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The Best Employee Scheduling Software of 2019

Lori Fairbanks
, writer
| Updated
Apr 12, 2019
> Human Resources

The right employee scheduling software can save you time, reduce frustration and help you create better schedules for your staff members. However, there are multiple factors to consider when comparing systems, including cost, compatibility and ease of use.  

Most small businesses want scheduling software that's affordable, includes mobile apps and a time clock, and integrates with other business programs such as payroll and accounting. We looked for these features as we considered which employee scheduling software to recommend. If, however, you're looking for a solution that helps your clients schedule appointments with your staff, see our picks below for the best appointment scheduling software and the best budget booking apps.  

We want to help you choose employee scheduling software that reduces the tedium of creating schedules. Homebase, Humanity and Deputy topped our list for employee scheduling software. Below, you can read more about them, along with information on how much they cost, how to make sure you get a good deal, and the features you should look for in a system.

Best Picks


Below are all of our reviews for employees and business scheduling software and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of both the best employee scheduling software and business scheduling software. Sell all of our reviews below.


Employee scheduling software is a subscription-based service with a monthly fee. Some services charge a few dollars per employee per month (usually around $2), while others charge a set monthly fee that supports up to a certain number of employees. Alternately, a few companies charge a set monthly fee per location. Most software providers don't require you to sign a lengthy contract, though you may need to provide written notice several weeks in advance before some companies will close your account.  

Every employee scheduling company offers multiple service tiers. Some higher tiers include premium features, while others support larger numbers of employees. Only one of the companies we reviewed has a free tier, though most offer a 30-day free trial.  

When evaluating pricing, you need to consider how many employees and locations you have, as well as which features you need so you can determine whether the basic service tier will meet your needs or you'll need a premium tier. For example, most companies include time tracking in a higher tier or as an add-on service for an additional cost, but a few include it in their basic plans. You should also find out if there are any upfront fees for installation or training that you should add into your calculations.

Negotiation Tips

When you're ready to choose employee scheduling software for your business, consider the following tips to help you make sure you're getting a good deal.

  • Take advantage of the free trial. Most companies provide a 30-day free trial. Use this time to determine if the employee scheduling software is a good fit for your business. Even if you're certain about the software you're planning to purchase, you should accept the free trial, since it saves you one month's worth of fees.
  • If you can afford it, pay annually rather than monthly. Many companies give you a price break if you pay annually rather than monthly. However, you should make sure the company will provide you with a prorated refund if you decide to cancel before the end of the term. Otherwise, you should opt for monthly payments unless you're confident that the software meets your needs and you'll be happy with it for the entire year.
  • Determine whether you qualify for a discount. Several companies offer discounts to nonprofits or members of professional associations. For example, Zip Schedules offers discounts to members of the National Restaurant Association. Others offer discounts to businesses that have a large number of employees or multiple locations.
  • Make sure there's no monthly minimum. Many software providers charge per employee, and an average of $2 to $6 sounds like a great deal. However, if there's a $40 minimum, you may end up paying more than you planned, especially if you don't have a lot of employees.
  • Find out about fees. Some employee scheduling companies charge a setup or installation fee. Others may charge extra for certain features. Make sure you understand exactly how much the software costs so you're not surprised by random fees when you get the bill.
  • Examine the services offered in higher tiers. Are there any features that you're currently paying more for elsewhere? For example, several services include time tracking at a higher tier or for an extra fee. Would adding this service to your employee scheduling software be less expensive than what you're paying for separate software?
  • See if it integrates with the business software you already use. This is especially worth looking into if you use another program for tracking time, such as a payroll or POS system. Although this tip may not directly save you money, it can save you the time you would otherwise spend transferring or re-entering data.

State of the Industry

Scheduling can be a headache for small businesses that have complex employee scheduling needs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014 report, 58.7 percent of workers are hourly employees. Although some of these workers have regular shifts, others have erratic shifts, with variable hours, days and even locations.

