Is Online Scheduling Worth Your Hard-Earned Cash?
There’s a short and sweet NYT article titled “Three Ways to Think About ‘Is It Worth It?‘” In it, Carl Richards breaks down the three fundamental features that make something “worth it” or not – utility, enjoyment, and cost.
Now, you could argue about whether or not enjoyment is a subcategory of utility, but you could also argue about whether or not cost is a subcategory of utility. In the interest of not having this spin into an article about the meaning of value, let’s pretend I never even brought this up.
Instead, let me give you a concrete example. I’m looking into buying a fight stick – a type of video game controller made specifically for playing fighting games. The one I’m looking at is called Hit Box. I want it so I can do stuff like this:
Now for most of you, the Hit Box isn’t worth it – if you don’t play fighting games, there’s no utility or enjoyment there. For me, on the other hand, the Hit Box is a pretty attractive buy. I will, however, try to find a deal – cost matters.
This weird fighting game peripheral analogy has a point – no item is worth exactly the same amount to two different people. “Is it worth it?” is a totally subjective question.
In light of that, we’re going to present a number of questions – questions you can ask yourself to figure out whether online scheduling software is worth the cost to you. We’re going to do that, whenever possible, by comparing apples to apples – a price range for online scheduling, and a price range for the things that can happen when you aren’t using online scheduling.
How much is your time worth?
To figure out whether or not online scheduling is worth the cost, you first have to figure out how much your time is worth, and how much of your time you spend managing schedules.
Appointment scheduling software can eliminate most – if not all – of the scheduling work you have to do yourself. The price of booking software can vary considerably depending on what features you want (we’ll talk about those later). Some cost less than $20 a month, while others can cost well over $100 a month.
How much of your time do you spend on scheduling?
Let’s say you make $30 an hour. If you spend an hour a month handling schedules – be that booking appointments or resolving scheduling conflicts – you’re already saving money if you can get a booking software for under $30 a month.
Obviously, if you make more than $30 an hour, or you spend more than an hour a month on scheduling, booking software becomes that much more worthwhile.
More team members whose schedules you need to coordinate typically means more time spent scheduling, so online scheduling software tends to be priced based on how many schedules you need to coordinate.
How much do double bookings cost?
In the most magical timeline, a double booking leads to a chance encounter between two of your clients burgeoning into a long, happy, and fruitful relationship.
But that’s in the movies. And even if it happens in real life, do you want people falling in love over their shared disdain for your business double booking them?
Double bookings have an obvious cost – you’ll need to rebook the client who you double booked. In order to smooth things over, you may need to give them their next appointment for free, or at a discounted rate. They may opt not to book with you again – you might lose their business outright. At a minimum, this will cost you what they would have paid you – though it could cost you much more.
How much does it cost you when clients show up late?
The cost of clients who show up late is a bit harder to calculate, but if you want to get a rough approximation, figure out how much you would charge that client for an hour, divide that amount by how late they are, and you’ve figured out how much money you’re losing.
For example, if you charge your clients $50 an hour, and they’re 15 minutes late, they’ve cost you $12.50 – a quarter of an hour. That’s 15 minutes you could have spent doing more productive things. 15 minutes that you’re, instead, spending staring at the door, sighing, waiting for your client to show up.
Appointment booking software drastically reduces the number of clients who show up late – they’re reminded of their appointment the day of, so they know exactly when to show up. A lot of people who show up late simply forgot their appointment – booking software fixes that.
How much do no-shows cost?
Calculating the cost of no-shows is easy – you lose all the money you would have made if they had shown up. If booking software can reduce the number of no-shows by even one per month, most businesses could benefit from using them.
Realistically, booking software will reduce no-shows by more than one per month. We’ve heard from our customers that Bookedin has eliminated their no-shows altogether – and many of these clients were getting 1-2 no shows per week!
If you’re still worried about no-shows, you can charge clients before their appointment – they pay through the software. That means you can charge no-show or late fees at your convenience.
Some costs (and benefits) aren’t so easy to calculate
*Think of this scary backseat clown as all the scheduling conflict costs you hadn’t considered.
There are some costs that are harder to evaluate than the ones we’ve presented here. Double bookings, for example, can lead to 1-star reviews and hard-to-resolve customer complaints. Late appointments can lead to fewer satisfied customers, as you rush around to recover the time you’ve lost.
Booking software helps alleviate all of those hard-to-calculate costs. It also adds some hard-to-calculate benefits – benefits like customer satisfaction. In our experience, customers like being reminded of their appointments – they don’t want to be late or forget about their appointment any more than you do.
Is online scheduling worth the cost? In our (admittedly biased) estimation, it is, for the vast majority of businesses. There’s a lot of utility there, and when directly comparing costs, having online scheduling software usually saves you money.
On the fun front, our software is easy to use. Would we call it fun? Maybe not in the same way as a fighting video game. We still think you’ll like it quite a bit, though. Want to give it a try? Check out our free trial!