Frustrations with Square Appointments

Square Appointments is marketed as a flexible, easy-to-use app that allows small business owners and solo-preneurs to make use of online scheduling for their small business.

It boasts a free plan for solo-preneurs, cancellation fees, client reminders, and calendar sync.

Sounds like a perfect fit for small business owners at first glance…

In this article we will be discussing the features of the Square Appointments app as well as some frustrations that many independent professionals have with it.

The history of the Square Payments app lies in the acquisition of BookFresh, an appointment scheduling app.

The strategy behind this seems to be for Square to acquire businesses that share commonalities in terms of being different “tools that Square could offer through their core merchant experience.”

Sounds perfect! Now you can set up online booking and manage your appointments from the Square app, right? Not so fast…

INTEGRATION DIFFICULTIES

Unfortunately, as opposed to integrating BookFresh features into their main app, Square chose to keep the apps separate, which means more confusion and complexity for small businesses.

BookFresh was a pre-seed startup and was never integrated in the Square platform. It is siloed, which means independent businesses need to download and use multiple apps.

There are some ways to integrate the two, but they are far from robust.

One option actually requires a third-party app to integrate everything. A third app! You should visualize me shaking my head right now because that’s bonkers.

DEPOSITS AND CREDIT CARDS

Another drawback is the fact that you can’t take deposits – you must submit a payment request twice, once for the deposit and another time for the payment.

You also can’t store your customer’s credit cards on file, which makes it inconvenient because you need to ask for the credit card each time you do a transaction. Imagine how cumbersome that becomes for repeat clients!

CUSTOMIZATION CHALLENGES

Additionally, the ability to customize the app is definitely lacking.

The rigid structure of the app is reminiscent of Square’s other apps – namely, the main POS app as well as the Cash app.

Your head will be spinning by the time you’ve figured out how to customize anything that pertains to your workflow. There’s no way to collect any additional information from clients when they book you, nor can you get them to sign any waivers or contracts.

LIMITED CALENDAR SYNC

The app also features a Calendar sync, which can be helpful if you’re currently using Google Calendar.

Which is great… unless you’re using iCal. Where’s the integration with one of the most popular calendars in the world, the default Mac calendar?

There was an online request for this on the Square Seller Forums back in 2016, with zero responses.

Another difficult thing about setting up Calendar sync is that you must do it on desktop – there’s no way to set up calendar sync between Square Appointments and Google Calendar on your mobile. How dated is that!

TECHNICAL ISSUES

The appointment app has also run into multiple technical hiccups which resulted in unhappy customers. Eventually the engineering team intervened to solve the issue, but it had to be debated in a public forum (rather than advocated for by a dedicated support team) in order to resolve it. Hmm!

You’d think a company that prides itself on its dedication to small business owners and solo-preneurs would be able to handle the issue offline instead of having their dirty laundry out for everyone to see.

In another public fiasco, customers using Square Appointments were appalled that the app didn’t have the capability to display their availability properly, resulting in these business owners missing out on appointments.

As a small business owner, I can assure you that every single possible customer that I can get for my business matters a whole lot.

It can be the difference between being profitable this month and bleeding red (losing money).

So I need a solution that is going to work properly and display my availability correctly.

Just imagine a client books an appointment with your business that you can’t honor because you have a scheduling conflict! That’s nerve-wracking to you because you have to reach out to try and reschedule, possibly losing the client forever.

It’s also frustrating to the customer because they were probably searching awhile for a service provider that is available at the specific time that they need.

Once they confirmed with you, you doubled back and informed them that now you can’t do that appointment…

This looks unprofessional, feels frustrating, and usually results in the customer canceling the appointment completely because they’ve lost confidence in you and your business.

Unacceptable!

EMPLOYEE DIFFICULTIES

What if you have employees? At the 5-10 employees range, you’re paying upwards of $90 per month.

How about if you have more than 10 employees? You’re paying a pretty penny (they call it a ‘custom price’ for software that should cost about $90 per month, when you could have unlimited employees for about the same price.

It’s strange that the more I try to expand my business, the more money I have to pay for the exact same technology. Does that sound predatory to you? It does to me.

RAISING FEES

As Square continues to hike fees, desperate business owners are looking at less expensive and less bloated alternatives in order to continue to run their business lean and profitable.

As Erik Sherman from Inc.com points out:

“2.75 percent of $21,000 is $577.50, which is $302.50 higher than the old monthly fee. If you can swipe all the transactions, then the only way to keep your fees with Square under that $275 number is to process no more than $10,000 in monthly transactions. Not exactly a smart goal for an entrepreneur.”

As a small business owner, I can agree with that. Why is it that whenever you try to become more successful, there are forces pushing you back down and punishing your success?

It takes an iron-willed business owner to pay that much in transaction fees, especially once you get into the $20 – $40k per month range. Isn’t that the goal, though? Sounds like a great incentive *not* to grow your business.

MISSING FEATURES

At the very least you’d expect an app that’s charging *that* much to provide some extra features besides appointments and online booking, right?

For example, where is the ability to store payment information for recurring clients?

What about information about your clients in general? I’d like to be able to take notes about my clients’ preferences in the same app, not have to bust out a notepad. That’s just unprofessional.

And don’t even get me started on business messaging. As we’ve discussed previously, business messaging is a critical tool for business owners for multiple reasons:

  • Easier to separate business from personal
  • Group messaging is a breeze
  • Ability to send out automated SMS campaigns with discounts, promos, etc. to generate more bottom line income

Where is this capability in the Square Appointments or main Square POS app? Nowhere to be found, to the chagrin of all Square clients.

PocketSuite is a great alternative to Square Appointments for the following reasons:

  • Everything packaged in 1 app – run your whole business with it
  • No excessive fees
  • Business Messaging included
  • Smart Campaigns included
  • iCal integration included
  • Flat rate for unlimited employees
  • Responsive customer service team

Try PocketSuite for free today and transform the way you run your business, forever. You won’t want to miss this!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Set up Appointment Reminders with Google Calendar

In this article, we will be delving into exactly how to set up Appointment Reminders with Google Calendar.

You’ll learn the step-by-step solution that will cut down on your no-shows, increase your attendance, and make sure your clients are ready for you when you arrive.

But first… why are appointment reminders useful to begin with?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a solopreneur or small business owner and in search of a practical way of setting up appointment reminders for your business.

Not just reminders for you (although that is obviously useful), but for your clients, as that is what will really make a huge difference in your small business.

Appointment reminders are a critical part of any service business, considering how forgetful and scatter-brained we all are these days with all of the distractions. (Or is that just me?)

As a business owner, it’s fairly simple and straightforward to keep track of your appointments because that’s literally the lifeblood of your business, and you most likely have them top-of-mind.

Think about it from your client’s perspective, however. It’s so easy to forget an appointment, considering that most of your clients are also juggling 3 other appointments that day, not to mention work meetings, family commitments, etc.

Most times the busiest folks are the ones that need your service the most!

By setting up appointment reminders for your business, you decrease no-shows (which eat into your bottom line income) and also increase the chances that your clients will be ready for you.

Given that you can automate this with technology fairly simply, it’s a no brainer to set this up for your business!

So you’ve decided it’s time to get organized and put a system in place to do the work for you. Congratulations! If you’re thinking this far, you’re a step ahead of the competition.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how we can best remind your clients to keep their appointment and to get prepared for it as well.

Now you may be thinking – what’s the simplest and most practical way of getting appointment reminders set up for my clients? Well, one solution that comes to mind is Google Calendar – a free, easy-to-use calendar that includes appointment reminders and a whole lot more.

