Calendly, June 22, 2021
Regardless of your business's size, scheduling can be a hassle for both you and your clients. If you’re in the market for an automated scheduling tool, then you may be comparing Calendly versus Acuity.
Both are popular, affordable options for streamlining your scheduling process and regaining control over you and your team’s calendars. But what are the differences? And how will those differences affect your productivity or integrate with your existing systems?
Other than recouping some of the time you spend on scheduling emails and phone calls, online scheduling boosts your ROI in another critical way — more appointments. Many business owners report an uptick in the number of appointments scheduled. Oftentimes, convenient scheduling is the deciding factor in whether a client chooses your services over another company’s.
This review will serve as a launching pad for further research or help you make that final decision about the right online appointment scheduling tool for your organization.
Both are automated scheduling software, but that is where Calendly keeps its focus. While you can manage teams and integrate with other apps and services using both options, Calendly’s features concentrate on scheduling and activity management. It offers extensive integrations so you can expand capabilities in whatever direction you need, especially when integrated with Zapier.
Calendly’s ideal users primarily want automated scheduling with team features and the ability to expand functions or connect with other apps through vast integration options.
Acuity offers a reliable automated scheduling tool, but expands its capabilities into business administration like client management, customizable intake forms, and invoicing. It also provides the freedom to customize your cloud-based platform in almost any way.
Ideal Acuity users are interested in replacing their existing admin systems with a single cloud-based tool that goes beyond automated scheduling.
While freelancers and small to mid-sized businesses can benefit from Calendly or Acuity, larger enterprises report using Calendly more often. This is because they require more robust scheduling features and have little need for Acuity’s business admin capabilities. (They have these systems in place already.)
Access controls/user permissions
Knowledge base management
Billing and invoicing
Customizable forms and fields
Payment processing (as an in-app feature)
Calendly offers additional features like payment processing and lead management through integrations with popular platforms like Stripe, PayPal, and Salesforce. (More to come about integrations for each scheduling tool.)
Both automated schedulers come out on top in the ease-of-use category. Each tool requires only basic software knowledge and offers simple customization options.
This is possible because their platforms include default automations designed to streamline setup. (However, integrated features require that you activate them before accessing customization options.)
Creating automation rules for scheduling in Calendly doesn’t take much time. Once you know your availability preferences, the system walks you through the process. Even users with little software experience can set up scheduling controls like:
Email confirmations and reminders
Buffer times between events
Daily limits for meetings
Minimum scheduling rules to prevent last-minute meetings
It’s also easy to set up and deploy Acuity’s scheduling features. Because the developers also preset its more complex elements, customizing business admin settings requires only minor changes. No need to feel overwhelmed about setting up or using the additional business services offered.
You’ll also find helpful tips within each of Acuity’s windows that provide basic information about the purpose and features offered there.
Do you schedule across time zones? Calendly and Acuity include automatic time zone detection for scheduling. It’s a critical feature for anyone scheduling non-local appointments.
If scheduling automation and calendar management are your priorities, then you’ll reap more benefits from Calendly’s platform. It syncs with up to six different calendars (per user), including Google, Outlook, iCloud, and Office 365, which helps prevent scheduling conflicts.
Calendly’s shared events (i.e. collective, round-robin, group) make organizing meetings with multiple hosts, multiple invitees, or availability-based scheduling less hassle. And to keep everyone on the same page (literally), this online scheduling tool includes team-wide pages that display the availability for your entire company or department on one page.
For scheduling, Acuity offers extended benefits such as multi-location appointment setting. This keeps you organized even when team members from several offices are included in your scheduling process.
Your company might also benefit from Acuity’s customizable forms, such as intake and agreement forms, that are automatically sent to clients once they schedule an appointment or purchase from you. You won’t have to worry about forgetting to send appropriate documentation every time someone schedules with you or your team.
Both Calendly and Acuity offer access across devices to keep you organized and on schedule even when you’re not in your office.
When Calendly goes up against Acuity in the arena of customizations, a key Calendly feature stands out — user access controls (or user permissions). You can assign roles and limit user access based on set permissions, a huge customization feature for any online scheduling tool.
In Calendly, user roles include general users, team managers, admins, and owners. While admins and team managers can add or remove users from a team, only owners can edit user roles. This allows some users to access only their team pages, other team pages, or company-wide access based on their assigned role.
