Sweet and short
Square is a commerce platform to sell online or in store. They have a bunch of software and hardware products to help business owners automate specific areas of their business like payment, inventory, client management. One of the products is Square appointments.
Who will find it useful
Square Appointments is useful for services that require appointments, send reminders and confirmations to customers, and accept online payments such as salons, spas, and medical offices.
Who will find it limiting
Square works best as a platform, and Square Appointments misses out on some of the features when it stands alone against other appointment scheduling apps.
What is their business model
The company generates revenue by charging a fee or commission for the payments that business take through their payment processors. It has also built software around their payment processors and charges a subscription fee for the software too.
- Calendar sync: Square offers one-way and two-way sync with Google calendar. However, it lacks sync with other popular calendars like Microsoft or Apple.
- Availability: You can also create shifts for your staff members.
- Appointment types: You can create one-off and recurring schedules with Square.
- Sharing: You get multiple options to share your booking page with your customers. It can be as an embed, or as a button. Square also offers you the option to create a webpage with Square online.The website URL can also be shared as a QR code. The page can be used on Instagram or for Reserve with Google as well.
- Online meeting: Square Appointments doesn’t have an online meeting option.
- Payments: Compared to the other appointment scheduling apps, Square has got excellent capabilities when it comes to payment processing. It comes with both hardware and software support. You can also activate other modules of the Square suite to get the complete payment experience.
- Banking: Square also goes the extra mile by intervening on behalf of the sellers in case disputes arises about sales.
- Risk prevention: the app maintains a list of reports that can give you a snapshot of what your risks are. You can set up alerts for the payment types that cause trouble. Also, block cards that are not secure.
- Integrations: Square Appointments’ major differentiator is that it is part of the Square suite. You can integrate with the other apps of Square and use it as a complete business management software for your online or offline store.
- Contracts: You can create and send customer contacts directly from Square appointments. Square has a separate module for contracts. You can send these contracts when an appointment is booked.
- Photo studio: Square offers two ways that make it easy for you to post your product photos online. You can either use the Photo Studio app on iOS to click pictures with styles and angles to choose from. Or, you can send your products to Square and their photographers will take photos for you.
- Sales channels: You can connect Square online to connect to Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping to sell products online. Another option is ordering food using Facebook and Instagram. The third option is to utilize Order with Google. Customers will see your store online on Google, and order directly from there without the need for a third party marketplace. Saves you commission.
Square does have mobile apps for Android and iOS. It can be used as a POS system that connects to your devices, card readers, printers. You can check your inventory details and sales reports.
Booking experience for customer
- Appearance: Square Appointments gives you the option to use their default booking page or create a full website through its integration with Square Online.
- Customer experience: The default booking page that Square offers is responsive on mobile and web. It shows your staff and services as two tabs, maps, and working hours.
Viability of the company
Square is a profitable company and run by Jack Dorsey who is the founder of Twitter. They have multiple products and therefore many competitors too. Square is a listed company and so you can verify their stock details.
Ease of use
Square is easy to navigate and the UI design provides clear directions. The UI has big fonts, contrast, and follows a vertical scrolls for most of the settings. Where it gets complex is when you have to use multiple apps. Picking and choosing the right app that goes with Square Appointments is a task because not all apps are free.
I did not spot any bugs during this review.
While Square as an app is difficult to rate, we will give Square appointments a rating of 3 because it lacks many common features available in other appointment scheduling apps.
Total cost of ownership
Square Appointments has three pricing plans: Free, Plus, and Premium. The Plus plan is at $29 per month excluding the processing plans. The Premium plan is at $69 per month. However, the total cost of ownership can be tricky because of the processing fees included and the other Square apps that you might pick up along the way. The processing fee applies for credit card, online, manually keyed in cards, and cars on file. Square has listed all these fees transparently on their website.
Summary of other reviews
Square generally has positive reviews about its functionality and flexibility. The negative sentiment is usually the pricing especially for soloproenuers who would prefer a fixed fee than paying processing fees for every transaction. Beyond this, they would also prefer one app to do everything while Square has separate specialized apps for marketing, payments, inventory, team management, etc.
Help and Support
Square has good help documentation and email support. I could get most answers from their community discussions though. I got responses from the email support too but they was a more than a day later.
Square is designed to make money from the transactions merchants make, the hardware and software they buy. They also charge for optional services. There are variations depending on your location. Please check Square’s website for the latest pricing. When you buy Square, you pay for their products and the transactions you make on them.
When pitted against segment leader
While both Square Appointments and segment leader Calendly are good for automatic appointment scheduling, the target audience is different. Calendly tries to focus on sales teams and consultants, whereas Square Appointments focuses on service based businesses. This translates to the difference in their features and pricing. Square Appointments focuses on creating a storefront, making it easier and flexible for clients to pay you, showcasing your services well, and managing your shifts and time. Calendly puts their features in calendar management, proper routing of appointments, integrations with sales tech stack. Calendly charges a subscription fee whereas Square charges subscription and transaction fees.
What will you get for FREE, for $10, for $50?
|Free. Single location||$29 per location||$69 per location|
|Transaction fees||Transaction fee percentages go down as you go up on Square’s pricing slabs.|
|Scheduling||Square has taken an approach different to other appointment scheduling apps here. It hasn’t given Google Calendar sync, confirmation emails, no-show protection in the Free plan. It allows you to introduce more flexibility in creating schedules as you go up in the pricing structure. Resource management, multiple locations, appointment limit, processing time, no-show protection are some of the features available only in the paid plans.|
|Online booking||Square Appointments offers multiple ways for clients to book appointment. Website, Reserve with Google, Instagram integration, QR code being some of them. All of these are available in all plans including the Free plan.|
|Staff management||Square appointments considers commission reporting and permissions as advanced features and makes them available only in the top plan. In the other two plans, you get features to define and track time of your employees. Set up and track time – Free and Plus. Set up and track commissions and permissions – Premium.|
|Client management||Square offers all features in client management to all plans including free. These features include Contracts, attachments, messaging, appointment reminders.|
|Payments||All plans support features such as card on file, Afterpay, Cash App, Discounts, Prepayments, and gift cards. Physical gift cards cost extra.|
|Hardware support||You can buy any of the square hardware. They work with all plans.|
Who is it ideal for?
Square will be a one-stop solution for businesses in the service industry. Since you can get the hardware, software, and support from one place, there will be lesser time that you will spend on admin. Also, Square offers loans and capital to Square Business.