Montanans have a strong value set and want to work hard but also believe in a work/life balance, which incorporates recreation and family.
– Joshua Spitzer, CEO of Schedulicity
By Shannon Furniss
Want to find a chiropractor, a life coach, or a chimney sweep? Need to schedule a haircut or a guitar lesson? How about an oxygen-infused bath and a teeth brushing for your Golden Retriever? Need a visit from a plumber or maybe a session with a flight instructor?
Discovering and booking almost any local service – from haircuts to flight lessons – is easy and convenient through Schedulicity, a Bozeman-based business with an online platform that serves millions of consumers and helps service providers manage their calendars in more than 2,500 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Through Schedulicity, consumers can make their own appointments online without having to play phone tag with schedulers – and at 3 a.m. if they are so inclined, according to Joshua Spitzer, CEO of Schedulicity. More than 50 different industry verticals from Bozeman to Boston use Schedulicity’s platform, with higher concentrations in more metropolitan areas.
The idea for Schedulicity came about in 2009 when a Bozeman tanning salon owner and a local developer teamed up to address some of the challenges of running a small business, said Spitzer. The owner was finding that it took multiple phone calls back and forth to set up an appointment, and he wanted the ability to schedule appointments and manage his business more efficiently online.
Jerry Nettuno, the founder of Schedulicity, agreed that there was a need for designing a system that worked better. “There was something broken in the way things work,” he said. “Why can I go on the Internet and book tickets to Europe and rent a car in four minutes, but it took four days and 16 phone calls to book a haircut?”
To solve those problems, Schedulicity was launched and now books more than 50 million+ appointments and generates $3.5 billion in appointment-based commerce from its Bozeman headquarters. There are 25 employees in the Bozeman office and another three located out of state.
Outdoor Gear Repair Business Gains Back 30-40 Hours per Month by Using Schedulicity, Business Thrives
In Bozeman, Colleen Tretter, owner of the Green Darner, spends her days repairing down coats, sleeping bags, horse blankets, tents, pop-up campers, and other outdoor gear. Not many seamstresses will tackle the difficult chore of fixing a broken zipper on a tent, so Tretter is quite busy and has clients from as far away as Puerto Rico. She has been in business for about eight years and has used Schedulicity’s platform for the past year.
Before Schedulicity, Tretter spent at least eight hours a week dealing with an “epic phone tag situation.” When she finally connected with clients, she would spend 20 or so minutes discussing the specifics of a tent only to find that the client needed to bring it in for her to look at in order to make an estimate. It was frustrating for both parties, she said. Now clients just make appointments online to come in and get estimates.
The differences that Schedulicity’s services have made are almost “unfathomable,” said Tretter. “For $25 a month, Schedulicity gives me back 30-40 hours per month,” she said. Without Schedulicity’s services, Tretter says she doesn’t know if she would be in business anymore. And with more time to focus on repairing gear and less time on the phone, business has grown significantly at the Green Darner.
Schedulicity gives service providers – from seamstresses to golf pros and accountants – the powerful tools to manage their calendars, which is the core of their businesses, Spitzer said. Marketing modules that can be integrated with the Customer Relationship Management software help providers communicate with their clients through email and social media, delivering relevant messages, offering deals and services, targeting existing clients for new services, and bringing back clients that haven’t been in for a while.
“You can make all the data and the CRM really powerful,” Spitzer said. “The service provider can keep maximizing sales and provide relevant services and opportunities to a client base that she values.”
Building Relationships is Key in the “Relational Economy”
Relationships are always important in business, but with service-based businesses and their clients they are unique, said Spitzer. Transactions – like haircuts – happen frequently and relationships are more personal and social. Hair stylists need to know important client information like hair colors, church affiliations, kids’ names, and birthdays, and Schedulicity’s software allows them to keep track.
“When local professionals work with their clients, they transact financial capital and build social capital,” said Spitzer. “The personal interaction and financial transactions reinforce one another, creating long-term loyalty.”
Schedulicity recently contracted with a research firm to do a study on the “Relational Economy,” a portion of the local economy that is created by service providers and their relationships with clients. Schedulicity commissioned the study to find out what was driving and hindering these relationships and found that the top five challenges service-based professionals face are: finding new clients; business growth; client retention; client scheduling; and, managing money. Schedulicity just launched a new blog, RelatE, to help professionals overcome these issues and manage and grow their businesses.
Strong Value Set and Work/Life Balance Enable Montana Company to Succeed
While Schedulicity could be based anywhere, it is “a Montana company through and through” with well-educated and talented individuals, Spitzer said. Before joining Schedulicity in 2012, he was recruited by another Bozeman business. At first Spitzer said he was skeptical about leaving San Francisco, but when he visited Montana he immediately thought, “How do I make this my home?”
Montanans have a strong value set and want to work hard but also believe in a work/life balance, which incorporates recreation and family, he said. “I think that when you can pull together a set of fairly common values in a group of employees that it enables a company to do some pretty remarkable things.”
Spitzer sees continued growth ahead for Schedulicity. “We are displacing paper and pencil all over the country. Our goal is to be a household name and to be the one place where every consumer understands that they can schedule anything on the go.”
Photo Caption for Top Image: Bozeman, Mont.-based Schedulicity is the leading online appointment scheduling system and marketplace for discovering and booking local services in more than 50 different industries. Millions of consumers in more than 2,500 cities across the U.S. and Canada have booked more than 50 million appointments—generating $3.5 billion in appointment-based commerce—through Schedulicity. The company has 25 employees in the Bozeman office and another three located out of state.
About the Author: Shannon Furniss is a Missoula-area journalist and communications specialist. Ms. Furniss is currently the communications director at the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research and the editor of the Montana Business Quarterly. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: The Montana High Tech Business Alliance is a statewide membership organization made up of more than 195 high tech and manufacturing firms and affiliates. More information on the Alliance can be found at: www.MTHighTech.org.