Want a great way to make more income during the COVID-19 crisis or just tired of setting up meetings manually? Learn how to setup your own booking plugin that will schedule your meetings automatically.
Below I’ve laid out two ways to have clients book online – with either ongoing monthly fees or a one-time fee.
Option 1: Appointment Booking Service with Monthly Fees
- Accuity Scheduling FREE or $15-25/mo, 7-day free trial, 4.8 rating
Really smooth layout with gift certificates, subscriptions, packages, memberships, group classes, email reminders, rescheduling/cancellations, and video appointment integration with Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Join.me, and GoToMeeting.
- Calendly.com FREE or $8-12/mo, 14-day free trial, 4.7 rating
Scheduling for large teams, reminder and follow-up emails/SMS, daily limits, time zone detection, video appointment integration. Calendly is now a Gutenberg Block that is integrated within WordPress and JetPack.
- Amelia $59-249/yr, 4.6 rating, 15-day money back guarantee or free limited version available on WordPress.org, see demos here »
WooCommerce integration, 3 different views: step-by-step booking wizard, search interface, catalog view of services. Individual/group appointments, multiple services or business locations, discount coupons for bookings, video integration, reminder and follow-up emails/SMS.
- YouCanBookMe $10/mo, 14-day free trial, 4.5 rating
Reminder and follow-up emails/SMS, accept/reject appt, time zone detection, personalized booking page, include information entered by customers at time of booking, video appointment integration.
- Appointy FREE or $20-50/mo, 14-day free trial (Google Partner), 2.8-4.6 rating
Helps with Appointments/Resources, Classes/workshops/Events, Tours/Rides/Activities. Offers social promotion as well.
- Homey WordPress Theme $59, 4.7 rating
Booking, Accommodation, and Rentals Theme for Residential/Commercial. Check out their video demo on website.
Some of these online booking options will work with WordPress and some may lead you to another site to book. If you need help setting up any of these options or you simply need help deciding which booking plugin is right for you, just contact us for help. We offer one-on-one consultation for $50/hr or can customize for you at our $100/hr rate. Our first two-hour consultation is free but that does not include any research, design, development, or training.
Option 2: Appointment Booking Plugin with a One-time Fee
Chris Lema, speaker/consultant/podcaster who writes blog posts on various website plugin comparisons, wrote this very timely post for those who are trying to find more ways to bring in more income while staying at home. He gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own booking service on your own site using WooCommerce, a booking plugin called Bookly Pro, and Bookly Advanced Google Calendar (two-way sync). The overall one-time costs for this option would be:
- Two Bookly add-ons = $138
- One-on-one Consultation fee: $50/hr OR Custom Setup fee: $100/hr
REQUIREMENTS for this option: You will need to have a WordPress website with WooCommerce setup. Our Ecommerce Store Package normally costs $1000 but for this you won’t need such extensive customization with products so we can offer you a basic WooCommerce setup fee of $250 for this purpose.
Below is a snippet from Chris Lema’s article (to peak your interest), a link to the demo (to see what it looks like), and a link to the full article (to read more):
My biggest requirements come down to four things:
Integration with WooCommerce – I already run WooCommerce and in this case, I didn’t want another solution that would have it’s own payment solution or gateway. That cut out most of the SaaS players out there. You might not have WooCommerce running, and in that case, you might look at those. For this, since I wanted to run it on my own site, I wanted WooCommerce integration.
Integration with Google Calendar – I wanted a two-way sync between my site and Google Calendar. Specifically, I didn’t want to have to create rules for when I was available and when I wasn’t. I wanted to be able to connect my regular calendar with the booking engine so that it would know when I was already booked.
An interface that makes me look good – If I’m selling advice online I want to position myself as an expert and that means not having a user experience that looks super plain or super complicated. There’s a perfect balance.
Rules around booking availability – I want to be able to define how far out people can book me, how close to today they can book an appointment, and what padding should be around each booked appointment (so I have enough time to visit the bathroom, know what I mean?).