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The 4 Best Calendly Alternatives in 2021 (Free & Paid Options)

Calendly is a simple scheduler that’s easy to use if you need to book meetings here and there. You might be looking for the best Calendly alternatives, though, if you’ve realized the free version lacks some helpful features and isn’t intuitive to use. Or perhaps you’re willing to pay for better reporting and more direct integrations with other software.

No one likes the manual scheduling dance. “I’m free at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.” Cool, but is that ET or PT, and will an account executive be able to attend? That’s another calendar to check. This is why online scheduling tools exist, right? To reduce the back-and-forth emails and stop wasting your time — and keep those leads hot.

4 Best Calendly Alternatives

Best Overall – Chili Piper

Chili Piper eliminates the many clicks and conversations about schedules and calendars. It makes it easy to book prospects, customers, and colleagues into meetings. It’s one-click scheduling with its Instant Booker product — and instant connections with the Concierge product.

Why People Love It

Chili Piper is an ideal scheduling app solution for sales and customer success teams, but it can work for anyone that needs to book meetings. In the Calendly vs. Chili Piper battle, Calendly works well for the individual, but Chili Piper is more for teams that need sophisticated features.

The free version includes so many premium features that it seems like a steal. Automated email and text reminders, unlimited event types (meeting duration, time zone, etc.), and the ability to instantly book meetings via email — all included in the free version. With the Suggested Times feature, no one has to click a link to see your calendar — they can, but they don’t have to.

Bigger sales teams need round-robin distribution, advanced routing based on customer relationship management (CRM) rules, and a Salesforce integration may want to splurge on the Hot plan. This is the highest-priced plan at $25 per user, per month, if paid annually.

Chili Piper Pros and Cons

Chili Piper’s two products work well for almost any type or size business. However, there are instances when it’s not the best solution.

Pros

  • Insert meeting times in an email.
  • Easy-to-use Google Chrome extension.
  • Reduces back-and-forth communication.
  • Integrates with Salesforce.
  • Includes round-robin meeting distribution.
  • Automated email reminders.
  • Robust reporting features.

Cons

  • Loads a little slowly (~2 seconds).
  • The amount of customization could be overwhelming for some users.

Pricing

Chili Piper offers a free version of its scheduling software and two paid plans: Spicy for $15 per user, per month. And the Hot plan for $25 per user, per month, if paid annually. All of these options are priced low enough for individuals and small businesses to use. It’s slightly pricier than Calendly, but you get more advanced features and functionality from Chili Piper.

High-volume sales teams may want to consider Chili Piper’s Concierge product. It lets qualified leads instantly connect with a salesperson via a form on your website. Each plan costs $30 per user per month. You can then choose a platform plan: Spicy is $150 per month, Hot is $400 per month, and Inferno is $1,000 per month.

Features

Chili Piper offers a couple of spicy products at different heat levels to easily choose what works best for you. Let’s look at what Chili Piper does at varying levels of each product.

Instant Booker

This is the product you want if you’re looking for a scheduling app that integrates seamlessly with other software you use. You can easily book meetings with customers and prospects, add multiple colleagues to meetings, and avoid overbooking.

Free: The free version of Chili Piper is surprisingly effective, and for some users, a complete product. Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Instantly book meetings from an email
  • List event types — no limit
  • Integrate calendars (Google, Outlook, Office 365)
  • Share a personal booking link
  • Add multiple people to a meeting from one calendar
  • Include buffer times between meetings
  • Send email and text meeting reminders — oh wait, that’s automated (you don’t have to do it manually)
  • Integrates with Zoom and GoToMeeting, so everything the recipient needs is in their email or calendar

Spicy: For $15 per month per user, you get the same functionality as the free version, plus a lot more.

  • Create meetings or send available times on behalf of others on your team
  • Integrate with Salesforce
  • Automate events in your CRM
  • Track no shows, cancellations, and rescheduled meetings in your CRM
  • Get important CRM data for each meeting, so you’re always prepared

Hot: Some like it hot, so this plan is aptly named. The Hot plan starts at $25 per user per month. It gives you some extra features that can benefit sales teams divided by region or multiple sales teams.

