Start Booking

Online Scheduling Made Easy

Strengths

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    SaaS based solution (separate management from WP Site)

    Description

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    Simple and easy to set up

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    Blends in with existing design and layout

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    Very limited freemium version

    Description

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    Notably more expensive

    Description

Weaknesses

    This is a relatively new but notable appointments plugin for WordPress that is simple to use and blends in with your existing website design and layout. Start Booking is a SaaS tool that is ideal for small appointment-based businesses, spas, salons, etc. Basic appointment settings can be administered directly from the WordPress admin dashboard. However, you'll need to log in to the developer website to set up services and availability, add classes and customers, customize your calendar, and more. While this plugin isn't as tried as tested as the likes of Booking Calendar, it seems to score highly for its simplicity. The free version of Start Booking offers basic features and is available on the WordPress repository and on the official website. If you are looking for more features, the premium options range from $25 to $75 per month.

    What sets Start Booking apart

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      SaaS Application

      Start Booking comes across as a beginner-friendly, easy-to-setup SaaS plugin. There's a setup wizard that will help you get everything going in minutes, along with tons of help desk articles and resources to guide you through all aspects of this plugin.

    Free plan limitations

    The free version of Start Booking supports unlimited appointments, a single user, a single bookable service, WordPress integration, Google Calendar integration, and Stripe payments integration. You'll need to go for the premium plans to take advantage of advanced features such as multiple users, unlimited bookable services, custom form fields, classes and group booking, customizable email, advanced availability, advanced reporting, and designated booking rooms.

    Alternatives

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    Amelia

    Amelia

    https://wpamelia.com/

    Amelia is a versatile enterprise-level booking plugin that supports multiple services, locations, and employees in order to accommodate diverse use cases.

    It offers a free version (Amelia Lite) that offers basic functionality.

    Compared to Start Booking, Amelia is a well-known and highly rated plugin. It currently has an average rating of 4.2 on the WordPress plugin repository.

    The plugin allows you to set up and manage appointments from the native WordPress dashboard.

    In addition to its versatility, one notable thing about Amelia is the fact that it is much more affordable than Start Booking.

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    BirchPress Scheduler

    BirchPress Scheduler

    https://www.birchpress.com/

    Birchpress scheduler is a highly rated booking plugin for WordPress and a good Start Booking alternative for that matter.

    This is a capable plugin that provides straightforward features and makes it possible to capture PayPal and credit card payments without the need for a third-party payment gateway.

    BirchPress scheduler also comes with an extendable codebase, allowing developers to write custom functions.

    The plugin is much more affordably priced when compared to Start Booking. On the flip side, this plugin does not currently offer any freemium version. There is also a steeper learning curve involved with Birchpress Scheduler.

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    Simply Schedule Appointments

    Simply Schedule Appointments

    https://simplyscheduleappointments.com/

    This is a powerful WordPress booking plugin that is known for its 5-minute setup wizard and well-organized dashboard.

    Simply Schedule Appointments may be the ultimate bookings plugin for users who are bent on usability.

    It is highly rated on the WordPress plugin repository and offers a capable free version so you can get an impression of how the plugin works before considering the premium version.

    Simply Schedule Appointments also has a very active support team and is incredibly affordable when compared to Start Booking.

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    Booking Calendar

    Booking Calendar

    https://wpbookingcalendar.com/

    Booking Calendar is one of the oldest booking plugins for WordPress. It has been around for more than 10 years.

    Users seem to love the fact that this is a stable, tried-and-tested piece of software.

    The plugin has maintained a uniquely impressive rating on the WordPress plugin marketplace. It offers a powerful free version and delivers numerous features and integrations with the premium versions.

    Unlike with Start Booking, bookings are set up and managed from the native WordPress dashboard.

    Booking Calendar is much more affordable than Start Booking, but all the same comes with numerous premium plans that may confuse users.

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    Features

    Start Booking provides the features you need to facilitate a simplistic appointment booking functionality, including:

    • Manage services – advanced options to create and categorize services, define service duration, and create detailed service notes. 
    • Book appointments – allows customers to book one or multiple appointments in a single checkout.
    • Manage customers – customer profiles with tools for marketing preferences, appointment history, and record keeping. 
    • Manage staff – create individual or multi-user accounts and assign specific services and working hours to employees. Personal notifications are delivered to each staff member. 
    • Booking calendar – integrated booking calendar with multi-view options.
    • Booking locations – set and define office hours based on location. Assign specific rooms or locations inside your office for booking.
    • Online payments - take payments before, during, or after bookings.

    Pricing

    Start Booking offers a limited free plan, as well Basic and Business premium plans.

    • The Basic plan goes for $20 per month (billed annually) and supports unlimited sites, appointments, custom form fields, classes, and group bookings, block custom dates, customizable emails, basic reporting, stripe, and Google calendar integration. 
    • The Business plan goes for $60 per month (billed annually) and offers all the features in the individual plan along with advanced reporting, designated booking rooms, business priority support, and personal setup. 

    Users can switch plans or cancel at any time.

    Conclusion

    Start Booking may be the right booking plugin choice if you are looking for simplicity and want to manage your bookings outside the WordPress dashboard. The freemium version doesn't offer much but you can unlock a wealth of features with the premium plans.

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