After a private beta launch in September, Columbia, MO-based Book’d will be looking to launch its online scheduling platform in public beta in the next few weeks. The company allows individuals and small service-oriented businesses to make themselves available by listing their services, quoting a price, and allowing others to book them, while providing back-end scheduling tools that let people manage their availability and process payments.
Book’d founder Jamie Stephens, who previously founded Foliotek, created the online service taking into account trends in mobile, scheduling, and competing services, having built and tested another online scheduling tool prior to launching Book’d. “Online scheduling [will be] such a core component of our lives moving forward, envisioning when you could just tell Siri, I need an appointment with such and such a person at 4 o’clock, and it’ll be booked,” CEO Emily Elridge said in an interview. “Knowing all of that, we wanted to create an engine that is forward thinking, that is constantly trying to push the industry forward and works for different target audiences depending on the implementation they use.”
Using Book’d, users can create a personal landing page for either themselves or a group, where they can list their services and include location, price, and availability. The company distinguishes between what it calls controlled availability and simple availability; controlled availability lets users add variables like multiple locations, duration, or only allowing a certain customer segment to book online, or having only part of their schedule visible based on who is viewing. Simple availability on the other hand is a straightforward calendar, where others can view and book automatically and the service provider can approve or deny the booking.
The platform is aimed at both individuals pressed for time and service providers, from music teachers and coaches to massage therapists, consultants, and freelancers. In addition the platform offers full payment functionality with the ability to invoice and receive payments, and is currently integrated with Stripe’s backend. The service is free for the simple availability features and will have a monthly subscription cost for the controlled variables feature set, starting at roughly $19.99, though the company is still working out pricing details.
It also pegs itself right in the middle of offering both individual and professional online scheduling services. On the professional end it goes head to head with services like Schedulicity, Appointments-plus, GenBook, and BookFresh, while on the individual side, there are companies like Doodle, and Tungle, which was acquired by RIM and will be shutting down in December. “What we’re trying to do is sit in the middle, and our major differentiation is with controlled availability overall, and within that the ability to accept payments the ability to have multiple locations, and we will have recurring booking as well. Overall UI, we’re placing a strong emphasis on that, as an industry, this industry has not done a good job of that,” Elridge said.
Down the road Book’d will also let groups create a profile where potential customers would be able to go on and browse their different service offerings, in addition to more meeting-oriented functionality like checking group availability. It also will open up an API for developers to build native apps for the platform and enable widgets that service providers can integrate into their websites. Users can also expect more customizable features like the ability to have password-protected pages, and customizable design features. With an emphasis on creating a UI that distinguishes the service from competing products, Book’d is out to increase the adoption rate of online scheduling tools on the web and follow that with the same for mobile.