Whether you run an art studio, karate dojo, beauty salon, or another class- or appointment-based business, you rely on accurate scheduling and quick payments. In fact, for most entrepreneurs, this means keeping track of a schedule that can sometimes feel like a second job in its own right. It’s not as simple as keeping your own employees to a shift schedule, as you might have to do in other industries. Instead, you’re also scheduling when and where your clients show up—on top of making sure that they’re paid accurately. Getting the right appointment scheduling software to help keep track of everything, such as Acuity Scheduling, might be just the thing you need.
If you’re new to the world of Acuity Scheduling and other appointment scheduling software platforms, you may have been trying to go it alone when managing class or appointment schedules, sign-ups, and payments. Odds are also fairly high that you found just about any option you came up with to be unsatisfactory. It’s not your fault—it’s tricky to keep everything up and running, let alone in one place. That’s where appointment scheduling apps shine: They allow you to manage your classes and schedules, empower your customers to book their own appointments or attendance, and make it easy for you to get paid. Better still, apps like Acuity Scheduling roll all of these tasks together, rather than relying on standalone solutions like a point of sale system or an employee calendar.
The best appointment scheduling software allows you to spend less time planning and chasing payments, and more time focusing on everything else you have to take on during the average work day. There are, however, quite a few options out there—let alone plenty of reviews to sift through too. We’ll make it easier by sifting through the best of every Acuity Scheduling review, including the highlights, lowlights, and Acuity Scheduling alternatives to consider.
Acuity Scheduling: The Basics
Acuity Scheduling is one of a growing number of appointment scheduling platforms designed to take the manual work out of running your business’s appointment and scheduling tasks. Instead of relying on the usual back-and-forth that comes with most appointment bookings, Acuity Scheduling makes the process automatic and hassle-free. Gone is the need to pick and choose which times work for your clients and your staff. Instead, customers can book their services online and choose from an array of openings. And, if you run a class-based business, you can easily provide your patrons with an accessible rundown of openings for them to choose from.
Think of the Acuity Scheduling app as being a sort of virtual office assistant. The platform takes care of the high-volume asks that your front-desk staff might deal with on a daily basis, like scheduling client appointments, registering them for classes, and accepting payments from them. Acuity Scheduling takes all of these tasks and groups them together in a cloud-based platform that makes the management process far less manual, and much less complicated.
Acuity Scheduling was acquired by Squarespace in April 2019. Although not much has changed since the acquisition, the company suggests that there may be more perks and integrations between Acuity Scheduling and Squarespace in the future. This may come as great news if you’re already a Squarespace user; otherwise, it shouldn’t impact your existing website or business very much.
Acuity Scheduling Features
Acuity Scheduling comes with a wide array of features, as you might expect out of a platform that promises to make your schedule more manageable. This platform lets you build a wide variety of appointment and schedule types, so you can make sure that each class, session, or appointment has its own dedicated option when customers are looking to book. That’s far from the only thing that Acuity Scheduling offers, however.
You can use the Acuity Scheduling app to manage several calendars, as well. Say, for example, that you run a fitness studio. In this case, it’d be beneficial to manage separate calendars for each of your personal trainers so customers can easily select from their trainer’s specific availability. Acuity Scheduling lets you create several individual calendars within your broader business account. This means that your customers and staff can see the information they need more quickly, and without having to sift through the other goings-on within your business.
Another useful feature Acuity Scheduling offers is their ability to limit appointments based on availability, as well as their support for different appointment types. Let’s say you run a kickboxing studio: You have beginner-level classes that are 30 minutes and advanced classes that run for 45 minutes. With Acuity Scheduling, you can create two different kinds of appointments (or more). You can also limit the hours available for certain services, which means that clients will only see availability that fits within your pre-defined hours for that service, class, or appointment type.
Acuity Scheduling also offers two unique features to help you make the most of your time. The first, “Make Me Look Busy,” helps you reduce the number of free appointment slots by a certain percentage in order to make you look like you have less spare time between appointments (and, therefore, more clients). This can be a particularly helpful feature if you have a slow day, or are just building your clientele and don’t want to look as though you’re as new to the business as you are.
The other compelling feature that helps set Acuity Scheduling apart is their “Minimize Gaps” function. Instead of letting clients book sessions with drastically different start times, the program can actually change the scheduling slots customers see on their end of the app. This way, you can help make sure that you don’t have one early-bird appointment and a barrage of afternoon engagements with hours of down-time in between.
