The 6 best shift trade apps for 2023

Shift trades are inevitable — even with the most well-managed schedules. To tame the chaos of last-minute changes, you might consider a shift-swapping policy. But even then, managing it becomes a time-consuming challenge involving frantic texts, phone calls, and a lot of team confusion when it comes to keeping track of the new schedule. 

A shift trade app can help employees manage schedule changes directly — and make things more organized and efficient in the process. How? Supervisors start by setting custom rules to make sure all changes follow the policy. Then, employees coordinate shift trades with their teammates and submit their swaps for approval, which managers approve or deny with a click. And the best part? The tool is usually built into your scheduling or team management platform, so you don’t need to spend money on more software. 

It’s the kind of tool managers can’t live without once they try it. But with so many shift trading platforms available, where do you begin? To save you from an overwhelming Google search, we’ve put together a list of our top six picks for 2023, comparing each based on best use case, top features, pros and cons, and pricing. 

Key features to look for in shift trade apps

Unlike other types of software, shift trade tools don’t usually come as standalone apps. They most often belong to a suite of products that are included within a scheduling platform. Still, some solutions stand out when compared with others. Besides shift swapping capabilities, the best software includes: 

  • Open shift posting — A great shift trade app should let you share open shifts when you publish your main team schedule. That way, employees can claim available shifts, saving you from assigning them to employees who can’t or don’t want to work.
  • Built-in chat — Finding a replacement usually means tracking down phone numbers and emails so teammates can reach out and coordinate the changes they need. Built-in messaging helps the team communicate in one spot and allows managers to make announcements, coordinate tasks, and keep staff on the same page throughout the day.
  • Interconnected staff management tools — The more features your app has, like time tracking, payroll, scheduling, employee happiness, and HR and compliance, the more versatile it is. When all the tools you need to manage your team are in one place, it also prevents you from having to pay for separate platforms that don’t cooperate with each other.
  • Alerts and notifications — You don’t want shift trade requests to get lost in the shuffle, so be sure your app of choice sends notifications when employees submit swaps for your approval. Another plus is when the platform alerts your entire team about schedule updates and changes so everyone stays up to speed.
  • Easy to use and intuitive — You probably don’t want to add to your to-do list with training, so the easier the tool is to start using, the better. It’s ideal when it only takes a day (or less) for team members to get comfortable with an app. You should also prioritize a system that makes it easy for managers to approve or deny trade requests and keeps their involvement to a minimum.
  • A wide range of integrationsYou might be using software for point of sale (POS) transactions, e-commerce, accounting, budgeting, and reporting. Avoid repeated data entry and costly errors by checking that your shift trade app integrates smoothly with the tools you already rely on and trust.
  • A mobile app You’ll want your team to be able to check the schedule and get important shift updates — whether they’re at work, in transit, or on the go. An ideal shift trade tool should have a dedicated mobile app that has the same functionalities as the desktop version, so your team can use it from anywhere.
  • Free or affordable plans — The app that’ll work best for you depends on your budget, business needs, and team size. But ideal platforms include a free plan. Homebase’s free account includes basic scheduling and time tracking tools for up to 20 employees at one business location. We also offer per-location pricing, so your subscription won’t become unmanageable as your team grows.

Our top shift trade app pick for 2023 (+ the rest compared)

Homebase isn’t just a shift trade app — our platform has all the tools you need to run a small business team in 2023. That’s why it’s our top pick.

With our app, administrators can post open shifts at the top of every schedule and find cover quickly. Employees can also ask for substitutes directly from their schedules on the mobile app. And there’s no need for team members to text coworkers or shift supervisors when they’re sick or have an unexpected conflict.

On top of that, Homebase has built-in features for time tracking, full-service payroll, team chat, hiring and onboarding, and HR and compliance — all available with our per-location paid plans.

Still, other apps may have specific features that will be more useful to you. For example, tools like 7shifts are designed specifically for managing restaurants. There are also apps like Coast, which is a solid option for business owners who need dedicated task management and checklists.

