You know how it is when you find a tool or app that solves a problem in your business so perfectly you could write a sonnet about it? Acuity Scheduling is one of those tools. Since day one of my business, it’s saved me countless hours and helped me book more free consults with potential clients in the process.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to all of Acuity’s spectacular time-saving features and give you a side-by-side comparison of Acuity and Calendly, it’s biggest competitor.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk (*).
Scheduling appointments with Acuity is easy for your clients and completely passive on your part once you have your account setup. Here’s how it works for regular appointments.
1. Add new appointment types.
The first thing you’ll need to do is add the appointment types you want to offer your clients. For example, you might want to add an initial consult and follow-up appointments. There are a number of ways you can customize your appointment:
Name your appointment.
Add a description.
Add a message clients will see on the confirmation page after booking.
Set a duration.
Set a price.
Create categories to organize your appointment types.
Upload a photo.
Make the appointment type visible on your public scheduling page or hide it so only clients with a direct link can book.
Add one or more intake forms to the signup page (more on that below).
2. Set your availability.
You can place limits on when clients can schedule and customize those limits for each appointment type. For example, I only let clients book Monday-Friday in the afternoon. You can also set the following limits:
Require clients to book at least x number of hours in advance.
Prevent clients from booking more than x number of days in the future.
Prevent clients from cancelling or rescheduling within x number hours of an appointment.
Only allow booking up to x number of hours or appointments per day or week.
Limit the number of appointments per time slot to prevent or allow double booking.
You can also block off any time you want on the calendar if you’re going on vacation, want to take a day off, etc.
Automatic Time Zone Conversion
Acuity automatically detects and converts between time zones, so you never have to worry about communicating time zone differences with your clients. Such a relief, am I right?!
Add-Ons & Upsells
You can offer add-on services to appointments much like you would upsell someone on a course or product.
I use the Add-Ons feature to offer my Unlimited Acuity Setup Package, which costs $250 more than my Essential Acuity Setup Package.
If your add-on means spending more time with your client, you can set a duration that will be added onto the regular appointment time.
Group Class Scheduling
Acuity is a great solution if you teach classes or offer group coaching. In addition to the basic appointment settings, you can limit the number of people who can sign up for a group class and force clients to sign up for all of the times a class is offered.
For example, I have a client who offers dog training classes. Each class is six sessions long and she likes to keep her classes limited to eight dogs. Her account is setup so that clients must sign up for all six sessions in a class cycle. It’s kind of like packages for group classes.
You can also set the physical location of a class using calendars (more on that below.)
Intake forms are a great way to collect important information from clients before an appointment and can even help you grow your email list!
You can assign a form to a specific type of appointment or group class. Here are some ideas for your form:
Ask clients to signup for your email list. Acuity integrates with most of the major email service providers (more on that below).
Ask a client to upload a PDF form or other file.
Ask a client how they discovered you with a dropdown list. This is great marketing data to have!
Using Calendars & Resources
If you have multiple physical locations or more than one staff member booking appointments with clients, you’ll want to sign up for a plan that allows you to have multiple calendars (more on plans below).
You can have a calendar for each staff member who offers appointments or a calendar for each of your locations. You can set different availabilities on different calendars and assign calendars to appointment types or group classes.
You can also add resources that must be available in order for an appointment to be booked. For example, let’s say you have three rooms available for in-person appointments. You would add the quantity of rooms available and require that one be available for someone to book an appointment.
Packages & Subscriptions
You can offer appointment packages with a one-time fee, payment plan, or subscription. When a client buys a package, Acuity will send them a special coupon code that can be redeemed for a dollar amount, number of appointments, or number of minutes. You can even set an expiration date on the package so that clients have to use their appointments within a certain amount of time.
Coupons & Discounts
You can add coupon codes for a dollar or percentage discount and set usage limits so that clients can use it once, a set number of times, or an unlimited number of times. You can also set an expiration date for coupons.
Coupons can be added for appointment types or packages.
Acuity is incredibly flexible when it comes to payment options. You can choose PayPal, Stripe, Square, or a combination of PayPal and either Stripe or Square.
You can also require that clients pay in full or select one of the following options:
Require a deposit of a certain dollar amount or a percentage of the total.
Require a valid credit card but don’t charge.
Do not allow payment at all.
Make payment optional.
Customize payment for each appointment type.
Give clients the option to leave a tip.
And here’s the really great news: Acuity doesn’t charge any payment processing fees. You only have to pay Stripe, PayPal, or Square fees (usually 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction).
Reports & Analytics
Acuity offers robust reporting to help you track revenue and clients. Here are some of the things you can do with Acuity reports:
See how much revenue you’ve made each month.
See all of the appointments you’ve booked each month.
Compare answers to intake form questions in one place.
See all add-ons and tips you’ve made each month.
Export your data to a CSV document for your records.
