Square Appointments Review
- Easy to use
- Excellent mobile app
- Modern user interface
- Expensive monthly cost
- Excessively numerous features
Formerly an independent enterprise named BookFresh, the (relatively) small program was acquired by merchant services provider Square in 2014 and has since been rolled into that company’s infrastructure. BookFresh.com now serves primarily as a landing page for Square Appointments, an application that functions within the larger framework of Square’s SaaS offerings.
Although Square Appointments is part of a larger integrated platform meant to address a broad swath of business needs, it’s still possible to sign up specifically for the booking features without purchasing the entire platform. This is mostly a welcome feature, but it does have some drawbacks in the sense that it will often feel like some features are just out of reach of your plan. On the other hand, if you already use some of Square’s other products, or if you intend to use some of Square’s other products, this product may well be the best choice for you, since it works seamlessly with the rest of Square’s services.
Table of Contents
There is no way to disguise that Square Appointments is more expensive than many of its competitors. If you already use other Square products, the price may be worth it for the seamless integration. Luckily, you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial to get a sense of whether Square Appointments is worth the steep price of admission.
There are three plans, each of which offers the complete suite of scheduling features (but not total functionality, see below). The lower tiered plans cap the maximum number of staff who can access the account.
- Just Me: $0/month, 2.75% per transaction
- 2-5 Staff: $50/month, 2.5% +10 cents per transaction
- 6-10: $90/month 2.5% + 10 cents per transaction
Ease Of Use
Like most of Square’s products, the UI in Square Appointments is clean, modern, and gives you the sense you can understand what’s going on in the app. The modern fonts, clear graphics and simple color scheme ease any sense of computer or Internet anxiety, which is nice for many professionals new to SaaS (software as a service). When you sign up, you’ll have a refreshingly small number of parameters to fill out: the name of your business, the services you offer, the length of time required for the service, and the fee for your service, if applicable. You’ll then be dropped into an Overview, which features a number of clickable pop-ups recommending some actions to get you started. These are very welcome considering the left-hand sidebar, which is full of words to click on.
Here’s where things start to get a little dicey. Many of those pesky sidebar features are lurking behind a paywall, so if you’re just trying to learn the appointment functions, things will look a bit cluttered at the outside. Do yourself a favor and just stick to the appointment tab at first. Here’s what you’ll find under it:
- Calendar: Graphic, interactive, and simple, it operates very much like Google Calendar (with which you have the option to sync), featuring day, week, 5-day, and monthly views. Blocks of time can be booked as appointments or personal events simply by clicking on the calendar. You can decide whether or not clients need your approval to confirm your appointments, and whether to give them the option to reschedule on their own. One of the funnier and more unique features offered here is the Fake-It Filter, which randomly removes a percentage of your available time slots to give the appearance that you’re busier than you actually are. The interface is simple, responsive, and offers enough option fields to accommodate both minimalists and the detail-obsessed.
- Business Hours: If you aren’t happy with the hours you set at the time of sign-up, you can modify them and other information about your company under the business tab. You can set specific services to only be available at specific times.
- Customization: Square Appointments doesn’t offer too many customization options beyond the ability to modify some colors and fonts of your booking options. The default look is very professional and clean, but those who prefer the ability to curate their customer experiences a bit more tightly will probably be disappointed.
- Services: Creating a new service is as simple as naming it, setting a price and time of availability, and assigning staff to it if applicable. Painless.
- Staff: If your business consists of more than just you (and your plan allows it), you can add staff and define their roles and permissions under the Staff tab.
Customer Service & Support
Square offers a couple options for customer service, including:
- Phone Support: Available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can call to speak to a human. You’ll need to enter your product code to get through, however.
- Support Center: Like most online support centers for software, there is a lot to sort through here, especially since one knowledge base services all of Square’s numerous products. Fortunately, performing a simple search for “appointments” brings up plenty of material to help you suss out any issues you might be experiencing.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
As Square Appointments lives inside the larger Square framework, it’s a bit harder to isolate reviews of its functionality. Former BookFresh users have voiced some concerns on forums.
- Cost: There’s no way around it. Square Appointments is considerably more expensive than BookFresh. Most criticisms of the software are focused on this aspect.
- Too Many Options: This is only a problem if you have modest booking needs, but some users felt like they didn’t need everything Square has to offer.
- Mobile App Limitations: Mobile users complained about having to re-enter customer information in the app.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Square is a well-liked program, garnering an impressive 4.4/5 stars on G2 Crowd. The latest version of the Square Appointments app has also been well-received at 4/5 stars on iOS. Users liked:
- Integrated Functionality: Users who also took advantage of the payment processing systems and other features Square has to offer consider Appointments to be a good value.
- Ease Of Use: Considering just how much Square can do, it’s remarkably easy to use.
- Portability: Square was originally designed for mobile devices, so just about everything it offers is available on the go as an app or a peripheral.
Square Appointments is only one of the vast array of merchant services integrated into Square’s broader SaaS platform. You can access this additional functionality through the massive sidebar at the left side of the screen. A number of these other merchant services come at additional cost, however.
- Point of Sale/Inventory Management: Square Appointments functions perfectly alongside the Square POS management system, which is a huge plus.
- Employee Management: If you employ a sales team and would like to keep track of their performance within Square, you can do so at a cost of $5/person per month.
- Customer Management: While largely related to Square’s POS functionality, you can take advantage of the SaaS’s intricate customer management tools to track loyalty, satisfaction, and feedback.
- Email Marketing: Yes, Square can also function as a lean ESP if you’re so inclined. It’s no MailChimp, but it does allow you to leverage the same customer base you’ve built up through your booking and sales functionality. You can send customers coupons, welcomes, and announcements to clientele based on criteria like the frequency of their visits. Your template selection is extremely limited–classic and a seasonal option. You can edit the elements of the template, but it’s limited to adding and subtracting elements, swapping out images, and changing text. Pricing comes in two flavors: you can pay 10 cents per email, or pay $15/month per 500 contacts to send unlimited emails.
- Customer Booking: Booking from the client’s perspective is extremely easy. From your booking website (or integrated widget), they simply select a type of appointment or specific service, choose an available time slot, and enter their contact information. The system was responsive during my tests, with an SMS text confirmation coming within seconds of booking the appointment.
- Mobile App: Square Appointments is available as a standalone app for iOS.
If you’re planning to take payments through your booking software, you’ll be able to leverage Square’s considerable expertise in that area. There’s no additional monthly fee for using the sale services, but Square takes a 2.75 percent cut of swiped and online/invoice transactions and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents on every keyed-in transaction. For a more comprehensive look at the functionality, check out our Square POS review.
Square’s security policy is what you might expect for a company that holds sensitive information and transfers payments. It adheres to PCI security standards and features encryption, segregated networks, and payment encryption.
Integrations and Add-Ons
As feature-rich as Square is, it’s quite expandable. Among the integrations available for it are:
- Intuit QuickBooks
- Zoho Books
- One Up
- Commerce Synch
- Intrakr Inventory
- Stitch Labs
- Fresh KDS
- When I Work
As part of a larger, integrated merchant services platform, Square Appointments can provide established small businesses with just about everything they need to run their digital infrastructure with the added bonus of working perfectly with all the other numerous Square products. On a less substantive note, Square brings a high degree of polish to their products. If you like clean, visually pleasing UIs, you’ll be pleased with what Square has to offer here.
All of this, of course, assumes that you need and will use everything Square has to offer. If you only need to book appointments, this service a bit too rigid in the customization department to justify its hefty price tag. Those lighter users can find what they need in cheaper (even free) competitors.