BirchPress Scheduler

Premium WordPress Appointment Booking Plugin

Birchpress Scheduler is widely adopted by small businesses that need to integrate booking and appointments functionality.

The plugin has been designed to suit the needs of companies in the health and wellness, education, healthcare, fitness and recreation, professional services, salon & beauty, auto, and home services industries.

Birchpress scheduler is affordably priced compared to other top-rated WordPress booking plugins. 

What sets BirchPress Scheduler apart

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    Inbuilt payment integration

    Birchpress Scheduler makes it very easy to capture credit card and PayPal payments without having to integrate with a third-party gateway. Keep in mind though that if you want to use other payment methods, you'll have to integrate with WooCommerce.

Free plan limitations

Birchpress Scheduler currently lacks a free version. There was a free version on the WordPress plugin repository but this has been discontinued.

Users are still able to get a feel of this plugin by trying out the demo on the official website. However, while the demo provided on the official website gives users a hint of the functionality, it doesn't allow you to see how it integrates with your individual website.

Alternatives

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Simply Schedule Appointments

Simply Schedule Appointments

https://simplyscheduleappointments.com/

Simply Schedule Appointments is a fairly recent booking plugin that was launched about 3 years ago.

It is a good Birchpress Scheduler alternative that presents the right balance between simplicity and functionality.

A distinct advantage of this booking plugin is that it offers a powerful freemium version. It also boasts a spotless 5-star rating from over 55 users on the WordPress plugin marketplace. Most users seem to like the fact that Simply Schedule Appointments is well organized with attractive interfaces and a 5-minute setup wizard.

While this plugin doesn’t allow custom functions like Birchpress Scheduler, it is a great pick particularly for users who are keen on simplicity and a shorter learning curve.

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Amelia

Amelia

https://wpamelia.com/

Amelia booking plugin is an excellent alternative to Birchpress Scheduler.

The plugin is comparably priced but slightly more affordable than Birchpress Scheduler. It also offers flexible and competitively priced lifetime plans.

Both Amelia and Birchpress scheduler seem to be well-liked appointment booking plugins with top ratings from users.

One of the better things about Amelia is that it is a highly versatile plugin that supports multiple services, employees, and locations to accommodate diverse reservation case scenarios. It also has very active support and a freemium version that offers basic functionality.

However, unlike Birchpress Scheduler, Amelia won’t allow you to write custom functions to extend its capabilities.

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Start Booking

Start Booking

https://www.startbooking.com/

Start Booking is one of the newest booking plugins in the market.

It is a SaaS-based solution that separates management from the WordPress site. This means users have to log in to Start Booking’s official website in order to manage appointment functions.

Most users seem to like the fact that Start Booking is super easy to set up and blends in with your existing website design and layout. However, it doesn’t allow you to write custom functions to extend its capabilities (something that Birchpress Scheduler does).

While Start Booking offers a free plan, it comes with very limited features and may not be of much use.

This Birchpress Scheduler alternative is also considerably more expensive with annual plans ranging from $120 to &720 per year.

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Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar

https://wpbookingcalendar.com/

Booking Calendar is one of the better Birchpress Scheduler alternatives.

This appointments plugin has been in place for over 10 years and has evolved to be a mature, stable product. It comes across as powerful, customizable, and responsive.

Unlike Birchpress Scheduler, Booking Calendar offers a free version that is capable enough to meet moderate appointment-setting needs. This free version boasts an impressive average rating of 4.7 stars from more than 475 users on the WordPress plugin marketplace.

While Booking Calendar won’t allow you to write custom functions (as Birchpress Scheduler does), it is the de facto choice for users who are looking for a well-established and matured booking plugin.

Pricing for Booking Calendar ranges from $47 to $539, with over 15 different premium plans to choose from.

While some users have complained that these numerous premium plans can be all too confusing, others argue that it gives you the flexibility to choose a package that is precisely suited for your needs.

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Features

BirchPress enables website owners to add online appointment forms. Visitors can check availability, book appointments, or make reservations online. The plugin synchronizes with Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, and other common calendars. Email notifications and/or reminders are automatically sent to users after events are booked, rescheduled, or canceled. Appointment booking forms can be added to any WordPress page or post right from the WordPress admin dashboard. All bookings are managed from the WordPress admin dashboard. 

Here's a recap of the key features:

  • Customizable Booking Forms – appointment forms are fully customizable (using the built-in form editor) and can be embedded into any page or post via a shortcode. 
  • Calendar Sync – sync with Google, iCal, iPhone, Android, or Outlook calendars for added flexibility. Easily import or export your appointments to any calendar that is easier to use on your device. 
  • Notifications – email notifications and reminders keep the user informed when they book, reschedule, or cancel an appointment. These notifications are fully customizable. 
  • Accept online payments – accept PayPal payments by default. Other payments can be supported through a WooCommerce integration. 
  • Create custom functionality – this is a developer-friendly bookings plugin that allows you to add functions, actions, and hooks without touching the core code. 
  • Multiple locations and services – this scheduling plugin for WordPress supports multiple locations, staff, and locations. It offers a lot of flexibility to make your online appointment scheduling efficient.

Pricing

BirchPress has 3 premium versions: personal, business, and business+. The pricing model is very friendly - whereby you are charged per site based on the features you need. 

  • Personal plan – this plan goes for $99 per site. You get all 1 year of support, automated notifications and reminders, and holiday booking. You can also set the minimum time requirement (before booking) and see how far in advance an appointment has been booking. 
  • Business plan – this plan goes for $199 per site. It comes with all the features in the personal plan plus a ton of other functionality. These include page redirections after booking, canceling or rescheduling appointments by customers, displaying appointments in various colors, custom booking forms, WP user integration, returning user booking with email and password, PayPal integration, calendar sync, setting the length of time slot, setting booking availability, embedded public calendars using a short code, group booking, staff member auto-assignment, and the ability to export customer lists. 
  • Business+ plan – this is the top-tier pricing arrangement that goes for $249 per site and comes with all the features in Personal and Business plus access control for staff members and WooCommerce integration (which adds support for other payment gateways).

Conclusion

BirchPress scheduler offers reasonable bookings and appointment setting functionality at a comparatively good price point. It comes with diverse features along with the ability to write unique functions that extend the capabilities of this plugin. The fact that the freemium version is not available means users lack the opportunity to see how the plugin works for them before they buy the premium version.

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