There are many other calendar solutions there, but for simplicity’s sake you’ve decided to go with Google Calendar. (I mean, how simple can it be, right? Everyone has a Gmail account!)

Ready? Don’t worry, there’s no height limit to ride this attraction, but you’d better make sure your safety device clicks all the way down because we’re going on a roller coaster ride! (Kind of what it feels like to run a business, right?)

The great thing about Google Calendar is – if you have a Google account (Gmail for example) then you already have access, for free.

Let’s dig in:

STEP 1: CREATE THE APPOINTMENT IN GOOGLE CALENDAR

The first step is to open up Google Calendar and double click (or tap) on a date you’d like to add your appointment to.

A screen will show up similar to this:

STEP 2: FILL OUT THE APPOINTMENT DETAILS

Create a name for your appointment. You can use something descriptive that will communicate the appointment reason clearly in the title, such as:

YOUR NAME <> CLIENT’S NAME [SERVICE]

The next step is to add the date and time.

Finally, make sure that you add the client’s email address to the Guests field.

This is the critical step that will ensure they receive appointment reminders via email.

Now, hit the Save button and you’re finished! Now your clients will receive appointment reminders via Google Calendar (which will be sent to their email address that you input in this step).

Unfortunately, there are numerous functions that are not available in Google Calendar, such as Payments, Deposits, Cancellation Fees, and SMS Reminders. Keep reading to learn how to integrate these powerful tools into your business…

FEATURES YOU MAY BE MISSING OUT ON…

Have you ever noticed that your clients don’t get back to you as quickly as you’d like when you communicate solely via email?

It’s not surprising, considering that email open rates are hovering around 20% vs 98% open rates for SMS. In addition, it takes roughly 90 seconds for your clients to respond to your text, as opposed to roughly 90 minutes via email.

Given the sad state of communication, one would only hope that there would be a more pertinent solution to alerting and reminding your clients of their appointment.

Lo and behold, PocketSuite emerges from the mist, ready to save the day once again!

Here are some of the pro-level tools that PocketSuite allows you to take advantage of (that you’ll be sorely missing out on with Google Calendar):

1.SMS REMINDERS – As we mentioned already, with the shamefully low open rates for email, you can instead deploy automated SMS reminders with PocketSuite to ensure that all of your clients are receiving every appointment reminder, every time. This actually has farther reaching benefits than you may think as I will explain below…

2.PAYMENTS – Wouldn’t it be great if you can store payment information in Google Calendar events, so that you can just charge the client when the time is right? Well, with PocketSuite you can. Not only that, but you have the client’s entire profile to access if you need to jot down some notes.

3.DEPOSITS – With PocketSuite you’re able to secure deposits (for example 50%) with each appointment, which can help to alleviate any troubles with credit cards not having enough money in them to charge when it’s time to bill your clients. You’re a service provider and business owner, not a debt collector, after all! This also makes your clients more serious about their appointment, since they have cash on the line! This brings me to the next point…

4.CANCELLATION FEES – You can enforce cancellation fees on your clients, which makes your clients take your time more seriously and also gives you two concrete benefits:

  • Causes clients to become more serious and committed about their appointment, which decreases no-shows and also ensures they ready for you at the right time
  • Allows you to recover some of the lost income from cancellations (income that other clients would have happily paid you for).

5.CUSTOM APPOINTMENT REMINDERS – Don’t you wish Google Calendar had a way to set when your clients will receive the reminder? With PocketSuite, you can set it so that one client receives the reminder 1 day before the appointment, and another receives it 3 days before the appointment. This is a big differentiator when comparing the scheduling capabilities of PocketSuite and Google Calendar. For example, if you remind some of your clients 3 days early, it’s as good as not reminding them at all. Alternatively, other clients just need a 24 hours heads up and they are good to go.

All in all, PocketSuite provides a bundle of tools that vastly overshadow the scheduling only functionality of Google Calendar. From automated, custom SMS reminders to being able to collect deposits, payments, and cancellation fees from your clients… PocketSuite is the epitome of the all-in-one business app. Did I mention there’s a free plan to get you started?

And while we’re at it, why would you use multiple apps to manage your business anyway?

You can just pull out your phone (just like you do 80 times per day on average) and make scheduling changes, add a client or payment info, and basically manage your entire business from 1 app.

Give PocketSuite a shot and you may just find like 10,000+ other small business owners did, that it’s the secret ingredient to help you automate your business and grow your income auto-magically. Just as modern technology should!

Now you’re a wizard, Harry. Go forth and build your empire!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Set up Recurring Appointments with Google Calendar

Let’s say you own and operate a small service business and managing clients and appointments with pen and paper is getting daunting.

Or let’s say you’re a solopreneur who’s just now starting their business, and you got your first regular client. Congratulations!

In this article, we’ll discuss the most effective ways of using Google Calendar to manage the clients in your service business.

From there, we’ll list some of the potential drawbacks of using Google Calendar, as well as potential solutions to those drawbacks.

Recurring appointments are the cornerstone of a successful service business. It’s expensive and time-consuming to collect and convert new clients, and a lot more so for recurring appointments. However, the beauty of having a recurring service that you offer is how you can lock in future income and ensure you retain your clients – for as long as humanly possible.

In fact, the majority of your business can eventually come from your recurring clients. Imagine that!

If your advertising stops working as effectively as before, you can actually experiment with other marketing without your income dropping right away.

You can also afford to pay more to acquire new clients, since you know a certain percentage of all new clients will become a recurring client, and the profits generated by them will more than pay for your marketing efforts to generate your one-time clients.

So you’ve got some clients (or at least one) that wants book regular appointments with you, hooray!

But how do you manage them?

Here’s how: Enter Google Calendar.

HOW TO SET UP RECURRING APPOINTMENTS IN GOOGLE CALENDAR

STEP 1

Let’s open up Google Calendar (available at calendar.google.com):

STEP 2

Now we’ll double click on the date that we’d like to set up a recurring appointment for – when you do that, a new page will open up:

STEP 3

Here we’ll add a title and choose the date of the first appointment (even if it was in the past):

STEP 4

Here we’ll choose our desired frequency (is the appointment every week? Every two weeks? Or Custom?) Select it here:

STEP 5

If you select Custom, you can choose which days of the week you want it to repeat on,  choose to repeat every X amount of weeks, or create an End time (either based on a date or after X amount of occurrences – hopefully you don’t have this if your clients want recurring service forever!)

EXAMPLE: I’ve created a Service Appointment with Elon Musk, founder of Space X. As you can see from the Frequency field, I’ll be meeting with him every two weeks on Tuesdays. I’ve selected the Space X headquarters in the Location field as well. Because, who wouldn’t?! 😉

STEP 6

The next step is where Google Calendar does its magic. In Step 6, we add Elon’s email in the ‘Guests’ field. This way, he will be notified via email with Google Calendar, and will have the option to accept or reject the appointment.

We can also select ‘Modify Event’ if we’d like Elon to be able to modify the event date and time. Considering his busy schedule, we’ll go ahead and select that since we’d like to be as accommodating as possible. Becuase, c’mon, it’s Elon Musk!!!

STEP 7

Now in the last step, we’ll hit Save. This will do two things:

1.Send an email to Elon asking him to confirm his appointment. If he selects that he will be attending (pretty pleeeeasseee!), it will automatically add it to his Google calendar. The email also contains an .ICS file in case he’s using a different calendar system. The ICS file is something he can open, which will automatically add the event to whatever is the default calendar on his computer or phone.

2.Send an email to you and put it onto your calendar.

