What program is best to book out appointment slots and take payment for those services, all together in one system?
I know this is a very frequent question out there for a lot of small business owners. In this post I’ll walk you through my favourite tool for scheduling appoints into my calendar and taking payments for those services on my Squarespace website.
It was actually a client that introduced me to this online tool last year. The clients fitness studio had been recommended this tool from a similar business, and after setting up and using the system for their project, I always recommend it!
I have some upcoming website design related services launching that require clients to book themselves an appointment into my calendar, and make a payment for that appointment. While I use love using the Squarespace e-commerce system for my website design packages, booking appointments into open spaces in my calendar is a little different. I want to make that process as simplistic as possible for both my clients and myself.
Nothing is a sales killer quite like a confusing scheduling and check out process. And nothing makes me crazy quite like a string of back and forth ‘how about this time’ emails, and ‘oh I forgot my appointment, can we do next week instead?’ messages.
You can sign up for a free trial of Squarespace here and I also got ya a little off the price, use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your first year. (Yes, that’s an affiliate link!)
Gavin (founder of Acuity) watched his mom struggle to run her massage therapy business and organize client scheduling and payments simultaneously (I hear yeh Mrs. Zuchlinski). Back and forth emails and phone messages were time consuming. So Gavin created Acuity for his mother, and all the other service-based business owners looking to take back their precious time (and sanity).
Thanks Gavin, much appreciated.
As I won’t be revealing just yet the new website design services I’ll be offering, for example sake, let’s say I offer online chunky blanket knitting lessons.
(Just go with it, have you seen the chunky blankets from Ohhio? I’m SO IN LOVE!)
Now, I only want to offer these services on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. I pop in my availability on those days and keep ‘I have regular hours every week’ checked. (If you don’t have regular weekly hours, you can set them for each day of the month.) I can also set it so if I offer a few different types of services, I can set specific hours for certain services.
I then set up the different appointment types I offer. First I’ll be offering Chunky Knitting 1-on-1 Workshops for 60 minutes. These cost $150.
Second, I’ll also be offering group classes for a lower price point of $50.00. For the group classes I set a specific time and date on the right of the page. I can also create a class series by having multiple classes in a row, all paid for and booked together at once. To do this I would make the class a recurring event. I also set the number of available spaces. In this example, I’ll be offering 10 spots.
There’s a great number of specifics you can change in Acuity. You can make customizations such as requiring clients to register for all the classes in a series instead of just a few, offering coupons for specific class types, offering a series of classes all on Mondays but have one weeks class on a Tuesday instead, etc.
These are just a few examples. When I went to set up this system for my clients fitness studio, there was always a way to use the Acuity system to accommodate for their varying studio needs.
The next thing to do is to customize and style the scheduling and booking page to your needs and your brand look. I’ve inputted my logo, chosen if I want the scheduler to appear as a Month, not a week, set the colours to fit with my beige & navy blue brand, and given some instructions for those who are booking. (Giant knitting needles & chunky string needed to participate in the class, of course!)
Then it’s possible to preview the checkout page.
Perfect! It looks good, don’t you think?
When a client books online, Acuity will synch up the appointment with your online calendar of choice.
Lastly, I link up the payment settings to my preferred payment processing system. (There’s Stripe, Square, PayPal, Braintree, and Authorize.net available).
Then I can choose between linking to the scheduling page or embedding it on my own website with some quick code. To embed it in my Squarespace site I first copy the code from Acuity, then visit the page I want to embed it on, add a code block, paste the code in, and I’m done! The scheduler will then be live and active within my website.
Some other super helpful features?
Acuity is able to send reminders to yourself and your clients prior to an appointment starting.
Acuity allows your client to go in and reschedule their own appointment without ever needing to contact you directly.
Acuity will link up with financial softwares including QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
Acuity also links with Zapier so you can get into automating some more booking related tasks, such as adding new clients to your email list.
As I mentioned before, I’m not actually a chunky knitting expert (though let’s never say never, I do love chunky blankets). Instead I’m a website designer who’s on a mission to help ladies create a stunning website quickly & easily.
I’m currently taking on new website design projects. Visit my services page for more details and let’s get you a website that’s giving off #websiteenvy vibes ASAP!
Update: I no longer offer custom 1:1 design services! Instead, I now teach 1000’s of students through my online courses, how to use Squarespace to DIY their own completely custom, professional-looking website at a fraction of what it costs to hire a designer!