Swapping shifts between employees doesn’t need to be a painful process. Let’s take a look at the best shift trade apps that are designed to simplify this aspect of employee scheduling.

Table of contents
  1. Our Top Picks
  2. What to Look for in a Shift Trade App
  3. The 7 Best Shift Trade Apps of 2022
  4. Compare the Best Shift Trade Apps
  5. What Is a Shift Trade App?
  6. How Does a Shift Trade App Work?
  7. The Benefits of Shift Trade Apps
  8. How Much Do Shift Trade Apps Cost?
  9. FAQs
  10. The Bottom Line On Shift Trade Apps

So you just planned a detailed shift schedule for the week ahead and sent it out to all of your employees. Suddenly, you’re bombarded with a flood of phone calls and texts from your team asking you to change their shifts because, for whatever reason, they’re unavailable. 

In theory, you could just tell them to figure it out for themselves and swap shifts with each other. But you know that won’t work. Trying to make these changes with pen and paper or email is an absolute nightmare.

That’s where a shift trade app comes in. This software is designed to ensure that your employees can easily swap shifts with each other. All you’ll need to do is approve the trade with one click.

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. We know exactly which shift trade apps are going to simplify your scheduling once and for all.

Our Top Picks

1. Connecteam – Best all-in-one shift trade app

2. HomeBase – Good for retail businesses

3. Deputy – Good for security teams

Give Your Employees the Ultimate Shift Trade App to Easily Swap Shifts With the Click of a Button.

What to Look for in a Shift Trade App

Some key features to consider when choosing the right shift trade app:

  • Ease of use: Digitally drag and drop employees into specific shifts and create weekly/monthly templates.
  • Shift swapping: Employees can make requests to take a colleague’s shift in exchange for one of the requestor’s future shifts.
  • Internal communication: Team members can send messages to each other, or to groups, in order to determine who’s available to swap shifts.
  • Manager approval: Managers can decide which shift trades go ahead and which ones to reject. 
  • Advanced notifications: Adjustable settings to instantly notify users of all shift trade-related information, such as when another user has requested a trade, when the manager has approved the trade, etc.
  • Mobile app: Employees should be able to view their schedules from any location and make requests/changes on the go.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in this kind of solution let’s take a look at the very best shift trade apps available today.

The 7 Best Shift Trade Apps of 2022

Best all-in-one shift trade app

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

Connecteam is an award-winning shift trade app with an easy-to-use interface, simplifying the way that employees handle their job schedule and maximize their availability.

20,000+ companies use this all-in-one solution to provide their employees with accurate, adaptable schedules, which they can adjust to best suit their requirements. With Connecteam, you can:

  • Save time finding shift cover by enabling shift replacement requests. Employees can instantly swap scheduled shifts with relevant teammates. 
  • Easily schedule shifts and dispatch jobs. Create single, multiple, and team shifts, or even import from Excel
  • Simplify the scheduling process by dragging and dropping shifts via calendar view.
  • Completely customize your schedule with jobs, sub-jobs, projects, clients, and more. Color-code your shifts and attach notes, files, and other media.
  • Set automated reminders so that employees immediately know which shifts are open for grabs, when teammates request shift replacements, and when managers have approved requests.
  • Instantly approve all shift trade requests, or change the settings so that approvals aren’t required.

But that’s not all. Connecteam boasts a wide range of features that extend far beyond shift scheduling. For example: 

  • See exactly when and where employees clock in and out from with GPS tracking
  • The shift scheduler has an in-app team chat shortcut, making shift-related communication even easier
  • Employees can add photos, videos, notes, forms and checklists, and more as shift attachments to prove that they have completed their shift to perfection.

Key Features

  • Shift replacement requests

  • Schedule shifts in bulk, drag & drog, templates

  • In-app chat shortcut

  • Schedule customization

  • Shift attachments (images, videos, files, forms)

  • Open shift claiming

Pros & Cons

  • All-in-one software solution

  • Ideal of shift scheduling and trading

  • Excellent customer support

  • Affordable solution

  • Unlimited free-for-life plan only available for up to 10 users

Price

  • Starts at just $29/month for up to 30 users

  • Free 14-day trial

  • Unlimited free plan for up to 10 users

The #1 Shift Trade App for Your Business

Good for: Retail businesses

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

homebase shift trade app home page

Homebase is a shift trade app that is both easy to use and pleasing to the eye. For teams whose employees might work erratic hours and with a variety of pay scales, Homebase makes shift trading simple, with manager approval and real-time notifications at its disposal.

With a digital employee time clock, hiring/onboarding, HR features, and more, Homebase certainly offers a lot more than purely employee scheduling features. With that said, the wide range of features can be overwhelming for some users who might just be looking for a shift scheduling app.

Although Homebase does include basic messaging capabilities in its free plan, more advanced employee communication features need to be paid for. Ideal for retail businesses.

