Best for: Self-employed entrepreneurs and service-based businesses such as hairdressers, salons, spas, personal trainers, and medical practices—especially those without employees and who can, therefore, use this app for free
If you’re one of the millions of small business owners who uses Square as your payment processor, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the platform has added appointment scheduling software to their list of small business-centric products and services.
Square Appointments provides service-based business owners a centralized, streamlined method of handling all their customers’ appointments, and their customers with an intuitive booking experience available through any of their devices. On top of its appointment managing capabilities, Square Appointments also provides a few customer- and team-management features, as well as full integration with Square POS.
In this Square Appointments review, we’ll break down everything there is to know about this appointments app—including features, pricing, as well as discuss top alternatives—so you have all the information you need to decide what’s right for your business.
Square Appointments is a comprehensive, cloud-based appointment scheduling software. Here’s what you can expect with your Square Appointments account:
With Square Appointments, you’ll receive a readymade booking website that can either stand-alone or that you can embed onto your existing business website through an integrated widget or booking button.
Then, your customers can book, cancel, or modify appointments on their own devices, choosing available time slots within blocks that you’ve already set and with the available employee of their choice. On your end, you can customize your appointments’ duration and payment options, and you also have the option of charging a fee or full repayment for no-shows.
As a cloud-based software, Square Appointments inherently automates most of its processes, including syncing with your personal Google Calendar, updating whenever your clients book, cancel, or change an appointment, and sending your customers text or email reminders about their appointments.
By using Square Appointments as your scheduling software, you’ll be able to integrate fully with the Square point of sale system, and therefore, benefit from the robust but easy-to-use features of Square POS.
The foundation of Square POS, of course, is that this software enables you to accept all major credit and debit cards and other popular payment methods through any conceivable medium—whether that’s in-person via mobile card reader or a fully outfitted register; your business website; your computer’s virtual terminal; or invoices.
Whichever method you use, the software will automatically adjust pricing for taxes, tipping, and discounts, too. Plus, if you don’t have a WiFi connection, you can still accept payments through Offline Mode.
On top of payment acceptance, Square POS is also loaded with a long list of business management features: advanced reporting, customer feedback garnered through digital receipts, inventory tracking, and integration with Square’s myriad other management tools.
When your customer books their first appointment, Square will save their personal and billing information for easy, one-click rebooking. You can also view every customer’s appointment and billing history through their dedicated customer profile.
Along with managing your customers, Square Appointments comes with built-in features that let you manage your employees. Square’s cloud-based software means that it automatically syncs with your master calendar, and every employee can view that calendar on their personal devices so everyone is always in the loop about changes and updates.
Individual team members will also receive their own confirmations about their appointments. Plus, Square Appointments enables tip and commission tracking, so you can be certain that all of your team members receive the exact payment they’ve earned.
If you sell additional retail items, you can use the item management features within Square Appointments to add items directly to a customer’s appointment for a seamless checkout. Sales will be automatically be attributed to the correct employee. Additionally, you’ll be able to track your stock in real-time and receive email alerts when the stock of an item runs low.
Square Appointments allows you to integrate with Instagram, Google, and Facebook—this way, your customers can book appointments directly from your Instagram business profile, Facebook business page, and Google Search, Google Maps, and the Reserve with Google site.
Since Square offers their basic point of sale software for free, you might be wondering: Is Square Appointments free?
The answer, however, is a little more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.” In short, there will be a few different costs associated with Square Appointments. First, there will be the cost of the software. Then, you’ll also have to consider the cost of payment processing. Let’s break it down:
If your business has more than 10 employees, you can contact Square Appointments’ sales team for a custom pricing model.
This being said, you’ll also want to consider the cost of any hardware you might need to use Square Appointments. Overall, you can run Square Appointments on any computer, as well as smartphones or tablets (both iOS and Android).
Although you can accept payments by keying them in, you’ll likely want to take swipe, dipped, or tapped payments to avoid the higher fees. Therefore, you’ll want to determine if you need any additional POS hardware.
Your Square account will include one free Square Reader for magstripe, each additional reader will cost $10. The other mobile reader option, Square Reader for contactless and chip, will cost $49.
You might also opt for a full POS setup, like Square Stand—in this case, you’ll pay $199 for the hardware package. Along these lines, however, it’s important to note that Square Appointments is not currently compatible with Square Terminal or Square Register.
