7 Online Booking Platforms for Independent Businesses

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Call it the “Uberization of commerce,” or just call it the next logical step in a culture were 80% percent of online adults own smartphones. Either way, online booking platforms are providing a way for independent businesses to meet a rising demand from consumers who want to schedule, confirm, and in some cases even pay for local services through their mobile devices.

The majority of independent businesses can’t afford to build their own mobile apps with integrated scheduling features—in fact, 45% still don’t even have websites — but online booking platforms offer a cost effective solution for businesses that want to cater to customer demand without spending a fortune in the process.

Here are seven examples of online booking platforms that independent businesses can try out.

1. Booker: Connect with customers through a dedicated booking application.
Independent businesses that use Booker can offer a way for their customers to schedule appointments from any device, at any time. Designed for service, class, and lesson-based businesses, Booker is a complete business management solution that just happens to include online scheduling capabilities. In addition to checking availability and booking appointments through the mobile app, customers can also view maps and directions to a business’ location. Click-to-call, social engagement features, and push notifications are also useful tools for businesses looking to turn one-time customers into loyal fans. Monthly plans for appointment-based businesses start at $45.

2. MyTime: Get discovered through a scheduling marketplace.
MyTime acts as both a scheduling solution and a marketing provider. Consumers can discover local merchants through MyTime’s marketplace, and they can book services with those providers with their mobile devices. MyTime adds scheduled appointments to the provider’s third-party calendar program and collects payments on a merchant’s behalf. Retention tools automatically remind customers when it’s time to rebook their appointments, and incentivized review requests encourage customers to share their experiences with friends online. Merchants can claim their profiles on MyTime for free. MyTime’s VIP Program costs $299 per month.

3. Full Slate: Accept appointments through websites, Facebook, and email.
Rather than encouraging customers to use an outside marketplace, Full Slate’s scheduling solution integrates with a merchant’s existing web properties, including websites, Facebook pages, and email. Advanced features allow for class scheduling, recurring appointments, and even double bookings, which means providers can fit extra clients into their downtime during long appointments. Merchants have the option to collect payments and deposits via credit card through Full Slate, and the scheduling solution syncs with QuickBooks to avoid duplicate data entry. Full Slate’s plans for unlimited appointments start at $29.95 per month.

4. Demandforce: Publish a scheduling option on all major sites and search engines.
An automated marketing and communications solution, Demandforce’s all-in-one platform includes integrated scheduling features that make it possible for customers to book appointments from anywhere they can access a merchant’s business information. Demandforce’s scheduler is embedded in its Business Profiles, and it can be embedded in a business’ existing website. The scheduling system syncs with customer management systems. Merchants can schedule email and text notifications before all client appointments, and they can automatically survey clients to solicit feedback. Merchants can contact Demandforce for specific pricing information.

5. Schedulicity: Use credit card deposits to decrease appointment no-shows.
Schedulicity claims to save businesses nearly six hours of scheduling time each week. Businesses can accept bookings with widgets on their websites and Facebook pages, along with their business listings at Schedulicity.com. Like most other scheduling providers, Schedulicity offers a way for businesses to accept appointments from clients 24/7 through desktop or mobile, and it sends automated appointment reminders. Customizable booking rules give merchants control over what types of services their clients can book. Meanwhile, the option to “hold with a credit card” helps merchants decrease instances of no-shows. Pricing for single users starts at $19.95 per month.

6. Genbook: Boost customer retention with online scheduling.
Genbook provides business owners with mobile tools to accept client appointments and promote their products or services online. Business owners can view and manage their appointment calendars with any mobile or desktop device, and they can quickly search and filter appointments by employee or date. Individual staff logins mean Genbook is an option for larger businesses with multiple employees and locations, as well as solo enterprises. Genbook’s promotional tools allow businesses to monitor, publish, and share reviews from verified customers. Genbook also offers social media marketing tools. Genbook’s pricing starts at $20 per month.

