Efficient scheduling and communication for small teams

Table of contents
  1. Verdict: 3.7/5
  2. Sling Pricing
  3. Sling Usability and Interface
  4. Sling Core Functionalities
  5. Sling Security Features
  6. Sling Reporting & Analytics
  7. Sling Customer Support
  8. Is Sling Right For Your Business?
  9. FAQs

Verdict: 3.7/5

Sling is a great solution for simplifying schedules, and I think it’d work perfectly for small businesses in the restaurant and retail sectors. It streamlines everything from creating schedules to tracking time, and all its features are accessible through a handy mobile app.

For me, what really sets Sling apart is its generous free plan coupled with affordable paid options, which make it a good option for startups and smaller operations looking to get a handle on their scheduling without breaking the bank.

However, while Sling is fantastic for smaller teams, its per-user pricing model and the somewhat basic customization options can be limiting for larger businesses or those spread across multiple locations. Also, if you’re used to working on mobile or need to manage schedules on the go, you might be annoyed that the mobile version isn’t nearly as easy to use as the desktop version.

Key Features:

  • Automatic scheduling: Quickly generate optimal staff schedules based on availability and business needs.
  • Time clock and tracking: Employees can clock in/out directly from their mobile devices, with the software accurately tracking hours, overtime, and paid time off (PTO).
  • Labor cost optimization: Predict and manage labor costs effectively.
  • Task management: Assign tasks to specific shifts or employees, ensuring all responsibilities are met.
  • Communication: Use a central platform to manage announcements and discussions, improving transparency and coordination.
  • Announcements: Circulate vital information instantly across the workforce.
  • Labor compliance: Get help complying with labor laws regarding scheduling, hours, and breaks.
  • Employee documents: Store and manage critical employee documents securely.
  • Integrations: Connect with tools like Toast, Gusto, and Shopify.
Pros
– Comprehensive free plan with extensive features
– User-friendly platform with mobile-first design
– Cost-effective paid plans for small to medium-sized businesses
Cons
– Limited customization
– High per-user pricing for larger teams
– Fewer integrations than some competitors

Sling Pricing

Sling offers a free plan and 2 paid plans: Premium and Business. Here’s a breakdown:

FreePremiumBusiness
$0$2/user/month ($1.70/user/month billed annually)$4/user/month ($3.40/user/month billed annually)
Unlimited employees, managers, and locations. Unlimited employees, managers, and locations. Unlimited employees, managers, and locations. 
Basic scheduling & communicationEverything in FreeEverything in Premium
Shift scheduling
Time off requests
Available shifts
News sharing
Long-term scheduling
Private messaging
Shift swaps & templates
Slots on available shifts
Mobile time tracking
Labor cost management
Overtime tracking
Private and group messaging
Calendar synchronization
Auto-assign shifts
Late arrivals
Kiosk time tracking
Reports
Tags
No-shows
Sick call-outs
PTO management
Payroll reports
Sales reports
Labor reports
Employee documents
Task management
Forever Free15-day free trial15-day free trial

I find Sling’s pricing to be refreshingly straightforward, and I think it will especially appeal to budget-conscious businesses. The Free Plan offers many basic features like shift scheduling and time off requests. This is quite generous considering that many competitors—like Deputy and When I Work—charge for these features. Sling is an excellent choice for startups and small teams focused on efficiency without the hefty price tag.

The Premium Plan at $1.70/user/month extends functionality with tools like mobile time tracking, shift swapping, and labor cost management. For those requiring even more advanced tools, the Business Plan at $3.40/user/month includes capabilities such as the option to auto-assign shifts and detailed analytics for complex scheduling needs.

I found that the 15-day free trial gives you enough time to explore these additions.

Moreover, opting for annual billing cuts 15% off your bill. These cost savings add up fast, especially if you’re scaling up. 

However, I noticed that the per-user cost model might stretch the budget for larger teams. For multi-location businesses with a large number of employees, Homebase might be a better fit due to its location-based pricing. This pricing model can be more cost-effective for businesses with many employees across several sites, as it doesn’t increase with the number of employees.

