Q&A with Schedulicity founder and CEO Jerry Nettuno
Schedulicity is an online appointment and scheduling application for businesses. The
Bozeman, Montana-based company was founded in 2009.
SUB: What is Schedulicity? What is the value proposition you’ve brought to the market?
Nettuno: Schedulicity is the leader in online appointment scheduling which helps appointment-dependent small businesses save time and increase profitability through eliminating the hassles of scheduling.
We automate the process of appointment booking which helps to optimize the operations of a small business, bringing efficiency to the time-consuming task of managing a paper appointment book that allows service providers to make more money, save more money and service their clientele while building their brand. Schedulicity makes it possible for a
Nettuno: With more than 4 million appointments booked to date, and accelerating growth rapidly with over 500 subscribers a week. The company has rapidly gained the leadership position in this large, relatively untapped marketplace.
SUB: What is your business model? How do you plan to grow the business further?
Nettuno: Schedulicity is currently a subscription-based service and is designed to scale rapidly without significant increases in headcount. The sign-up and set-up processes are highly automated while ongoing customer service is optimized through extensive help sections, video tutorials, webinars and intuitive functionality built into the application.
SUB: Has Schedulicity raised outside funding? Does Schedulicity plan to raise more funding in the near future?
Nettuno: Schedulicity is about to close Series A funding.
SUB: Where did the idea behind Schedulicity come from? What was the “aha” moment when you realized this could turn into a viable business?
Nettuno: Consumers schedule millions of appointments each day with service professionals, such as hair stylists, massage therapists, spas, personal trainers, etc. Most of these appointments are still made by phone and managed with paper and pencil. Finding a time slot that is mutually agreeable to both the consumer and the professional can be a daunting ordeal filled with frustrations and inefficiencies.
Time slots are the inventory of a service professional, with a finite number available each day.
With such limited inventory, it is paramount to help fill all time slots and eliminate no-shows. Service professionals manage this inventory through their calendars, the lifeblood of any local service. But paper calendars bring with it many deficiencies. Managing calendars and managing direct communications with clients are tedious activities that take away from the focus of the service.
Our “aha” moment came when we realized that we could bring the success of online booking companies such as Expedia and Travelocity—which highlight the desire of consumers “to get what they wanted, when they want it.” Everyday appointments for services you need could be handled this way, too! Why should it take longer to book a haircut with your local stylist than to book plane tickets and a hotel room in Paris?
SUB: What were the first steps you took to establish the business?
Nettuno: We started with a passion to create a powerful tool that would actually make people’s lives easier. The main objective was to create a solid business model that would produce strong revenues and create strategic value for the company at the same time. Lastly, we hired talented people who shared that vision and could execute our strategy.
SUB: Where do you see Schedulicity in a year from now? What are some of your short term goals for the company?
Nettuno: Schedulicity aims to be the largest online destination that connects consumers to local service providers for real-time appointment scheduling.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Nettuno: The primary competition in this marketplace remains the paper appointment book. However, numerous competitive offerings have targeted this marketplace over the years, without significant success. In this space there are services such as Genbook, Appointment-Plus and newcomers like Rosie. Few, if any, solutions exist that allow easy, integrated real-time booking, inventory (time slot) management, social media marketing, customer relationship management and new client acquisition tools.
SUB: What is Schedulicity’s target market?
Nettuno: Schedulicity’s target market includes the tens of millions of local service professionals in the U.S and Canada, plus a potentially much larger international opportunity in the future. On average, each service provider has hundreds of customers, and every service starts with an appointment.
Schedulicity has subscribers in more than 35 vertical markets. Broader categories include personal services, health and wellness professionals, professional services, home repair and home-related services. By profession/business type, Schedulicity is most popular among hair salons, massage therapists, personal trainers, estheticians, counselors, and many more.
SUB: How many users do you currently have?
Nettuno: With more than 4 million appointments booked to date, and over 500 new subscribers a month, the company has rapidly gained the leadership position in this large, relatively untapped marketplace. Now, more than 2,000,000 end-users and tens of thousands service providers use Schedulicity in over 1800 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Schedulicity is facilitating over $300 million in commerce. Currently, an appointment is booked every 7 seconds on Schedulicity.
SUB: How are you marketing the service?
Nettuno: We market Schedulicity through specific marketing and business development efforts aimed at vertical markets. We purchase media from Facebook, Google and other search engines. We have deals with vertical companies such as L’Oreal, Spalutions and GoPretty.com. Basically our goal is to partner with companies providing value added service to small businesses.
SUB: As an entrepreneur who has successfully navigated the bad economic waters of the past few years, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Nettuno: When starting out, be focused. At Schedulicity we are focused on about 10 market segments that we want to own and own well. We could easily look at the market landscape and go after 40 markets, consumers, the daily deal space, or any number of popular market segments. However we believe that our current focus on service providers in certain markets will allow us the foundation from which to grow a strong and focused company.
Two other credos we live by are absolutely hire the right people to work with and manage every penny you spend like it’s your last…no matter how much money you have in the bank.
Finally, understand your growth metrics. At Schedulicity we manage our customer acquisition costs every single day down to the dollar. We know exactly when to accelerate or throttle back media purchases. We measure our success by how many service providers we have in our family and how long they stay. Everything we do is about conversion and retention.
Schedulicity – www.schedulicity.com