Bookfresh vs. Setster for Online Appointments

Posted by | April 21, 2010 | Cool Software, Marketing Advice | 55 Comments

Update 5/8/2017

Since writing this post back in 2010, many appointment booking software has surfaced. I have settled on using YouCanBook.me. It works with iCloud, Microsoft and Google Calendars. That is enough for me!

Update: 4/3/2014

It has come to my attention that consumers are having more problems with Bookfresh support. One person told me they cannot get in touch with them by phone at all. So I am not endorsing Bookfresh and have not for several years. This is an older post comparing (at the time) two good programs. If you are using Google Calendar, I highly recommend you use and try: www.youcanbook.me (they have the best service and can customize it to fit your needs). Setster is still a great product as well.

Do you remember the days before cell phones? Contractors and business owners had pagers and Daytimers. I remember my dad telling me that when he worked in the field painting for a homeowner, he’d have to ask the homeowner if he could use their phone to make a call or drive to the nearest pay phone. Life was simple. Asking to use someone’s phone was not an inconvenience. It was normal.

The days of pagers, pay phones, daytimers and people waiting 24+ hours for a response are over! Now consumers want quick and fast response. If they send an email, they get impatient if they do not hear back from a contractor within 2 hours or less. Some consumers don’t even like talking on the phone. They would prefer scheduling their appointments online at their convenience.

Well, to keep up with technology and this fast pace lifestyle, Bookfresh and Setster have made it a little easier for business owners to allow prospects and customers to schedule appointments online. Bookfresh and Setster are online scheduling and appointment booking software. A visitor can now go on to a contractor’s website, click on the “Contact Us” or “Book Now” button, select a service, view available time slots and schedule an appointment. Both of these companies have made online scheduling a breeze.

Which one do I like best? It is hard to say. I like them both. Bookfresh seems to have done a better job marketing themselves and has more testimonials from places like the New York Times and USA Today. Setster, is a younger company yet is slowly becoming a threat to compete neck to neck with Bookfresh.

Pros of Bookfresh

  • Mobile friendly: browser-based website to view and accept appointments
  • Attractive and Easy to Use.
  • Available on your Business Facebook Page and Email Campaigns
  • Has a “mini site” for your company. This could replace your company contact page completely. It is easy to use and search-engine friendly
  • Integrates pretty well with Outlook and Google Calendars
Cons of Bookfresh
  • Customer support, in my opinion does not exist. Enough said.
  • For contractors, there is no function to schedule specific areas of town. In other words, if you want to schedule appointments in the same zip code or area, there is no way to do this. Bookfresh makes scheduling easy for the consumer only.
  • Bookfresh takes a consumer away from a contractor’s website. This is not good from a marketing perspective. It should be a pop up menu with the contractors brand and identity. When a consumer clicks on the Book Now button, Bookfresh takes over.

Pros of Setster

  • Easy to for your customers to use on desktop or mobile devices.
  • Customer Services. Each time I’ve had an issue, they’ve respond by email well…and even picked up the phone and called me to make sure I was happy.
  • Pricing is good. Comparable with Bookfresh, YouCanBook.me and others
  • Branding of Setster is limited. A Consumer stays on a contractor’s website when booking an appointment.
  • You can have a developer customize Setster anyway you’d like!
  • Easy to install buttons for email marketing, website and sending business emails.
  • Works very well with Google Calendar.
  • Invoice and Accept Payments online (Integrates with Quickbooks, Freshbooks and PayPal)

Bookfresh and Setster are great programs! My personal favorite of the two: Setster

Consumers use these features and seem to like the ease of them. If Bookfresh would have better customer service, I’d give them two thumbs up. Until then, Setster takes the cake.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

55 Comments

  • Greg Bock says:

    For those reading that would like a booking solution that can support a multitude of business types and allows for a more seamless integration into other sites, you might want to check out http://www.bookingbug.com!

  • Matt says:

    Amen on Bookfresh’s lousy customer support. Thanks for the write up. The thing that’s stopped me from using Setster is that double confirmation with emails (clients have to confirm their email address before the appointment does get made), but has that been an issue at all for you?