That’s why we’ve broken down our list based on best use case:

  1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
  2. Deputy: Best for labor compliance
  3. Connecteam: Best for remote or moving teams
  4. ZoomShift: Best for team accountability
  5. 7shifts: Best for the restaurant industry
  6. Coast: Best for assigning tasks with shifts

Comparison chart: Top 6 shift trade apps in 2023


Pricing  Free plan Mobile app Shift trading Scheduling Time tracking


Homebase logo Plans range from free to $99.95 per location per month.


Save 20% on all plans if you sign up for annual billing.


deputy logo $3.50 for Scheduling, $3.50 for Time and Attendance, and $4.90 for Premium.

connectteam logo Plans range from free to $119/month.

Plans range from $2.50/month per user and $5/month per user.

Plans range from free to $99.99/month per location.

coast logo Plans range from free to $38/month per user.

A breakdown of the 6 best shift trade apps

1. Best all-in-one solution: Homebase

A screenshot of Homebase's scheduling tool.
Homebase takes the pain out of employee scheduling with its built-in shift swapping tool. Source

Homebase is an all-in-one staff management and HR app designed for hourly teams. We know how chaotic coordinating shift trades can be, which is why we’ve made our app super easy to use from anywhere.  Plus, it’s customizable so you can set up controls to avoid overtime and ensure the right roles are staffed, even with trades. 

In addition to shift swapping, Homebase makes small business management more streamlined with tools for scheduling, time tracking, payroll, hiring and onboarding, team communication, and HR and compliance

Top features

  • Easy-to-use shift swapping features
  • Customizable shift trading rules
  • Open shift posting
  • Built-in team messaging so staff can coordinate trades and get in touch with each other
  • Automatic employee notifications when schedules are published
  • No show, late clock in, and late clock out alerts for managers
  • User-friendly schedule builder with auto-scheduling and template tools
  • Mobile time tracking, complete with geofencing tools
  • Hiring and onboarding templates, dashboards, and workflows
  • An extensive library of HR templates, guides, and training materials
  • Built-in, full-service payroll

Pros and cons

Homebase users find our platform user-friendly, which is great for teams with different levels of tech-savvy. Managers get notified when employees request a change, which means less time spent as the middleman. They simply have to deny or approve all requests, and when they make changes to the schedule, their team automatically gets alerted via text, email, and the Homebase app

And although it lacks task management tools, Homebase makes up for that with built-in chat features.

Managers can use the messaging tool to get in touch with individual staff members, specific groups, or the whole team with announcements and updates. But employees can also message each other and coordinate swaps without having to track down contact information — allowing for more efficiency (and privacy!).


Homebase’s basic scheduling and time tracking tools are completely free. But, if you want to maximize efficiency and get the most out of our platform, we offer the following paid plan options:

  • BasicFree for one location and up to 20 employees. It includes basic scheduling and time tracking, employee management tools like messaging, point-of-sale integrations, and access to email support. 
  • Essentials — $24.95 per month per location. Everything in Basic, plus payroll integrations, team communication, performance tracking, advanced time tracking and scheduling, and access to live support.
  • Plus — $59.95 per month per location. Everything in Essentials, plus hiring tools, retention and performance tracking, time off controls, and departments and permissions.
  • All-in-one — $99.95 per month per location. Everything in Plus, with HR and compliance, new hire onboarding, labor cost controls, and business insights.

Users can also save 20% on their overall cost when they sign up for an annual plan.

2. Best for labor compliance: Deputy

A screenshot of Deputy's scheduling interface.
The Deputy app helps find available employees and sends shift offers to get coverage. Source

Deputy combines features for scheduling, time tracking, and compliance in one platform. Its shift trading features give managers the option to send employees open slots based on the app’s recommendations. Or, they can let staff arrange coverage on their own.