Verdict: 4/5

Team sizeNumber of locationsSling Scheduling(Premium)Homebase (Essentials)When I Work(Pro)
30 users1 location$60/month$24.95/month$150/month
100 users1 location$200/month$24.95/month$500/month
30 users5 locations$60/month$124.75/month$150/month
100 users5 locations$200/month$124.75/month$500/month
100 users10 locations$200/month$249.50/month$500/month
500 users10 locations$1,000/month$249.50/month$2,500/month

Sling Usability and Interface

Shift scheduling view of Sling software on the desktop version
Sling’s shift scheduling dashboard on the desktop version

During my trial of Sling’s Business plan, I enjoyed navigating its interface. The dashboard is neatly organized with tabs for schedule, tasks, messages, newsfeed, reports, and time clock—which are all presented in a clean, modern layout that combines visual appeal with functionality.

For team managers, the ability to quickly filter by location, position, or employee directly from the dashboard saves time and reduces hassle.

What strikes me most is how simple and straightforward everything feels. Sling doesn’t require you to be tech-savvy. Instead, it offers a gentle learning curve that even the least tech-inclined can manage with ease.

This accessibility extends to its design, which is sleek and uncluttered, making it easy on the eyes and perfect for quick navigation. The platform also includes thoughtful customization options that are powerful enough for medium-sized teams, with neat functionalities like the ability to add hourly wages directly into schedules.

Another standout feature is the unified notifications hub. It groups all alerts into one spot, allowing you to open, take action, or mark all as read with minimal clicks. This centralization is particularly helpful for keeping up with business operations without getting overwhelmed by alerts.

Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t have specific accessibility features for users with impaired vision, hearing, or mobility. However, since it’s so easy to navigate, I think it will be accessible for a broad user base.

Verdict: 4/5

Mobile app

Sling mobile app dashboard and more view
Sling’s mobile app employee dashboard

Sling offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS. I’ve been using the Sling iOS app alongside the web version, and it’s pretty solid for keeping up with your schedule and communicating on the go.

The app does a good job of bringing over the main features from the desktop. You can check your shifts, update your availability, and even handle some basic admin tasks right from your phone.

The layout is user-friendly, but it feels a bit more cramped than the desktop version, particularly for more complex tasks like managing reports. These are easier to manage on larger screens.

I also noticed that the mobile app requires an active internet connection to work. This means you can’t make updates or check your schedule when out of service range, which might be a huge hassle for field workers. It would be great if Sling could let you make offline changes that could sync up later when you’re back online.

Menu ItemAdminEmployee
WebsiteMobile AppWebsiteMobile App
Core features
Schedule
Time Clock
Timesheets 
Time off
Newsfeed, Messages
Task management
Employee Documents
Analysis features
Dashboard
Reports
Activity
Management features
Kiosks
Approvals
Positions & Locations
Groups
Tags
Settings

Verdict: 4/5

Sling Core Functionalities

Let’s explore the core features of Sling in detail.

Employee scheduling

In my experience, Sling makes employee scheduling—an often complex task—much easier. The user interface is designed with a drag-and-drop functionality that makes creating and assigning shifts straightforward and efficient.

Plus, it helps manage “clopening” issues that arise when you schedule an employee to close late at night and then open early the next morning, resulting in insufficient rest between shifts. It does this by making it easier to visualize and adjust schedules. The software also automatically flags short turnarounds and helps ensure that all employees have adequate breaks between shifts, which is crucial for complying with labor laws.

Handling overtime, shift changes, and time off requests is just as intuitive.

A key feature is labor cost optimization, which helps you monitor and control expenses directly through the scheduling interface. This ensures you make cost-effective decisions when assigning shifts, pay your employees correctly, and meet hourly requirements under various labor laws.

However, I was disappointed to see there wasn’t a day rate option alongside the hourly rate. This addition would cater to businesses that operate under different payment models.

While the platform offers templates for recurring shifts, which are a major time-saver for routine scheduling, I’ve encountered some glitches with these on the mobile app where updates don’t always sync properly.

A screenshot of the Sling desktop app and the More menu, which displays template options.
Sling’s template editor offers a number of options, but more customization would be welcome.

Additionally, I feel Sling could greatly benefit from more advanced customization options. Right now, you can sort and view employees only by their job position and location when assigning shifts. This can be restrictive because it doesn’t consider other important factors like an employee’s specific skills or experience. Enabling users to view such details when assigning shifts would help them ensure they assign the right person to each shift.

Verdict: 3/5

Time clock and tracking

I like how the system transforms any smartphone into a time clock app, making it convenient for employees to clock in and out from anywhere. Additionally, an optional kiosk time tracker—which enables you to use any device as a shared time clock terminal—is available for fixed locations. This is ideal for settings where employees start and end their shifts at a common point.

