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Appointments are the stepping stone to getting in touch with new people and businesses and building a freelancer clientele. Winning more and more clients is how you grow as a freelancer, and appointment schedulers can be a crucial catalyst.
An appointment scheduler is important for freelancers because they improve client relationships, saves time, and reduces no-show meetings. They allow high-value clients to get in touch with you at convenient times. This minimizes inefficiencies, leading to increased revenue and growth.
As a freelancer, professionalism is one of the top qualities you need for consistent progress, and appointments are where it shows. The highest paying freelance jobs will require you to set appointments with clients and others. In this article, let’s look at how appointment schedulers can help you build your brand and maximize productivity. So let’s get started.
What Is an Appointment Scheduler App?
An appointment scheduler is a web or mobile-based application that allows clients and customers to schedule appointments with service providers. The appointment scheduler will send appointment reminders, and most importantly, it will keep track of your availability.
Freelancers use appointment scheduler apps to save time and get the most appointment bookings. It helps them manage their appointment schedule, so all of their client interactions are in one place.
What Do The Best Appointment Scheduler and Systems Include
The best appointment scheduler and systems offer features like:
- appointment reminders
- automatic appointment bookings
- time slots for different services
- the ability to pause or cancel appointments
- the ability to see client appointment histories
The best appointment scheduler apps make it easy for you to manage your time by offering automatic appointment bookings. You can also see which services are booked and which ones still have time slots open. These are all important services on how to manage a team remotely with respect to scheduling meetings.
Benefits of an Appointment Scheduler for Freelancers
Freelancers don’t have a staff to care for anything that isn’t work-related.
They’re their own boss, accountant, marketing expert, CFO, CEO, and every other role that keeps a business running. The fewer menial tasks you have to worry about, the more time you’ll have for the stuff that matters.
Appointment scheduling is a prime example of menial tasks that can get in the way of productivity and efficiency. Fortunately, like any other modern problem, you’ve got plenty of software-based solutions to look after you, such as appointment schedulers.
Let’s look at some of their significant benefits that can positively impact a freelancer’s life.
Clients Find It Easier to Book Appointments
Freelancing has many benefits over the traditional methods of working, but it also has quite a few downsides. Many relate to communication barriers, often making it tricky for clients to book an appointment with freelancers.
For instance, if there’s a 10-hour time zone difference, booking appointments through back-and-forth communication can be a nightmare since there’s only a short window during the day when both parties are available.
Thanks to appointment scheduling applications, clients can singlehandedly find an open spot in the freelancer’s schedule and book an appointment at an available time slot without having to wait for confirmations.
More Efficient Rescheduling and Cancellations
Every freelancer has dealt with clients who cancel their appointments last minute, want to reschedule them, or simply don’t show up. Unfortunately, not all clients are alike, and freelancers should try to maintain professionalism with each of them.
So, the best thing you can do is make the rescheduling process as efficient as possible, and appointment schedulers can help with that. Whether you want to make money on Fiverr or on your own, appointment scheduling tools work.
Whenever a client wants to cancel an appointment, they would traditionally have to call you or reach out to you via email for last-minute rescheduling. With appointment schedulers, your client gets complete control over changing their reservation to another one of your available slots, and you get a notification about it ahead of time, so everyone wins.
No More No-Shows
Cancellations are annoying, but not more than a no-show. At least cancellations inform you about a client’s unavailability ahead of time, whereas no-shows will keep you waiting with complete preparation for nothing.
As frustrating as no-shows are, they’re sometimes caused by genuine emergencies.
However, clients usually forget about appointments too, which is a pretty common cause of missed meetings. To tackle that problem, appointment schedulers have automated reminders and notifications that are customizable and nudge you whenever a booking comes close.
According to a study by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) on the effectiveness of SMS reminders for appointments, 39% of no-shows were avoided due to facilities sending out text reminders.
It’s a valuable feature that keeps clients, and their no-shows, from wasting your time and helps you prepare before a meeting with a timely reminder.
Clients Can Book Appointments On All Devices
As a freelancer, you want to provide your clients with as many appointment booking channels possible. The more devices you cover, the better your chances are of scoring a high-value client.
Online appointment schedulers like Calendly or Google Calendar are accessible through a desktop PC, laptop, and a well-optimized mobile app. This means that clients can book an appointment even on their phones.
If clients can’t book appointments across different devices, you could miss out on valuable collaborations. An appointment scheduler will help you secure more possibilities by covering all possible channels for potential clients to book online appointments.
Allows Clients to Book Appointments Anytime
Traditionally, appointments could only be booked during office timings.
However, appointment schedulers have changed the dynamics of that process, taking freelancers entirely out of the picture. Clients can easily access your calendar, find a free slot, and book it for an appointment whenever they want, even while you’re sleeping.
