Square Appointments Review
- Easy to use
- Excellent mobile app
- Free for individuals
- Limited customizability
- Only integrates with Square for payment processing
Formerly an independent enterprise named BookFresh, the (relatively) small program was acquired by merchant services provider Square in 2014 and has since been rebranded as Square Appointments. In the years since Square acquired the service, Square Appointments has grown to become much more than just booking software. It’s also a fully-featured POS that not only lets you schedule and manage appointments but also allows you to take payments, create discounts, accept tips, and more. Best of all, Square Appointments is free for individuals/independent contractors. All you need is your phone (or any internet-connected device) and a free Square account.
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 having to use the entire Square platform. Love the booking website but want a separate POS? You can definitely do that. However, as with many of Square’s other features, Square’s booking solution doesn’t make much sense unless you use Square for payment processing.
On the other hand, if you already use Square, or you are considering using it, Square Appointments may well be the best scheduling software for you since it works seamlessly with the rest of Square’s services and also offers some distinct advantages in its own right.
Table of Contents
There are three plans, each of which offers the complete suite of scheduling features. The lower-tiered plans cap the maximum number of staff who can access the account, and the higher-tiered plans offer a slight discount on Square’s credit card processing.
- Just Me: $0/month, 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Two-Five Staff: $50/month, 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
- Six-Ten Staff: $90/month, 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
With team pricing starting at $50/month, there is no way to disguise that Square Appointments is more expensive than some (but not all) of its competitors. There are several other popular scheduling software companies out there that offer team booking for two to five employees for $20-$40/month, depending on the company.
However, because Square Appointments has a fully-featured free plan for individuals, it’s a super affordable booking software solution for self-employed hairdressers, makeup artists, and other independent contractors, particularly for those who already use Square. By contrast, most other booking software with free plans have some feature limitations.
It’s also worth noting that if you already have a Square-powered business in need of booking software that can accommodate multiple employees, the price for Square Appointments will likely be worth it and not just for the seamless payment integration. Multi-employee plans using Square Appointments receive a 0.1% discount on Square’s processing fee, which could more than pay for the cost of Square Appointments if you run a busy med spa, for example, or sell some high-ticket services. Luckily, you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial to get a sense of whether Square Appointments is worth the price of admission.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Square is entirely cloud-based, with information automatically backed up to the cloud. You can access your Square account from anywhere with an internet connection. Square POS and Square Appointments also have some limited offline functionality. You can turn on the “Offline Mode” in your Square Appointments app settings, which allows you to queue swiped credit card payments in the event of an internet outage and process them later when you have a connection.
While virtually any type of business can use Square, Square Appointments is geared toward businesses that take appointments. These include spas, salons, massage therapists, acupuncturists, personal trainers, and other professionals in the beauty, wellness, and services industries. In addition to services, you can also use Square Appointments to sell items, which is good for service businesses that might also sell some merchandise, food items, etc. Square Appointments does not have class-booking functionality, so it would not work for businesses that book group classes, such as gyms or yoga studios.
Specific Size Of Business
Square Appointments works great for small, one-person businesses. It’s also suitable for larger businesses, as it can track appointments made across your entire team and even across multiple locations. If you have more than ten employees, you’ll need to contact Square for custom pricing information. Generally, though, Square and its add-ons, including Square Appointments, are best for small-to-medium businesses. Large businesses will likely find Square’s functionality lacking and may be able to get a superior credit card processing deal by getting their own merchant account from a bank or a merchant services provider.
Ease Of Use
Like most of Square’s products, the UI in Square Appointments is clean and modern and makes it easy to understand what’s going on in the app, whether you’re accessing it on a computer, iPad, or smartphone. 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 see some clickable pop-ups recommending some actions to get you started.
Here’s how the setup looks on the iPhone app:
You can also set these parameters in the Appointments tab of your Square Dashboard.
Once Appointments is enabled on your Square account, here are the main features you can access, either on the web browser version (Square Dashboard) or on the mobile app:
- Calendar: Graphic, interactive, and simple, it operates very much like Google Calendar (with which you have the option to sync), featuring day, week, five-day, and monthly views. Blocks of time can be booked as appointments or personal events simply by clicking on the calendar. Here’s how your calendar will appear in your Appointments Dashboard:
- Online Booking: Under this tab, you can set up your Square customer booking flow, and edit how your business and service details will appear on the website that customers will interact with. Setting up your website is super intuitive and straightforward, offering just enough customization options without overdoing it. You could foreseeably set up your website in as little as 10 minutes.
- Checkout: This is your POS, where you can check out customers after their appointments. Swipe, dip, or tap the customer’s credit card or mobile wallet via your integrated Square credit card reader, or key-in their card information if you don’t have a reader yet. You can also accept loyalty rewards or gift cards as payment, and create new services, items, or discounts on the fly. Here is how the Checkout screen renders on the iPhone app:
- Services: The Services tab redirects you to the Items tab of your main Square Dashboard. Here you can do such things as adding services, adding items (e.g., retail items you want to sell in addition to your services), setting modifiers, and creating discounts. Creating a new service is as simple as naming it, setting a price and duration, choosing whether customers can book the service online, and assigning staff to it if applicable. Painless. On the mobile app, you can access this feature via the Items & Services tab.