Acuity Scheduling isn’t just designed to help you and your customers find time to connect. The platform also makes it easy for clients to pay for their services. Customers can pay for their appointments right in the scheduling app, which means you’ll get paid faster and your customers can have a wider array of payment options too. The software works with on-site POS terminals, merchant services providers, and online payment methods.
Acuity Scheduling Pricing
Acuity Scheduling offers several pricing tiers, each designed to meet the needs of businesses in different stages of their growth and needs. There are currently four pricing tiers available, ranging from completely free (and feature-limited) to a fully loaded option (with tons of features and individual schedules). Here’s what each Acuity Scheduling pricing option looks like.
Acuity Scheduling: Freebie
The Freebie version of the platform serves as a no-risk option to try out the Acuity Scheduling platform. Think of this tier as being a sandbox version of the Acuity Scheduling app, as it allows you to get a sense of how the scheduling functions work, how you can integrate your existing calendar into the Acuity Scheduling system, and to see which features you might need if you were to upgrade to a paid version of the platform. You can also look at what a barebones version of the client-facing scheduling site looks like, which is helpful if you intend to upgrade and want to customize the look and feel later on.
If you have very minimal needs in terms of scheduling your appointments and displaying your availability, you might be able to get by with Acuity Scheduling’s Freebie tier. Otherwise, consider this your test environment for seeing how the platform works and whether it’s a fit for you.
Acuity Scheduling: Emerging Entrepreneur
The next rung up the pricing ladder for Acuity Scheduling is their Emerging Entrepreneur tier. This version of the platform costs $15 a month and provides you with more (but not all) of what Acuity Scheduling has to offer. This version of the platform avails you to a wider array of basic features on top of client self-scheduling and unlimited appointments (which are available with every level of service). Emerging Entrepreneur lets you send email reminders to clients and appointment-makers, customize rudimentary design elements, and edit the text on your Acuity Scheduling interface so it better matches your company’s branding and voice.
Acuity Scheduling’s Emerging Entrepreneur version might be a good fit for you if you don’t need a ton of bells and whistles, or if your scheduling needs are fairly straightforward. This build of the Acuity Scheduling app balances affordability with a straightforward set of options, which might work for you depending on what you need.
Acuity Scheduling: Growing Business
Acuity Scheduling’s Growing Business service level is a notch above Emerging Entrepreneur, offering a broader array of services and packages for clients. Growing Business includes more options to remind customers of their upcoming appointments, including text reminders in addition to the email option you get with Emerging Entrepreneur. This service level also gives your customers the option to purchase gift certificates, subscription packages, and memberships. Better still, it also allows your clientele to arrange payment plans too, which can go a long way toward repeat business. This Acuity Scheduling tier includes the same customization options as Emerging Entrepreneur with regard to the look and feel of your company’s Acuity Scheduling portal. You can change the display logo, color schemes, and edit text to make the copy sound more germane to your company.
The Acuity Scheduling Growing Business tier costs $25 per month and could be a good option if you want to offer gift certificates, service packages, or payment plans to your customers. This tier doesn’t offer much more than that, but doesn’t cost a lot more than Emerging Entrepreneur either.
Acuity Scheduling: Powerhouse Player
The final tier in Acuity Scheduling’s pricing model is Powerhouse Player. Aside from sounding like an awesome way to define your business, this level of service gives you access to everything the platform has to offer. This includes everything incorporated into the other levels of support we’ve gone over so far, but throws in multiple time zone support in case you have offices (or employees) in different regions. You can also add BAA or HIPAA badges in case you work in an industry that requires privacy compliance, as well as custom API integrations and CSS for web developers.
Powerhouse Player costs $50 per month, which is a pretty steep upgrade for a relatively small amount of new features. But if you absolutely need these additional functionalities, this version of the platform is your only option in the world of Acuity Scheduling support.
Acuity Scheduling Integrations
Acuity Scheduling offers a slew of helpful integrations that come standard with every paid plan. These range from straightforward calendar tie-ins, all the way up to more complex options (such as tipping features and Zapier integrations). Here’s a list of current Acuity Scheduling integrations:
- Sync support for Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365
- iCloud and Google Calendar syncing
- Integrations with GoToMeeting, Join.me, and Zoom
- Support for QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
- Connections with MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi for email campaigns
- Sales and CRM integrations with Pipedrive
- Zapier support for more than 500 apps
- Payments and deposits through PayPal, Square, or Stripe
There are also a slew of optional features, such as tipping and analytics, which can help you supercharge your use of the Acuity Scheduling app. Those also come standard with any paid plan.
