Homebase vs. Sling (2023)

Whether you’re the owner of a small cafe and manage ten staff members or have a retail chain with a team of 50 employees, manually creating schedules isn’t a scalable solution. Instead, you need an easy-to-use tool that’ll save you the hours and hassle it usually takes to create and publish employee schedules.

And if you don’t have an HR professional or assistant to rely on, you also need a platform with features for:

  • Time tracking
  • Managing different business locations, work sites, or branches
  • Labor compliance

Today’s teams — and business owners — are also often on the go. That makes a platform that has a mobile app essential, so you can access all the features you need from any device.

With that in mind, let’s compare two popular employee scheduling tools: Homebase and Sling.**

While both offer a variety of tools for managing employee schedules, they have some key differences that we’ll explore in detail. We’ve created a side-by-side comparison chart that gives you the at-a-glance overview you need to make the right decision.

Why choose Homebase over Sling in 2023?

Homebase’s free plan gives you access to a wider range of features and tools than Sling’s. Sling customers have to pay to do things like swap shifts, reuse weekly schedule templates, track time on a mobile device, and access timesheets and team messaging. But those tools are all free with Homebase’s basic plan.

While Sling offers many of the same tools for scheduling, time tracking, team messaging, and labor compliance as Homebase, they don’t have features for HR management or payroll. Homebase users also don’t need to rely on Gusto or ADP integrations to run payroll the way Sling customers do, making Homebase a more versatile and comprehensive platform for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) overall.

Comparison chart: Homebase vs. Sling at a glance

Homebase Sling
Employee scheduling
Time tracking
HR tools
Team messaging
Labor compliance
Managing different departments or locations
Task management
Hiring tools and onboarding tools
Payroll Not offered in suite of tools, only via integrations
Mobile app
Early pay access for employees ✓ — via partnership with Gusto and ADP
Customer service ✓ — phone, chat, and email ✓ — chat and email
Pricing Plans range from free to $100 per location per month

Homebase payroll costs $39/month base fee and $6/month per active employee

Plans range from free to $4 per user per month
Cost for most comprehensive plan for a business with one location and 20 employees $80/monthly (billed annually)

$99/monthly (billed monthly)

Up to $68/monthly (billed annually)

Up to $80/monthly (billed monthly)

How Homebase and Sling stack up against each other

While Homebase and Sling both offer employee scheduling solutions, they differ in terms of features and pricing. Like Homebase, Sling has tools for schedule creation, time tracking, and team messaging but doesn’t give you access to many of its features for free. You have to upgrade your free Sling plan, for example, if you want access to options for shift swapping, shift alarms, and weekly schedule templates. Homebase offers those at no additional cost.

On the other hand, Sling offers tools for task management, and Homebase doesn’t. But Sling doesn’t have the features for payroll, HR, compliance assistance, or hiring and onboarding that Homebase offers. That makes Homebase better-suited for small business owners, employers of hourly workers, and people without HR expertise than Sling.

Homebase’s free plan also includes more than Sling’s free plan. And even though Homebase’s paid plans are slightly more expensive than Sling’s, at $99/monthly vs. $80/monthly respectively for the most comprehensive options, SMB owners won’t have to pay for integrations to run payroll, stay compliant, or hire new employees with Homebase. They’ll get the tools they need within one easy-to-use platform.

An in-depth breakdown of Homebase’s fees and features

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/team
Caption: Homebase makes it quick and simple to build a weekly employee schedule from scratch and turn it into a reusable template — completely free.

Employee scheduling

With Homebase’s free plan, managers can create weekly employee schedules in no time. You just have to fill, assign, and post your team members’ shifts. Then Homebase notifies them about their new schedule via the mobile app or SMS.

Additionally, team members can swap shifts or sign up for open shifts, saving you the time and effort of coordinating schedule changes on your own. Team members simply have to submit a shift change request that their manager can either approve or deny.

Filling in open shifts is also quick: start a group message, click “find cover,” and all available and qualified employees will be added to your chat.

New users also appreciate how much time they save by creating recurring templates for the future. And it’s easy to do: Once you fill all your open shifts, click “copy” to reuse that schedule for the following week. Or, select “tools” and turn your current schedule into a reusable template by clicking “templates.”

Time tracking

Like Sling, employees can use the Homebase time clock to sign in and out of their shifts from any device, eliminating bottlenecks at clock in stations that lead to missed or late sign-ins. And if someone doesn’t show up for work, managers get instantly notified so they can check in with their absentee team member.

