If you run an SME that relies on bookings, having an automated system is essential. Fresha is one such online booking and scheduling system. It’s currently the most popular app in the category and caters to everything from beauty salons to tattoo shops.
But Fresha is far from being the only option out there. If you want to learn about some other possibilities, keep reading. Here are some of the best alternatives to Fresha.
Schedulista has three primary features that help it to stand out from the competition.
- Branded scheduler: You can customize the page to match your business. The feature is essential for customer-facing SMEs, with clients expecting to enjoy a personal touch rather than interact with another faceless app.
- On-the-go calendar management: Schedulista has apps available for both iPhone and Android. It means you can book customers and manage their appointments with ease, even when you are away from your store/office.
- Automation: No SME owner has the time to respond to every minor change or tweak to their calendar. Schedulista’s automation tools let you send notifications and reminders to clients via text and email, and you can even use it to capture credit card details and accept payments.
Schedulista costs $19/month for a single user or $39/month for up to 15 staff members. A 15-day free trial is available.
Another Fresha alternative is Vagaro. It primarily caters to three types of businesses: beauty establishments (such as nail salons, barbers, and spas), wellness companies (like life coaching, chiropractors, and nutritionists), and fitness businesses (yoga instructors, gyms, and personal trainers).
Vagaro is more feature-rich than Fresha or Schedulista. For example, you can use it to live-stream classes, track customers, create fillable forms, track inventory, send purchase orders, and even build a custom booking website.
All the usual features you would expect from a booking service are also present, such as a calendar, invoice management, mobile apps, payment management, and membership support.
If you are a one-person organization, the cost of Vagaro is $25/month. The price goes up by $10/month for each additional staff member.
Timely markets itself as more than just an app/service. It claims to also be an entire community of people in the beauty sector. Although all sectors can use the app, they might find some of its features to be redundant.
Some of the app’s key features include comprehensive appointment management tools, marketing tools for brand building, support for business incentive programs such as reward schemes, support for waiting lists, the ability to process deposits and payments, and a way to create fillable digital forms.
Clients can use the app to make bookings 24/7, and you can use the service to provide appointment confirmation and reminder messages, as well as provide aftercare instructions once the appointment has concluded.
Timely pricing starts at $30/month and goes up by $25/month for each additional staff member who needs access to the app. A two-week free trial is available.
We also like the dedicated COVID resource hub. The in-person appointment industries were decimated by the pandemic, so it is refreshing to see Timely provide free help and guidance to business owners in the sector.
If you have a Microsoft 365 Business subscription, you will get access to the Microsoft Bookings app. It is a potent tool that offers deep integration with the rest of the Microsoft Office suite and Windows operating system.
You can use the app to customize appointment details and highlight booking requirements. Any bookings made via the app will automatically export into your Microsoft 365 calendar, so your staff (and, where appropriate, your customers) can see them at a glance.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft Bookings is also tightly integrated with Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is the company’s Slack competitor and has been quickly growing in users over the last 18 months. The Bookings software is available as an app within Teams, meaning you can perform tasks such as assigning staff to events and scheduling new appointments without needing to leave the Teams interface.
For larger organizations, Bookings also supports different scheduling needs across different departments, team members, and types of appointments. Calendars connected to Bookings can have unique structures, information, and communication formats.
Overall, Microsoft Bookings is a much more detailed and professional app than some of the other Fresha alternatives on this list, but that might make it unsuitable for small businesses or non-tech-savvy staff.
The entry-level Microsoft 365 Business plan costs $5/user/month. If you want desktop versions of the Office apps to be included, that jumps to $12.50/user/month. The premium plan, which is too powerful for most SMEs, is $20/user/month.
Reserve with Google is perhaps the “smartest” booking and scheduling app on the market. It integrates with many of Google’s other market-leading apps, such as Search, Maps, and Google Assistant, meaning that customers can make a booking with your business using a variety of different booking methods.
The increased number of booking methods is only going to lead to more income for you, which is a good thing. Both businesses and users can be kept abreast of their upcoming appointments via Google Calendar, Gmail, and via other smart devices like Google Nest speakers.
As a business, the downside of Reserve with Google is that there are a number of hoops to jump through; you cannot just pay a fee and start using the app as you can with the other four Fresha alternatives we have reviewed.
Instead, you need to have someone who is familiar with working with developer documentation; then, you need to register your interest directly with Google via a web form.
On the upside, if Google accepts you into the program, the Reserve with Google app is free to use.
Which Fresha Alternative Should You Use?
If you want a modern and sleek booking interface for customers to make appointments in your shop or salon, we’d recommend Schedulista, Vagaro, or Timely. If you’re running a professional services company, you might find Microsoft Bookings to be a better option. Finally, if you have a strong SEO game in Google Search, go for Reserve with Google.
Regardless, all of the apps in the list are faster and more reliable than answering phones and using a pen and paper, so you should definitely start using one of them today.
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