My hairstylist, Linda, has her own one-person salon in a communal working complex in the Mission District of San Francisco. She, like many small business owners, uses Square for mobile to ensure she gets paid for her expert coloring skills. But when it comes to appointment-making, she admitted to me she does it by hand.
“My friends keep telling me to try that MindBody thing,” she told me the last time she cut my hair. “But I don’t know.”
Although you’re probably unaware, MindBody is a scheduling and point-of-sale system that you’ve probably interacted with countless of times. It’s highly visible in the boutique fitness world, where eager devotees buy classes based on packages. But, perhaps most importantly, it has seen success in its integrations with ClassPass, connecting eager fitness devotees to classes that they want to take across the city for a flat rate.
But it’s not just limited to fitness — in fact, MindBody has spent considerable time courting clients like Linda, spas and salons run by independent owners who rely on appointments to get through the day.
People like Linda, mobile-first small-business owners who already use Square’s for cash transactions, are the reason why Square’s decision to create a mobile Appointments app for iOS makes sense. It puts it in direct competition with MindBody, and can potentially woo customers with its computer-free approach to managing appointments and services.
In this way, Appointments becomes more than a booking service or calendar app: it creates a mobile-only end-to-end product specifically designed to cater to self-employed business owners, especially in the fitness and beauty industries.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have a wide application in other industries, but Square’s pricing structure is certainly friendlier the smaller the business is: Appointments starts at $30 per month for a single-user system, and goes up to $90 per month for access to greater than five employees. Square will essentially run the business entirely for a self-employed person, and take a cut from before the sale and after.
Of course, MindBody remains at an advantage because it does support key integrations to help bring in new customers. But I believe it’s only a matter of time before Square provides that too — allowing other apps to generate leads for users who subscribe to Square in the name of increasing more sales.