Discovery calls. Coaching sessions. Meetings. It’s all in a day’s work for a boss. Making the right choice for your client scheduling + booking tool is tough enough. Throw in a limited budget? Cool story, but kick-ass options are available to get you started.
I’ll go through the ins + outs of why you would choose one over the others for your specific needs + operations. (And I’ll even throw in a work-around for accepting payments, too!)

APPOINTY

Let’s say you’re a palm reader – life lines, as far as the eye can see! – and booking appointments is the basis of your entire business model.
You’re just getting started so you don’t have a website yet but with Appointy, you don’t even need a website to start scheduling clients PRONTO. You can host a booking page via their subdomain – yes, for FREE! Once you have your website up + running, your scheduling tool can then integrate seamlessly.
Another incredibly useful feature from Appointy is its integration with social media. If you’re operating the kind of business where it would benefit you to be able to tweet out to your Twitter followers that you’ve had a cancellation or a sudden opening, this is your jam!
As if all that good + free loving weren’t enough, those of you offering more than one service will likely want to choose Appointy as its free account allows you to create up to 5 different services with unlimited bookings.

CALENDLY

If you have just one service, though, and you swoon over SUPER-simple-to-use + beautiful, modern interfaces, allow me to introduce Calendly to you.
GORGE-ous as all get-out, it also offers you the option to embed or use a Calendly link that acts as your booking page.  It also boasts some of those must-have integrations like “syncs with Google Calendar” or “text message alerts” offered from within its free account.
Plus, there is exactly zero learning curve to figure this service out. If technology gives you or your ideal client the heebie-jeebies, this is your no-brainer solution. It couldn’t be easier to use!

 

ACUITY SCHEDULING

However, when you have a bunch of services to offer + you just want to be able to get started, Acuity Scheduling can make that happen for you.
While they offer fewer features than other two options, this free platform provides you with unlimited booking ability. It is a great option for the boss who knows they’ll have to make an investment at some point. You can eventually sign up for the Cadillac of scheduling tools while you start filling your schedule with clients – PRONTO!
Acuity is a real Miss Congeniality among biz owners + with good reason – the platform rocks socks!

It’s worth noting that a handy 14-day trial is available to EACH of these platforms.
Noteworthy :: none of these free options will allow you to collect payment at the time of booking. How do you get around this? By creating a BUY NOW button/link to embed on your website, email or social media. Your scheduling/booking page can be used as your redirect link/URL after they’ve made their payment.
Ideal? No, but it’ll work til you have the $10/month to splurge on upgrading to collect all the payments + tips you like.

Oh, and P.S. if you need to start accepting payment – which is a paid-for feature for most platforms – here is a little hack to show you that you can still make the free services work for you while you figure out how to monetize your genius.

You may not be able to afford the “ideal” booking or scheduling solution. Start anyways!

In fact, it’s the biz equivalent of saying you can’t drive til you can afford the fancy-pants Porsche :: find what’s available to you in the meantime while you keep your eye on the prize that you aspire to eventually use.
Because guess what? If you start now + stick to it, you WILL eventually get there, boss!
Which is a whole lot faster than if you don’t start at all. Or worse, wait til you’re “ready” (whatever that means)!