Calendly vs Acuity for coaches: multiple bookings and payments

My client works as a coach and needed something to automate her process to allow clients to book and change appointments.

We eventually went for Acuity Scheduling (which is now Squarespace Scheduling) despite it costing almost double what Calendly would charge.

Here’s why.

Acuity has the ability to book multiple appointments

acuity scheduling booking multiple appointments

The biggest difference between Acuity and Calendly is the ability to create a package of courses.

If you are a coach who sells courses with multiple sessions, then you would do well with Acuity more so than with Calendly.

But that’s not to say Calendly sucks. With Calendly, you will be able to achieve the same goals but less efficiently. It’s up to you if your time is worth the savings.

Workaround vs actually made-for-purpose

Let me lay out my client’s scenario so you can see if it applies to you.

Let’s say you are selling a package of coaching sessions, and you would like the client to book all five sessions. You want the calendar scheduling app to also collect payment before these bookings are final.

With Acuity, it’s more watertight. With Calendly, you are doing a workaround recommended by the Calendly support folks, who are frankly fantastic people.

How would booking five meetings look like in Calendly?

In order to schedule five meetings:

  • The first meeting asked the client to book a date and pay the course fee
  • The first meeting would redirect to the second meeting
  • Once the client books the second meeting, they get redirected to the third
  • And so on until the fifth meeting is booked.
Calendly requires a workaround to ensure clients can book multiple bookings.

The second meeting and beyond are unlisted events so only people with the link can book it.

Now, here’s the issue. This system works only if the client follows through with all the steps. They could exit out anytime if they wanted, and you will be forced to do some admin work to recover from their misstep.

The admin work in Calendly is a bit more intense. You will have to find the event in which they dropped out from and send them the link. So let’s say a client exited on the third event – you’ll have to go into Calendly to send them the link to the third meeting.

There are many complications that can happen. For example, if you are like me and labelled the events “first meeting”, “second meeting”, etc., then you could end up having the client reschedule a third meeting that’s beyond the fifth meeting.

How does Acuity work with multiple meetings?

In Acuity, you will create an event – say “Self-Improvement Course” at, for example, $500.

Then, you will sell a set of five of these events at $500 through the Package functionality in Acuity.

You will unlist the Self-Improvement Course (SIC). Yes, anyone can go directly to that link and buy it, but why would anyone pay $500 for one class when they can get a package of five for $500?

Your public links only show the SIC package. Anyone who buys it will be able to book five classes with you.

On Acuity’s booking screen, your client will be able to choose five sessions. 

Because Acuity was booked for multiple bookings, it’s a lot easier for your clients to book and reschedule appointments.

The only downside is that you have to make it explicit that there’s an “Add a Time” button that they will need to use.

Yes, if they need to reschedule, they’re likely to ask you how to do so. You can easily point them to the confirmation email where there is a reschedule button.

How does payment work?

On both calendar apps, you can connect your Stripe or PayPal account to receive payments. Acuity allows payments via Square too.

There’s really no distinct advantage from one platform to the other in this regard from my client’s perspective.

How much are the savings?

If you want to access the Package functionality, you will need to buy the Growing plan, which is the middle-tier plan. This costs $23/month if you buy a year’s worth.

calendly for coaches pricing tiers
Calendly pricing. You will need the PROFESSIONAL plan to bill someone ($12/month billed annually)

On the other hand, Calendly costs $12 per month if you pay annually. This means that, for almost double the cost, you will get some administrative convenience and streamlining. I believe for most clients that would be worth the money, but here’s a table that will help you.

Calendar appPrice (annual)Potential admin workCan people book multiple appts?
Acuity276 (almost double)LessYes, more efficient for rescheduling
acuity scheduling for coaches need the middle tier plan
You’ll need to buy the $23/month plan on Acuity Scheduling because of the Package feature that’s only available in the mid-tier plan.

Acuity was worth the extra cost for my client

My client was very pleased with Acuity. I am glad I was able to find a good solution for her because she is a sole proprietor and the $276/year is little money compared to the convenience brought by Acuity.

Calendly doesn’t suck. It’s actually great if you are willing to do the workaround or if you don’t need clients to buy a package of courses.I’ve been through the process so I can help you with your questions if you have any. Email me here.

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