  • Matt says:

    Also, Bookfresh’s google calendar integration seems to be a bit buggy. You say setster’s is really good — how has that been going? Still smooth integration?

  • David says:

    Here is the ultimate problem I’m seeing in the mobile and online word: there is NOT a good program that DOES IT ALL. So, Google is good and Setster is good, but the syncing is not instant. It could take 15 minutes to sync from Google Calendar to Setster visa versa or up to an hour. ISo I’m not happy with the timing of appointments getting from the two programs. I really hate all this 3rd party integration, to be quite honest. The problem is, Google won’t develop much more stuff yet. They are just opening the door with Google Apps…then they created the Google Marketplace for other 3rd party folks to integrate. Setster, Bookfresh, Zoho, Salesforce…all integrate. So there is a lag time with all of them. email if you have other questions: david@adavidcreation.com

  • Matt says:

    Too true. Thanks for the email convo on the different Bookfresh and Setster issues. I just had an email exchange with Bookfresh today. I asked if they could actually send receipts for the automatically billed $20/month they bill. They said they don’t do receipts. No “thanks for the suggestion” or “we’ll look into providing a very basic service that any business should be expected to be able to provide.” Just “we don’t do that.” Can’t wait ’til a competitor steps up their game just ever so slightly.

  • Anne says:

    Might you have looked into appointmentquest? I know solo docs are using that.

    In my quick look at it and BookFresh, I like the appearance of BookFresh.

    I have never heard of docs on the forum I visit mention Bookfresh.

    Do any appointment systems do phone call reminders?

    thanks ~

  • David says:

    Thanks for stopping by. I wrote this blog before being introduced to YouCanBook.me. Have you tried them out? I love them. I wrote a blog about them too. I don’t know of any that can do a follow up call though. It can send a Text message reminder. Tell me more about the one you listed? Not familiar with it.

  • alex says:

    I signed up for the $20/mo BookFresh account and found out most of BookFresh seems to be BS. The online payments engine doesn’t even work when you try to add it, it is listed as ‘unavailable’. The feature to call and text confirmations to your customers doesn’t actually work. It says it does. But it doesn’t. The one big issue is resource allocation; BookFresh forces the customer to decide ‘who’ they’d like to see… So, instead of you getting a booking and assigning a resource, BookFresh has the customer decide who they’d like to see. This might work for a salon or a nail place but it won’t work for a company selling tickets to an event or contracting services like therapy or security… Basically, it’s a worthless dog IMHO. I’m going to cancel my subscription today. Done with it. Also, AMEN to the earlier comment. Their Customer Service doesn’t’ exist – just like some of their features.

  • David says:

    Alex, thank you for letting me know. I agree with you 100%. I am not sure what happened to them. Their customer service went down the tubes. I have several customers using it and just use it “as is.” I would highly recommend looking into http://www.YouCanBook.me if you use Google Calendar. Setster also has made a few changes and I hear it is pretty good.

  • charlene says:

    I see that http://www.youcanbook.me is a UK-based company. I LOVE the customizing ability of the software, but how does it work out in the US, especially concerning customer service…?

  • David says:

    Great question. I wondered the same thing originally. That was about 2 years ago and I still recommend them. The owner, Keith Harris, is very responsive. The best customer service I’ve seen with any online booking system. By the way, I don’t get a referral fee for recommending them. I refer companies that my client’s like!

  • Charlene says:

    Thanks, David! Any “cons”
    That you’ve come across since you first recommended them? There are sooo many programs out there.

  • David says:

    @Charlene

    Not really. If you need something custom, you can pay them extra to build some added features.

  • Thanks, and I Totally agree with youcanbook.me recommendation. Have been using them for over 2 years and youcanbook.me just works and the Google calender integration is spot on unlike all the other booking apps I have tried in the past. I hope this helps someone out in there search for a booking app for themselves or a client.

  • Chantelle says:

    Hi there,

    I have started my own company as a dog walker and am in desperate need of some appointment scheduling help. So would your recommendation be youcanbook.me? The main thing that I need to make sure that a program has is the ability to book up to 4 appointments at the same time with the same employee because we walk 4 dogs at a time. Which software would be best for that? Thank you!