- 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.
- Settings: Here you can adjust some more finite settings, including whether to require prepayment, accept tips, or let customers reschedule on their own; how you want to notify customers of their upcoming appointments; and more. You can also see your entire appointment history under this tab. As with setting up your website, I thought the Settings screen offered just the right amount of options without being overwhelming.
Some additional features you’ll see on the mobile app include Reports, Transactions, and Invoices (which you’ll have to set up separately). You can access all of these features in your Square Dashboard as well, but they are not in the Appointments tab.
Hardware & Operating System Requirements
Square is available on Apple devices running iOS 10.0 and higher, and Android devices as long as they are running Android 5.0 or higher. You can also run Square, and Square Appointments, from any internet-connected web browser, which means you can use your Chromebook, MacBook, etc.
As far as the dedicated Square Appointments app for iPhone, iPad, and Android, you can find it on either the App Store or the Google Play store.
To process payments through Square Appointments — yes, you can do this directly from the Square Appointments app — you will also need a Square credit card reader, such as the Square Contactless & Chip Reader or a Square Stand.
Square’s features are undeniably strong, even if they are a little bit basic in terms of their appearance and options for visual customization.
- Integrated Payments & POS: Square Appointments integrates with Square payment processing and functions seamlessly alongside the Square POS system and the entire Square suite of business products. That’s a huge plus if you already use Square’s payment processing, inventory management, staff management, or other products. You can check out customers right from the Square Appointments app. Since Square allows unlimited devices, you could potentially have a main POS at the counter, and check out customers from their seat using your phone or an iPad.
Checking out customers and collecting their payment after their appointment couldn’t be easier. Add any retail items to their total and swipe, dip, or tap their credit card (you can also accept cash or check). The first time you accept a customer’s credit card, you can store their card for future use.
- Tipping: Another thing I like about configuring the system and taking payments on Square Appointments are all the options for tipping. You can choose whether to offer preset tip suggestions in percentages or whole amounts or if you want to enable Smart Tips, which provides tip suggestions in whole amounts for transactions of less than $10 and percentage-based tips for larger amounts. You can also set whether to calculate the tip before or after taxes and whether to include a separate tipping screen.
- Online Booking Site: On the customer’s end, your online booking site automatically displays your services and availability, and it allows them to book or reschedule appointments. It’s visually clean and easy to use. It also integrates with Google and Instagram, allowing new customers to instantly book an appointment from the Instagram app or right from Google. Booking from the client’s perspective is extremely simple: 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.
When setting up the online booking website, you can decide whether or not clients need your approval to confirm appointments and whether to enable Square Assistant, which allows clients to reschedule on their own. You also have the option to integrate with Google and Instagram and to grab the code to embed Square Appointments into your website. 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.
- Square Assistant: This is a newer feature in Square Appointments that handles confirmations and rescheduling via automatic responses to customers. Using this digital messenger, customers can reschedule appointments any time of day or night. I think this is a super useful and — dare I say it — game-changing feature, as it not only makes things easier for your customers, but it also outsources some of your admin work. Responding to your customers, canceling appointments, rescheduling appointments, and updating your calendar all take up time and resources, and Square Assistant saves you those resources.
- Mobile App: Square Appointments is available as a standalone app for iOS and Android. Both apps are highly reviewed on their respective platforms and provide a seamless experience whether you’re accessing Appointments from a web browser or the mobile app. You can adjust all the settings and features from the mobile app that you can from the Square dashboard. A mobile app rarely has every feature you’d see on the desktop version, but Square is the pioneer of mobile POS, so I’d expect nothing less from them. Again, Square Appointments is not only booking software, but also a mobile POS. The ability to take mobile payments is a game-changer for any independent service professional who wants to accept credit cards and not just cash or check.
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 on the left side of the screen. Some of these other merchant services come at additional cost, however. Here are some other relevant Square features you will have access to as part of the broader Square business software framework:
- Team Management: Square offers free timekeeping and basic employee management tools as part of its feature set. If you need advanced features, you can upgrade to Team Management Plus for $35/month.
- Customer Directory: Square users should take advantage of this SaaS’s intricate customer management tools to track loyalty, satisfaction, and feedback. This feature is free with your Square account.
- Square 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, such as the frequency of their visits. Your template selection is limited, and you can edit the elements of the template, but it’s limited to adding and subtracting elements, swapping out images, and changing text. This feature costs $15/month/500 contacts to send unlimited emails (there are also higher price tiers for more contacts).