And that’s it! Seven easy steps to getting recurring appointments started on Google Calendar.

Now we’ll look at some of the drawbacks of using Google Calendar, and how there may be a better solution out there:

DRAWBACKS OF USING GOOGLE CALENDAR FOR RECURRING APPOINTMENTS

By using Google Calendar to track your recurring service appointments for your business, you may be unwittingly missing out on some of the following:

1.You’re sending invites out over email – remember, the average open rate of emails has gone from 90% 10 years ago to between 15-20% today. So basically that means that only 20% of your clients (at most) will likely open your confirmation email. Yikes!

2.You can’t collect deposits using Google Calendar. This is a biggie for service businesses because when you collect a deposit in conjunction with setting an appointment, you’re getting all of the following benefits:

  • With a deposit, clients take your appointment more seriously and are way more likely to show up / be there.
  • You can charge a cancellation fee to your clients, making sure that you’re not wasting your time and/or your gas to get to the appointment. If the no show-rate of your industry is 20% for example, collecting a deposit and enforcing a cancellation fee can conceivably bring it down as low as 1-5%.
  • You don’t miss out on the potential other clients you could have booked in place of those cancellations, so your revenue doesn’t dwindle.

3.You can’t put a credit card on file for the client with Google Calendar- this makes it much more difficult to keep track of which clients have which payment methods (if you’re storing that information) or even worse – having to ask for the client’s card every time can be a time-waster for both parties and make you to look unprofessional.

4.If you have team members, your Google Calendar starts to look very busy and disorganized – it could give you a headache! Just think about all of those different colors swirling around – ugh!

What solution do we propose? Why, a simple app called PocketSuite does the trick everytime, specifically for service pros!

HOW POCKETSUITE HANDLES RECURRING APPOINTMENTS

Just look at how PocketSuite handles all of these sticky points:

1.PocketSuite sends out invites over text message – SMS open rates are still a staggering 98% as compared to 20% and below for email – so you can be confident that your message is getting through to your clients, which helps to decrease no-shows.

2.With PocketSuite, you can automatically collect deposits from your clients – this makes it so:

  • Your clients actually show up.
  • You can charge a cancellation fee if necessary, which encourages them to show up even more. (Remember, cancellations and reschedules can eat up your revenue like crazy! Also, you’re not wasting your time or gas.)
  • You’re not missing out on the potential income that could have been generated by another, more serious client, instead of an empty cancellation.

3.With PocketSuite you can put a credit card on file for each client, which is amazing because it frees you up to actually deliver your service and the app handles the payment collection and secure payment method storage headaches.

4.If you have team members, PocketSuite makes it super easy to manage all of their individual calendars – you can still create a meta view if needed (so you can see all of their calendars at once), but as your team grows it makes it way easier to manage 3 or 4 separate calendars for each of your teammates instead of one giant one with everything on it. So basically you’re not limited by Google Calendar and you automatically will have access to calendars with separate views for each team member, including yours.

The best part is, PocketSuite is mobile-first, which means there’s no need to boot up your PC or crack open your laptop every time some scheduling change needs to be made.

Check out PocketSuite if you’re looking to make your life easier and join tens of thousands of businesses as you start running your business over text!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Run Your Esthetician Business with PocketSuite

Are you an aspiring esthetician, a full-fledged esthetician-solopreneur, or an skincare business owner?

You’ve probably run into challenges managing your clients – after all, between making other people beautiful, creating beautiful marketing campaigns, and getting your beauty sleep, who has time for all of the admin work that’s involved in making your business run smoothly? You’re busy making your clients’ skin smoother than butter! (Shea butter of course)

Well, have I got a doozy for you. In fact, I’m about to share one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.

It’s no wonder that the ASCP (Association of Skin Care Professionals) deems PocketSuite “The app for Estheticians.”

There’s also a reason why over 10,000 folks have been using PocketSuite to manage their business.

In this article we’ll go over the best features that PocketSuite has to offer specifically for the Esthetics industry.

Get your Jade Rollers and Skin Scrubbers ready, because we’re about to take your Esthetician game to the next level!

In this article we’ll cover:

  1. Getting your Esthetics Business set up on PocketSuite
  2. Importing your Clients
  3. Setting up your Services
  4. Setting up Payments
  5. Key Features (important!)
  6. Best Practices

HOW TO RUN YOUR ESTHETICS BUSINESS WITH POCKETSUITE

You probably offer different services to your clients – from microblading to facials, maybe you even offer monthly discounts on recurring packages!

Either way, PocketSuite has you covered.

The first step would be to sign up and get your PocketSuite account set up.

You can easily go thru the onboarding process, which takes 30 seconds and will customize the app based on which industry you’re in. In your case, we’ll be selecting Health and Wellness -> Esthetician.

Now here’s where the magic starts to happen.

Next, we’re going to set up your services.

SET UP YOUR SERVICES WITH POCKETSUITE

Now we can get to the fun part!

Start by adding your services, ideally in groups of 3 (studies show that psychologically folks like to see items in odd numbered groups). If you have more than 10 services, turn on the “Categories” feature so you can group your services in a way that makes it easy for your clients to click and checkout online.

If you have 3 different prices, keep in mind that most folks will choose the middle price. Set up your pricing accordingly!

Finally, you can add your current clients. PocketSuite makes this easy because of the free importing provided to all signups, even on the free plan!

SET UP PAYMENTS

Are you currently accepting credit cards from your clients? If not, you can easily set that up with PocketSuite. Here’s 10 different ways you can accept payments using the app.

For now, we’ll walk you through setting up payments via accepting credit cards from your clients.

The benefit of this is you have their card on file, they get an automatic receipt texted to them, and you don’t have to ask for payment each time because their info is stored in your system!

It also makes you look like much more of a professional Esthetician. The kind they can feel comfortable referring to all of their friends!

You can also use these tips to help you get more referrals – after all, in the Beauty industry word of mouth is everything!

KEY FEATURES

Here we will be discussing the key features of PocketSuite that Estheticians in particular rave about. I hope you’re wearing 2 pairs of socks because the first pair is about to get blown off!

Online Forms

You can create beautiful forms for internal use (taking notes about your clients’ preferences) or client-facing intake forms (in order for clients to fill out their personal health history and skincare needs/preferences).

Waivers & Contracts

Say goodbye to using 3rd party apps to send liability waivers or contracts to your clients – a few taps, a signature, and PocketSuite has got you covered.

Products & Inventory Tracking

It’s a shame you’ve been tracking all of your products and inventory manually, since PocketSuite has a built-in online product sales and inventory tracking feature!

Gift Certificates

Gone are the days when you were searching for a third party tool that can send out gift certificates. Or were you just creating them manually in Google Docs? How do you even track those? Forget all of that, you can sell gift certificates and track the purchases with ease from your PocketSuite dashboard. Log in to the app today and try it out!

Smart Campaigns

We’ve got you covered here – auto-send SMS campaigns to your clients encouraging them to book their next appointment, share skincare tips and aftercare guidance, or even offer holiday/special discounts.

Did I mention you can re-engage past clients to build your recurring client base? Yeah, PocketSuite actually helps you to build your business and increase your bottom line. Which makes it practically pay for itself, not once but many times over. And that’s not even considering all the time you’ll save not typing the same message over and over, and customizing it for each client. Hooray for more money in your pocket and more time in the day to spend with your family!

BEST PRACTICES

Signing up new clients is a breeze with PocketSuite. You can literally take all of the pain out of the process. No more relying on spas that barely send you any new clients, just to take a huge percentage of your income.