Top features

  • Shift swapping tools
  • Time tracking
  • Schedule builder
  • AI-powered auto-scheduling capabilities
  • Employee profiles
  • Mobile time clock app
  • Labor cost dashboards
  • Compliance tools

Pros and cons

Deputy uses AI capabilities to help managers plan schedules based on predicted sales, upcoming delivery orders, and foot traffic data, which allows them to avoid overstaffing or understaffing. It also lets administrators set compliance rules for all shift swaps so that team members can’t make trades that’ll result in overtime, for example.

However, Deputy isn’t a comprehensive team management platform. Committing to a paid plan means you’ll still need integrations for communication and payroll. 


Deputy has a Scheduling plan and a Time & Attendance plan for $3.50 per user per month. Its Premium plan lets you combine both Scheduling and Time & Attendance for $4.90 per user per month. 

3. Best for remote or moving teams: Connecteam

A screenshot of Connecteam's mobile interface for shift swapping.
Connecteam makes finding shift coverage simple for on-the-go teams. Source

Connecteam’s platform is ideal for any team that’s always on the go. It offers tools for scheduling, time tracking, communication, and labor compliance and is designed so you can use all of its features from your mobile device. 

Top features

  • Shift reminders and self-service shift swapping features
  • Schedule builder with shift duplication and template tools
  • Task management with forms and checklists
  • GPS-enabled time tracking
  • Team messaging
  • Labor and compliance tools
  • Employee surveys

Pros and cons

While some platforms have hard-to-find shift swapping tools, Connecteam shift trading is easy to navigate. Users just have to go to their shift details, click Find Replacement, and a list of possible options will appear in a drop-down menu. Then, they simply click on an employee’s name to request a trade — there’s no need to send a mass text asking for a substitute.

However, Connecteam’s pricing model isn’t straightforward. Rather than offering simple tiered plans or per-feature pricing, it groups its packages into “hubs,” making it hard to get everything you need.


Connecteam offers three “hub” packages: Operations, Communications, and HR & Skills. Connecteam’s Operations hub comes with scheduling, time tracking, and task management features, and the plans include:

  • Small Business — Free for up to ten users.
  • Basic — $29 per month for up to 30 users. Extra users are $0.50 per month.
  • Advanced — Everything in Basic, plus extra features like time tracking tasks. $49 per month for 30 users. Extra users are $1.50 per month. 
  • Expert — Everything in Advanced, plus GPS features and automation. $99 per month for 30 users. Extra users are $3 per month.

4. Best for team accountability: ZoomShift

A screenshot of a ZoomShift interface.
With ZoomShift, employees can leave notes with their shift cover requests for better transparency. Source

ZoomShift is a shift planning, scheduling, and time clock software that makes tracking employee time more efficient. And because it also has timesheet tools, ZoomShift makes the payroll process faster, too.

Top features

  • Open shift posting
  • Shift swapping
  • Time tracking with geofencing
  • Scheduling with reusable templates
  • Time off management
  • Timesheets for payroll

Pros and cons

Although it doesn’t have an in-app chat, ZoomShift allows employees to leave notes explaining why they need to trade shifts. This increases transparency though your employees will still need to text or call their teammates to coordinate the logistics of the trade. 

The platform also tracks employee time, turns it into timesheets, and takes care of your wage calculations before payday. Then, you can simply export the data to a third-party payroll platform.

Unfortunately, some users say ZoomShift’s customer service has declined in the last few years, so it might not be the best option for a small business owner who needs extra support.


You can try any ZoomShift plan for free for 14 days. Otherwise, paid options include:

  • Starter — Scheduling, time tracking, and PTO management for $2.50 per user per month.
  • Premium — Overtime management, advanced scheduling tools, geofencing, timesheets, and advanced reporting for $5 per user per month.

5. Best for the restaurant industry: 7shifts

A screenshot of the 7shifts trade swapping tool.
7shifts prevents employees from switching shifts with anyone outside of their role, department, or location. Source

It’s not just 7shifts’ branding that makes it a good fit for the restaurant industry — the platform also caters to industry-specific needs with features for scheduling, time tracking, team messaging, hiring and onboarding, training, and tip management. 