Since 35% of clients schedule appointments outside of business hours, this benefit is especially valuable for freelancers looking to expand their clientele. Providing clients with 24/7 access to a booking system that doesn’t need your involvement at all is a game-changer.
Many appointment schedulers come with an analytics dashboard that provides freelancers with critical performance indicators.
As a freelancer, client-related knowledge and insights are some of the most significant intangible assets that can help you expand and reach more clients. Project management accomplishments are one of the skills you need to be a freelancer successfully.
Aside from client-related statistics and insights, appointment scheduler applications can also provide valuable reports like your peak business hours, least booked days of the week, percentage of missed appointments, among other things.
- These reports can help you make calculated adjustments to your schedule and availability for a more balanced load of appointments throughout the week. Moreover, the appointment scheduler can notify you if you’re missing out on potential appointments due to a lack of available slots, which means you’ll have to offer more open slots to cover demand.
Market insights can ultimately have an enormous impact on your freelancing success by helping you plan your business and make better decisions.
A few key metrics you can get from appointment schedulers include:
- The number of appointments you’ve completed.
- How many no-shows you’ve had in a particular period.
- Complete appointment history with each client.
- Productivity comparisons.
Client Data Management
As a freelancer, you’ll come across countless clients, and each of them will have unique business niches and requirements. Having a data center that has a centralized location to manage all of your client-related data helps a lot.
Appointment schedulers generally include that in the package.
These schedulers allow freelancers to create, save, edit, update and manage client information as and when needed. Having easy access to a well-managed database of clients and all the files and information related to them is a massive deal for established freelancers with hundreds of satisfied clients.
You never know when you might need to access the work files of a 3-year old project.
For instance, that project might be similar to a new one you’re bidding on, and those work files would be the best samples you could show to prove your capabilities. In that way, appointment schedulers can even help you score new projects. If working in a contract-to-hire job, it would be crucial for employment.
Savings (Money and Time)
Appointment scheduling apps can help you save time, effort, and even money as a freelancer. Freelancers work with several clients, which means going back and forth with all of them to book appointments takes up a significant chunk of their time.
Moreover, there’s always a risk of double booking due to human error. When that happens, you’ll have to forgo one of the two clients, which means missing out on potential revenue.
Appointment schedulers solve all of these problems, providing you with an automated timesheet where clients can independently book an available slot. Double bookings aren’t possible since the pre-booked slots are unavailable for new appointments. However, if you are wondering can you survive as a freelancer, appointment schedulers are great tools to utilize.
This makes the process much more efficient and effective, ultimately translating into time and money savings.
The time and resources you’d generally have to allocate for booking appointments with clients can now be invested in the stuff that actually matters in your freelancing career. You’ll get to work longer hours and secure more clients through fewer no-shows and double bookings.
Saves the Client’s Time
Appointment schedulers won’t just make your life better as a freelancer but also your prospects. People who want to book an appointment won’t have to call you at a suitable time and have a 5-minute discussion about when you should have a chat.
Instead, they can pull out their phone on the go and book a convenient slot with a few taps on their phone. They can choose the perfect time and date for a meeting without having to call you for approval, and both parties immediately get a confirmation notice via email, and that’s it.
Opinions of the Top 1% Freelancers About Appointment Schedulers
Like any other profession, freelancers have their role models too. For them, it’s the top 1% of freelancers who lead the market in different niches of the freelance realm.
These top freelancers get there through consistency, years of providing outstanding services, and optimizing their working methods for efficiency and effectiveness. Many of them make money on Upwork as their primary income path. So, do they think appointment schedulers are helpful?
To get a reliable answer to that question, I had to look for the right people to ask, and Upwork was a pretty good place to start. It’s one of the biggest marketplaces for the world’s best freelancers, and they award their top 1% talent with an expert-vetted badge.
The top expert-vetted freelancers include Morgan Overholt and Carly Cheton.
Morgan Overholt — Expert-Vetted (Top 1%) Freelance Graphic Designer
With $500k+ earnings on Upwork as a freelance graphic designer, Morgan Overholt uses an appointment scheduler called Calendly and thinks it’s a “godsend” for freelancers getting constant zoom call requests.
Calendly eliminates most of the back and forth you can have with clients sometimes. A freelance can send clients a link to their Calendly, where clients can conveniently pick an open spot and fill out a brief questionnaire, and both parties immediately get a zoom link.
Calendly allows the clients to get an up-close and personal look at a freelancer’s busy schedule. When they see how many of their slots are booked, they naturally get a better appreciation for their time.
Using appointment scheduling software tools also helps cut down on unimportant calls and interactions. It makes a freelancer think twice about whether their next client interaction needs to be a tiring zoom call or if it can be summed up into an email.