Now you can be your own spa (not literally, but essentially you’ll have the back office that a spa typically gives you).

For example, a lot of folks get their massage therapy license, and then go back to get their Esthetician license in order to be able to give facials as well as deep tissue massages. The major reason is that they don’t have enough clients for their massage therapy business – but the issue is, the same problems that hinder your massage therapy business will also limit your esthetician business.

The reality is, if you have a stream of clients coming in, you need a system to manage all of them. How are you going to keep track of client preferences, payment info, client intake forms, liability waivers, recurring appointments, cancellations, and charges?

With PocketSuite, you basically get an app that does all of that and more.

Top Estheticians are crushing it with PocketSuite, simply because it gives them more time to focus on what they do best – namely top-of-the-line facials, extractions, and general skin care regimens.

How, you ask? Let’s dive into that now and I’ll give you the low down:

CLIENT MANAGEMENT

How about when clients cancel on you? Now you need to go back into your excel spreadsheet and mark that they canceled. What about keeping track of repeat offenders?

And then of course there’s the waitlist feature. If you’re all booked up, and somebody cancels, the waitlist feature automatically tees up the next person into the time slot that was canceled.

You can literally send out a group message that will alert all of the folks on your waitlist that a spot has freed up. All of this with just a few taps on your phone. No more digging thru SMS threads to find your customers and trying to remember which one wanted the time slot!

PAYMENTS

Not to mention that payment info is stored automatically so you’re not worrying about collecting credit card info or cash from your clients every time.

Your clients can update their own credit card information, saving you the hassle of having to ask them for a new card when one expires.

CANCELLATIONS

Want to initiate late cancellation fees? No problem, you need to protect your time and this also decreases no-shows dramatically (no surprise, huh?)

MARKETING / SALES

Now let’s move on to marketing. I’m assuming you have a Facebook and Instagram page for your business. If not… go make one now!

Okay, now that you’ve made one (or already have one and are puzzled that I even needed to ask) it’s time to hook up your PocketSuite booking widget to your social media.

That’s right, folks can book appointments with you right from your Facebook / Instagram page. I know you’re getting giddy because this is the future!

How about selling products? Facial creams, tweezers, powders… whatever is in your inventory, PocketSuite’s new Inventory Management feature allows you to keep track of how many products you have, how many you’ve sold, and even alerts you when it’s time to re-order.

Not only that, but your products can be separate transactions from your services. It also allows you to apply different discounts on services without compromising your bottom line when selling your products.

Most top Estheticians make a handy profit by up-selling their products after the service, so if you’re not reaping this reward already, you need to get in on it! Studies show that 40% of top esthetician income is typically from product sales. That’s how you’re going to grow your business and ultimately your bottom line. If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.

What about following up with current clients? The handy Smart Campaigns feature handles that effortlessly. Simply tee it up and personalized SMS messages will automatically be sent out to your current clients. You can use this to upsell them, offer discounts, and ultimately get them coming back for more (the best way to increase your income without having to find and get more customers).

THE BOTTOM LINE…

If you’ve been puzzled wondering how your competition seems to run huge businesses without breaking a sweat, realize that every part of your business (except the direct services that you provide to clients) can be broken down and streamlined.

Additionally, when you then realize that most of these systems can be automated with a single app, it makes it a no-brainer to give PocketSuite a try.

There’s not a single app on the marketplace currently that makes it easier to run your entire esthetics business from soup-to-nuts.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

SquareSpace Buys Acuity

So, you’ve just recently heard about Squarespace buying out Acuity.

We actually recently featured Acuity in our article on Scheduling Apps for your business.

So when we heard about this acquisition, we thought – Fantastic! Now it should be easier than ever to integrate the two, right?

Not so fast! In this article we’ll be discussing the Pros and Cons of using Acuity with Squarespace.

We’ll discuss the possible Pros of having everything under one roof as well as the mind boggling cons that make us scratch our heads in amazement.

For example:

We found the buyout actually made it *more* complicated to integrate the two, not less.

What? Yes, that’s right.

We had to dig for a while and read 2 complicated articles (1 from Squarespace and 1 from Acuity) to determine how to integrate the two, and we’re still not sure how to do it!

Now, I’m sure this will change as the companies merge, but for now the integration is still a totally mystery.

Now, don’t get me wrong – this is the very first acquisition for Squarespace so I’m sure they’re just ironing out the kinks.

Acuity is a 13 year old company that provides scheduling, which Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena suggests will help Squarespace website builder users to integrate a scheduling widget into their site.

However, is this ultimately necessary for the end user?

For example, if you’re using the Squarespace website builder and you’d like to integrate a scheduling or booking widget into your site, how easy is it to do with other scheduling software?

With PocketSuite you simply copy 1 line of code, paste it into your site, and viola! Your PocketSuite booking / scheduling widget is instantly installed. You can also make it an iFrame or a part of your site easily.

This is in direct contrast to the 20+ steps needed to integrate Acuity. It makes me wonder why things need to be so complicated, especially when it’s all under one roof!

The other great thing about the PocketSuite booking widget is that you can customize it based on your preferred color palette and which services you want to display, so you can only show certain services on certain pages.

Here’s a handy example of how this would work:

“You can add the keyword “#newclients” in the description of one or multiple services you save in PocketSuite. This will also support private services (services you choose to NOT show online on your primary widget) to show online.”

Neat, huh?

You can also include multiple booking widgets on your page, or create a form instead of a widget which works the same way.

Not to mention everything is secured with SSL, we verify customer’s phone numbers before allowing them to book, and customers don’t need to download PocketSuite in order to book with you.

But that’s not all.

What if you don’t have a website. Can you still use PocketSuite’s booking widget?

The answer is – absolutely!

You can grab your code and put it on your Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if customers could find you on social media and book directly from there? Well, now they can.

Looks good, eh?

Now here’s the other concern we found. If you’re on mobile, how easy is it to integrate Acuity with Squarespace?

It’s hard enough on desktop, but being on mobile makes it near impossible.

Not so with PocketSuite – everything is mobile first with us, so there’s no plethora of unnecessary steps to complicate your efforts to connect the two.

Seriously, just grab your booking link and paste it wherever your want. Done!

Squarespace also built their own in-house email marketing product that they launched last year – spreading their efforts across not just website building but also trying to be a Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign.

From the perspective of the customer, I would rather have something that’s easy to integrate from my phone than a bunch of bells and whistles I’m not going to use. But that’s just me.

Also it makes it difficult because there are other email marketing companies that do their job full-time, so I’d rather use software that’s designed especially for its purpose, not as an afterthought or as an add-on to my website.

That’s like if WordPress decided to create their own email marketing. Would you use that, or continue using the proven systems of Mailchimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, etc?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Why complicate things when you can just go with the industry standard?

Squarespace’s director of product Natalie Gibralter said she wants to turn “Squarespace into an “all-in-one platform” for businesses.”

Is this a move that is going to spread Squarespace even thinner, diluting their efforts to create the best website builder around?

Many have already complained about Squarespace’s website builder issues that still haven’t been resolved – for example the recent mass-spread outages or the inability to add CSS or scripts to your site on the basic plan.

Not to mention the constant duplicate content errors and inability to customize that we were feeling when we were using Squarespace ourselves.

That’s right, we didn’t just try Squarespace for 15 minutes and read some articles. We at PocketSuite were dedicated, loyal clients of Squarespace for several years – but ultimately the annoyance and continuing issues caused us to shift to WordPress.

It doesn’t really matter what CMS you use, the point is that you need something that works. There’s tons of them out there – WordPress, Wix, BigCommerce, Shopify, Weebly, etc.