The software tracks all aspects of employee hours, including regular time, overtime, and holidays. It also includes geofencing capabilities (GPS-based virtual boundaries), which help you ensure employees are where they should be when clocking in or out. 

A screenshot of the “Enable time clock” settings on the Sling app
Enabling the time clock function also gives you a number of sub-settings and options.

Another notable functionality I found is the ability to end shifts automatically before overtime accrues, helping to manage labor costs effectively. Sling also prevents early clock-ins, which can keep payroll costs in check and ensure that employees are paid for scheduled hours only. 

However, while the app works seamlessly on the desktop, I’ve found that the mobile app lacks some functionality. For example, it would be beneficial if the mobile app could display the total number of employee hours. This way, you wouldn’t have to use the desktop version to check on an employee’s hours before approving their request to pick up an extra shift.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Communication

Sling’s communication tools include in-app messaging, announcements, newsfeeds, and file sharing. These allow for group and individual communications. This ensures that everyone is up to date with the latest information and can access important documents easily. For example, you can send announcements to quickly circulate vital news across the team. 

A screenshot of Sling’s desktop app's dashboard showing the option to send an announcement
Sending announcements is straightforward, but the messages are barely customizable.

Despite these strengths, I feel like the notification system can be a bit overwhelming. It would help to organize the notifications into different categories with an option to view them in a simpler, collapsed format. Adding priority settings—which allow users to prioritize important notifications—would also prevent team members from feeling bombarded by too many alerts.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Task management

With Sling’s task management, you can assign specific tasks and subtasks to shifts or individuals. What I find particularly handy is the ability to add detailed checklists to each task. This ensures everyone knows exactly what needs to be done. 

A screenshot of Sling's task template with options to add the task title, description, and subtasks
Being able to set up task templates for recurring tasks is a nice touch.

Moreover, setting reminders for each task ensures that deadlines are met and nothing is overlooked, especially during busy periods. This level of detail is crucial for project management and helps keep everyone accountable.

However, once more, I strongly feel the platform would benefit from more customization capabilities. For instance, it would be helpful to add fields based on employees’ expertise to the task assignment process. This way, you could quickly assign tasks to employees who possess the specific skills needed for each task.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Payroll and other integrations

While Sling doesn’t feature a built-in payroll system like Homebase, it integrates well with popular tools like Toast, Gusto, ADP, and QuickBooks, making it a flexible and efficient choice for managing payroll needs.

Connect your Gusto account to Sling

Also, though I haven’t encountered any issues with the payroll integration yet, some users have reported troubles with Gusto and QuickBooks integrations.

Sling offers other integrations beyond payroll. While it doesn’t mention the exact number of integrations it offers, there doesn’t appear to be a lot. I’d appreciate more integrations with HR, CRM, and accounting tools.

Verdict: 3/5

Employee documents

Sling’s employee documents feature simplifies the way you manage sensitive personnel files such as licenses and contracts—all with the convenience of unlimited storage.

From the dashboard, navigate to “Employees” and then “Profile” to access various tabs, including Personal, Work, Documents, Unavailability, Wages, Time Off, and Notes. Here’s a breakdown of some of these:

  • Personal: Includes essential details like name, email, phone number, time zone, date of birth, address, and emergency contact.
  • Work: Details employment specifics such as hiring date, employee ID, preferred hours per week, and a unique time clock PIN for secure access.
  • Document: A dedicated space where employees can upload and manage their documents and certifications, with storage to handle everything from licenses to contracts.

What really stands out is Sling’s proactive approach to compliance. You can set up alerts and notifications to remind you well ahead of time about document expirations

Sling also allows you to set specific permissions, ensuring only authorized personnel can access sensitive information. 

Verdict: 5/5

Sling Security Features

I’m quite impressed with how Sling handles data security. They keep their security and privacy policies updated and available on their website.

Sling takes GDPR seriously, especially with data processing and deletion. If you ever need to delete data, they have a manual process that ensures it’s gone from backups within a week, which is pretty reassuring. However, I’d appreciate it if they could automate this process. Currently, you must manually initiate all deletions.

In case of a data breach, Sling has a formal procedure to assess the impact and report the incident to the supervisory authority within 72 hours if there’s a likely risk to affected individuals.

On the technical side, while general data isn’t encrypted when stored (at rest), sensitive details like passwords and social security numbers are secured with strong encryption and hashing methods. “Hashing” transforms passwords into unique sets of characters to enhance security.