However, even though Acuity doesn’t offer user permission controls, it does offer custom page styling, letting you show off your CSS skills to make any visual changes to your pages that you like.
Both Calendly and Acuity let you customize branding and templates within the platform.
It’s a close call in the volume of integrations because Calendly and Acuity each have over 90 of them available. The ability to seamlessly connect your automated scheduling tool with other platforms that keep your business running is crucial to boosting productivity. It also helps you maximize existing features within your online scheduler.
Salesforce Sales Cloud
QuickBooks Online Advanced
In this age of online meetings, it’s important to note that both Calendly and Acuity offer direct integrations with popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting. This means you can include video conference details directly in your Calendly events, allowing you to scratch another item off your task list while keeping all event information in one place.
But don’t despair if your go-to business app or software isn’t listed under either of these online scheduling tools. You can use Zapier to connect almost any app to Calendly or Acuity. Of course, it’s always simpler when you can integrate directly, which is why so many cloud-based platforms seek to increase their integration capabilities.
Both Calendly and Acuity provide on-demand access to resources and have eliminated phone support. However, their self-help tools often offer immediate solutions.
Calendly’s website includes a help center, resource library, developer tools, video tutorials, and an online support community. You can also contact specialized support personnel through an email help desk (but you must wait for a reply). This option pops up in a window when you click the “contact us” link in the help center.
Pro subscribers get preferential treatment when they submit a request to Calendly’s email help desk. If you’ve purchased a plan and have 10 or more users, you also can access live chat support.
Like Calendly, Acuity maintains a help center that includes how-to articles for setup, scheduling, client pages, integrations, sales packages, promos, and notifications.
Additionally, you can register for free live training seminars through the link on their help center page. If that’s not your style, you can also submit an online support request through a link found at the bottom of the homepage.
So which one rises to the top in customer service? Users who posted online reviews gave them both high but equal ratings.
Both offer a free trial period with paid features. Calendly’s free trial lasts 14 days, and Acuity’s lasts 7 days.
However, Calendly also offers a completely free basic plan for users who only require one calendar integration and one event type. This option suits many freelancers and smaller businesses who aren’t frequently scheduling appointments or who require little flexibility in the type of appointment set.
Calendly’s paid plans include Premium for $10 per month, per user, and Pro plan for $15 per month, per user.
The Pro plan grants access to the following features not available in the Premium plan:
All Calendly integrations
Six calendars per user (instead of two)
Acuity’s Emerging plan is $15 per month, per user and includes all the basic features along with additional capabilities like:
Automatic time zone conversion for clients
Option to embed scheduler on your website
Confirmation, reminder, and follow-up email capability
Their Growing plan is $25 per month, per user and includes all the features of an Emerging plan along with additional capabilities like:
Six total calendars per account
Appointment packages and payment plans
Acuity’s Powerhouse plan is $50 per month, per user and includes all the features of the Growing plan along with additional capabilities like:
Remove Acuity branding
36 total calendars per account
Sign BAA and HIPAA compliance
The automated scheduling software you choose depends on your needs. If you find little value in Acuity’s business administration capabilities, you probably wouldn’t want to pay the additional cost for their platform.
And regardless of the plan level you choose, it’s easy to upgrade and scale services according to your growing needs.
The best way to choose between two good options is to consider your organization’s most important goals. Once you have a clear vision of your direction, you can create a targeted plan for incorporating automation and upgrading critical platforms.
Are you looking for an online scheduler to connect with existing software and systems? Then Calendly wins the standoff because the cloud-based software specializes in automated scheduling and does it well.
If you want robust scheduling features, Calendly’s user permissions, collaboration tools, and activity management are must-haves. And regardless of your company’s size, the price remains highly affordable.
Additionally, Calendly’s website is far more transparent about available features, how to use them, and what you get with each paid package. And if you want more details on applying these features before you buy, you can search articles in their help center or on their blog.
Conversely, if you are looking for comprehensive software that goes beyond scheduling, Acuity offers an expanded platform. It provides client management, accounting integrations, invoicing, and multi-location services alongside its online scheduling tool.
Acuity offers robust e-commerce features for service-based businesses, allowing you to receive tips, offer coupons, sell access to classes, workshops, or events, and even upsell clients with add-ons at checkout.
Acuity’s end-to-end software service packages are advantageous if you want to update several business admin systems (or are starting from scratch). If you’ll use the additional features, it’s worth the higher cost.
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