Many such businesses are in the retail and restaurant industries. According to a 2016 survey of retail managers, 82 percent of retail stores are understaffed each week, and 62 percent of managers say that they've had employees quit due to ongoing scheduling conflicts. Choosing the right employee scheduling system can alleviate these issues by giving you and your staff the tools to create good schedules quickly and easily. 

The best employee scheduling software includes the following features:

  • Mobile apps and text notifications. iOS and Android apps allow you and your staff members to access the system wherever you are, so you can easily check schedules, send messages and receive alerts. Most can be set up to text employees reminders about upcoming shifts and to alert managers when employee have submitted requests for time off or shift changes.
  • Employee availability preferences. Software that allows your staff to indicate the days and hours they're available to work can prevent scheduling conflicts and missed shifts.
  • Shift-changing tools for employees. Scheduling apps should make it easy for your employees to pick up, drop or swap shifts. After a manager approves these requests, the schedule should automatically update in the system.
  • Time clock, as a built-in feature or integration. Not having to transfer or manually re-enter your employees' hours into other systems saves time and eliminates errors.
  • Compliance with labor regulations. The software should have checks in place that help you comply with labor regulations, such as overtime laws and advance-notice requirements for schedule changes.

Common Employee Scheduling Software Questions & Answers

Have an employee scheduling software question of your own?
Ask an Expert

What are your biggest time wasters (and how do you get rid of them)?

8 responses
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Good question... Getting back from breaks. I know I need breaks, and I make myself have breaks in order to stay productive, but coming back to work can be a struggle. As for email conquering, there are a few steps I found to be extremely helpful: 1. The majority of your email traffic should SKIP your Inbox 2. Create a small number of designated folders. Five is a good number. This is where most of the traffic goes, to be checked a couple times a week. 3. Check email no more than 2-3 TIMES...

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Use this It is a Godsend, it is like an automatic scheduler, no more back and forth emails on coordinating with people. All you do is send people your link on the calendar and then they figure out what's a good time for them looking at your availability It will integrate with other Apps like Zapier YOU MUST HAVE IT!!!!

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I have been using It's an easy app that links to your Google calendar and allows clients to make their own appointments. You just set up the days/hours you want to allow the client to have access to. If your google calendar is already booked for that timeslot, the will show it as busy. It automatically sends a confirmation to the client and yourself; as well as the option for them to cancel or reschedule. You can try it out for free. And it's only $50 for the year....

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Have everyone using Google Calendar and make the each persons dog walking schedule collaborative back to you, with everything else kept private. This is just about a standard now, and with any SMS alerts or email reminders you may wish to setup you can't go wrong. Procedure would be: - Add event in your master calendar, but choose their calendar within yours in terms of where it will show up as well. You will own the event, but seen on their ones as well.

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My gut instinct is that if the trust level is that low, management is doing a poor job recruiting good people and earning the trust and respect of those employees. You have uncovered the tip of a much deeper issue.

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You should look up our product, ClockIt: We are easily one of the few tools that have a vast majority of the features that are otherwise spread across multiple tools. Our simply pricing is tailored towards small and medium businesses. We also include all features in the same pricing tier and do not feature gate anything.

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Yeah, you should definitely try out the SuperSaaS appointment booking system which allows you to create bookings which are of arbitrary time length which can be weeks long, a month-long or even a minute long. It is made exactly for people like you whose needs are not served by generic scheduling systems. I would recommend you sign up for the free forever trial plan and test it out to see if it works or not.

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Hi Jane, I'm hoping that some of our experts will come to your rescue here with an answer to this unique situation. However, I did some of my own research to see if I could find anything that meets your requirements. On our sister site, Business News Daily, I came across an article about using Facebook for scheduling. It looks like FB just recently launched an update where you can allow "customers" to create appointments through your Facebook page. I do not know much about it and have never...

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