comment below!