  • David says:

    Chantelle

    YouCanBook.me is the best one I’ve seen out there that works with Google. I do not know of any calendar program where you can have 4 appointments at the same time. I can see how you’d need that, but I am not sure how a program can make that work. I’m thinking out loud here. You’d almost have to set it up as a “class” or an event. For that, You might need a more manual program, like Facebook Events or something. You can create the event in Facebook and tell your viewers how many more slots are available.

    Or you can email the YouCanBook.me staff and tell them what you need. Again, sounds like a customization issue, which they might be able to do for you. Their support is awesome. Let me know what you find out.

  • David says:

    Carlin

    Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback. I’m 100% in agreement. I’ve tried most of the programs out there, and YouCanBook.me still is the best!

  • Chantelle says:

    @David

    Thanks for the info David. I will email youcanbook.me and let you know if they can customize something like that for me!

  • Adam says:

    Hi everyone. youcanbook.me looks pretty good.
    We’ve been working on a web based app that brings many features together for time based businesses. getinform.com We don’t do the online booking bit (yet) but our online scheduling will allow multiple appointments at the same time, group bookings, multi locations & staff and so on. We also do SMS and email reminders, whilst also managing invoices, CRM, and having some pretty cool integrations with Xero accounting, MailChimp, Twitter etc.
    Much like the team at youcanbook.me we’re constantly adding features to make it even better. If you’re interested we’d love to hear from you.

  • David says:

    @Adam

    Adam, keep in touch. I’ll take a closer look when the mobile apps are released. I would also like to see more integration with G Apps. Looks like a nice product though.

  • Erik says:

    Have you tried out Zingiri Bookings? Comes as a WordPress plugin or can be used on any HTML site.

  • David says:

    Thanks for mentioning Zingiri. I recommend products that work well with Google products. YouCanBook.me works very well with Google Calendar as a full two-way sync. I believe Zingiri only exports to other calendars.

  • Erik says:

    @David
    Thanks for clarifying. Zingiri does now support subscription to Google Calendars but not a full 2 way sync yet. Something for the future …

  • Tony says:

    I see a lot of suggestions. If I may add my own personal experience, I have found out that sometimes the smaller the company is, the better. These companies are underpreciated, which is a shame. Nowadays, I am using http://www.bookappo.com , which deserves a lot of attention, at least in my point of view. I am very happy with it and I recommend it.

  • David says:

    Thank you for the comment, Tony. Does this program sync up with Outlook or Google-two-way sync? I did not see that it does on their website. That is a must have feature for my audience.

  • Hi everyone – Bridget from YouCanBook.Me here – its great to read some lovely comments and support for our service, thank you.

    We are just surfing about at the moment because we wanted to let people know we’re offering everyone who comes to us from Tungle this month a special offer http://www.youcanbook.me/tungle

    But also – Chantelle – yes we do offer that feature – its called ‘units per slot’ which you would just set to 4 to allow up to four dogs per slot.

    Hope that makes sense! happy scheduling everyone, Thanks again David for you kind words.

    Bridget

  • Barbara Dale says:

    Is youcanbook.me the best choice for a Google calendar user? Thanks!

  • David says:

    @Barbara Dale

    Barbara

    Yes…to this day, I still think YouCanBook.me is the easiest and best choice for Google calendar users. I have seen that not everyone likes to book online. So I had one client who pulled off his booking software and just accepts emails and form submissions. That has worked bette for him. So just know your customers and make sure they like to book online.

  • Alejo says:

    Quick question in youcanbook.me can my clients preform paying transactions aswell?

  • David says:

    Yes I believe this is now part of YouCanBook.me I know you can setup PayPal. If you want something custom, the staff at YouCanBook.me can probably help you install that feature, like Authorize.net etc.

  • Hello, My husband and I own a carpet cleaning company, and currently we are redoing our website, so it’s under construction. We are looking for appointment software to integrate within our website for our clients to go online and book an appointment 24/7. We do not need to accept payments online for this service, but we would like to receive an email or text message when someone books an appointment. We have been told about book fresh; but we wanted to know of some other options as well that would est suit our needs.
    Thank you, Mrs. Taylor

  • David Chism says:

    @Tawonia Taylor

    I just wrote an update on Setster the other day. I’d check that out here:

    http://www.adavidcreation.com/booking-program-setster/

    Bookfresh will work just fine, but I’ve just had terrible experience with their customer support. You won’t have an issue with Setster getting back to you … helping you if you need it. If you are strictly using Google Calendar, YouCanBook.me is also a good one to check out.