Especially if you’re mobile friendly and you’re using Squarespace, you need something to integrate your scheduling that’s going to be mobile friendly as well.

Otherwise, if you have to run to your laptop or boot up your PC every time you need to make some changes… are you truly going mobile, or still stuck in dinosaur-land?

Ultimately, your decision needs to be based on what’s better for you and your business.

If you’re a fan of digging in and really trying to unravel the strings and figure out how the puzzle pieces fit together, Acuity may be a great fit.

However, if you’re mobile-first and you just need something that works without all the hassle and headaches, give PocketSuite a shot.

And if you are opting for Squarespace, at least avoid their personal plan. Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • You can’t use it for eCommerce
  • You can’t add CSS, so you can’t customize the appearance of your site
  • You can’t add scripts, so you can’t customize the functionality to your site
  • It’s hard to make a personal plan GDPR compliant, since to do so you need to put scripts into the header
  • You can’t capture customer emails and send to Mailchimp or AWeber or any other email marketing platform – you can’t even use Zapier to do so manually!
  • You can’t use promotional pop-ups (which studies show increase visitor-to-email-subscriber conversion rates significantly)
  • You can’t add an announcement bar

The templates Squarespace have are nice, but look – you can’t even compare the amount of templates available in Squarespace to something like WordPress – it’s like comparing a grain of sand to the ocean.

Squarespace websites are mobile friendly and do use AMP, which is a Google-backed project that speeds up mobile landing pages.

But you can only use that on blog posts! What if you want to use it on your product pages? Nope.

One of the really frustrating things about using Squarespace templates is that you can’t change certain features in certain templates, and you can in others.

For example, in certain templates you can’t change the size of the blog header’s font, and in others you can.

This is super frustrating because when you get to that point in the design process, you need to back up and choose another template because of this random restriction.

That can waste hours of your time spent designing and in my view you really should be able to change or alter these in some way. It doesn’t make sense that you can do it on certain templates and you can’t on others.

And if you need to call them? Sorry, no phone support.

Customers have also complained about the lag time between customer support issues and resolving them, which can be aggravating when you’re trying to build something on a deadline.

Another challenge with using Squarespace is their SEO options are very limited:

This can be frustrating when WordPress offers such awesome SEO plugins as Yoast.

If you’re building a website, chances are you’d like it to rank high organically for search terms on Google.

With Squarespace it just makes it difficult to do so.

Now keep in mind, Squarespace does allow you to design beautiful websites and their onboarding has improved drastically since 2016.

However it seems it’s built for designers in mind, but with something like golden handcuffs that both make it easier than WordPress, but also limit functionality to a degree that you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself.

We were happy with Squarespace for years, but ultimately outgrew the platform and decided to go with something more robust and customizable.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Whatsapp Business vs PocketSuite

Are you a solo-preneur or running your own small business, and you’re finding it challenging to keep your client messaging organized and on point?

Lots of small business owners and solopreneurs have been in your exact position, believe it or not.

The worst part is the frustration and confusion that’s caused by not having everything organized in one system.

So you jumped the gun and downloaded Whatsapp for Business, thinking that it would help your disorganized self, but now you’re running into other challenges!

In this article we will be discussing the top frustrations of professionals that use Whatsapp for Business. We’ll cover:

  • Giving out your personal number to clients
    • Checking two different voicemails (if you have Google Voice)
  • Call Routing frustrations
  • Losing track of messaging threads with your clients (and having to dig them out from between your SMS conversation with your niece and your dinner reservation confirmation texts)
  • No Automated Follow Up – aka letting your clients disappear into the night, never to be seen or heard from again, without following up proactively (because let’s face it – you’re busy and you have new clients to bring aboard)
  • Message Templates – having to retype the same messages over and over (on your tiny little phone keyboard! Everytime I type on my phone I swear I feel like I have sausage fingers… Kiolbassas!)

Ready to dive in? Put on your aqualung because we’re going deep!

GIVING OUT YOUR PERSONAL NUMBER TO CLIENTS

How many times have you seen your phone ring and wondered… is this a client calling me, or a friend?

Or even worse… you picked up the phone thinking it was a client, but it was just one of those 3  spammers that keeps calling you (for the thousandth time this week)?

Yes, as small business owners we all get bombarded by solicitors. But at least you should be able to know if it’s business-related or if it’s your neighbor calling you because he needs help finding his cat that got loose and he thinks the cat is hiding under your deck.

So you jump the gun and get a business line with Google Voice.

Not so fast! Now you’re even more handicapped because you have to keep switching between 2 different apps, checking 2 different voicemails.

There’s got to be a better way!

In fact, there is.

Find an app like PocketSuite that gives you a business line for less than ten bucks a month, and your problems are solved for less than two coffees a month.

Seriously, no more checking 2 voicemails. Hooray for saving time!

CALL ROUTING FRUSTRATIONS

So let’s say you already have a Google Voice business line, but you want to take advantage of PocketSuite’s ability to keep your life and business on track.

That’s fine! Just download the app and your existing personal line (or even your Google Voice number) will effortlessly be routed to your PocketSuite business number. Clients will never see your personal number, they will only see the PocketSuite business number, but all of the calls they make to you will be routed to your personal voicemail. So you only have to check one voicemail – all without giving up your personal information and privacy.

No more switching between apps to check different voicemail boxes.

Phew… just thinking about doing that was giving me a headache. We as humans like to have one place for everything, and PocketSuite gives you just that.

LOSING TRACK OF MESSAGING THREADS WITH YOUR CLIENTS

Okay, how many times has this happened to you?

You’re scrolling through your text message threads (or Whatsapp Business threads) and you can’t remember which numbers are associated with your clients vs your friends and family.

You could just save every single client’s contact info in your phone or Whatsapp, but that is cumbersome and takes a lot of manual effort, especially considering as your business grows and this ends up taking more and more of your precious time that you should be spending on income generating activities.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an app that had all of your clients already stored as contacts, with notes and group messages that you could send out easily without having to scroll past your hubby’s text messages asking if you can pick up some milk at the store on your way home?

Well, you probably know where I’m going with this, but there is in fact such an app.

Try PocketSuite’s free plan, which includes a much more robust organizing feature for your business messaging than SMS or Whatsapp Business. You won’t be disappointed!

NO AUTOMATED FOLLOW UP

Okay, here’s a big one.

How many times have you set the intention of following up proactively with your clients, done it for about a week or two, and then just gave up because it’s so much manual effort to do?

Guess what… you’re not alone.

In fact, this is something I hear all the time from fellow small business owners and solopreneurs.

They’re like, “I really should follow up more with my clients” or “I know I’m leaving money on the table, but it’s so frustrating having to scour Whatsapp or my SMS threads, trying to figure out who to follow up with.”

Trust me, I feel your pain. That’s why PocketSuite came out with the most amazing feature since sliced bread (that is NOT available anywhere else – not even Whatsapp Business) and it’s called Smart Campaigns.

With Smart Campaigns you can literally *schedule* automated follow-ups – proactive, automated text message campaigns that will text your clients automatically and convert more one-time clients to repeat clients so you can grow your recurring income.

You can also offer discounts to your clients to get them to come back.

Smart Campaigns has been “game changing” and has *literally* helped to grow thousands of businesses’ income. Keep in mind, text messages still have a 90%+ open rate.

So if you want to keep nudging your customers to buy more from you, forget email – this is by far the best way to do it.

Did I mention that Smart Campaigns are included in a Premium PocketSuite subscription that literally costs less than $20 per month?

If you even get 1 current client to buy more or come back and become a repeat client, this feature pays for itself many times over.

