A Booking App For Barbers By A Barber
Barbercita was born out of the idea that there has to be a better option out there.
After using other booking apps. I sat there and thought, why is it a good idea to share a third-party app that links to every other barbershop around me? When you give your link out to your clients it essentially leads them to a search result or a directory with every other barbershop around you. That's problem #1. See problem #2, most of these booking apps make money one of two ways; sometimes both; sometimes even more. They sell you an upgraded package that allows you to have more barbers and or offer more services. Limiting you on what your shop can do with making appointments. Once you get your clients to start booking through any booking service it would be 10 steps backward and frustrating for them to switch to a different service, especially if it does the same thing (to them the client).
Your Own Identity?
When you use any booking service, your just a result in a directory or a search result. Most booking apps have you create a profile, set some prices, and boom you're ready. But what you don't see is most of the time your result is based on a number of things; Such as the number of comments left on your page, Your average rating, or simply the number of reviews you have. Why compete with other shops when you shouldn't and or literally can not afford to? Even worse, it's the ladder,blindly. When I came up with the idea of Barbercita, it was initially based on just that. Why can't I make my own app to book my appointments without competing with everyone else and trying to be upsold every other month through emails and promotions on " Be #1 on our app, just pay X amount per month!". With my app, I have my own Identity and control my functions. Giving my Barbershop its very own booking app not only separates me but gives me a much higher appeal to clients.
What type of features should a booking app for a barbershop have?
This is where it got confusing and honestly difficult. I did know that I wanted to offer simple features and functions like being able to book and have the client have a credit card on file in case of cancellations and no-shows. I think this is why almost all barbers and shops that do use booking apps in choose to go that route in the first place. But I wanted it to be feature and functionality rich. Such as being able to communicate with the client through messaging. leaving reviews, and a shop to sell products. Once I made these features I really wanted to separate myself. I started to implement add-on services. This helped with upselling the clients without even speaking to them. For example, when a client went to book and clicked haircut, it would prompt them "would you like a shampoo added on for $5?". Creating the client side of the app was the easy part. Clients just want a straightforward way to book their appointments having too many features could confuse them and turn them off.
So I spent most of my time figuring out from a barber's point of view what functions we need and want and could make our life easier. The messaging function was the first. I even implemented adding images to the messages so a client could send them "I want my hair like this" that most of us get when they are sitting in the chair and you're draping them.
From there I just asked around and got some advice from other barbers. Most of them are simple like being able to track your income and sharing your social media links. Even having work times individually instead of based on the entire shop's. Barbers are simple people.
Then one Friday while closing cut and cleaning. A walk-in popped in and asked " Hey are you still open" I told them we closed at 6 pm and I'm cleaning up for the day. This is after cutting 15 people back to back. The walk-in stated, " Come on man I'll pay you $5 more than your regular price". After laughing inside my head. I finally processed it and again stated no sorry I'm done for the day.
On the way home it hit me. I need to offer after-hour services. This is when a client wants to book after you are closed, you simply go into your settings and input what day or days you're willing to stay later and set the price. My regular haircuts are $25, so for example I state I'm willing to stay till 8 on Friday's but from 6-8 pm my prices auto change to $50 a haircut. If they book; they book. If they don't I leave at closing like normal.
At this point, most of the features I came up with were around handling walk-ins. Working in a barbershop one of the most difficult things to juggle is walk-in clients. so from after-hour services, I went on to a walk-in sign-up kiosk. Where the client walks up to a tablet and clicks their barber or if they don't have one they can click "Any". Select the time and it auto-books with that barber or a random barber.
At this point, I simply developed what a barber and a barbershop would need to operate day to day.
Of course, we had issues here and there but it was for the best. What worked for us and the clients, what didn't work for clients and us. Fixing features. Sometimes even eliminating them completely. Testing functionality. Once a few months went by, I came to the conclusion that this could work for most barbers and barbershops. At this point, I started working on a way to make our front-end and backend apps for everyone.
Here we are..
So here we are. With the idea of barbercita fully functional and in action! This is a one-man show with no employees and no outsourced development team. It is Shawn The Barber showing the world of barbers and barbershops my idea.