One question though, do we really need a appointment scheduling software. As a freelancer i never need it and have a personal diary with me which will help me to take care of everything
12 Free Appointment Scheduling Software Packages for Freelancers
Posted February 2, 2011 in Tools/Resources
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you may need appointment scheduling software.
Sure, you could hire someone to keep your appointments straight. For some freelancers hiring someone is the right solution, but for many freelancers hiring someone to set appointments is just too costly.
An alternative solution to the problem of keeping up with your schedule is to use appointment scheduling software instead. In this post, I’ll explain what appointment scheduling software is and list twelve software options for freelancers.
What Is Appointment Scheduling Software?
At its most basic, appointment scheduling software lets you record and track your appointments with clients and colleagues. The most recent generation of appointment scheduling software goes one step further, it allows your clients to schedule their own appointments online (within preset parameters). Some tools even include mobile functionality.
Many appointment scheduling packages will also bill or allow the client to pay for the appointment online, send reminders, and even update your calendar software automatically.
Now that you understand what appointment scheduling software is, you may wonder what the advantage is to using it.
Pros of Appointment Scheduling Software
Let’s take a look at appointment scheduling without appointment scheduling software and then explore the difference that appointment scheduling software can make for freelancers.
While each package works a little differently, the examples below are typical for many of these tools.
Without appointment scheduling software, a prospective client emails you asking for a consulting appointment. You email back suggesting several dates and times. Unfortunately, none of these dates and times is to the client’s liking, so they email back again asking for different dates. You could go back and forth like this several times, before actually scheduling an appointment. In some cases, the client might actually lose interest before an appointment gets set up.
With appointment scheduling software, a prospective client clicks on a scheduling link on your website. They view a list of your available timeslots, select the time that is best for them, choose the type of consultation they would like, and prepay for it online.
You can see how easy the appointment scheduling software could make things for both you and your client. The next question becomes, how do I find the right appointment scheduling software for me?
Options for Appointment Scheduling
Once I realized what an advantage appointment scheduling software could provide to freelance consultants and coaches, I went searching for the best packages online. This post lists what I found.
(Note: At the time of publication, all of these packages offered at least a free trial or a free basic service. To take full advantage of a package’s features you may need to upgrade to a paid version of the software.)
Here are twelve alternatives for appointment scheduling:
- Acuity Scheduling. The basic version is free. The full version allows you to customize your online appointment forms. It has iPhone compatibility.
- BookFresh. A free trial of this software is available. The website for this package includes great tutorial video. The package supports iPhones and you can receive text message notification of new appointments. BookFresh has been reviewed by TechCrunch and Mashable.
- CalendarFly. This application is totally free. It is more suited to groups who need to schedule meeting times than for client or prospect use. Lacks some of the more advanced features of the pricier packages.
- Clickbook. A basic account is free. Additional functionality is available at an extra cost. The site includes a helpful blog. This tool is aimed at the client–service providers must register.
- Genbook. This package offers a free trial. Features of this unique package include iPhone and Facebook apps, text notifications and more.
- Jiffle. This is a free application for individual users. It offers good basic scheduling capabilities. It integrates with Google calendar. Timeslots must be shared with contacts before appointments can be made.
- Lattiss. This is another free application with some basic scheduling functionality such as keeping a calendar and reminders. A premium version with more features is available. It is compatible with the iPhone.
- Simplifythis. This scheduling package offers a free trial. It synchs with Google calendar and offers billing capabilities. The website also includes helpful blog.
- Scheduleview. This package offers a free demo and various levels of scheduling functionality based on price.
- SuperSaaS. A free version of this app is available for smaller users. Some versions include automatic Outlook and Google calendar synchronization and automated waiting lists.
- TimeTrade. Several versions of this app include a free trial. Appointments are integrated with your Google or Outlook calendar. It also integrates with Salesforce.com.
- Tungle.me. This tool offers a free basic account and premium accounts with additional functionality. This app integrates with a huge suite of calendar apps and also offers mobile functionality. There is also a helpful blog.
