There are 2 different types of of booking when it comes to the online scheduling world.
There is Appointment Scheduling and there is Resource Booking. Also Explained in this email will be Payment Gateways vs Booking Engines vs Platforms that Masquerade as both and why that is not to your advantage. WARNING this email is long but it sufficiently describes everything you asked for.
In Appointment scheduling a service is selected and a time is allotted to that service. There can be bumpers of time to allot for before and after the service and in some instances a system will allow you to 1) assign a staff member after the appointment has been made, 2) allow the customer to select a staff member to perform the service before the appointment has been made 3) allow the system to decide which staff member performs the service based on availability and a series of rules and parameters set and configured by the administrator. SQUARE only does the 1st and 2nd options. The 3rd option typically gets much more complex programatically and only offered by SaaS (Software As A Service) systems that ones pays for monthly or on a percentage basis. This is evident in a industry that i work closely in, the salon industry. I have reviewed many software solutions that offer these sorts of features specific to an industry and many do much more than square justifying their cost to salon owners large and small.
Much is similar in the rental inventory industry but just as much is very different. In the rental inventory industry the style of booking doesn’t concern itself with staff availability it is more about the rental of a unit and its resource availability to the customer. This is called “Resource booking” upon the booking of a “service” by a customer the system must know if the “resource” is available to the customer. In your case that is an “Inventory” of 4 pontoons, 4 jetskis and 2 paddle boards. When a customer selects a service the system must block out the availability of a particular resource unit and know the availability of other units so that the next consumer can book and not overbook. Then once all units or resources are taken the system must show to the customer in some sort of logical manner that no resources can be booked at that time and must show the first available opening that a resource can be booked to give the customer an option to book upon.
Square does not address resource booking at all. It is an appointment booking system which has no knowledge of the resources available when booked and if used would cause overselling from the get-go.
I knew this last night but was not able to eloquently explain this on the phone. I am much better in writing and after reviewing the Square system i was able to review and come up with the words to explain specifically.
In the rental inventory industry there are many services one can employ. It comes down to a comparison of features and customer usability over price. In the water sports market many use FareHarbor.com and even in destin this can be seen as it is being used by XXXX and XXXX. FareHarbor is a fairly new platform really only coming on the Watersports Rental Inventory scene in 2015. the reason that people specialize in a vertical in renal inventory resource booking is that there are many attributes and concerns to address when booking this style of inventory and vertical systems can address all of these concerns and then charge for the addressing of them specifically. They wouldn’t be putting this much effort into if it didn’t solve a necessary problem and could be solved by a much cheaper product. BookWithRS is also a platform that used in the Destin Pontoon Market. It is created by a panhandle local and used by XXXX & XXXXX.
Both FareHarbor & BookwithRS make money by Masquerading as a platform that “does it all” charging a variable % rate based on the cost of the unit rental at that time plus the Credit Card fees. This is not a Good thing that they “do it all” as it gives them all of the control and you none. Not only are you using their booking engine but you are using their Payment Gateway which means that instead of running your own cards they run your CC cards which clear THEIR bank account and then THEY pay you instead of your customers money just being dropped into your account. this means that you do not control your own payment system. This is an issue for two reasons 1) you are required to trust a third party with your customer data and you must disclose this to your customers 2) it is the responsibility of the Third Party to pay you once it clears into THEIR bank account.
The cost of this is typically the industry standard of 2.9% + $0.30. I checked with Square and their price for this is the same https://squareup.com/pricing as their “In app SDK Pricing” seen at the bottom of that page. “In app SDK Pricing” refers to the fee that is charged when an online transaction non-card present occurs.
I have searched hard and long on your behalf to find a decent, trust worthy platform that not only offers competitive pricing to its customers but also has a stable software system that can be used for your specific needs. After exhausting this long list of attributes i was looking for I came across a company out of Bend Oregon which markets tot he “Adventure” industry. Their use case is used (and used well) in the online booking of ZipLines, Rental Bikes, Ski Adventure Parks, and Rafting. The use case here not absolutely applies but is extremely competitive pricing. The cost associated with their service is a FIXED not VARIABLE price. Instead of pricing a p[percentage of each unit rented they charge $2 / rental whether it is a $60 rental or a $400 rental. To compare this as apples to apples, Fare Harbor charges 6% use for to utilize their platform that comes out to $3.60 on a $60 rental and $24 on a $400 rental.
In addition TheFlyBook allows you to use YOUR OWN stripe.com account. which means you run your customers cards, you deal with your customers money end of story. The way that this works is that you input your Stripe.comAPI Key into theFlyBook account system and it uses your own stripe.com acocunt to do the actual charging.
In this email we described several systems, Appointment Scheduling & Resource Booking. I also described the services of Payment Gateways and Booking Engines. As it turns out there are three platforms described here that masquerade as both. THIS IS NOT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Square while primarly a Credit Card charging system offers some “appointment scheduling” features. Their feature set is not robust and only really works in a handful of use cases. FareHarbor & BookWithRS which much of your local competition uses are booking engine that also offers their own payment gateway services trapping you in to utilize them and their system specifically.
In a final description here the cost of TheFlyBook.com is, $99/month + (STRIPE CC FEES / 2.9% + $0.30) + $2/per unit rental.
In addition to the content and media there stands the booking engine. Originally I was going to use a template/theme based booking engine but after working with it in detail and seeing how un-friendly it was for consumers to use I abandoned the idea and went in search of a replacement Resource Booking Engine. If indeed we employ TheFlyBook.com I can integrate their system with the site with a minimal amount of work being that it is the integration of button code on the already existing buttons I have put in place on the site for this purpose.
As promised on the phone last night i can be available at multiple points in the week next week during my vacation to pop open the laptop of the content writer finishes her side of the project, if TheFlyBook.com is engaged or if pictures are sent to replace the ones i found via google.
I thank you for your time in reading this lengthy email. i apologize for its length but there was no simple way to describe the services and concepts here without explaining them in full. Please do let me know if you have questions and how we should proceed. It is my hopes that I hear back from both of you today.