Acuity Scheduling Reviews
With the popularity of this software, it’s no wonder that there are a ton of Acuity Scheduling reviews out there. Most customers have plenty to say about the program—be it positive or negative. Sifting through each and every one of the Acuity Scheduling reviews out there can feel like a herculean task. That’s why we’ve condensed the best (and worst) feedback out there on Acuity Scheduling.
Acuity Scheduling Pros
The good news is that Acuity Scheduling has plenty of satisfied customers. Most positive reviews focus on how easy it is to get Google Calendars to sync with the platform, which makes it a breeze for businesses that use GSuite to onboard Acuity Scheduling as a part of their company’s technology stack. Support for multiple calendars within the Acuity Scheduling app is painless to set up and administer, and most reviewers say that their clients have minimal issues using the interface to book appointments. All told, most reviewers are happy with how straightforward the app is, and how simple it is for their customers to book appointments.
Acuity Scheduling Cons
Just because Acuity Scheduling gets plenty of praise for their simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean that their commendations are universal. Most complaints focus on technical hiccups or difficulties with managing behind-the-scenes logistics. In some cases, blocked periods of time don’t sync with Outlook or other third-party calendars. In other scenarios, some reviewers take issue with the app not being able to limit the number of available appointments on a weekly basis. One other complaint that popped up in some reviews is the lack of HIPAA support for lower-cost tiers, which can be difficult for smaller companies that would otherwise not need the top-tier version of the app.
Acuity Scheduling Alternatives
With this information in tow, you might want to know what Acuity Scheduling alternatives are out there in order to make the best decision possible for your business. The good news is that there are more than a few appointment scheduling services out there to choose from, and Acuity Scheduling is only one of them. Here are a few of the top Acuity Scheduling alternatives to consider.
One Acuity Scheduling alternative is MINDBODY, which is among the most widely used scheduling solutions on the market, particularly for businesses in the health and wellness space. This platform helps you manage your schedule while also offering an easy app for your customers to use when booking appointments and sessions. Although MINDBODY does focus on businesses that offer fitness classes, meditation sessions, and massages, the platform isn’t exclusive to these industries either. In fact, there’s a ton of overlap between this platform and Acuity Scheduling, which means that either can be a great option for you depending on your line of work. MINDBODY allows for online booking, in-person scheduling, or even through your business’s own app that can be built off the back of MINDBODY’s technology.
Another excellent alternative to Acuity Scheduling is Zen Planner, which provides a slew of great features to help you manage your business’s schedule, classes, appointments, or just about any other kind of engagement with clients that you can conceive of. This option includes many of the same scheduling features as Acuity Scheduling and MINDBODY, but also includes more of an emphasis on building websites and marketing strategies for small businesses as well. If you’re looking for help that goes beyond merely helping clients schedule appointments and book classes, Zen Planner might be a good option for you. You can roll all of your website, digital marketing, and scheduling needs into one software suite with dedicated customer service support.
Acuity Scheduling: The Bottom Line
Onboarding a scheduling assistant platform is a big step in the right direction if you’ve found that keeping track of your business’s schedule has become a challenging (if not impossible) task. There are a slew of choices out there as well, with Acuity Scheduling only being one of many.
Before you commit to a choice, be sure you understand exactly what you want to get out of your scheduling app. Begin with an understanding of your services, how you’re currently booking clients, and what the biggest pain points are in your existing operations—for both you and your clients. Once you’re able to discern what poses the biggest challenges to growth, you can find an option that does the best job possible (and at the most affordable price possible).
Acuity Scheduling also offers seven-day free trials for each of their paid options, so if you’re interested in the software, take it for a test drive before deciding if this or another appointment scheduling software is the best choice for your small business.
Christine Aebischer is an editor at Fundera.
Prior to Fundera, Christine was an editor at the financial planning startup LearnVest and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. There she wrote and edited on topics such as debt, budgeting, insurance, taxes, investing, and retirement. She has written for print and online on topics ranging from personal finance to luxury real estate.