I’ve shared my thoughts on appointment scheduling software and how it might be useful to freelancers. Now it’s time for your thoughts.
Do you currently use a tool for scheduling appointments with clients? What package do you use? Share your answers in the comments.
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February 2nd, 2011 at 8:43 am
February 2nd, 2011 at 9:21 am
Hu… I had never thought about using one of these — was not even aware they were available. My only concern would be if clients would use it or if it would be just too much of a learning curve. I do like the idea of having scheduled time open for meetings that clients can grab. Thanks for the article. I am going to give this some thought and looking.
February 2nd, 2011 at 10:34 am
@Vivek, you won’t know if you need appointment scheduling software until you actually try one or two and see how it works for you ;)
February 2nd, 2011 at 10:59 am
Vivek–I see this as primarily being helpful for freelance consultants and business coaches. However, if you have a lot of client meetings it can also help.
Michael Schlotfeldt, The ones that I saw worked very simply and seemed to be somewhat intuitive. I don’t think you or your clients would have to struggle to learn them.
Greg Winiarski–Wow, that’s a go-getting attitude if I ever heard one. :) Why not? Most of these have free trials.
Davida ShenskyFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 11:25 am
I have used appointment scheduling software and have found it very useful in keeping my appointments and schedules straight on a daily basis, and makes it very easy for client to schedule an appointment.
February 2nd, 2011 at 11:33 am
I currently use Google Calender, that works best for me because I use Gmail on a daily basis
February 2nd, 2011 at 11:47 am
Thanks for sharing Impulse Magazine. Google tools can be quite useful. :)
February 2nd, 2011 at 7:46 pm
What’s so funny is I’m a freelance, local SEO. Yet, I actually use pencil and paper to keep my appointments. Sometimes more tech is actually not the answer.
February 2nd, 2011 at 11:16 pm
I agree with you
Too much tech stuff, sometimes acts as a mess. Pencil and paper work is quite useful.
Still, everyone have their own choice, many do prefer these types of software.
February 3rd, 2011 at 1:30 am
I use VueMinder Calendar (http://www.vueminder.com). I’m not sure why more people aren’t aware of this scheduling program. It’s hands down the best one I’ve found, and I’ve tried many.
I can tell a lot of thought went into its design. The developer seems to be able to read my mind, designing its features exactly the way I’ve always wished other programs would have done it.
February 3rd, 2011 at 3:15 am
you missed Apple iCal synced between MobileMe, iphones, ipads etc.
February 3rd, 2011 at 10:57 pm
I have installed GenBook on a couple of client web sites, but still haven’t decided to do it for me. GenBook is very easy and you don’t pay anything unless you decide to take an appointment fee or partial fee of some kind via credit card. I also like the newsletter.
I find it easy to install and use, but the initial setup did take an hour — maybe two — to add all of the staff for the client.
February 4th, 2011 at 8:10 am
I use Jorte, a relatively unknown android app that works well mith my Google calendar.
Vinh LuuFebruary 8th, 2011 at 6:17 am
Glad people see the value of scheduling software. I found a great article in the search for ‘the perfect online scheduling app’ including software not listed in this article.
February 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm
Hi Laura, thanks for your article which gives a good overview of the scheduling space. However, I think our service Doodle (www.doodle.com) is missing in the list. It is (according to Alexa an other services) the most popular scheduling service out there.
Doodle’s strengths are its ease-of-use, low entry barrier, full internationalization with many translations and timezone support and the support for group meetings as well as 1:1 meetings (via our MeetMe product).
JessicaMarch 31st, 2011 at 11:22 am
@Vivek and @Burhanuddin: Even if you’re a freelancer, scheduling software can be really useful. For example, our product, ScheduleThing, gives you a unique booking site with your name in the URL, which makes it easier for new clients to find you, and for existing clients to share you online. Also, you can choose to allow clients to book on their own, which means you’ll spend less time coordinating on the phone and more time actually working. And finally, if a customer ever cancels an appointment/project, ScheduleThing will notify you right away, preventing you from getting started on something that no longer exists.