Also similar to Sling, Homebase can prevent early clock ins and create geofences, so on-the-go employees can’t start a shift before they reach their work site. But unlike Sling, you can access most of Homebase’s time tracking tools with a free plan.

Managing different departments and locations

With your Homebase free plan, you can manage one location with unlimited employees, departments, and teams. It’s important to note that you have to pay extra for every business location you add with Homebase. So, the more locations you add to your Premium, Essentials, or All-In-One plans, the more you’ll have to pay per month.

But upgrading to a paid plan allows you to manage multiple business locations, which means that the platform can scale with you as you expand your operations. Plus, Homebase paid packages give you access to more advanced features for HR, payroll, and even live HR guidance, so you’ll have all the tools you need to stay organized and compliant as your business evolves.

Team messaging

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/team
Caption: Unlike Sling, you can use Homebase to message employees individually and in groups or send updates and praise to your whole team.

Homebase makes it simple to stay in touch with your team via chat messaging. You can send communications to individuals, specific groups, or your whole team with news, feedback, or recognition for a job well done. Our more extensive team communication features make Homebase a better alternative to Sling, which doesn’t include messages in its free plan.

If you want to send team announcements like you can with Sling, you’ll have to upgrade to the Homebase Essentials plan, which starts at $20 per location per month. But when you sign up for Homebase, you get a 14-day free trial of our top tier plan which lets you test out this feature and see if it’s worth the investment.

Hiring and onboarding

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/hiring/job_post/new
Caption: With Homebase’s hiring tool, you can write and publish job descriptions, screen candidates, and hire new team members — all within the same app you use for scheduling.

Homebase’s free hiring features set us apart from Sling and other similar platforms. Our app makes it easier to find and recruit new hires by letting you write job descriptions and instantly publish them to several top sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Google Jobs. The platform helps you find talent instantly with ready-made job description templates for roles like assistant manager, cashier, barista, bartender, or cook.

And once hired, Homebase’s All-In-One plan has the onboarding tools you need to have new team members read and sign tax documents, paperwork, and our customized handbooks before their first day. And once they review and upload their tax forms and documents, you can securely store all their information right inside our platform, making payroll a more streamlined process.

HR and labor compliance

As an app designed for small business owners without HR expertise, Homebase also has HR and compliance tools to help users keep up with local, state, and federal labor laws.

Whenever you’re confused about how these laws interact with your business, Homebase gives you access to live HR experts who can answer your compliance questions and even take a look at your internal policies.

But Homebase goes beyond Sling in this category in a few ways. First, our platform will notify you about any updates to your local and state labor laws, which can change from year to year.

And, like Sling, you can use Homebase to track employee breaks and receive warnings when they’re approaching overtime.

Additionally, our customers get an employee handbook designed just for them, which helps owners consolidate all their policies, procedures, and legally required information in one place. And finally, Homebase gives you access to live HR experts who can answer your compliance questions and even take a look at your internal policies.

Early access to pay

Unlike Sling, Homebase offers employees the chance to access their wages before payday. The Homebase cash out feature lets eligible staff withdraw up to $400 of their earnings via the app. And it doesn’t cost anything for the business owner or negatively impact employee credit.

This gives business owners an extra way to take care of their employees as they don’t have to rely on payday loans or overdraft fees to cover unforeseen expenses.

Mobile app

The Homebase app currently has a 4.4 star rating on Google Play and a 4.8 star rating on the App Store as of January 2023. The mobile app also has almost the same capabilities as the desktop version, meaning users can do pretty much anything they’d do on their computers on their phones.

Managers can use the Homebase app to build schedules, view team availability and time off requests, edit timesheets, message individual employees or specific groups, and receive alerts when people are late or reach overtime. And unlike Sling, you can also use the mobile app to run payroll from your phone.

Employees can use the app to clock in and out of their shifts, view their schedules, receive schedule updates, request shift swaps or schedule changes, communicate with their coworkers, submit time off requests, and get reminders about upcoming shifts.

Homebase pricing

Homebase’s free plan doesn’t cost a thing and includes one location and an unlimited number of employees. If you have multiple business locations, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.

After a free 14-day trial, Homebase’s Essentials plan starts at $24.95 per location per month and provides more features for team announcements and employee performance tracking. With the Plus plan, users have more tools to track labor costs, budgeting, and employee personal time off (PTO) for $59.95 per location per month. And the All-In-One plan costs $99.95 per location per month and gives Homebase customers access to features for new hire onboarding, secure document storage, and HR and compliance.

