A scheduling system is the backbone of any business. Down the years, Dallas Maids has relied upon several such systems, all of which had their pros and cons, to provide award-winning maid service.
Recently, we’ve migrated to a scheduling system that mops up the others in terms of sophistication and ease of use: Launch27. This product has made Dallas Maids even better! As a way to say thanks to the good folks at Launch27 for creating such an awesome piece of software, I felt compelled to write this review.
First, let me start by describing some of the scheduling systems we’ve used throughout the years.
In the beginning, when money was tight, we made due with Microsoft Outlook Calendar.
Calendar was a simple way to organize recurring housecleaning appointments. We needed a way to place the appointments in a calendar and indicate repeating events for weekly, biweekly, and monthly customers. Recurring appointments are the bread and butter of any maid service, and keeping track of them is vital.
Microsoft Outlook also allowed us to set task reminders and send email. Forwarding all the email from our website kept most of what we needed in a central location. A downside was that the email our customers received was from “[email protected]” and not “[email protected]”
Another annoying item was credit card processing. We had to type credit card numbers into a machine after each appointment. This was a time-waster that grew worse as our customer base grew.
In 2010, we found a better solution in ServiceCEO. It was the standard at the time, used by many of the big boys.
The ability to charge customers through the ServiceCEO scheduling system was a huge plus. We also benefitted from an interface designed for larger operations, the ease of switching jobs among teams, and the plethora of business reports available.
Generating payroll based on a percentage of each team was a cinch. We’d previously used Excel to do the calculations, which took some time. However, ServiceCEO still lacked many useful automated features, namely email reminders and a way to nudge customers into writing an online review.
In 2015, it was time to review the new systems out there.
Service Autopilot was our next step. This system had the automatic emailing capability—along with other features that the sales rep but promised but the software never delivered. Service Autopilot was a dire disappointment in both functionality and ethical practice.
At that time, I’d known of Launch27 for a year; however, being newly developed, it had lacked some of the functionality we wanted. Desperate to move on from the system we had at the time, I took a second look at Launch27. To my pleasure and surprise, the developers had added a visual calendar—one of the items we wanted. This prompted me to look deeper.
First, a little background on Launch27:
It was developed by Rohan Gilkes, who started a successful maid service and laid down the details of his experience at Maids In Black for anyone to mimic. And many of the more than 18,000 subscribers at https://www.reddit.com/r/EntrepreneurRideAlong/ did copy his ideas, because the information he shared was legit.
Admirable, because Gilkes has helped many achieve their dream of owning a business. Genius, because the page became an incubator of leads and prospects for Launch27.
I’d recommend that you follow his journey. He designed Launch27 with your success in mind, and from our experience thus far, the product excels at supporting our success!
The main features I want in a scheduling system are:
- A visual calendar that lets us easily switch jobs among teams.
- The ability to charge customers’ credit cards through the system.
- Email automation.
Launch27 has all of these and more.
One of the features I use more often than expected is the discount codes. We can assign each marketing medium a specific code and then track the effectiveness of our efforts on Google AdWords, Facebook, Craigslist, Backpage, and so forth. Heck, I even have a discount code for Tesla owners! Here’s my baby.
Automated emails are where Launch27 really shines. Need to remind the customer the day before an appointment? An email is automatically dispatched. Following up on the quality of service? Another email asks for feedback in the form of a smiley face, neutral face, or sad face.
If the customer clicks on the happy face, an email is sent requesting them to share their experience online. You may point them to Google business reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List—anywhere you want. A sad face lets the customer send anonymous (to the cleaning team) feedback so the issue can be resolved.
There are tons of other automated emails, though these are my favorite.
Scheduling is a cinch with the calendar. We like the “vertical” option, which displays all the jobs and the team they’re assigned to. We can also view all the jobs on a map, which helps us schedule most efficiently.
Allowing the customer to book online has been a huge timesaver. We can now take advantage of our off times and receive customers’ orders 24/7. This means cheaper advertising, as many companies only advertise online during business hours, when they can take calls.
Customers can also update their information and modify service requests all by themselves. Again, saving my office staff time and enabling us to use that time to provide even more customer service!
The online scheduling system means I can run a maid service without an office if I want to. I love using Upwork.com to hire remote workers and keep my HR expenses down.
Another feature we love here at Dallas Maids is the ease of calculating payroll. We pay by a percentage of each job. It’s easy to calculate this through Launch27, unlike with Service Autopilot, which required me to pay a professional to build an Excel sheet.
Which reminds me of another reason why Launch27 rocks: The developers listen to their customers and provide constant updates and new functionality based on feedback. It surprised me how serious the Launch27 team is about taking action to make improvements.
For example, the only qualm we had was that if we needed to place a recurring customer with another team, we had to remember to go in and add the customer back to the old team. Shortly after talking with a Launch27 developer, this issue was solved.
Mind you, I didn’t even call to suggest this improvement. A rep called me shortly after we acclimated to the new system to see how things were going. Now that’s outstanding customer service!
From what I gathered from my interaction with Launch27 representatives, as the company improves the platform, Launch27 will become more automated. Obviously, this means less work for you and your staff, and a further reduction in costs. How awesome is that?
Needless to say, I highly recommend Launch27. It’s easy to use and has all the functionality we need to be the best maid service in Dallas. It’s been the best scheduling system we’ve used by far.
So if you’re looking for a scheduling system, try it out for free.