@Bogdan: ScheduleThing also syncs with iCal. This makes it easy to keep everything connected!
I really recommend ScheduleThing. It’s easy-to-use, completely customizable, flexible enough for any type of business, and resource-based. There’s even a free plan!
May 19th, 2011 at 9:59 am
I’m just starting as a freelancer and I use tungleme….so far so good…….
September 22nd, 2011 at 1:58 am
Thanks for the post, i haven’t really thought of all these ways, i have found this very useful.
mariaSeptember 28th, 2011 at 3:01 am
Also check http://factoidz.com/snapappointmentscom-best-site-for-online-appointments-scheduling-solutions/ Free online scheduling software
Chad HarrisonDecember 23rd, 2011 at 7:19 pm
Since this article was published, SnapAppointments has emerged as the best online scheduling systems… in my opinion. Their system is completely free, but they do charge for premium “add-on” features. I’ve been using them to manage appointments a for a couple months now and couldn’t be happier. I’ve also tried several of the other systems listed here.
December 29th, 2011 at 11:14 pm
Most of these sites are offering only “free Trails” or limited features for free.
Checkout http://appointmentagent.com , which is completely free, Free version includes all the features like unlimited locations, Services, Staff and appointments. It also provides facebook app.
RobertoMarch 22nd, 2012 at 5:44 pm
I agree with the author about advantages of having an online appointment booking tool. I do use paper and pen as much as I can but I do also use the tool to organize my clients and plan my activities. Also helpful when prioritizing different projects. So I think combination of high-tech and low-tech is probably the best.
And not to be outdone by other viewers here that have added fancy links, I use a free tool as well called Qooshi (http://www.qooshi.com). I find it just simple enough so I don’t need to learn new tricks and can focus on my job.
April 7th, 2012 at 1:45 am
I’m writing on behalf of http://veribook.com, which is another online scheduling tool.
It’s admittedly quite difficult for businesses to find the right tool, so articles like this are super useful. Thanks Laura for introducing businesses to this type of software, and should anyone want more information about us, please feel free to schedule an online demo with us through our homepage.
April 20th, 2012 at 8:15 am
very good submit, i actually love this website, keep on it
Terry StoneMay 8th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
I have been using http://www.bookappo.com for quite some time now and can’t complain. They have recently added fully customizable booking form which is blessing fro mthe skies for my company.
MatthewJune 14th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
I have a day camp for kids. I want to be able to keep track of up to 20 kids per day. Ideally it would allow me (or their parents) to sign them up for multiple days all at once, like say an entire week or month of camp. It would be great if it could also keep track of billing, like if it could automatically calculate how much is owed based on the number of days the kid signs up for.
Is one of these scheduling tools most appropriate for this type of business?
September 12th, 2012 at 1:50 pm
This was very useful for choosing the right software. Thanks!
October 15th, 2012 at 2:31 am
This is an interesting topic and one that has been on my mind for a while. Whilst I manage the internal hiring for a large global company and use a load of freelancers at any point across the business. I had a thought about building a profile site that allows freelancers to integrate their Linkedin profiles, Facebook profiles etc and generate a user page that has the scheduling option built in for clients to book your time.
The site itself would have in theory a job posting section for clients to post roles and integrate with other freelance sites such as freelancer, freelanceswitch etc..
The software will also integrate with a mobile application pushing new freelance requests direct from the client to you for approval before entering into your calendar. Once approved the system will auto generate a draft invoice for the company that has requested your time adding in your day rate from your profile saving you the need to invoice and negotiate costs. – All this will require you as a freelancer to build a profile or simply apply for a role on other sites with the “Apply through XXXX” button which will prompt the profile to be generated.
The Client will be able to book you in for projects, extend your contracts etc all through the online interface and even be able to produce internal reports showing freelance costs for any given moment with a breakdown of projects, skills and levels of seniority.
Assuming the freelancers side of the application took the best parts of various online scheduling applications already in existence is this something that freelancers would be interested in using in your view?