7. BookingBug: Accept reservations and take deposits with a website widget.
Independent businesses in nearly every industry can take advantage of BookingBug’s scalable scheduling platform. Businesses take bookings directly through their own online websites or Facebook pages, rather than requiring clients to use outside apps. Managers can also make bookings on behalf of clients through the back-end of the system. Customer details are saved in an integrated CRM for future marketing outreach, and optional SMS confirmations are sent out as a way to reduce no shows. Businesses can use BookingBug to manage coupons and daily deals, and they can accept both payments and deposits from customers who book services. Pricing for BookingBug starts at $19.95 per month for Solo accounts.

Know of other tools that businesses can use for online scheduling? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

  1. amgab
    March 20, 2015

    Please checkout Periodicapp.com. Periodic is the Book Anything Engine. It’s perfect for marketplaces, SAAS, higher education, and startups. What makes Periodic unique is the sophisticated booking engine that let’s users setup custom business rules to align with their real-world scheduling demands. Additionally, Periodic manages payment through Stripe and can integrate with your CRM.
    Periodic has startup-friendly prices, but the sophistication and security to meet the needs of enterprise clients.

  2. Kristen Kuhns
    April 14, 2015

    I use vCita.com and love it!

  3. Fanny
    April 22, 2015

    I use booxi.com in my beauty salon in Montreal! It is great!

  4. April 30, 2015

    I use full slate and it is awesome!

  5. Mark
    July 28, 2015

    Nice collection of online booking tools – I’d also like to throw MIDAS (http://mid.as) into that mix!

  6. Kenny
    December 5, 2015

    Bespoke solution providers like http://www.systembookings.com are also an option when the requirements are very specific.

  7. February 19, 2016

    We are giving the same mobile technology to SMBs that huge on-demand startups are using to power their operations. So now independent massage therapists, dog walkers, house cleaners, etc. can hire contractors/employees to work for them and can manage their schedule and payments. We have a lot of people from Zeel, Soothe, Handy, Zingy, etc. moving over to us and building their own businesses instead of working for the startups. http://www.myhandlr.com/

  8. Luke Ramsay
    April 10, 2016

    bookwhen.com simple scheduling solutions for a range of activities and they offer great models for franchisors, by facilitating commission on all bookings made by the franchisee.

  9. scheduling app
    May 30, 2016

    This is great article and really informative and helpful for everyone.online appointment scheduling
    allows for the practice to have better control and management for no-shows and cancellations, and also to see how busy the scheduling is and how busy a day might be.

  10. Rayna Hill
    September 1, 2016

    Hey Stephanie, this is a nice post. Allow me to add something more to the mix and in the process gain a few browny points for ourselves.
    We at https://www.logicreplace.com/ are doing is something different. We are creating individual platforms for individual clients. Yes, complete platforms custom made to the needs. This is bit costlier but it is a better alternative to a common platform. It tackles the problem with more clarity and in the long run reduces cost at multiple points.
    What we believe is at enterprise level this is going to be more sought after. Why? Business framework flexibility, this is the most critical advantage. Such platforms have inherently better user experience. Adapt to change very fast and very efficiently.

    As an extension of this article can you do one on our niche also? May be your viewers will have an alternate view.

    Feel free to contact me if you need more information.

  11. Janeen M
    September 17, 2016

    wow there are alot of choices. I like Appointedd because the customer service is great and you can customize how your booking page looks to suit your website. It’s also really good if you have clients in different timezones – they can see your availability in their local time. https://www.appointedd.com/

  12. jeffwilder02
    March 23, 2017

    Plenty of good choices here but the list is a little outdated. https://www.reservv.com is a more modern take on online appointment booking. I like it because it has detailed business rules on a per staff member level.

  13. booknmeet
    December 5, 2017

    Stephanie Miles,
    kindly update the featured list, consider India’s best online appointment scheduling platform, BOOKNMEET ( http://www.booknmeet.com ) this hybrid platform is surely gaining momentum in Hybrid platform segment. The mobile first strategy is making BOOKNMEET is a highly appreciated mobile hybrid platform. facility management and practice management modules of BOOKNMEET is gaining momentum.

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