  • Ok, thanks for your response. Good customer support is certainly very important to me, as I feel that if I am paying for your services; you need to be available when I need you. I will check into the other services for online scheduling. If we were not using google calendar could you suggest another software that does not integrate with google calendar?

  • David Chism says:

    @Tawonia Taylor

    Setster will work with other programs, not just google. Same with Bookfresh. Setster is easy to use…I think you’ll like it.

  • David, I am leaning toward either Setster or youcanbook.me. I have read rave reviews on youcanbook.me with them getting 5 stars from all the reviewers. I make strong decisions on a purchase of a product or service based off of reviews; and I also like giving my opinion as well.

    If you had to make the choice between the two, which would you recommend

  • David Chism says:

    Good question.

    You can see setster in action on this site:
    http://www.Manorworks.Com

    And you can see YouCanBook.Me here
    http://www.Lancasterpainting.Com

    YouCanBook.Me is fantastic. You can’t go wrong with it. But I believe it only works with your google calendar. If that is the case, you would then look at Setster.

    Setster is fine too. Haven’t heard of issues. But YouCanBook.Me for google calendar takes the cake.

  • David, does setser not integrate with google calendar?

    Also, do you know of a website that uses book fresh? I would like to see their scheduling software in action too. Thanks, Tawonia

  • David Chism says:

    @Tawonia Taylor

    Setster integrates with Google Calendar just fine. It is very diverse.

    Also…if you don’t like Bookfresh, Setster or YouCanBook.me it is easy to change! 🙂

    http://www.brookspainting.com uses Bookfresh. Check them out. These are all clients of mine using all three products! 🙂

  • Hi David, wanted to know if you have had any experience with appointment plus scheduling software? Just curious about this appointment scheduler(pros/cons).
    Thanks, Tawonia

  • David Chism says:

    I do not have experience with that particular software. How is Setster working out? Did you try it? What specifically are you hoping it will do or not do?

  • Ryan says:

    Hey David,

    I haven’t tried Setser but maybe I’ll give it a look. I recently used BookFresh with a client. It doesn’t take users off the website but maybe it did in the past. You can put widgets right on your site for people to book and make payment all without leaving the site. I assume you know this since you used BookFresh on that painting website for a client. There are some things about the BookFresh UI that I would change if I could. Overall, it’s a decent service though.

    I made a video of my impression of BookFresh and wrote this review after using it for several days with a client: http://webeminence.com/bookfresh-review
    People can watch the video to see how it works before signing up.

    I’m hoping to review some other options so maybe I’ll check out Setser soon.

  • David Chism says:

    Hey Ryan. Thanks for the update on Bookfresh. Originally, I really did like Bookfresh. The thing I did not like about it was 100% the lack of support. They were terrible. So I moved away from looking at their product and recommending it. That was 3 years ago+. So I’m sure Bookfresh has upped their game since I stopped keeping in touch with them.

    Setster was a little different. Their service was good a few years ago but development was slow. In more recent months, Setster really stepped up their game, their UI, etc. Their features are pretty easy to use. I’ve not had any complaints from clients using Setster. To be honest, I’ve not had them complain about YouCanBook.me and Bookfresh either. Oh there are always little things they’d like to change, but all in all all those programs serve a great purpose. The bottom line, they are all easy to use.

    Bookfresh used to move people away from a person’s website…not anymore as you say, which is great news. Lets keep in touch, and I’ll look forward to watching your video. I’d be curious of your thoughts on Setster too.

  • Ryan says:

    Yeah, I can’t say much about their support except that it’s email only unless you have their highest account. I never tried emailing support though. Just figured stuff out on my own.

    I tried CheckFront with another client recently and it is pretty nice. It’s more for tour companies though and maybe not businesses with open appointment schedules.

    I’m connecting with you on LinkedIn and G+. We may be able to connect on something. I may be interested in referring clients to you for marketing since I don’t do much of that.