RyanOctober 18th, 2012 at 8:30 pm
I agree, SnapAppointments is by far the best free scheduling solution.
More Info: http://www.snapappointments.com/en/
October 28th, 2012 at 11:17 am
Thanks for the info.! Very helpful article.
JessicaNovember 18th, 2012 at 11:44 pm
I am dietitian that uses TuneNGo as my online appointment software. It works great and entirely free. The best feature is Google Sync and upfront payments from my clients.
Honestly, there are a lot of good options here and some that I had not heard of, but pretty happy with mine.
JessicaNovember 18th, 2012 at 11:47 pm
Sorry forgot the lin: TuneNGo.com
JamieJanuary 16th, 2013 at 9:03 am
great list!!!!! I love http://AcuityScheduling.com now, the free version is all i needed
January 25th, 2013 at 2:14 pm
thanks for the article.
I think using tools like calendars and to-do-lists is tedious and unintuitive. It requires too much effort from people. People don’t want to spend their time managing their time. It needs to happen as a natural flow to them. Lot of things I need to get done come through email and get buried under other email. Or they may pop in my head at a random times. It is not convenient to pull out a calendar or to-do-list to put it on there.
It is much more natural to “tell” it to someone – e.g. text it, send an email.
That is why busy (and rich) people hire personal assistants :).
That led me to ask the question – why can’t everyone get a free personal assistant that they can email (or forward/CC existing emails) or text to and it will get on my calendar or task list – even help co-ordinate a meeting, etc.
As a result, we have created a service: https://www.joggleme.com to do exactly that.
It assigns you a free personal assistant with a personality that you can send or forward emails, include on emails, send text messages and it helps you manage your life for you easily. Just like if you had a real PA.
Please check it out and give us feedback.
February 24th, 2013 at 3:30 am
I have been looking through dozens of these apps and they all seem to lack one simple thing:
Front end user defined times/block booking!
I’m trying to set up a public calendar that shows my availability as a freelance chef/musician to multiple clients and allow them to send a booking request with date, nature of booking, start and end times. Nothing else, I just confirm it and job done.
Isn’t that simple enough to expect someone to have done? Or is it only hairdressers and office types that use the internet?
Peter KosylowiczMarch 1st, 2013 at 3:15 pm
please tell me how you can trust that your data is safe with any online database
March 2nd, 2013 at 6:03 pm
Regarding trusting ones’ data to online databases, we’re very upfront what we do with that data and how it will be used and also what we will not ever do with that data. iSchedule247.com is completely free and only needs an email and optional cell # to work.
But being hacked is a whole other subject regardless how secure online databases may be, especially with those higher volume services holding much more sensitive data. That’s the unstoppable online world we’re all in and fortunately or unfortunately, individuals also have a critical part to help keep our own personal info safe and must also educate themselves. A serious matter, we agree.
March 29th, 2013 at 8:47 am
Excellent article and the follow up comments are extremely helpful.
I was using http://tungle.me. However, they have closed the service. I found this article in an effort to find a replacement software package. I found Tungle saved me about 2 hours a week for scheduling appointments.
I think using a software application works well to support SOHO or corporate business.
March 30th, 2013 at 6:49 am
Spend a day walking through a wide variety of the programs mentioned here in the article. I would encourage one to approach the software listed here with caution. Some of it works, some of it does not work. Some installs and works yet certain features do not function.
Do some careful testing before you put your business in the hands of the applications.
Dr. LiewitzApril 5th, 2013 at 2:45 am
I have been using ScheduFlow from Duoserve for my medical practice for a while now. They have a great software product that works through the Internet. You literally download the software and work with it as if it’s local, but your data is stored in the cloud. I can access my schedules from my iPhone and my colleagues from their Androids, without syncing. Check out their website at http://www.duoserve.com/calendar. Test it out with a free trial.
JonasApril 6th, 2013 at 3:30 am
We are using http://www.bookerlooker.com online appointments management system. They have pretty much all standard features, but most important they have really good customer support service which helps us always
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