If you’re a busy freelancer like Morgan Overholt, you’d appreciate cutting out the excess every chance you can get.
Carly Cheton — Expert-Vetted (Top 1%) Freelance Business Consultant
Carly Cheton is an established name amongst the top 1% of freelance business consultants on Upwork. She also uses Calendly and loves it for quite a few reasons.
Calendly has positive impacts on sales cycles and profits.
This tool makes a significant difference in revenue streams, mainly because of the CTA (call-to-action) process. You can set sales funnels for clients as they specify every next step for your prospects to take when they read your proposal.
This well-designed and client-friendly infrastructure make it easier for freelancers to guide clients in the right direction, and it only takes a few moments to book an appointment.
Many freelancers point out how Calendly takes out inefficient conversations between freelancers and clients about each other’s availability. Appointment schedulers make the process simple and accessible through a quick and independent booking system from the very beginning.
They also aid in how to transition to working for yourself by handling secretarial support to some degree.
Top 3 Appointment Scheduling Apps You Can Use
So far, we’ve successfully established that appointment schedulers are an essential tool for all kinds of freelancers, whether they’re looking to expand their clientele or already have a lot on their hands.
Even the top freelancers recommend having an appointment scheduler, but which one should you go with?
Let’s start with Calendly. After all, it’s the app used by both the experts I’ve spoken to. It’s excellent for busy freelancers looking for a simple solution for an appointment scheduling system that works without their intervention.
All you need to do is send potential clients a Calendly link, and they can look at your main calendar, check your availability, and pick a suitable spot out of the vacant ones. From there, the system automatically generates and sends out a personalized video conference link to both parties.
Calendly also supports integration with CRM (customer relationship marketing) tools, so you’ll have a better Calendly experience if you’ve already got a membership for one of the supported CRM services.
Google Calendar is epic and one of the most popular scheduling tools coming from one of the biggest software giants. Most freelancers use it by default as it comes with a Google account and Gmail ID, which most of us already have.
It’s just another calendar app, but you can do so much with it.
Like Calendly, it also allows you to share your calendar with others so they can quickly find a suitable time for a meeting or zoom call out of your open slots. The app’s cloud functionality means you don’t have to rely on a particular device, as your schedule’s everywhere.
The app has a user-friendly format that’s very Google-like, making it simple for freelancers to know what they need to do each day. If there’s a reservation coming up, you’ll be automatically notified via email.
It’s available for both mobile and desktop devices, which covers the multi-channel requirement discussed above. The app’s self-learning mechanism gets to know your routine over time and suggests suitable calendar activity management tips.
MiCal is another suitable appointment scheduling app for freelancers, with many useful features, including:
- Machine learning algorithms that analyze and adapt to the patterns and trends that recur in your calendar. The app can make helpful suggestions based on these, such as blocking out typically busy slots.
- Supports integration with Google Calendar, iCloud, Facebook Events. This allows freelancers to have a centralized overview of everything they’ve got going on.
- The app has eight language settings, which is a valuable feature for freelancers since they generally work with clients worldwide. If you work with many foreign clients, MiCal can make them feel at home with their native language settings.
Can I Create An Online Booking For Free?
There are also appointment scheduling apps that are free to use.
If you want an appointment scheduler but don’t have the budget for a paid app, give Doodle a try. Compared to its paid competitors, the features are limited, but they can still help you cut out phone tag with clients and make more efficient use of your time.
Other features of Doodle include:
- Integrates with Google, Outlook, and iCloud.
- Can send appointment reminders to clients.
- Has a custom shareable URL that you can share with potential customers.
- The app is also available as a desktop and mobile app.
Another option to create an online booking for free is to work with an appointment scheduler that has a free tier. Even though remote work vs. work from home has differences, both still require online appointment bookings at times.
Planet Calendars has a three-month paid subscription, but you can use it for up to five appointments every day without paying the fee.
This appointment scheduling system is especially good for freelancers who are just starting out on their own. While its features are simple, they are rich enough for someone who is just starting to use appointment schedulers. You can also upgrade your subscription to a paid subscription when you feel that you need more features.
Some features of Planet Calendar include:
- Supports integration with Google and Outlook
- Lets you send appointment reminders to clients
- Has a free three-month subscription
- Is Available as Desktop and Mobile Apps
Freelancers should always have a client-focused approach to success in the long run, and appointment schedulers help make clients happy right from the get-go. Besides providing your clients with a hassle-free appointment booking system, these software tools save your time, boost your bookings, and turn higher profits.
Considering these reasons, a simple and easy-to-use appointment scheduler is essential for any successful freelancer.
It’s the new normal, and it’s been a game-changer for expert-vetted freelancers. If you value your time, resources, energy, and an optimized revenue stream, I’d recommend getting an appointment scheduler as soon as possible.