Key Features

  • Reminders and notifications

  • Shift swap messaging

  • Manager approval

  • Shift schedule builder

Pros & Cons

  • Wide range of features

  • Attractive UI and easy to use

  • Free plan lacks team communication features

  • Expensive solution

Price: 

  • Starts at $16 per month/location

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: Yes

Good for: Security teams

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

deputy shift trade app home page

An ideal solution for security guards, Deputy allows employees to swap shifts instantly with coworkers if they can’t work the shift they’ve been assigned to. 

This shift trade app makes this aspect of shift scheduling a collaborative process involving the employees and team managers. The latter can offer outstanding shifts for team members to claim, and they can either approve shift trades or change the settings so that swaps are made without approval.

Deputy also allows users to perform employee time tracking and calculate timesheets accurately – another valuable feature of employee management. With that said, pricing varies depending on which features you require. If you only need scheduling, then this is one of the more affordable options on this list.

Key Features

  • Shift swap budgeting

  • Manager approval

  • Smart employee filters

  • Compliance guardrails

Pros & Cons

  • Also includes time tracking features

  • Good customer support

  • Not the easiest solution to use

  • Purchasers need to pay for each feature

Price: 

  • Pricing adjusts depending on how many features you buy. Scheduling feature starts at $2.50 per user/month

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: Yes

Good for: Healthcare professionals

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

zoomshift shift trade app home page

ZoomShift ensures that employees have the autonomy to trade shifts without having to consult the manager. This means that the “manager approval” feature that is common in similar apps isn’t present here. So trust is of the essence when using this app.

With that said, ZoomShift does include many essential shift trade features such as communication tools and push notifications, informing every team member capable of covering the shift in question. Also, it’s possible to add notes to shifts to paint a clearer picture of its requirements.

Some users have noted that they would have benefited from being able to request multiple shifts at once instead of having to make each shift trade individually. An ideal solution for healthcare staff.

Key Features

  • Shift cover requests

  • Swap communication

  • Instant notifications 

  • In-shift notes

Pros & Cons

  • Contains essential shift trade features

  • Attractive and easy to use

  • Lacks bulk shift trade requests

  • Doesn’t include manager approval

Price: 

  • Starts at $2 per active team member/month

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: No

Good for: Construction teams

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

coast shift trade app home page

As a shift trade app, Coast provides essentially all of the features one would come to expect. An ideal solution for construction teams, employees can instantly offer shifts, relevant team members are notified straight away, and managers can approve or reject swaps at their discretion.  

What separates Coast from other apps on this list is its all-in-one capabilities. This shift trade app includes a wide range of features to handle many aspects of one’s business, including a digital time clock, team chat, checklists, task management, and more. 

It’s worth noting though, that Coast does provide a separate pricing plan that provides just staff scheduling and chat capabilities. If you require more features, the pricing rises considerably.

Key Features

  • Shift swap requests

  • Staff communication

  • Manager approval

  • Schedule builder

Pros & Cons

  • All-in-one solution

  • Highly quality notifications

  • Price rises drastically for more features

  • Wide range of features can be overwhelming

Price: 

  • Team Scheduling and Chat starts at $1.60 per user/month

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: Yes

Good for: Nonprofit organizations

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

shyft shift trade app home page

Shyft helps managers spend less time managing employees’ shifts and gives them the chance to take more ownership over their job schedule

Probably its most standout feature is its “shift marketplace” function. This allows employees to put shifts up for grabs, compare shifts in terms of pricing and times, and claim accordingly. 

Some users have noted that they frequently get signed out of the app, which means that they can sometimes miss shift trade messages/notifications. Others have noted that notifications can be inconsistent in terms of when they appear. Ideal for nonprofit organizations.

Key Features

  • Team shift communication

  • Push notifications

  • Shift marketplace function 

  • Bulk shift management

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive and easy to use

  • Includes unique shift trade features

  • Notifications can be problematic

  • Frequently signs users out

Price: 

  • Contact a sales representative for pricing information.

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: Yes

Good for: Restaurants

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

7shifts shift trade app home page

7Shifts is a shift trade app designed specifically for restaurant staff to prepare, manage and oversee schedules with minimal effort. Managers can create schedules with its drag-and-drop function and assign shifts to specific staff members.

If staff aren’t available for certain shifts, then they can trade them accordingly, communicate directly with team members and confirm trades, pending manager approval.

Despite its namesake, 7Shifts boasts a wide range of features for businesses to manage their employees effectively. It includes a time clock, team communication, task management, and more.

If your restaurant businesses have multiple locations, 7Shifts can start to get expensive as the plan is priced per location. 

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop scheduler

  • Schedule templates

  • Team reminders

  • Shift management

Pros & Cons

  • All-in-one capabilities

  • Attractive and easy to use

  • Can be expensive with multiple locations

  • Unable to see changes made to schedules 

Price: 

  • Starts at $32.99 per location/month

  • Free trial available: Yes

  • Free plan: Yes

Compare the Best Shift Trade Apps

Reviews

Pricing

Free Trial

Free Plan

4.7/5

Starts at $39/month for 50 users

14-day trial

Start Trial

Yes, up to 10 users

4.5/5

$800/month for 50 locations

Yes

Yes

4.6/5

$125/month for 50 users

Yes

Yes

4.5/5

$100/month for 50 users

Yes

No

N/A

$80/month for 50 users

Yes

Yes

N/A

Contact a sales representative for pricing information

Yes

Yes

4.7/5

Costs $65.98/month for 50 users

Yes

Yes

Reviews

4.7/5

Pricing

Starts at $39/month for 50 users

Free Trial

14-day trial

Start Trial

Free Plan

Yes, up to 10 users

Reviews

4.5/5

Pricing

$800/month for 50 locations

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

Yes

Reviews

4.6/5

Pricing

$125/month for 50 users

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

Yes

Reviews

4.5/5

Pricing

$100/month for 50 users

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

No

Reviews

N/A

Pricing

$80/month for 50 users

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

Yes

Reviews

N/A

Pricing

Contact a sales representative for pricing information

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

Yes

Reviews

4.7/5

Pricing

Costs $65.98/month for 50 users

Free Trial

Yes

Free Plan

Yes

What Is a Shift Trade App?

A shift swapping app is a software solution that allows one worker to request colleagues to take one of their shifts. In exchange, the requestor works one of the colleague’s future shifts. Some apps allow the manager to approve such requests as long as another employee has accepted the shift trade. 

Other apps might approve the trade automatically. Shift trade apps usually allow teams to communicate directly with each other about trading shifts, as well as be notified instantly about approvals, rejections, and new trade opportunities.

How Does a Shift Trade App Work?

Shift trade apps usually require two components to work to their full potential – a main dashboard that a manager operates and a mobile app for employees. 

Through the main dashboard, managers should be able to create, customize, and prepare shift schedules via a drag-and-drop calendar view interface. On here, managers can assign shifts to employees, add all relevant media for their job and adjust times, locations, and other important information.

On the mobile app, employees should be able to get instantly notified about their most recent shifts. If they are unavailable, there should be a specific feature designed to request shift trades with other employees.

Here, they can see relevant candidates, select individuals or groups, and communicate directly with them. Once the trade is agreed upon, managers either need to approve the trade, or approval isn’t necessary, depending on the settings.

The Benefits of Shift Trade Apps

Here are just some of main reasons why shift trade apps are highly beneficial for both managers and employees:

  • Shift trade apps make all parties happy: historically, shift trading is a win-win for everyone involved. The employee requesting the trade is usually unavailable for a good reason. Maybe they need time off or have a personal conflict of some kind. On the other hand, the available employee might want extra income. 
  • It’s a huge time saver: While employees used to trade all types of work shifts, either on the phone or face to face, handling it with a shift trade app is much easier and efficient. It also saves time for the manager, who can dedicate more time to other areas of their job as opposed to making last-minute changes to a schedule they already worked hard to organize.
  • Employees feel more empowered: In the past, workers have simply had to request time off, leaving the manager with the strenuous task of finding another employee willing to fill their place – creating further time-wasting. An app keeps things primarily between the coworkers, giving them more control over their decision-making.
  • Creates trust between managers and staff: A shift trade app makes scheduling more convenient for everyone. Digitizing this process builds a sense of goodwill between employees and managers, as there is more transparency and everyone is on the same page. 

How Much Do Shift Trade Apps Cost?

Shift trade apps are usually priced monthly and per unit. This unit can vary, sometimes being per user and other times being per location. Also, the number of features and users required can determine the pricing of the software. 

The most expensive solutions on this list include HomeBase and Deputy, which cost $16 per location/month and $2.50 per user/month, respectively. Other solutions are much cheaper, such as Coast, which costs $1.60 per user/month. 

connecteam shift trade app user interface

Ultimately though, we recommend considering a software solution that combines the most affordable price with the widest range of features. With shift trading capabilities and all other types of employee management features, Connecteam is impossible to ignore when you consider its basic pricing plan of $29/month for the first 30 users. 

FAQs

What are shift trades?

A shift trade is when an employee requests to trade one of their scheduled shifts with a teammate who is available. The requestor ends up taking that teammate’s outstanding shift in the future. The employees’ manager can decide to either approve or reject the trade.

What should I consider when choosing a shift trade app?

When selecting the right shift trade app for your business, you should consider whether or not you can use it to build and edit schedules. Also, does the app provide team communication features, making it easy for team members to message each other regarding shift trades? 

What is an employee shift trade policy?

An employee shift trade policy is a set of guidelines and rules on how employees should request shift trades and how they can get approval from managers. This company policy usually details when an employee can make such a request and what steps they need to take. This policy is usually available, either in an employee handbook or on a mobile app.

The Bottom Line On Shift Trade Apps

Now that you’ve seen the very best shift trade apps on the market, you should have a good idea of which solution is best suited to your business’s needs. 

Do you require an app that focuses solely on shift trades and scheduling matters? Or do you require a solution that handles other areas of employee management, such as time-tracking and internal communication?

Whatever the case may be, we recommend trying out the free trials that the aforementioned shift trade apps have to offer. Then, you’ll know for sure which app matches your needs the most.

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