An in-depth breakdown of Sling’s fees and features

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnTYUOiOc4Q
Caption: With Sling, you can build schedules, create tasks, send announcements, and customize your settings — all from the administrator dashboard.

Employee scheduling

Sling scheduling lets administrators customize employee views and rules for time off and shift requests. Like Homebase, you can create custom templates for your individual team members’ schedules, including information about breaks or possible overtime. And you can use both platforms to create a shift, assign it, and publish it for your whole team to view instantly from any device.

With Sling, you can group and view shifts based on employee position, department, or work location. You can also schedule recurring shifts or auto-assign shifts to individuals, but you have to upgrade your plan to access those options.

Time tracking

The Sling time clock feature lets employees sign in and out of their shifts from any device, and like Homebase, administrators can create rules to prevent early clock-ins. You can also set up geofencing so staff can’t start their shift before they reach their work location. In addition, Sling automatically uploads all time clock data to timesheets for administrators to view.

But unlike Homebase, Sling doesn’t have any tools for running payroll. That means you’ll have to export your timesheets to external payroll software or take advantage of Sling’s integrations with payroll services like Gusto and ADP.

Managing different departments and locations

When you create an employee schedule using both Sling and Homebase, you can assign positions and departments to every staff member. That means an account administrator can filter their overall schedule view based on employee, department, position, or location.

For instance, a restaurant manager could get an overview of their front-of-house staff schedule for the next week and narrow the filter down even further to look at their servers’ schedules.

Task management

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnTYUOiOc4Q
Caption: Sling can create and templatize tasks and checklists for recurring duties and then add them to shift schedules.

Sling’s task management tool makes people’s shift responsibilities much clearer. The platform also lets you develop task templates that save you time when assigning work during your regular workday. So, for example, you could create a task template for your retail store’s night shift titled “closing duties” and add it to any of your closing shift templates.

Team messaging

Users who have access to Sling’s free plan can use the app to send news and important announcements to their team. However, Sling doesn’t allow you to message specific groups or individual employees unless you upgrade to the Premium plan.

HR and labor compliance

Sling has features for overtime alerts, shift breaks, and shift swapping to help you stay compliant. The platform also lets you keep accurate records of employee timesheets, time off requests, and attendance.

In contrast to Homebase, though, Sling doesn’t notify users about updates to their state or local labor laws. And it doesn’t provide access to HR experts who can answer your compliance questions and take a look at your internal policies.

Mobile app

As of January 2023, the Sling app has a 4.5 star rating on Google Play and a 4.7 star rating on the App Store. It lets administrators create and publish employee schedules, manage multiple business locations, assign and oversee tasks, approve shift requests, send messages and announcements, and track labor costs.

Employees can also use the Sling app to check their schedules and tasks, clock in and out of their shifts, message managers and coworkers, set shift reminders, change or swap shifts, and receive notifications if they forget to sign in at the beginning of their workday.

Sling pricing

Sling’s free plan includes unlimited employees, locations, and managers. But you’ll have to upgrade to the Premium plan to access their more advanced scheduling, task management, and messaging capabilities.

You can try a Premium plan or Business plan for free for 14 days. After that, it’s $2 per person per month for Premium and $4 per person per month for Business.

Sling prices their plans per person, so it could be a cost-effective solution for businesses with less than 20 employees. But it may not be a good fit for you if you manage a large team, are growing quickly, or are operating with a small budget.

Homebase vs. Sling’s integrations compared

Homebase Sling
Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed Restaurant
Restaurant 365
ADP Workforce Now
Quickbooks Online

Homebase vs. Sling’s scalability

Both Sling and Homebase provide suitable features for small business owners who want to save time on scheduling, tracking employee time, managing timesheets, and staying compliant with labor laws. The two platforms also have mobile apps that give managers and staff access to all of their features on the go.

However, Homebase is the better option in terms of scalability. Why? Even Sling’s most comprehensive plan doesn’t offer the extensive features for payroll, hiring and onboarding, and HR and compliance that Homebase does. You can’t use Sling to source new hires, grow your team, and outsource advice from HR experts as you expand.

Also, consider that Sling prices their plans by employee while Homebase charges per location. This means that Homebase offers much more value for a growing team — you won’t have to worry about your monthly subscription going up every time you welcome a new staff member.

Last, Sling currently has much fewer integrations than Homebase, which means it’s less practical and less likely to accommodate your current and future business processes.

**The information above is based on our research on Homebase vs. Sling. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in February 2023.

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