- Square Invoices: If you want to allow your customers to pay for their appointments later online (rather than in-person at the appointment), this is the feature that will suit you perfectly. Square invoices are free to send; you just pay 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice when customers pay with credit or debit online. You can also accept payments for invoices in-person using a card reader to qualify for the 2.6% + $0.10 rate.
You can read more about Square’s various features in our Square review.
Customer Service & Support
Square offers its merchants, including those using Square Appointments, a few options for customer service. It isn’t always super easy to reach a live person, but overall, Square’s support channels are more than decent:
- Phone Support: Available Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM, you can call to speak to a human. You’ll need to enter your product code to get through, however, and the phone number isn’t prominently displayed anywhere on the website.
- Support Center: Like most online support centers for software, there is a lot to sort through here, especially since one knowledgebase 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.
- Square’s Support Robot: This is automated chat support that, while not as good as real live chat support, can help direct you to the right resources if you’re encountering an issue.
As mentioned, Square Appointments also offers customer support to your customers, in the form of Square Assistant. Granted, this is automated support that wouldn’t be able to handle nuanced requests, but it’s free, and it’s 24/7. Your customers can mostly just use it to cancel and reschedule appointments — which is probably all they would need to use it for anyway. Not bad for free booking software! Note that while customers can change appointments in Square Assistant (if you enable this feature), you as the business owner will not be able to view the conversations between your customer and Square Assistant.
Compatible Credit Card Processors
If you’re planning to take payments through your booking software, you’ll be able to leverage Square’s considerable expertise in that area. Though Square is the only payment processor you can use with Square Appointments, the seamless integration is a big plus for Square users. There’s no additional monthly fee for using the payment processing services, but as mentioned, Square charges 2.5% to 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction, depending on your plan level. For a more comprehensive look at the functionality, check out our Square POS review.
Of course, if you use a different credit card processor and are happy with them, you’ll probably pass up Square Appointments for a different booking software program that integrates with your preferred processor.
Integrations & Add-Ons
As feature-rich as Square is, it’s also quite expandable. As a result, all software that’s compatible with Square is compatible with Square Appointments as well. However, depending on the program, the software may only interact with the Appointments feature in a limited way or not at all if the software performs an unrelated function. In any case, some of the more popular Square integrations include:
- Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice
- QuickBooks Online
- Stitch Labs
- …and many others
It’s also worth noting that Square integrates with other popular booking software programs, such as Acuity, Appointy, Bookeo, Booxi, and others. So Square users may also want to investigate these options to see if they may prefer to use one of those programs instead of Square Appointments.
Overall, Square Appointments enjoys an overwhelmingly positive reputation online.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
As Square Appointments lives inside the broader Square framework, it’s a bit harder to isolate reviews of its functionality, e.g., in terms of customer support or payment processing, which apply to the entire Square framework. It’s difficult to find many purely negative reviews about Square Appointments specifically, but most of the negative or mixed reviews mention one or more of the following limitations:
- Limited Customization Options: If you want to customize every aspect of your booking website’s appearance and workflow, this program just does not provide the nuanced controls to perform such customizations.
- Somewhat Basic Features: Some users feel Square Appointments is overly simple and wish it had a more expansive feature set, such as more finite client management or the ability to book classes.
- Visually Basic: Square Appointments is pretty no-frills visually, and some users would prefer more colorful or eye-catching graphics. However, for other users, the clean interface is a good thing.
- High Cost For Teams: There haven’t been as many negative comments about the cost since Square started offering Appointments for free to individuals in 2018, but some reviewers still note that it is more expensive than other programs when used in a team environment.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Square Appointments is a well-liked program, garnering an impressive 4.3/5 stars on G2 Crowd. The latest version of the Square Appointments app has also been well-received at 4.9/5 stars on the App Store and 4.2/5 stars on Google Play. Users liked:
- Free For Individuals: Many customers praise Appointments for being a fully-featured free booking software solution for individuals.
- Integrated Functionality: Most reviewers who also take advantage of the payment processing systems and other features that Square offers consider Appointments to be a good value.
- Easy To Use: Considering just how much Square can do, it’s remarkably easy to use and super fast to set up.
- Portable: Square was initially designed for mobile devices, so just about everything it offers is available on the go as an app or a peripheral.
As part of a larger, integrated merchant services platform, Square Appointments can provide established small businesses with just about everything they need to book and manage appointments online as well as accept payments as a mobile POS, with the bonus of working harmoniously with all the other numerous Square products. On a less substantive note, Square brings a high degree of polish to its products. If you like clean, visually pleasing UIs, you’ll be pleased with what Square has to offer here.
Square Appointments accommodates both self-employed users who only need to manage their appointments as well as larger teams that need to manage appointments across multiple staff members and locations. If you already use Square’s free POS, Square Appointments may work out perfectly for you. Businesses using Square Appointments to manage multiple employees’ booking schedules will even receive a small discount on Square’s processing fee. On the other hand, businesses looking for advanced booking software with more customization, multiple payment processing options, or intricate functionality may find Square Appointments too limited or overly basic.