Booking clients and keeping your calendar full is the lifeblood of your business. Setting your schedule, squeezing everyone in and making sure you also have time for a personal life can seem like an exact science. At some point, you realize that working with Google Calendar or a signup sheet on a clipboard is not going to cut it.
Clients want to be able to book appointments or schedule classes with the click of a button. They don’t want to have to pick up the phone or remember to schedule their next session when they are with you for this one. Wouldn’t it be ideal if they could book through your website or from their Smartphone?
In this article we review four scheduling options that will help you streamline client bookings, keep your calendar in order and make it as easy as possible for clients to book classes and appointments with you.
MindBody Online (www.mindbodyonline.com/) is one of the most popular trainer software programs out there. It’s an all-in-one software system that manages scheduling, clients and operations. We’ve reviewed it previously for various trainer tech features (see the “Further Reading” sidebar).
MindBody has a client portal that allows clients to keep track of appointments, view your schedule and sign up for classes or personal training. MindBody handles multiple schedules; allows for prepayment, billing or mobile payments; and lets you create promotions, offer loyalty programs and even sell gift cards.
MindBody scheduling features include the following:
- the ability to check people in
- a roster view of each class
- online booking through your website
- online booking through Facebook
- the MindBody Connect app for easy class bookings right from a smartphone
- client appointment tracking
- the MindBody Express app for on-the-go scheduling from your smartphone
- payment integration
- payroll features
- analytics and revenue reports
- 24/7 support
- Automated text and email notifications for trainers and for clients
The MindBody fees depend on how many users you have and what your needs are.
- $85 per month for 1–12 professionals (free setup)
- $145 per month for 13–20 professionals (free setup)
- $225 per month for 21–50 professionals (no setup fee listed)
- $30 per month lite option for independent, mobile fitness professionals
EZFacility (www.ezfacility.com/), like MindBody Online, is an all-in-one software program that offers scheduling options for personal trainers or facility owners. In addition to letting clients book online, EZFacility has a mobile app option that can be branded and customized to your needs. The app has booking and sharing features as well as the ability to send push notifications, virtual coupons and promotions.
The software comes with a robust list of features. Unique to EZFacility is the ability to print key tags and photo IDs for easy check-in, to track and book room rentals and to track locker and equipment rentals.
EZFacility features include the following:
- personalized training and technical support
- the ability to schedule recurring sessions
- schedule creation and management for staff and trainers
- the ability to track each trainer’s earnings and schedules
- payroll options for staff
- analytics and financial reports
- automated email and text notifications
- management of membership plans and billing schedules
- invoicing and payment tracking
There is no pricing listed on the EZFacility website.
SetMore (www.setmore.com/) is a very simple online booking tool that allows online booking through your website, on your Facebook page and via a mobile app. While SetMore doesn’t offer as many features as MindBody Online or EZFacility, the interface is very intuitive and easy to set up. Once you register for your free account, you are taken on a step-by-step tour of the platform and you’re guided through setup.
SetMore features include the following:
- the ability to display reviews and ratings from customers on your booking page
- staff scheduling
- text and email autoreminders
- integration with Google Calendar
- the ability to book through Facebook
- booking widgets that integrate with WordPress, MailChimp®, Joomla®, Wix®, Weebly and Zapier
The free version of SetMore allows unlimited appointments and unlimited services; it also handles up to 20 staff members and unlimited customers.
The Premium version, priced at $25 per month, allows two-way Google Calendar sync, unlimited SMS reminders and unlimited recurring appointments.
SimplyBook.me (www.simplybook.me) is another free scheduling tool with plenty of features and great ease of use. Once you sign up for a free account, you are taken through a “Quick Setup” much like the one on SetMore. You are prompted to enter information about your schedule, services and business, which makes getting started very simple.
SimplyBook.me features include the following:
- an app for on-the-go scheduling (not for clients)
- a payments plugin to allow clients to pay via PayPal
- the ability to export to Google Calendar
- the ability to run promotions that can be sent to selected segments of your client database
- analytics reports that keep track of your most popular services and times—and even your best clients
- tutorial videos
- automated email and text notifications
Scheduling Software at a Glance
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Whether you are an independent trainer or you run a fitness club with multiple professionals, managing appointments and client bookings is no walk in the park. Using a scheduling tool that allows online booking, saves time and helps avoid double bookings can have a huge and positive impact on your time and the growth of your business.
EZFacility. 2015. www.ezfacility.com/. Accessed Feb. 13, 2015.
Ray, A. 2014. Choosing the right payment system for your business. IDEA Trainer Success. Accessed Feb. 12, 2015.
MindBody Online. www.mindbodyonline.com/. Accessed Dec. 12, 2014.
SetMore. 2015. www.setmore.com/. Accessed Feb. 13, 2015.
SimplyBook.me. 2015. www.simplybook.me. Accessed Feb. 15, 2015.