Remember, it’s easier to sell to current customers than to get new customers – always.

Your current clients are a gold mine of new business just waiting to be tapped into! And now, you don’t even have to do it manually (since you and I both know that it makes way more sense to have an automated system take care of it).

Quit leaving money on the table using SMS or Whatsapp Business, and start utilizing Smart Campaigns with PocketSuite today. Like, right now.

MESSAGE TEMPLATES

How many times have you run into this issue:

  • Client messages you
  • You open up the SMS thread of Whatsapp for Business
  • You start typing out a response, only to realize that you’ve typed out this response literally a million times before

I know that’s happened to me plenty!

Don’t even get me started on the Whatsapp Saved message template feature. It’s weaksauce compared to PocketSuite – for example there’s a character limit, it’s clunky to use, and it makes it difficult to remember which message is which because the shortcodes are all one letter.

On the other hand, PocketSuite’s Message Templates are clean and easy to use. You just tap on the menu and there they are, right where you need them as you’re composing a message to your client. Presto manifesto, you just saved yourself 30 seconds of frustration. Now repeat that with each client and each message to them (not to mention you can eliminate a lot of this follow-up using Smart Campaigns) and you’ve got yourself a recipe for one heck of a time-saver!

Tens of thousands of businesses have switched over to PocketSuite for good reason.

You’d be doing yourself, your business, and your clients a solid by transitioning away from SMS or Whatsapp Business to something more professional, automated, and integrated.

Drop the old and get with the new! Get PocketSuite for free today.

How to Run your Yoga Business with PocketSuite

Are you a Yoga instructor? Do you run Yoga classes and train students on proper movement, breathwork and poses?

In this article, you will learn the secrets that took me years to figure out. How to set up classes, run them smoothly, and handle all of the back-end admin stuff with no sweat.

As a busy yoga instructor, it was difficult to manage my business while at the same time re-scheduling clients, practicing poses, and coordinating classes for my students. I also needed to manage repeat clients, schedule group classes, and not forget to follow up with current students.

So I set out to find a solution… one app that could help me with all of these tasks and more. Lo and behold, I found that it can be difficult to decide between the full range of tools that are available to yoga teachers.

In this article, you will learn how I saved countless hours and now run my entire Yoga practice from my phone, using just one app. (Seriously!)

Health and wellness is a constantly growing industry and there is no shortage of Yoga instructors. Having amazing Yoga classes does not mean that you were born with a special ability that allows you to focus on yoga and business at the same time.

In most cases, successful yoga instructors who are running full classes with happy students do so by setting up tools and processes to help automate the back-end office work and admin stuff that typically takes up a lot of their time. That’s their hidden secret and that’s what I’ll be revealing to you in this article.

Your best bet is to go with an app that provides you with all the tools you need to run your Yoga classes smoothly – all in one place. You may be able to find apps that address each of these needs individually. Your problem here will be getting used to all of these different apps and making sure they are fully compatible with each other.

Most of the time they will not be! Nor will you have the time to figure out the nuances – you have classes to teach and clients to catch up with!

What is the alternative? PocketSuite.

PocketSuite is the all-inclusive app that allows Yoga teachers to schedule their classes, collect deposits, and manage their Yoga instructors, all in the same platform. You no longer have to worry about learning six different software tools in order to run your Yoga classes smoothly. Moreover, you no longer have to take your clients through a convoluted onboarding process (since you’re stitching together different features of several different apps).

Why not have all of that functionality under one roof – with PocketSuite you will be able to market to prospective students and your current students, organize classes, and collect deposits from your students in a streamlined way.

Many yoga instructors have unfortunately discovered just how much money is lost with a complicated sales process. This is especially true of those instructors who are trying to expand a small practice. No matter how great a teacher you may be, prospects just don’t want to deal with website errors, crude paper and pencil questionnaires, scheduling mistakes, etc. They want to sign up, pay your fee, and receive the best yoga training possible!

What’s more, the modern client does not have to put up with a bad onboarding or scheduling process anymore. The Internet gives the average person more choices than ever. If your process is less-than-perfect, all it takes is one mouse click to find another Yoga studio, book time at a ClassPass gym, or download a self guided workout app with a signup process that is easier than yours.

Unfortunately, clients are less loyal than ever. They will do this with no thought of how it may affect your business, especially if you have not created a real connection or relationship with them.

How PocketSuite Works for Yoga Instructors

PocketSuite is made for Yoga instructors with no time on their hands. As a Yoga instructor, this probably describes you… after all, you are doing much more than just classes.

You have to keep up with the latest in terms of new breathwork techniques, new poses, and sequences for your classes. You need to know the latest in hot yoga, trapeze yoga, goat yoga, laughter yoga, beer yoga, postnatal yoga, etc. You must constantly practice in order to maintain your mastery. Basically, you do not have time to deal with all of the back-office and admin stuff.

First, the app works in your favor by automating the marketing process. It does this by integrating with your social media, scheduling recurring classes, and sending personalized text messages. With PocketSuite focused on following up and building the future of your business, you can focus on doing what you do best – changing people’s lives through centeredness, stretching, and de-stressing.

Your marketing goes to another level when you start using PocketSuite. You can not only create groups of clients with similar backgrounds, you can market to those groups in a streamlined way. No more sifting through clients trying to remember if this one or that one wanted a group class or an extra phone call. PocketSuite does all of this for you, syncing the message that you want to put out with the audience that you want to reach.

Secondly, PocketSuite provides you with more time to focus on your core competency, namely, Yoga! The less time that you have to spend on things like appointment reminders, collecting payments, and rescheduling appointments, the more time you have to focus on creating an amazing experience for your students and changing their lives for the better. With all of the needs of the average Yoga instructor that’s running their own business taken into account – PocketSuite is the one stop solution.

I’ve heard from many Yoga instructors that they make the most money from private appointments. This is also one of the most satisfying ways to teach, because you can relay more information in a one-on-one session than you can in a group setting. However, getting these kinds of clients can be difficult if you’re not a natural salesperson. PocketSuite saves you from having to go back to school for marketing and sales – it does all of this by integrating directly with Google Ads.

Instead of having to sell packages after class, the app does it for you online. People who are looking for one on one classes can simply go to the app and sign up rather than having to ask or go through an awkward sales pitch from you. The result is better classes with no upselling pressure.

Because you can automatically organize your student’s info in the app, you can also easily put together group classes of people with similar skill levels or interests. Imagine not having to go through all of your customer lists in order to find these people. They will actually find you if your onboarding process is solid.

You can also get this done with the PocketSuite app, because your clients will complete your forms and sign up for your classes from the comfort of their home computer or phone.

You will be able to complete the entire sales process thru PocketSuite as well. This means signing students up for classes, creating ongoing connections and keeping private notes on each client for the upsell later. The app will help you target who to give certain discounts to based on how often they book classes and/or appointments with you. It will also help you determine who are the most likely candidates for gift certificates and other online products.

Your Team

It is also important as a Yoga instructor to have the best set of health and wellness professionals around you. You may have a good amount of teachers under your umbrella or you may work with a small staff to ensure the best experience for your clients. Either way, you need to showcase a high level of organization to keep your staff and students happy. PocketSuite allows you to synchronize the schedules of your teams with the schedules of your clients. This is absolutely essential if you’re trying to expand your Yoga business through other teachers.

PocketSuite also allows you to coordinate all of your team member’s calendars. You have the ability to access client information remotely so that you can always seem like the “third-eye” regardless of where you are. You can turn your staff into salespeople, tracking how well they are able to upsell Yoga clothes or Yoga mats to your customers, and paying them a commission on all sales. PocketSuite also allows you to reward them with certificates and other forms of acknowledgment if they positively affect your revenues.