Moreover, if you decide to integrate with any of Square’s proprietary add-ons, like Square Marketing or Square Loyalty, you’ll have to pay the monthly costs associated with those software tools as well.
Finally, Square Appointments offers a 30-day free trial period for teams, so you can test out this service and see if it works for you before committing to a paid plan.
Based on the information we’ve explored so far in this Square Appointments review, let’s break down the overall pros and cons of this software, as we highlighted briefly above.
Overall, there are a number of benefits of Square Appointments that make it a suitable solution for a variety of new and small service-based businesses:
On the other hand, Square Appointments may not be right for everyone. Here are some reasons you might choose to consider your other software options:
Although Square Appointments is a perfectly functional, intuitive, and accessible appointment scheduling software for most service-based business owners, some entrepreneurs may want a scheduling software that has even greater capabilities or that is geared to their particular industry. Here are just four alternative options for you to consider:
Like Square Appointments, 10to8 is a cloud-based appointment scheduling software that covers all the necessary bases: 24/7 booking, calendar syncing, saved customer information, reporting, online payment processing, and more. However, 10to8 offers users a few more advanced capabilities than Square does, like:
10to8 offers five plans at increasing prices for businesses of varying sizes. The smallest of small businesses can opt for their most basic plan, which is totally free, and larger businesses can contact sales about the Enterprise plan, which is available for a custom-set price.
Appointy is a powerful scheduling software that lets your customers book appointments, classes, workshops, events, tours, rides, or whichever other methods through which you deliver your services. On top of its comprehensive scheduling capabilities, Appointy is loaded with unique features. Here are just a few:
Appointy offers four service tiers, and each increases pretty dramatically in available features and capabilities. Like with Square Appointments and 10to8 again, the smallest businesses can opt for Appointy’s free option.
At the higher end of the scale, larger businesses with multiple locations can opt for Appointy’s Enterprise service, which costs $99.99 billed monthly, or $79.99 billed yearly. All three of Appointy’s paid tiers offer a 14-day free trial period.
If you’re in the health, wellness, or fitness industries, you should definitely consider MINDBODY as your appointment scheduling software of choice, as this booking software provides features and resources geared especially toward businesses like yours. Take a look at some of MINDBODY’s key features:
However, MINDBODY is the priciest option on this list, with its three service tiers costing $129 per month, $239 per month, or $349 per month. As a unique offering, for $249 per month, you can commission MINDBODY to design and build a customized booking app for your business.
SimplyBook.Me receives largely positive reviews across major review platforms, with many customers praising its easily navigable interface, friendly customer service, and highly customizable booking solutions.
Like the other apps on this list, SimplyBook.Me is a fully functional, cloud-based booking software that can accept a range of popular payment methods.
But this platform carries an impressive list of other unique features, like a customizable booking website and the ability to offer your clients add-on products (like coupons and gift cards, sales, memberships, and business promotions), as well as an extensive list of advanced custom features. Although SimplyBook.Me can work for virtually any service-based business, a few of its features are dedicated specifically for healthcare businesses, like HIPAA compliance and SOAP note forms.
SimplyBook.Me offers four service tiers with advancing capabilities:
You can also contact SimplyBook.Me for a custom appointment scheduling solution at a quoted price.
All in all, there’s nothing to say that signing up for Square Appointments wouldn’t be a worthwhile decision. As we’ve discussed in this Square Appointments review, (and like you’d expect from Square) this service is simple to set up, easy to use, and it gives you automatic access to the rest of Square’s comprehensive, tech-forward merchant services.
Square Appointments especially makes sense for new or very small businesses: As long as you’re small enough to make the cut, this service will be completely free, and it offers you and your customers all the foundational tools you need to seamlessly manage your appointments.
Still, it never hurts to consider your other options, too—and 10to8, Appointy, MINDBODY, and SimplyBook.Me are just four, reliable appointment scheduling software solutions that can potentially offer your business even more capabilities than Square can.
Whether it’s one of the four appointment scheduling apps we mentioned here, or one of the hundreds we didn’t, you should always take advantage of your software’s free trial period, if it’s available. That way, you can test out the service and see if it works for you, your staff, and your customers before committing to a paid plan.
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger and the editorial director at Fundera.
Sally has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines.