Your business wants to send text messages that inform and delight your customers. But you don’t intend to send out messages as soon as you type them — you want to use a scheduling app that can text them at a certain date or time.
The question is, how do you select the right text message scheduler for your business?
We’re here to help you make the most informed decision possible. This article takes a closer look at 10 of the best text message scheduling apps of 2023. We’ll also explore their key features and any limitations that might cause problems for your business.
But first, let’s discuss why you might need more than a free text scheduling app.
3 scenarios where you need more than a free text scheduling app
There are dozens of free texting apps available to business owners — including personal use options like iMessage or Facebook Messenger. However, basic delayed text message apps don’t come with the features that support your actual goals.
Here are three scenarios where free text scheduling apps don’t make sense:
1. When you need to build professional relationships
Basic texting services like WhatsApp and Messenger are good enough for personal relationships — but they’re not good enough for professional interactions. Using a less business-friendly platform can make building relationships with customers more time-consuming to follow up — and far more difficult to do at scale. Plus, inconsistent points of contact can be confusing to newer customers or even look untrustworthy. Customers who don’t recognize your company’s name or texting platform are more likely to delete your message before giving it a look.
That’s where a virtual phone number comes in. Your business can use a virtual number to provide customers and callers with more context about who you are. For example, you can set up caller ID to instantly identify your business and make sure contacts know who’s on the other line. Plus, text messages are tied to your business number rather than your cell number so you don’t have to worry about callers reaching your personal number when you’re off the clock.
Virtual phone systems also make it easier to review past interactions and keep the conversation going with your clients. Platforms like OpenPhone store your calls, texts, and voice messages with a contact in one thread so you can easily follow up with the right context.
No matter where you’re located or what device you’re using, you can text and call from anywhere with an internet connection using a virtual number.
2. When you need to split responsibility for incoming messages
Need to send text messages from more than one department? Or work together to solve problems for customers and clients? Unlike basic text scheduling apps that work off a single number, you can upgrade to more advanced virtual phone platforms that allow you to work together from shared phone numbers.
With shared phone numbers, any members of the phone number can make, read, or schedule text messages at the same time. Co-workers can access the shared number from their desktop computers, smartphones, or iPads. Even if you’re away from your desk and can’t answer a message right away, someone else on your team can review the message and answer the contact on your behalf.
Plus, shared virtual phone numbers let you see which team members are working on what conversation. You can see in-app if someone’s drafting a text, so you don’t accidentally answer the same message twice.
3. When you need to automate specific touchpoints
Scheduling tools can help you send texts in the future if you know you won’t have time to send them yourself later. However, they still require time and effort to set up — you can’t completely avoid doing some manual labor. This could pull you away from other essential tasks and make it difficult to stay on top of your to-do list.
The best virtual phone number solutions let you delegate repetitive tasks and automate specific touchpoints with your customers. These automations can be easily adapted to your use case and won’t take more than a few minutes to set up.
With OpenPhone, you can automatically send out appointment reminder texts once a customer triggers another touchpoint (like filling out a form on your website). You’ll quickly remind customers about their upcoming service without writing, personalizing, or scheduling the texts yourself.
Plus, you can enable auto-replies that instantly respond to missed calls or voicemails so you can move phone conversations over to text — and no missed calls slip through the cracks. That way, your customers have reassurance you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, and you won’t need to break your workflow by picking up the phone.
The 10 best apps to schedule texts
You should focus on the root problems you’re looking to tackle with the scheduled texting solution you ultimately choose. That means you should evaluate all possible options for text scheduling apps and decide how helpful they might be both now and in the future.
Here are the 10 best apps you can use to schedule business text messages — starting with the best option for small businesses and growing teams.
OpenPhone is a virtual phone service provider serving growing brands and enterprises. You can purchase any amount of US, Canadian, or toll-free numbers for your business, then use your numbers to send scheduled text messages to customers. We also provide free calling and texting to US and Canada, which means you won’t have to worry about paying extra fees to schedule texts to your customers.
All OpenPhone users can schedule text messages right from our Starter plan. Need to reach customers out-of-state or overseas? You have the option to send texts according to the recipient’s time zone so you don’t reach them outside normal business hours. If a customer happens to message back before your text is scheduled to go out, you can set any message to automatically cancel to avoid any awkward exchanges.
Speaking of teams, OpenPhone makes it easy to collaborate on scheduled texts. You can all work together from a single shared number to send texts and make phone calls.
But just because you’re sharing the same number doesn’t mean you need to share the same device. OpenPhone gives you the option to schedule text messages on your iPhone or computer — and the option to schedule texts from OpenPhone’s Android app is coming soon!
OpenPhone is more than just a text scheduling app. We want to help you be more responsive and build better relationships with customers:
- Auto-replies for an instant text response to contacts if they text you, you miss a call, or they leave a voice message. This means you can quickly attend to your customers’ needs without interrupting your workflow.
- Snippets let you save templated messages and store them for later (or edit them if you need to make adjustments). Everyone on your team can type ‘/snippets’ into the message bar to quickly answer FAQs with consistency.
- Automate specific touchpoints using our Zapier integration. Let’s say you want to send a specific text when someone fills out a form on your website. You can use this Zap to send an SMS message after they fill out your Typeform.
Want to see how scheduling messages and other features work for yourself? Try out OpenPhone with a seven-day free trial.
Key features of OpenPhone
- Schedule text messages at a specific time (SMS and MMS)
- Scheduled messages via OpenPhone’s desktop, browser, and mobile apps
- Shared number lines enable shared scheduled texting
- Integrations with Zapier and other third-party apps
- Free calls and texts in the US and Canada
- Automatically forward texts to any email inbox or Slack channel
- Transparent international rates
- Texting automations (auto-replies, snippets, etc.)
2. SMS Scheduler
SMS Scheduler does exactly what you think it does — sends text messages at specific dates and times. You can download the Android app (iOS devices aren’t supported at all) to your personal device to send 50 SMS messages for free. After that, you’ll need to pay $3.25 per 100 SMS (or $10.82 per 100 SMS for the premium service).
Because of its simplicity, SMS Scheduler could make it hard to build professional relationships. For example, you won’t be able to send scheduled SMS messages directly from a business number. You’ll have to download the app to your current device, which may blur the lines between your personal and professional life.
Additionally, SMS Scheduler is extremely difficult to get up and running. Once you download the app from the website, you’ll need to sign up on their platform, configure the .apk file, then set up your device on their web portal. This is both confusing and time-consuming, which are two things you don’t need as a small business owner.
Key features of SMS Scheduler
- Android support
- Bulk SMS
- Saved messages (snippets)
- Schedule recurring SMS
- Custom surveys
3. Google Messages
Google Messages (sometimes called Messages by Google) is a free SMS app for iPhone and Android devices. What makes this platform unique is that it schedules texts via RCS (rich communication services). Unlike SMS, RCS lets you get around the 160-character limit. It also enables you to send files, pictures, GIFs, and videos through any WiFi connection.
Scheduled texting isn’t a highlighted feature of Google Messages, but it’s still something available to you in-app. Here’s how it works:
- Type your text message
- Hold the Send button
- Select Pick Date And Time to schedule your message
- Hit Save and Send
You should know Google Messages is mostly geared towards personal users. For example, while you can sort incoming messages into ‘Personal’ and ‘Business’ inboxes, you’ll still have to separate them by hand — which could be problematic as your business expands.
Plus, Google Messages’ scheduling features are only available to phones with Android 7 or newer. If you’re not connected to WiFi when your scheduled text is ready to go out, it won’t send at all — you’ll have to wait until you’ve reconnected. Since you can’t automate any of your SMS messages while offline, you may be hurting rather than helping your business save additional time and money.
Google Messages may be a good starting place if you want to create personal automation for your text messages — but the platform is too basic for business owners trying to interact professionally with customers.
Key features of Google Messages
- One-tap calendar reminders
- RCS message support
- End-to-end encryption
- Built-in spam protection
- Separate messages into ‘Personal’ and ‘Business’ categories
AutoSender is a delayed text messages app provided by FreeRamble, a Canadian provider of VPN, call center, and text messaging tools. You can download the tool for your Android or iOS device from both Google Play and the App Store. The basic app allows you to get a second number in the US or Canada, which you can use to send and schedule text messages to individuals or groups.
The basic AutoSender features include:
- Auto-forwarding texts to another number
- Group message support
- Reminders for sending text messages
You should know AutoSender isn’t a free app for text scheduling, although you can still download it at no cost from Apple and Google Play stores. You’ll need to pay per message to schedule texts in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to watch in-app ads or refer your friends to earn free scheduling credits.
Unfortunately, these free in-app credits won’t cover other features provided by AutoSender. You’ll have to pay for a monthly subscription if you want:
- Higher quality message delivery
- Tech support (two-day response time)
- Permanent cloud storage for sent texts
AutoSender has several limitations beyond the in-app credits. For example, MMS support is only within the US and Canada. If you need to send pictures, documents, GIFs, or videos to customers outside North America, you may need to look for a scheduling app alternative.
Plus, you can’t use the basic version of AutoSender to send more than one image per text. If you need to upload multiple photos for customers to review, AutoSender won’t be the right choice for your business.
Key features of AutoSender
- US or Canadian phone number
- Auto-reply functionality (on the basic plan)
- Automated mass texting
5. SMS Scheduler: Sent Text Later
Not to be confused with the other SMS Scheduler, Sent Text Later is a free iOS app that reminds you to send scheduled messages at a specific date or time (Android devices aren’t supported). SMS Scheduler also provides a scheduled message dashboard. Once in, you can see all your queued messages in a single inbox and look at messages previously submitted.
But SMS Scheduler doesn’t automatically send the messages you schedule. This app only reminds you to send a text — you’ll have to hit the send button manually to submit a message. If you fail to see the reminder notification or happen to have your phone off, your recipient won’t get the scheduled message as intended.
This limitation is summarized well in a recent review:
“Usually, I would appreciate a simple concept app for sending future texts. But not today. This app isn’t bad, but it doesn’t quite do the job. I don’t mind that it sends you a reminder to send the text (vs automatically sending it itself), but I really wish it would offer an alert sound when the reminder pops up. I personally don’t check my phone every other minute — which is why I downloaded this app in the first place. Also, as others have mentioned, if you’re on the phone when the alert pops up, it disappears immediately, offering no further reminders.”
Key features of SMS Scheduler
- SMS scheduling reminders
- iOS support
- Scheduled message dashboard
- Set dates and times for reminders
SimpleTexting is an Android and iOS-friendly SMS management platform that allows you to create marketing campaigns for your business. The basic plan starts with 500 SMS messages and comes with a business phone number, standard tech support, and integrations with Zapier and Mailchimp. You can schedule text messages in groups or one-off campaigns and manage messages simultaneously with up to three other people.
But SimpleTexting’s SMS scheduling tools are relatively basic. The advanced automation package — including recurring texts, SMS drip campaigns, and auto-responders — is only available as an add-on. There’s no pricing for it listed on the website either; you’ll have to get a custom quote depending on what you need.
And you can’t even add advanced automations to your plan unless you’re spending $229 per month or more.
Key features of SimpleTexting
- Free incoming SMS
- Schedule single or mass messages
- Unlimited SMS contacts
Schemes is an Android-only app that allows you to send scheduled messages via SMS, Twitter, or Gmail. Although they used to integrate with Facebook Messenger, this has since been removed because of updated API guidelines.
However, that’s about where Scheme’s functionality ends. The platform hasn’t received an update since early 2019. You can’t access any other tools that reply to customers automatically, and you can’t create templated snippets that help you answer messages at scale.
If you want a workaround for any of this, you’re better off choosing a scheduling app competitor.
Key features of Schemes
- Scheduled SMS messages
- Editable and cancellable messages
- Integrations with Gmail and Twitter
8. Advanced SMS Scheduler
Advanced SMS Scheduler is an Android-only app that uses your existing phone service to schedule and send text messages. You can type up custom messages, schedule a send date, and unschedule messages in an app-specific inbox. If you no longer want to send a specific scheduled message, you can simply delete it from your queue.
Keep in mind Advanced SMS Scheduler hasn’t been updated since 2017. The developers don’t plan on adding new features — and the ones included are relatively basic.
Plus, Advanced SMS Scheduler isn’t entirely free. While you can download the app to your Android phone without paying extra, you’ll be on the hook for every message the application sends out. If you pay per message on your current phone plan, this could get expensive fast.
Key features of Advanced SMS Scheduler
- Text scheduling tool
- SMS and MMS support
- Group message support
- Dashboard with drafted messages
9. SKEDit Scheduling App
The SKEDit Scheduling App is a third-party Android integration for WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger. You can send custom SMS messages through one or all of these channels, and even schedule emails to send at a later date.
SKEDit has several limitations that keep it from integrating well with modern businesses. For example, the free plan only allows you to schedule up to 10 messages at one time. You can’t create saved message templates, access premium support, or remove in-app ads without upgrading to the highest tier.
You’ll also have to manage all your scheduled text messages through tools like Facebook and WhatsApp. This could make you look less professional to customers, who may associate those apps with personal use rather than business interactions.
Keep in mind you can’t trial any of the paid plans offered by SKEDit. Although the company advertises a five-day free trial, a recent response to a customer review explains this is no longer offered — although the trial option is still listed on the website.
Key features of SKEDit
- Schedule messages (up to 10 at one time)
- Group text support (up to three contacts at once)
- Available in 12 languages
10. Advance SMS
Advance SMS is a delayed text messages app that supports both SMS and MMS on Android devices. Like many other tools on this list, you can delay individual text messages to a date or time of your choosing. You can also set an SMS signature that is included on all outbound messages (i.e., Jon @ Hill City Barbecue).
Unfortunately, Advance SMS is not highly rated — just 3.4 stars out of 1,300+ reviews. Many reviews state the platform is riddled with bugs, some of which make the scheduling tool almost unusable. Between problems like double messages and repeat notifications, Advance SMS may clutter up your notification bar and irritate your recipients.
Key features of Advance SMS
- SMS and MMS support
- Group message support
- Text message scheduler
- Built-in spam filter
- Message signatures
OpenPhone: The best app to schedule texts at a later time and much more
There are lots of different text scheduling apps available to choose from — but only one that offers a virtual number that you can use for all your business communications. OpenPhone is a flexible VoIP service with text scheduling tools built into every plan, which you can access from any device connected to the internet.
Once you sign up for our free seven-day trial, you can easily manage scheduled texts on your own or work with team members on a shared phone number. Then, you can automate specific touchpoints with customers by setting up integrations with third-party apps. You can use saved templates using our snippet tool, or automatically respond to missed calls with auto-replies.
A virtual business number from OpenPhone is the best way to schedule business texts for your brand. You can see our platform in action for yourself by using our seven-day free trial.