No matter how you plan to expand your Yoga instructor business, PocketSuite is a tool that you can use to make it happen efficiently. Instead of hiring a bunch of admin assistants, paying someone to market your business online, or outsourcing your accounting to an expensive firm, you now have all of that at your fingertips with PocketSuite. This is the only way to expand in the digital era. Your competition is keeping things streamlined and you have to as well. Make sure that you investigate everything that PocketSuite can do for you before committing to any other solution.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Run Your Pilates Business with PocketSuite

Do you own a Pilates studio? Perhaps you’re a Pilates instructor?

In this article, you will learn pro tips for running your Pilates business right from your phone.

Pilates is super popular in the fitness industry. Pilates instructors can and should take advantage of all of the latest apps and tools so they can spend more time with clients and less on paperwork (still using pen and paper, eh?)

Most independent Pilates instructors are fighting against erosion in demand from:

– Pilates apps

– Classpass

– Big gyms that offer pilates classes

With more people than ever discovering the benefits of Pilates, there is a huge opportunity for professionals who want to create thriving businesses. This cannot be done using traditional methods in many cases. There is too much competition in the marketplace, and modern clients expect a seamless experience that may be beyond the capacity of a small studio.

Here are some of the areas of improvement for typical independent Pilates instructors:

Automation – Get each part of your studio organized and well coordinated

Ease of new client sign-up and onboarding – Forget paperwork! Add students to the app of your choice or have clients book themselves online using your booking site – and all the data entry work has been eliminated, just like that. Presto!

Filling classes – Choose an app that allows you to book multiple folks into one slot

Getting rebookings and retaining clients – It’s hard enough running the business, but now you need to try to get one-time clients to rebook and also try to keep your clients from ghosting. How is it possible to do all of this and still have a life? Answer: Technology! You can use Smart Campaigns to auto-text clients, encouraging them to rebook. You can also auto-text your current clients to follow up with them regarding their experience (and offer them incentives to book additional classes or refer a friend or family member!)

Collecting recurring payments and setting up regular appointments – This is a hassle and a nightmare for beginning business owners. Use something that allows you to automatically track and manage recurring bookings, including charging your customers. Ideally you’d want something that can do all of this from 1 mobile app (no desktop needed!)

Tracking client progress and client management – This usually falls by the wayside because of the litany of other tasks occupying your time. Fortunately, with PocketSuite each student gets their own profile where you can track all the most important info for that student. No more rummaging for paper files or looking up client files on your laptop – just pull it up on your phone in 15 seconds.

The overarching solution that I’m advocating is to invest in the right app that keeps everything in one place. In most cases, this kind of app is not easy to find, especially an all-in-one.

Fortunately, PocketSuite allows Pilates instructors to run a full-fledged Pilates instructor business without the need to take on more expenses like additional instructors on your payroll or tons of new, confusing software.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that PocketSuite gives Pilates instructors a chance to focus on their core competencies without losing out on any new client opportunities.

Taking Your Studio to a New Level

The traditional way to expand business is to first increase the capacity of that business to take on new clients and automate some of the paperwork.

In most cases, this means hiring new instructors. You probably have to give them a salary instead of just having them be commission-based, which can really cut into your payroll expenses.

One of the biggest opportunities that PocketSuite provides to small Pilates studios is the ability to automate the paperwork and admin work without hiring new people.

Furthermore, Pilates instructors do not really have time to handle everything needed for a growing business. In order to build and maintain a great practice, Pilates instructors must stay ahead of the latest techniques and sequences. This involves research, taking up time that you would normally use on all of the paperwork for your business.

How exactly does the app help Pilates studios expand?

Appointment Booking

PocketSuite has the ability to give a small studio the full range of appointment booking options. Similar to how instructors have a number of different kinds of appointments, including private individual appointments, group sessions, first-time drop-in classes, and series classes.

In many cases, clients find their new Pilates instructor through social media. Social media management can be extremely difficult for a single Pilates instructor that doesn’t have a staff already and hiring a social media expert can be prohibitively expensive for a solo practitioner.

Some instructors are even responsible for coordinating recurring appointments and there is always the responsibility of making sure you charge for late cancellations and no-shows.

In some cases, Pilates instructors do not have the time to follow up and collect their fees, including late fees. This can lead to lost income and puts your reputation at risk – if clients do not feel as though they have to show up to their appointments that instructor loses respect and is not considered a referenceable business.

PocketSuite automates all of the above appointment types and more. You as an independent Pilates instructor are no longer personally responsible for booking appointments with clients. (Imagine that!)

Clients and prospects can be categorized into various groups and you can send an email or SMS to them for marketing purposes – automagically! The app integrates with Google Calendar and iCal, ensuring that all scheduling for your students is done efficiently.

Using PocketSuite, independent Pilates instructors can also eliminate the burden of having to follow up on late paying customers, late cancellations, and no-shows. All of this is done automatically and on a recurring basis by the app so the “nudging” and “reminders” are always in progress. At the same time, you as the Pilates instructor are freed up to sign up the next batch of students, grow your business, and keep your 5 star reputation.

Onboarding

Strong, consistent onboarding of new clients is a hassle that many Pilates studios have trouble with. Most instructors are usually using a crude paper and pencil onboarding process or hiring an assistant to do the job, which cut into their profit margins. This expense, however, may not always pay off. Pilates studios do not necessarily receive a steady volume of new clients activity everyday. Yet, regardless of your client activity, your employee has to be paid consistently.

Do you see how this may become a problem?

PocketSuite has the ability to automatically book new clients. Not only are you as the instructor relieved of the pressure of collecting client information to book them, but your clients can also choose which class is best for them and book ahead of time online (or even from your Instagram or Facebook page!)

The consistency of the booking process is also super important. Using PocketSuite, you will easily be able to tell if your marketing efforts are working without having to become a professional marketer.

Part of the onboarding processes includes collecting deposits from new clients. This can be an awkward stage in the relationship, especially if the prospect has not fully committed to taking your Pilates class. Delegating that interaction to an app is such a relief! It makes the choice to pay a deposit a more natural and expected next step for the client (as opposed to an awkward request from you).

No longer does a Pilates instructor have to moonlight as a professional salesperson or bill collector – this is now the responsibility of the PocketSuite app (which never gets nervous or scared about asking for deposit money!)

Promotions

Another huge part of expanding your Pilates studio is offering the right promotions. The challenge is how best to offer promotions to the right people at the right time. If you have to offer a discount to everyone at once, you cut into your profit margins because you are offering discounts to clients who can and have paid full price.

With PocketSuite, you can offer promotions one at a time or all at once. You can send messages to specific groups of students who love you and will pay anything to keep working with you. You can send different messages to other individuals or groups who may need a little more prodding to stick with it and keep attending classes. The bottom line is that you have the power to personalize your marketing message and target your communication to specific client audiences.

You can run your promotions through PocketSuite using your social media. You can keep the entire process in a single marketing funnel as well (instead of having to take your prospect through different processes and tools). Once your prospect agrees to take an individual class or group class, you can have the app immediately collect the deposit and confirm the appointment for that specific class. Should that customer need more nudging, you can schedule and send them a personalized message.

Running the Business

As a Pilates instructor, you are responsible for the wellness of your own studio. However, you are also responsible for managing your team. Your team expects you to be professional and three steps ahead at all times, no matter how much extra work is on your plate. On top of that, you have to maintain your position as the people leader, maintain your skill set, and complete the other million things that are required of you in your business.