  • Sheree says:

    This is why articles like this are great, because they spark discussions from others who have used either one of the bookfresh or setster but also some great alternative software options that people who are looking for software may not have heard about or trialled in their business as yet.

    I have been working on an online booking software called Mystro and it’s software that is specific for those who are in the health, wellness, beauty or fitness industry. The software has been built and designed by health professionals to really make the software specific to this industry.

    We are launching in the coming weeks, and for those who are looking for a health software solution with free website and online booking widget options for their business we do have a special offer that will be offered to everyone who’s signed up. Once we have launched you will be notified along with the special offer, so make sure you get to http://www.mystro.co and check out our launch page.

    We look forward to hearing your thoughts like this article in the near future on how we can improve Mystro and David perhaps you to can do a comparison on our site also. It will be great to get some constructive feedback.

  • Robert says:

    I need a website/app that will instantaneously sync the appointments made by the consumer with the calendars used by the contractor/provider. The calendar that I’m using is not the Google Calendar. It is a calendar from a billing company’s website. The billing company can be Practice Mate, Kareo, Valant, or Argus. Currently, we get a call from the consumer to make, cancel, or change an appointment every 5 minutes or so, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. If the syncing is not instantaneous, two consumers can each book an appointment on the same time slot and the end result is double booking on the contractor/provider’s calendar, which is unacceptable. What is lag time between the consumer booking the appointment and the same appointment showing up on the contractor/provider’s calendar for youcanbook.me, setster.com, and appointmentquest.com?

  • David Chism says:

    Robert

    Youcanbook.me is perhaps the fastest I’ve seen for connecting with Google in real time. But since you are not using Google Calendar, YouCanBook.me will not help you.

    Setster.com should do the trick. If you do not use Outlook or Google, you have to manually setup the times and availabilities. You can setup padding and double booking too…in other words you can make sure people can schedule so many minutes, hours or days in advanced.

    I work mainly with the small service businesses. So I’m sure there are better programs out there than what I’m reviewing. The ones I have tried are great for my audience. Let me know what you decide to use.

  • Donna Ayres says:

    I set up a BookFresh demo using my credit card to secure the free 30 day trail membership. This membership was cancelled within the first 2 weeks of the trial, though 2 weeks later my credit card was charged $19.95. Upon calling BookFresh, the phone number is inactive. I have disputed this charge and caution anyone who is considering trying BookFresh too look elsewhere.

  • David Chism says:

    Good to know Donna. I should update my blog. I’ve not had great experience with their customer service in the past either. So I’ll make sure this blog mentions your experience.

  • David Chism says:

    Good to know Donna. I should update my blog. I’ve not had great experience with their customer service in the past either. So I’ll make sure this blog mentions your experience.

    Have you tried YouCanBook.me? I’ve used them for 3-4 years now. Love those guys.

  • Ernesto Hernande says:

    Hello,

    I am one of these customers that is having problems with customer support, I canceled my account and I am still being charged, I have tried to contact their customer support, but nobody is answering the phone, I sent many emails but not luck!

    Consumer, please be aware of this company poor customer support!!!!

  • David Chism says:

    I think they don’t really have customer service anymore. I believe they keep their current clients onboard until they need assistance. Then it gets tricky. Definitely started out as a great company, but I’m not sure what happened to them. I’m a fan of YouCanBook.me

  • Eric Tremblay says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for this article. It’s really useful because I was also looking for BookFresh. My expectations were higher based that they have been bought by Square. By the way, have you tried http://www.gorendezvous.com? They have several features to save my day-to-day tasks, not only for appointment booking.

  • An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto
    a colleague who had been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for
    the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your internet site.

  • Mike says:

    I love that this thread has been going on for years!!! FYI I understand that BookFresh is no longer offering service to clients outside the US. My friend had to find another provider. I recommended to her and to those of you who have to manage multiple employee schedules from the same account http://www.calendarspots.com/ I’ve been with them for years and you won’t have any service issues like those described.

  • David Chism says:

    Thanks, Mike. I’ll update the blog with some extra details. Bookfresh isn’t really much of an option anymore.

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