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- Several demos to test
- Lots of integration options
- Plenty of features and flexibility
- Some features limited to more expensive plans
- Only works if you use WordPress
Are you on the hunt for a seamless and efficient online scheduling solution? Look no further than Start Booking, a powerful software designed to streamline your appointment booking process.
The primary goal of this platform is to help businesses and individuals save time, reduce no-shows, and improve customer service with its rich features.
- But how does it stand out in the crowded market of booking software?
- What makes it a worthy investment for your business?
In this Start Booking review, we’ll dive deep into the workings of this solution, answering all these questions and more.
So get ready to learn more about how this robust software can revolutionize your scheduling process.
SMB Guide’s Verdict for Start Booking
I’m giving this one a 7.8 out of 10. Though WordPress powers a large portion of the websites online today, it comes with a learning curve that means many business owners don’t know how to leverage it on their own.
That means paying for someone else to set up and implement the solution – which is often more than what most small business owners want to or can afford to do.
In this review of Start Booking, I’ve followed SMB Guide’s detailed criteria for evaluating the appointment scheduling software.
Yes, there are lots of useful features that businesses can benefit from – such as unlimited services, assigning certain services to specific staff members, and so on.
But, compared to other solutions out there, it is more complex to get started with and lacks solid customer support.
I also downgraded the score based on the lack of reviews from customers, and the lack of the ability to demo the software from the business owner’s perspective.
Pricing & Plans
Start Booking offers three core plans, ranging from $79 to $299 a year.
If your business needs more than what the Pro plan offers, such as a custom implementation with additional features or dedicated support, you can contact them to learn more about Enterprise plan offerings.
This plan is great for solopreneurs.
- 1 Staff account
- Unlimited services
- Classes and events
- Customer portal
- Custom fields
- Booking reminders
- Booking confirmations
- Custom branding
- Google Calendar (2-way)
- Zoom integration
- Stripe integration
- Booking and cancel windows
- Staff availability
Who it’s for: This plan is best for small teams and businesses
The mid-tier plan, this is the most popular option. It offers additional features for businesses with more than one person who needs scheduling features.
- Everything in the Basic plan, plus:
- 4 additional staff accounts for a total of 5
- Company availability
- Booking Rooms
Who it’s for: The target audience/user types that can make the best of these
This plan is the top option, offering all the features Start Booking has to offer.
- Everything in the Business plan, plus:
- 5+ more staff accounts for a total of 10+
- Priority support
- Google Analytics
- Mailchimp integration
- Zapier integration
Who it’s for: This plan is best for professionals and those looking for a more custom solution.
Appointment Workflow Automation
Without demoing the business owner point of view, I wasn’t able to make comments on how easy it was.
However, the website indicates that it features staff management, allowing you to customize each account.
You can assign each user specific services for booking and individual working hours and breaks.
Customers simply choose the class or service they want to book, choose the date and time on the calendar, and fill out the form with the information requested.
Business owners can customize this information, based on what they need for the appointment. Customers can then pay for the service, if there’s a fee involved.
You can customize several elements of the process, including:
- Staff Management: Individual and multi-user accounts, individual working hours and break times, staff assigned to specific services.
- Customer Management: Customer profiles with tools to manage marketing preferences, appointment history, notes, and logs.
- Services Management: Index with rich service details, free and paid services, view and assign individual staff members to each bookable service, detailed service notes, group services by type, definable service duration with the option to add wind down time between appointments, define what services customers can book online.
- Booking Appointments: Book single and multiple appointments in a single checkout, view and manage grouped appointments, check-in and check-out features, and appointment overview with customer details, service, notes, and assigned staff. Manually book times as an employee.
You can also customize the placement of the booking plugin on your site – and it will seamlessly integrate with the design of your WordPress site based on the current theme you’re using.
Calendar Management Features
The booking calendar comes with multiple view options:
- Single day by staff
- Weekly by staff
- 3-day by staff
Create appointments by selecting items on the calendar you want. Change the time by dragging the appointment to a new time slowly, and across multiple team members if desired.
Click to view appointment details and take care of tasks like checking in, checking out, adding notes, or canceling appointments.
Automated Reminders and Notifications
You can set up automated email or SMS reminders to help customers remember appointments and reduce no-shows.
You can set up the reminder timing and frequency. You can also send booking confirmations at a chosen window – from hours to days before the appointment or booking.