When do you actually have time to practice your own Pilates alongside teaching and running a business?

This is exactly what PocketSuite was designed to help you do. Not only do you have the ability to automate onboarding and marketing, but you can also easily schedule and manage your Pilates classes.

If you need to get your team together for a group meeting at the drop of a hat, you can do this through PocketSuite. You can keep records of business income and your office calendar to let people know about upcoming changes quickly.

Your team also needs to easily access client information. Depending on your current tools, you may be the only person with total access to client info. Ideally, you should be able to coordinate your team member’s calendars as well as give them access to accurate client info. PocketSuite is the answer here as well.

Creating a bigger, smarter, and better Pilates business is much easier when you have the right tools on your side. PocketSuite is the ultimate marketing, scheduling and client management tool for you if you are looking to grow your business and maintain your reputation as a 5-star Pilates teacher!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Choosing Software – Housecallpro vs PocketSuite

So, you’re looking for an app to manage your on-the-go business where you’re servicing clients at their homes.

In this article, we will be discussing the ups and downs of using Housecall Pro, how Housecall Pro compares to PocketSuite, and what app would be best for your business based on your needs.

Housecall Pro is famous for being especially suited to businesses that perform services onsite at a client’s home.

Since running a service business has a unique set of challenges, it’s important to choose an app or software that allows you to tackle these challenges head-on.

For example, some common characteristics of apps or software that allows you to manage your on-the-go service business are:

  1. Mobile-first design
  2. Scheduling
  3. Online Booking
  4. Estimates
  5. Invoices
  6. Marketing
  7. Etc…

It’s very easy to assume that just about any software that does scheduling and booking can help you. However, let’s take a look at the breakdown of two giants in this industry – Housecall Pro and PocketSuite.

Both apps are designed for pros that service clients at their location, so it’s worth your time to find out which one of these takes the cake in terms of value and pricing.

It’s important to choose wisely, as the software or app that you use will influence your clients perception of your business. You want that impression to be good, so this decision should not be taken lightly!

Let’s take a look at what Housecall Pro is capable of and how it compares to PocketSuite.

Housecall Pro

Features:

  • Scheduling
  • Estimates
  • Online booking
  • Dispatch
  • On-my-way texts
  • Live Map GPS
  • Custom text and email
  • Invoicing
  • Follow-up marketing
  • Payment processing
  • Recurring service
  • Instapay

PocketSuite

Features:

  • Marketing – Google-driven results (Partnership with PocketSuite <> Google AdWords).
  • Online Booking – Your customers can book you from their phone or computer.
  • POS – Charge customer’s credit cards with our built in card scanner.
  • Scheduling – One tap easy booking for you and your clients.
  • Invoicing – Collect payment upfront and/or when the job is done.
  • Discounts – Give specials discounts to brand new or existing clients.
  • Sales Tax / Surcharges – Uncle Sam’s payments are taken care of auto-magically.
  • Gratuity – Let your clients make it rain ☔ by giving you tips!
  • Custom Fields – Whatever customization you need on your appointments, PocketSuite has the power to make it happen.
  • E-Contracts – Send clients contracts over text or email and get them signed within 24 hours.
  • Forms – Complete private notes on the job and save them for future reference.
  • Recurring Appointments – Keep them coming back for more and lock in repeat clients.
  • Appointment Reminders – Your clients will never miss an appointment.
  • Multi-Services – Offer different priced services to your customers easily.
  • Reservations – Let clients book you for multi-day jobs.
  • Estimates – Send estimates with deposit requirements. Convert estimates into invoices and/or appointments with one tap.
  • Packages – Custom packages have never been easier – get paid upfront.
  • Subscriptions – Auto-pay is the easiest way to collect recurring revenue.
  • Staffing – Easy to assign jobs, pay, manage your team from one app.
  • Job Check In & Check Out – Keep tabs on your team and auto-update your clients on arrival times with location tracking.
  • Group Messaging – Business at the speed of thought. Clients just see it as text, but it shows up in your app as a client message!

As is abundantly clear at this point, PocketSuite’s massive set of features is more than enough for any new or established business owner.

It is also important to take a look at the financial commitment that is associated with each of these software tools. After all, it’s important to make sure you’re not throwing money down the drain!

With Housecall Pro, the interesting thing is that you get limited functionality for more money as opposed to PocketSuite’s fully stocked premium offerings that are less expensive and more powerful.

Housecall Pro Pricing

PocketSuite Pricing

PocketSuite’s free plan arguably has more useful features than Housecall Pro’s lowest monthly plan.

Additionally, the premium features that PocketSuite provides eclipse Housecall Pro’s by a longshot.

Let’s take a looksie at some of these extra features that you would NOT receive with Housecall Pro:

PocketSuite Free Version

  • Direct Messaging – Business messaging, the way it should be.
  • Calendar Scheduling – No more Google Calendar / Outlook confusion.
  • Payments – Get paid via Invoice or Point of Sale.
  • Client Note-Taking – Keep track of the critical preferences and other information for each client as your business takes on more and more clients.
  • Industry Leaderboard – See how your competition is crushing it, benchmark your income, and unlock growth!
  • Pay Now Button (Website/FB/IG) – Yes, folks can book your services right off Instagram or Facebook. Victory dance!
  • Flat 2.7% Processing (No Hidden Fees) – Rates lower than my eyelids after a 12 hour workday.

PocketSuite Premium Version

  • Unique Business # – Get a business phone number that you can put on your business cards and marketing.
  • Group Messaging – No more fumbling to send dozens of the same message to your clients.
  • Saved Message Templates – Easily send off messages based on custom templates.
  • Class Scheduling, Auto Check Ins & Attendance Tracking – Easily track job check ins and check outs.
  • Multi-day Jobs – Allow clients to reserve your time for multiple days. Viola!
  • Tasks / To-Do’s – Always know what you need to get done and don’t miss a single task!
  • Data Importing – Come on over. We’ll take care of getting your clients into the system.
  • Questionnaires / Forms – Collect data from your customers with ease. Painlessly organize and sort it.
  • Contract E-Signing – Need to send a contract out? Never fear, PocketSuite is here.
  • Estimates – I’m estimating that you will love this feature, especially how you can convert estimates to invoices directly!
  • Smart Campaigns – Follow up with your clients automatically – schedule follow-ups via SMS that bring folks back for more!
  • Add-On Products – Now you can sell products alongside your services.

I’d also like to mention one thing that normally gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to choosing a piece of software or an app to help you manage your business.

As you know, the learning curve for new technology can be very high. For this reason, should you run into some roadblocks or headaches when it comes to switching providers, it is important to know that the new software or app you’re using has your back.

As an example, I am very impressed with the support I received from PocketSuite when I tried them out.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that their support team is best-in-class, and you shouldn’t hesitate at all to reach out to them if you have questions.

If you run into problems, just shoot them a text (415-841-2300). They respond quickly and are extremely helpful. They went beyond the call of duty to ensure that my experience with their app was a 6 star rating in every way. And as a business owner, that makes me feel taken care of and happy to be a part of the PocketSuite community of Pros.

When it comes to choosing a business management app or software, I need something that is easy to use when I’m on the go (like when I’m doing appointments at a client’s home) and has full-fledged functionality (so I don’t have to look for 10 other apps to get basic business tasks done).

Housecall Pro has limited functionality and is primarily desktop-based. PocketSuite, on the other hand, is mobile-first in design and has all of the necessary tools that I need to run my entire business from my phone, using one app. How neat is that?

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!