Scheduling and collecting payment for lessons can be a headache for riding instructors. When you’re busy handling horses and more than one student at a time, it can be easy to forget who prepaid for a class and who pays per lesson. And if you have a heavy client load, it can be difficult to remember exactly who came at what time and who was a no show.
I found multiple scheduling solutions for today’s instructor whether you work alone or teach for a stable with a large client base. I don’t have to tell you that all programs and apps will take time to set up and learn, but depending on how creative you want are, or how much money you want to spend, there are amazing options. I’ve included the basics for each of these, so if you see one that seems to suit your scheduling needs, go to the developer’s site, ask for a demo, and give it a test drive. Make sure all the features you need are included.
I am not affiliated with any of these web sites. If these don’t suit your needs, use them as a spring board to find your perfect solution.
Programs for Scheduling
Online programs have a lot to offer. I specifically looked with lesson scheduling in mind. There are scads of programs available for other equestrian needs.
- My favorite feature is the ability to allow clients to pre-pay online. Pre-payment is the easiest way to end payment issues and can eliminate the need for the buy-four-lessons-and-get-one free incentive. Imagine how much less you’d worry if all your lessons were paid for in advance online. A program may have an option for your cancellations policy and charges.
- If you don’t mind billing for lessons, online programs will send out invoices for you.
- Online programs let the customer schedule their lesson according to what your calendar says is available. Some programs also provide restrictions to prevent last minute scheduling. And there may be options for multiple instructor and horse assignments.
- A good program will provide email reminders to your clients and instructors. Including text messages is a bonus.
- Online scheduling usually has a monthly charge. Some programs priced according to the number of lesson horses you used and others priced according to the number of clients.
Payment for these types of online scheduling programs is generally monthly. Be sure to check this the cost. Also, payment portals will charge a fee per transaction.
Whether or not the program you choose is designed for equestrians or other types of appointments, such as dance lessons or work out sessions, is dependent on what you need and the level of your techie skills. There are more programs than what I’ve listed. These programs looked beneficial.
Apps for Mobile Devices
In my opinion, the perfect program would incorporate all of the best features from the above plus an app.
A busy instructor, especially one who works alone, would benefit from a phone app that does the basics.
BookedIn is an appointment scheduler that also accepts payments via credit/debit card or PayPal and payment is taken when the appointment is booked. It sends client reminders.
BookedIn starts at $24 per month for one calendar. They have a free trial.
I’ve recommended Square in Riding Lesson Payments – Use Your Cell Phone because I’ve used it successfully. And their appointment app could be a good solution for an instructor who does not want a monthly payment. Or an individual with a smaller client list.
The Square Appointment app is free for individuals.
A booking web and automated text/email reminders are included. You can require prepayment, charge a cancellation fee, or swipe a card at the time of the lesson with the Square attachment for your smart phone.
You pay 2.75 % fee per transaction.
This app is integrated with Instagram and Google. Perfect for the busy instructor.
Did You See Something Helpful?
I hope I’ve shown you a helpful solution. Or maybe I’ve kickstarted you on a search for the perfect system. I love anything that simplifies record keeping for riding instructors. Have you already found a great solution? Would you share in the comments with your fellow instructors? Thanks!
Barbara Ellin Fox