You can sync Acuity Scheduling with your Google Calendar, iCloud calendar, or Outlook calendar. You can also set up a one-way subscription so that appointments made in Acuity are added to your calendar but not the other way around.
Email Confirmations & Reminders
You can customize email confirmations, reminders, as well as cancellation and rescheduling notifications. You can also send automated follow-up emails after an appointment.
Sending out reminder emails before appointments, especially free consults, can drastically reduce the number of people who fail to show. At the very least, if a potential client fails to show after receiving multiple reminder emails, you can be fairly certain they did it on purpose and avoid working with someone who doesn’t respect your time.
You can send up to three reminder emails before an appointment and customize each one based on timing and appointment type.
Depending on your plan, you can send up to six follow-up emails after an appointment. A single follow-up email is great if you want to remind clients to schedule another appointment or ask for a testimonial. Multiple follow-up emails is helpful if you want to encourage clients to stick to a plan or deliver a follow-up email course.
Acuity Scheduling Integrations
Acuity integrates directly with a number of email service providers, accounting softwares, CRMs, video conferencing platforms, website builders, and more. See the full list of integrations here.
Here are some of the integrations I use:
I use the ConvertKit integration to automatically send potential clients who check the “subscribe” box on my free consult intake form to my email list.
I use the Facebook integration so that potential clients can book a free consult right from my business page.
I use the Zoom integration to automatically create a new Zoom meeting when a client books a call.
Squarespace has built-in Acuity Scheduling blocks so I can easily embed my scheduling form on any page of my website. (And you can style your form to match your brand!)
You can also integrate virtually any app with Acuity using Zapier. For the dog trainer client I mentioned above, I set it up so that the info from her class intake form is automatically added to a client roster in her Google Drive. The options are almost limitless!
Acuity Scheduling Limitations
So, now that I’ve just said the options are almost limitless, let’s talk about those limitations. Since I started working with Acuity, I’ve only encountered two problems I couldn’t solve:
The first is that Acuity doesn’t allow you to charge separate tax or credit card processing fees on top of your appointment fee. You’ll have to bake that into the total price of your services. Personally, I think it’s better this way because who likes hidden fees that only appear when you’re already in the process of checking out?
Recently, I encountered another limitation that really has me stumped. Currently, Acuity does not allow you to send automatic reminder emails to clients who purchased a package and still have unused appointments. Upon searching for a workaround, I realized that you cannot accomplish this using an email service provider integration either. To do so, you would have to add a checkbox to your intake form, which would have to be tied to the package. But intake forms can only be tied to appointments and group classes, not packages. So for now this problem remains unsolved.
Aside from these two things, Acuity is one of the most flexible scheduling platforms out there, allowing a truly impressive array of customization options.
Acuity Scheduling App
Acuity has a robust mobile app that lets you manage your account on the go. You can set your availability, view your client list, create and edit appointment types, and share a direct link to your scheduling page.
Acuity Scheduling Pricing & Packages
Acuity has three plans:
Emerging - $15/mo
This plan comes with one calendar and most of the features I described above. On the emerging plan, you can only send one follow-up email after an appointment.
Growing - $25/mo
This plan comes with 6 calendars, automatic text message reminders, and the ability to offer subscriptions/memberships, appointment packages, and gift certificates.
Powerhouse - $50/mo
This plan comes with 36 calendars, custom API and CSS options for developers, the ability to remove “Powered by Acuity Scheduling” at the bottom of scheduling pages, and BAA/HIPAA compliance tools.
Need help setting up your Acuity account?
I offer done-for-you Acuity Scheduling setup starting at $500. And new customers will receive 3 months of Acuity–totally free!
Acuity Scheduling vs. Calendly
Calendly is the most popular Acuity Scheduling alternative, so how does it stack up? Here are some key differences between the two:
Calendly intake forms do not have a file upload option.
Customization options for the appointment confirmation page are limited in Calendly; however, you can redirect to an external page. While it is possible to redirect the confirmation page in Acuity, it is not recommended and requires a workaround.
You cannot collect payments with Square or offer more than one payment option in Calendly.
Acuity has far more third-party integrations than Calendly.
You cannot create and sell packages with Calendly.
You cannot create coupons in Calendly.
Calendly does not have a client database or detailed reporting, which makes it hard to collect data that may help you evaluate your marketing strategies and follow up with clients long-term.
Essentially, Calendly is a fine option if you’re only using it for booking free consults or the occasional paid session but the limitations and lack of reports make it a poor choice for business owners who need more advanced features.
Is Acuity Scheduling the best solution for you?
Acuity Scheduling is perfect for you if:
You are a service provider.
You teach group classes.
You want to automate the scheduling process and book more clients.
It’s probably not a great fit if:
You rent out spaces overnight.
You book travel tours.
You offer multi-day conferences.
Still not sure if Acuity is right for you? Sign up for a free 7-day trial* and try it out for yourself!
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