Client Management and Communication
Start Booking stores all clients in one place, giving them each a unique profile. There, you can keep track of appointment history, notes, marketing preferences, and more.
It’s easy to see who your most valuable clients are and reach out to those who haven’t been in touch for a while.
User Interface and User Experience
The user interface, at least from the customer’s perspective, is fairly simple. The experience is easy, because you can book a class or an appointment in a few clicks.
It’s also possible to pay for the booking if it’s a premium service. Everything happens in a few minutes.
Though I wasn’t able to demo the business owner’s side of things, I can tell that it would take a bit of time to get everything setup just how you want it – especially if you’re not familiar with WordPress or have multiple staff members to setup.
However, after the initial setup is complete, it should be fairly easy to manage.
Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms
You must use WordPress to use this tool. The available integrations depend on the plan you subscribe to.
Integration options include: Google Analytics, Google Calendar, Mailchimp, Stripe, and Zoom. If you want all possible integrations, including Zapier, you must subscribe to the Pro plan.
With Zapier, you can create your own integrations and workflow automation as needed.
Customer support is an area where Start Booking lacks, but that’s not uncommon for many WordPress plugins.
The website offers a chat box, but it’s not a live chat. It’s simply a way to email customer support with your message or issue.
You can also click the box to search the knowledge base to try to solve the problem yourself. The knowledgebase seems fairly thorough, but undoubtedly won’t be able to solve every potential issue users may run into.
There is no public email address for support, and no phone number available either. That means it may take a while to hear back from someone who can help you if something goes wrong.
Start Booking — Unique Features
What sets this apart from other appointment booking solutions is the fact that it is a WordPress plugin. If you use WordPress and know it well, it could be a great solution for you.
If you’re not comfortable with it, you’ll have to fumble through setup or pay someone to take care of it for you and teach you how to use it.
The annual billing with a set number of users allows you to pay less often, saving money compared to other platforms that charge per user.
What the Experts Say About Start Booking
At the time of this review, Start Booking has the following ratings:
- 4.5/5 stars at SoftwareSugguest (10 reviews)
- 2.9/5 stars at Trustpilot (1+ reviews)
- 3.0/5 stars at Capterra (1+ reviews)
Our organization needed a quick solution to introduce online bookings at a reasonable price. This met the need for a short term but then we quickly outgrew it and moved onto another solution. If you are a hair salon, massage place, or any other small operation this will work for you. However, if you’re large company with high volumes it will work for you.Matthew C., Business Analyst – Verified Capterra review
Start Booking Alternatives
Not sure Start Booking is the answer for your needs? Consider these other options:
Appointy is renowned for its comprehensive appointment scheduling capabilities that include 24×7 bookings, reminders, payments, client management, and more.
It offers a booking page that can be integrated with your website, providing a clear view of availability for appointments.
Appointy offers a free-forever plan, with paid plans starting at $19.99/month. Ultimately, this is more expensive overall than Start Booking, but the ability to capitalize on the free plan or pay monthly may be a deciding factor for some users.
Appointlet is a great scheduling tool that offers an array of features. It’s designed for online meetings, groups, and classes.
For this reason, if you run a service-based business that requires in-person appointments, Start Booking is the better solution for you.
Appointlet offers a free forever plan, with paid plans starting as low as $8/month (with annual billing.)
Calendly is known for its intuitive interface and simplicity. It integrates seamlessly with multiple calendars to prevent overbooking.
Both Calendly and Start Booking come with a wide array of features, but Start Booking is built specifically for service businesses, while Calendly works well for scheduling meetings.
Calendly is affordable, with premium plans starting at $12/user/month, and a 20% annual billing discount.
Start Booking’s annual pricing may be a turnoff for some small businesses on a tight budget – but for an individual, it is more affordable overall.
Getting Started with Start Booking
Start Booking stands out as an efficient and user-friendly tool that streamlines the appointment booking process for many businesses.
Don’t let scheduling challenges hinder your business growth. Take control of your appointments and start optimizing your time management today by giving Start Booking a try today.
Start Booking FAQs
What is Start Booking?
Start Booking is an online appointment booking WordPress plugin that allows anyone to offer services or group classes to customers.
It supports multiple industries, such as yoga studios, coaches, gyms, spas, and salons.
Does Google have a booking system?
You can use Google Calendar to offer online appointment scheduling, but the features aren’t as robust as what you’d find in a dedicated scheduling system.
Online scheduling for small businesses & full calendars with Start Booking
Product Brand: StartBooking