  • Automate round-robin style of meeting schedules to keep things fair
  • Set up custom meeting routing rules in your CRM
  • Get valuable lead distribution reporting

Worth noting: You’ll get email support at all levels (even the free version), and Chili Piper’s support team is quick to respond. At both Spicy and Hot levels, you’ll get a customer success manager who will help you set up and use the product effectively.

Concierge

Chili Piper’s original product is Concierge, which goes beyond meeting management and scheduling help. Inbound prospects are ready to talk — now. The longer those leads have to wait to speak to someone, the colder they get. Keep ‘em hot and spicy by instantly connecting, or at least, instantly booking a meeting with that prospect.

Here’s how it works:

  • Qualify leads instantly
  • Schedule and book meetings automatically
  • Instantly connect via phone or video
  • Automatically update contact data in your CRM

The most significant differences among the three plans are the number of leads routed per month and the Spicy plan doesn’t include the instant phone and video connections.

  • Spicy: Up to 100 inbound leads
  • Hot: Up to 1,000 inbound leads
  • Inferno: Unlimited inbound leads

Chili Piper’s two products make it a viable choice for any business that relies on meetings and striking while the lead is hot. When it comes to the best scheduling software, you want the one that offers the most features but is also user-friendly.

The free version of Instant Booker works well for the smallest businesses and solopreneurs who simply want to save time on scheduling meetings. Mid-sized companies can make good use of Instant Booker’s paid plans — especially with that Salesforce integration that lets you share data in both directions. And Concierge can help teams instantly qualify leads and get them quickly to the right salesperson to increase those conversion rates.

Best for Service-based Businesses – Acuity Scheduling

Service-based businesses need more than a scheduling app — they need an app like Acuity Scheduling that lets customers book appointments and pay for the service all at the same time. Acuity does a great job of letting you set up a calendar on your site where clients can self-book, pay, and tip all at once.

Why People Love It

When you operate a service-based business, like a salon, maintenance company, or consultancy, you don’t have time to pause your work to schedule the next meeting. Acuity Scheduling lets you focus on what you do rather than figuring out when your next available appointment is.

Acuity Scheduling serves as a scheduling assistant through the whole process, depending on which plan you choose. Set up automatic reminders, integrate with video conferencing, email marketing, calendar, and accounting apps, too.

Pros and Cons

There’s a lot to like about Acuity Scheduling, but it’s a solution for specific business types. It may be what you need, or it may not be a good fit at all.

Pricing

Acuity Scheduling offers no free plan, but it does give you a seven-day free trial. Three plans range from $14 to $45 per month if paid annually. The biggest differences between plans include the number of staff or locations that can make use of the scheduler, text message reminders, subscription and membership sales, and branding. Acuity Scheduling is more expensive than Calendly, but it does a lot more for the intended audience.

Emerging Plan – $14 per month

This Acuity Scheduling plan is for one person or one location. It’s a good choice for a maintenance company, salon, or consultant that doesn’t offer subscriptions or memberships. You also won’t be able to sell gift certificates, though.

Growing Plan – $23 per month

At this tier, you can set up scheduling for up to six people or locations. Plus, you can sell gift certificates, memberships, and subscriptions. This is a good choice for business coaches that sell packages, spas that offer gift certificates and memberships. You’ll be able to set up automatic text message reminders, too.

Powerhouse – $45 per month

It’s the highest-tier plan that gives you up to 36 staff or location scheduling. You’ll also be able to get that “powered by” branding removed from your scheduler.

Features

Acuity Scheduling features are pretty straightforward, and it’s clear this scheduler is meant for the business that needs to set appointments for services.

Acuity Scheduling is a great solution for service-based businesses ready to book appointments (and even have clients pay for them) right away. Companies with sales teams that need to demo products or speak to prospects immediately to keep the lead hot likely won’t get a lot of use out of Acuity Scheduling.

Best for Small Teams – ScheduleOnce

ScheduleOnce is a bit like a hybrid solution for appointment and meeting booking, making this a good choice for service-based businesses or sales teams. However, it has a limited set of features compared to some of its competitors. You could compare ScheduleOnce to other schedulers because it’s a good alternative, especially to Calendly, because it’s affordable and includes some neat features.

