Ease of payment integration (capture PayPal and Credit Card payments without a 3rd party payment gateway)
Allows developers to write custom functions
Blends in with native WordPress ecosystem
Free version no longer active on the WordPress repository (you'll need to use the demo version to check out this plugin)
Birchpress Scheduler has been around for years and is widely adopted by small businesses that need to integrate booking and appointments functionality. This plugin blends well with the native WordPress interface and offers rich functionality. This 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. The free version on the WordPress plugin repository has been discontinued but users can get a feel of this plugin by trying out the demo on the official website. Birchpress scheduler is affordably priced compared to other top-rated WordPress booking plugins.
What Sets BirchPress Schedule Apart
What sets Birchpress Scheduler apart is that it makes it super 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. One other unique thing about Birchpress Scheduler is that it comes with an extendable codebase that allows developers to write custom functions.
Free Plan Limitations
Birchpress Scheduler currently lacks a free version. 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.
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.
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).
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.