This mixed approach to encryption is something I keep an eye on, particularly because, as of now, Sling doesn’t specify HIPAA compliance. This could be a concern for users in healthcare needing stricter security measures. 

I was curious about their other security features, so I approached their support agent about multi-factor authentication and biometric verification features. Requiring multiple forms of verification or the use of unique personal traits—like fingerprints—can really bolster security. Here’s what they said:

“At this time, Sling does not have an active integration with any biometric hardware or multi-factor authentications, but I am happy to record this as a feature request for our dev team!”

Verdict: 3/5

Sling Reporting & Analytics

Sling’s reports are accessible exclusively through the Business subscription and available only on the desktop version. Here’s a brief overview of the types of reports available:

  • Labor reports: Compare scheduled hours to actual hours to manage labor costs and payroll effectively.
  • Payroll reports: Review the actual time worked and export this info to payroll systems. does make reviewing and approving timesheets at the end of each pay period easy. 
  • Attendance reports: Track discrepancies between scheduled shifts and actual shifts, including no-shows and late arrivals.
  • Shift feedback reports: Evaluate employee engagement through ratings collected after shifts.
  • Time off reports: See an overview of approved time off requests, categorized by paid or unpaid status.
  • Sales reports: Compare projected and actual sales and analyze labor cost percentages against set goals.
A screenshot of Sling Reports with different filters and sorting options
Sling offers a nice variety of reports that can be customized and exported.

Generating these reports is straightforward, allowing for sorting by employee, position, location, or group. You can export the reports in CSV or XLS formats and print them as PDFs.

I also appreciate that you can customize timesheet reports to align perfectly with your pay cycles—whether that’s weekly, monthly, or any other frequency that suits your business needs.

While the data Sling’s reporting provides is detailed and useful for basic analysis, it’s mainly raw data. The platform doesn’t offer not predictions or AI-driven insights, for instance. If Sling made their reports more user-friendly for phones and included features to see future trends, they’d be much more helpful.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Sling Customer Support

I’ve had a few interactions with Sling’s customer support, and they’re quite responsive. The first time I reached out was over the weekend, and to my surprise, they replied within a minute. Another time, I had questions about security features on the desktop version, and the agent took just 14 minutes to respond.

Support is available from 8:00 am-8:30 pm (Eastern) on weekdays and 10:00 am-6:30 pm on weekends

Most users find Sling’s support responsive. However, Sling doesn’t offer phone support, but you can always start a chat through their website or the mobile app or email them at [email protected] for assistance.

Additionally, Sling provides various training options, including detailed documentation, live online sessions, videos, in-person training, a comprehensive knowledge base, and webinars. Their guides, tutorial articles, and videos are clear and informative, making it easy to get up to speed with the software.

Verdict: 4/5

Is Sling Right For Your Business?

Sling is ideally suited for small to medium-sized businesses in the service industry, such as restaurants, cafes, retail stores, and salons.

Sling’s per-user pricing is good for small businesses with a small number of users. This pricing model keeps costs manageable while still offering a suite of useful features.

However, for larger teams or those with over a dozen employees at a single location, a location-based pricing model like Homebase or 7shifts might be more cost-effective.

Additionally, if your business requires HIPAA compliance, especially in healthcare, consider HIPAA-compliant options like Connecteam.

FAQs

How do my employees join Sling?

To add employees to Sling, you can manually enter or import their details from a file. Use their valid email addresses or phone numbers, as they’ll receive and accept invites to join Sling through email or SMS.

What is the difference between an Admin, a Manager, and an Employee?

In Sling, Admins have full access and can manage the organization’s settings, employees, and schedules across locations. Managers are limited to creating shift schedules and managing employees only within the locations they oversee. Finally, Employees can view their own schedules, swap shifts, update their availability, and request time off.

What happens if an employee leaves my business?

If an employee leaves part way through a billing cycle, Sling will charge you only for the portion of the cycle during which the employee was active. Any overpayment for the time they weren’t active will be credited back to you or applied to future billing.

What happens when my 15-day free trial expires and I don’t renew?

If you don’t renew after your 15-day free trial of Sling expires, your account will automatically revert to the default Free version. As a result, you’ll lose access to the paid features, but you can continue using the basic functionalities available in the free plan.

Is Sling scheduling really free? 

Yes, shift scheduling is available with Sling’s free plan.

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