Top features

  • Shift trading
  • Staff scheduling
  • Time tracking
  • Team communication
  • Hiring and onboarding tools
  • Document storage
  • Training and task management
  • Payroll integrations
  • Tip management and payout tools

Pros and cons

Shift trading is a frequent occurrence in the restaurant industry, and 7shifts makes it easy for managers to stay on top of it. With the shift pool dashboard, administrators can view, approve, or deny all swap requests. 

The platform is also handy for businesses with multiple locations, roles, and levels of management because it prevents team members from trading shifts with anyone outside of their position, department, or job site.

Additionally, 7shifts users appreciate how well it integrates with top POS systems, an essential feature for today’s small restaurants and cafes. However, 7shifts doesn’t have a built-in payroll product, although it integrates with popular software like Gusto and QuickBooks.


7shifts has a free plan for single-location restaurants and offers basic scheduling and time tracking features. Otherwise, paid plans include: 

  • Entrée — Labor costing and performance management for $34.99 per location per month.
  • The Works — Shift feedback, geofencing, buddy punch prevention, and payroll integrations for $76.99 per location per month.
  • Chef’s Choice — Labor compliance tools for $99.99 per location per month.
  • Gourmet — Advanced customization and dedicated support for $150 per location per month.

6. Best for assigning tasks with shifts: Coast

A screenshot of Coast's task checklist tool.
With Coast, team members can view recurring tasks and checklists so nothing gets missed. Source

With dedicated display widgets for quick access to tools, Coast is designed to help keep staff on task. Besides features for shift swapping, scheduling, time tracking, and chat, Coast provides tools for delegating assignments to any kind of team.

Top features

  • Shift swapping tools
  • Employee scheduling
  • Time tracking
  • Recurring tasks and checklists
  • Team chat
  • Inventory management
  • Maintenance tracking and tasks

Pros and cons

Coast’s shift swapping features work similarly to other options on this list, making the platform another viable option for small business owners. One advantage of Coast, however, is its recurring task tool, which lets you assign smaller jobs along with shifts. And when employees use Coast’s mobile app, they get alerts when tasks are pending, so nothing is ever left unfinished.

Like 7shifts, Coast is also a fit for the restaurant industry, particularly those with busy kitchens that need more maintenance management tools. For example, the app lets managers schedule and delegate tasks in the form of work orders to their maintenance or repair crews with built-in notifications and due-date reminders.

The downside is Coast’s maintenance and work tools are costly, so it may not be accessible for small businesses with limited budgets who don’t want to pay on a per-employee basis.


Coast offers two kinds of plans (and each one has a free option with limited tools): 

  • The Basic plan for team scheduling and chat features
  • The Premium plan for maintenance work orders

The Basic tiers include:

  • Starter — Team collaboration tools for $2 per user per month.
  • Pro — Reports and productivity dashboards for $4 per user per month.

The Premium tiers include:

  • Starter — Team collaboration, maintenance, and work order tools for $22 per user per month.
  • Pro — Everything included in Basic Pro, plus maintenance management for $38 per user per month.

Revolutionize your team scheduling with Homebase 

Shift trade apps are essential for any business owner who has ever panicked about scheduling. And they make the work experience easier for shift workers as they can rest easy knowing there’s always a plan B if they need to reschedule. 

But out of all the options out there, Homebase is a clear frontrunner. Our free plan has basic scheduling, time tracking, and messaging features for up to 20 employees at one business location. And for larger teams, our per-location pricing will keep costs low as you hire more staff.

Homebase is also the most comprehensive option on this list — we offer hiring and onboarding, team communication, employee happiness, payroll, and HR and compliance tools, making our platform the best choice for independent small business owners who rely on hourly teams to move their company forward. 

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

Remember: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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