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The Importance Of An Online Booking System

When running a small business, especially a high-traffic barbershop, using an online appointment booking solution system to maintain a clearly communicated schedule is extremely important. In my 10+ years in the barber industry I have heard countless complaints from customers that were waiting too long at a barber shop or not being able to get an appointment all together. I myself have waited in a barbershop in excess of 2+ hours with a traditional walk-in system. While some may love to sit in the shop and talk about the latest sports news or who the top 5 artists of all time are, people don’t always have the time.

In order for me to learn why an appointment solution system was crucial to running a barber business I had to experience it directly when I first started taking multiple appointments in a day. To start, I would often have someone text me and ask me for an appointment. Then, I would work with them on a scheduled time but this would get tricky very quickly. For example, here is a common text message thread:

CLIENT: Hello, I am looking to book an appointment today.

ME: Hello, Can you do 3pm? 

CLIENT: Sorry, can’t do 3pm but I can do 4

ME: I already have someone at 4 how about…

STOP. Too many messages…

I proposed a time of 3pm and then they replied “can’t do 3pm can you do 4” BUT I already had someone at 4… we are now at over 4 text messages with no appointment. As a small business owner there are certain tasks that are better to be automated so that your busy day is not bogged down. With the introduction of an online booking solution system,  I have leaned down my process for answering text message inquiries for new appointments to 1 text message!  If someone sends me a message  to get an appointment or to see what my availability is I always do the exact same thing–direct them to my booking calendar with a link. Here is an example of how my text messages look now:

CLIENT: Hello, I am looking to book an appointment today.

ME: Hello, please click on the link provided below and you will be able to book an appointment at your convenience. 


There is a case to be made for the client as well as the service provider to benefit from using an online booking solution system. The barber (service provider) is able to set their schedule according to the hours that they are available, clearly communicate prices associated with a service booked, collect data and provide the ultimate customer experience. The client is able to choose a time that works for their schedule, choose the correct service that they are looking for and have reminder notifications for their appointment. Additionally, having the ability to book an appointment gives the client the ability to plan their day around the appointment. For example, Someone may get a cut on their lunch break or before they go to work and that may not be possible if they were to just walk in and take a chance. Seeing the benefits on both sides, it allows the opportunity to eliminate the struggles that both parties often face. Price, service time and location are clearly communicated in online appointment confirmations and notifications. 

Philadelphia, is a competitive market for barbershops. There are some barbershops that pride themselves on their walk-in ability–the classic model. Come in, sit down, talk shop and wait your turn. There is nothing wrong with that! That is a respected and tried and true way to run a barber shop. As barbers we all experienced the shutdown of all hair services during the peak of the pandemic. When restrictions began to be lifted new guidelines were established. One of the guidelines was that there were no walk-ins allowed and everyone had to have an appointment. This was a turning  point in the industry when Booking systems became more important than ever. The key factor was that consumer behavior shifted and the way people began to search for  barber services was different than just walking into an establishment. If your barbershop already had an online booking system then you were in good shape to capture potential clients. If your barbershop did not have one then you were on the phone or google looking for the best one because the most important concern was being able to run your business again! 

To summarize, It is beneficial to provide your clients with an online booking solution to make an appointment so that every single person gets the best barbershop and haircut experience. Gone are the days where I am answering numerous phone calls and texts throughout the day to schedule clients. The online booking solution has allowed me to create a culture that I respect my clients time and vice versa.

-Michael Shockley updated 1/4/2023