Why Teams Love It

A small company with products, services, and support might make ScheduleOnce work well for them. You can set up rules to push a client to the appropriate calendar to book an appointment or meeting. You’ll also be able to accept payments online (from PayPal only), so this could work well for consultants.

Pros and Cons

Once you have ScheduleOnce set up, it works well to distribute customers to the right team members. However, there are some limitations in what ScheduleOnce can do.

Pricing

Like many appointment scheduling apps, ScheduleOnce offers a free plan with limited features. To make use of the more helpful features, you’ll have to upgrade to the Teams option for $9 per month, per user, if paid annually. Enterprise-level pricing isn’t even listed, so if you need more security or a dedicated account manager, you’ll have to get a custom quote.

At a glance, it seems that ScheduleOnce is cheaper than Calendly, but you won’t truly know if it’s a good fit for your teams until you contact the company.

Features

It’s hard to say whether ScheduleOnce’s plan to be all things to all people is a good idea. You can use it as a solo user for clients to book and pay for appointments. Or use it for your sales teams to schedule meetings and demos or for support teams to answer questions.

Generally, ScheduleOnce is a good Calendly alternative with more integrations at lower levels and some advanced features for the free/solo plan. Whether you want to book appointments for services (and have clients pay immediately) or book meetings for sales or support teams, ScheduleOnce could serve you well enough for a small company. No telling how much it costs for Enterprise level, though.

Best for Multiple People Meetings – Doodle

Using Doodle to schedule a one-on-one meeting is kind of like using Chili Piper. You set up a meeting and propose a few different times, and the person you’re meeting with chooses what works best for them — except it doesn’t happen right in the email (like it does with Chili Piper).

When you need more people in that meeting and your team is across different time zones, you may want to use its polling feature to figure out what time works best for everyone. It’s one of the simplest and best online schedulers available.

Why People Love It

Doodle is easy to use and it works well on mobile. Setup is easy, and using the app is fairly straightforward. Compared to Calendly, it’s much more user-friendly, more affordable, and still does the same thing Calendly is meant to do: take the pain out of scheduling. However, Doodle is missing some functionality that more complex programs offer.

Pros and Cons

You can create a Doodle survey for free, but you’ll be bombarded by ads, and you won’t be able to sync your calendar with Doodle. It does give you a 14-day trial to make sure it’s right for you.

Pricing

As mentioned earlier, there is a free version of Doodle, but really it’s just the polling feature. All the scheduling will still be manual on your end. If you upgrade to the Pro plan, you’ll pay $6.95 per month, but this is just for one user. The Team plan starts at $44.75 per month, and that’s for a minimum of five users — it goes up in increments of 10, so it would be $89.50 per month for 10 users. These prices are all if you pay annually. Both plans are less expensive than Calendly.

The Enterprise plan is quote-based only, so there’s no pricing available.

Features

The free Doodle surveys you can create may be enough for you, especially if you’re a solo user who occasionally needs to schedule a meeting with multiple people. If it gets to be a regular thing, you might want to upgrade (or go with a different app) to make things way easier.

Doodle is the kind of scheduling software you want to handle your calendar. It’s good for setting up meetings with multiple people on your terms, but it can’t address the more complex needs of a large sales team. There’s no round-robin scheduling or rules to set up to send a prospect to one person or the other.

How We Chose the Best Calendly Alternatives

We tested 12 of the top-rated scheduling software that’s available right now. At the end of the day, the best scheduling software is easy to use, fits your needs, and works with your budget. Chili Piper checks all three of those boxes for any sales or customer success team.

About the Author

Amy Smith has more than 20 years of experience as a writer for TV news, newspapers, and technology companies. She's tested and reviewed a variety of software, robot vacuums, video cameras, and SaaS. Her content has been featured in Tom's Guide, Business.com, L.A. Times, Reader's Digest, and more. When she isn't testing, researching, or writing, she's usually exploring a small town somewhere, cooking and baking, or playing video games.

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