There are so many times when you want to give a client the option to book a paid appointment with you RIGHT from the start of the process in Dubsado- you know, like when photographers want to offer Mini Sessions, or when interior designers want to offer Consultations, or consultants/copywriters/web designers want to offer Strategy Sessions, or when mobile bar owners want to offer Cocktail Tastings, or when brand designers (or anyone else) wants to offer VIP Days… I could go on and on! That said, there are a MILLION nuances and things that you need to know in order to use a scheduler effectively for literally any of this, which is why I’ve created this guide to using a paid Dubsado Scheduler. Even though this “guide” is really just a regular ol’ blog, it’s one I’ll be coming back to regularly and adding to as questions, updates, and common mistakes come up!
So here are the basics of how it flows:
There are lots of caveats and nuances to HOW the following is accomplished, but it’s important for you to know the big picture of what we’re working toward here:
- The client picks their appointment time
- The client fills their information in to a form (a public proposal)
- The client pays their invoice in order to book
- The client receives their appointment confirmation
- Your workflow sends the client the rest of the onboarding information & materials required
- The appointment takes place
- You provide the client with any deliverables and follow ups required after the appointment
Naming Your Paid Scheduler
I highly recommend making sure that the actual title of your paid scheduler not only says what type of appointment it is, but that it also says the COST of the appointment. Any time a client selects a time on the scheduler and moves to the form tab, it’s going to create an OPEN INVOICE in your Dubsado, but there won’t even be any client information tied to it at that point! So if they don’t know the price, they’re going to click until they find it, at which point they’ll back out of the process, and you’ll have a bunch of open invoices you have to delete (and you might think you have more money coming in than you really do). Simply putting the cost of the appointment in the title is a way to cut down on this issue. Here are a few examples of how I would title common schedulers:
Strategy Session – $347
Christmas Mini Session: $250
In Home Consultation | $400
As long as the name of the appointment AND the price is included, you’ll have to clear out those pesky fake open invoices less often, but you’ll still want to keep an eye on it either way! You can check by going to your Dubsado Dashboard and clicking on the “Open Invoices” statistic. It will take you to a list of open invoices and you can delete any that don’t have any client or project information attached to them. That means the client didn’t fill in information and wasn’t serious about booking!
Public Proposal vs. Lead Capture attached to your paid Dubsado scheduler
In order for a scheduler to be the FIRST step a client takes in your process (whether paid or not), you MUST have either a LEAD CAPTURE *or* a PUBLIC PROPOSAL attached. Attaching a questionnaire or a proposal that is not set up to be public will NOT create a new project and will NOT kick off a workflow.
If the appointment is free to book, like a Discovery Call, then you would want to attach a lead capture to the scheduler in order to create the project and kick off the workflow.
If the appointment is to be paid, then it must be a PUBLIC PROPOSAL attached to the scheduler rather than the lead capture. This will still create the project and kick off the workflow (assuming everything is set up correctly, which I’ll detail later in this guide.)
The workflow begins as soon as the ATTACHED FORM is submitted, NOT whenever the appointment is paid for. This means that someone could have a PROJECT and a WORKFLOW in your Dubsado account, but they may have abandoned the booking process when it got to the payment step.
The reason that it must be a public proposal instead of a lead capture is that using a public proposal is the only way to make sure that the invoice created for booking the appointment is automatically marked as PRIMARY. The invoice must be marked as primary in order for your workflow to be able to watch whether or not the invoice is paid, which prevents workflow steps from firing if a lead abandoned the process at the payment step (and therefore are not actually booked)
- NOTE: If a lead does abandon at the payment step (AKA they fill out the form but then do not pay a Scheduler Deposit Invoice**), rest assured that the appointment will NOT be reserved on your calendar- meaning it will still be open for others to book. This is good, because you don’t want someone who didn’t pay to be holding time on your calendar, BUT, it means that you have to make sure your workflow is set up not to send “clients” any information until their INVOICE is paid in full!
Proposal Invoice vs. Scheduler Deposit Invoice**
Since you now know that you HAVE to have a Public Proposal attached rather than a lead capture, this also opens up another set of choices you have to make when using Dubsado to schedule a paid appointment: whether to generate an invoice from the PROPOSAL or whether to generate it from the Scheduler Deposit Invoice settings.
If you require payment in order to book the appointment, then you’ll need to use the SCHEDULER DEPOSIT INVOICE, which means that you have to put the COST of the appointment as static information in those settings. If you don’t put in the static price on the Scheduler Deposit Invoice, then clients will end up being able to reserve time on your calendar WITHOUT paying, which is not what we want.
Unfortunately, this means that you can NOT allow clients to pick among packages on the proposal that you have to have attached, the cost must be set. There is a workaround to allow client to choose between packages, which I will detail in a later section.
So if I can’t have clients pick a package on the proposal, why the heck am I using it?
Simply put, because that’s just the way Dubsado works. As described in the section above, we have to use the proposal in order to make sure we can make our WORKFLOW work properly. However, we are not able to use some of its best features, like using multiple packages or attaching a contract, when it’s attached to a paid scheduler.
What if I need my clients to sign a contract for this appointment?
There is no way to have a contract attached to a scheduler, which means there’s no way to secure a formal digital signature at this stage in the process. You have a few options for how to move forward:
- treat your contract more like “terms & conditions”. List them or link out to them on the proposal and require that your client checkbox that they agree to the terms by booking their appointment. Note that proposals are NOT contracts which means they’re not capturing IP address or other identifying information that may be required for a digital signature, so make sure you run this past your lawyer
- Make sure the client is aware that they will be asked to sign a contract AFTER making their payment. Link out to a generic version of what the contract terms say (AKA something publicly posted that won’t have their specific information filled in) so that they can review prior to booking. Then in your workflow, send them their contract as a SUBAGREEMENT. Subagreements have all the same contractual specifications of a contract, BUT we are able to follow up on them if they aren’t signed within a certain amount of time (which is not possible with a contract).
- Copy your contract in Dubsado and click & drag the new copy over to subagreement. Voila! Conversion complete
- In your workflow, use the “send form” action “after invoice paid in full” to send your subagreement for the first time. Make sure to tell the client it’s due back in x days!
- Add another action in your workflow to “send form” x days “after form is not completed”. This will be the automatic follow up if they haven’t signed it in the number of days you asked.
- When using a subagreement, there’s no automatic confirmation of it being signed the way that there is with a contract, so we need to build that into our workflow too. Add an action to “send email” OR “send form” 0 days “after form is completed”. Whether you send them the link again or not, the point is that you’re just notifying them that they are officially booked and you’ll be in touch with next steps for onboarding.
Allowing Clients to Choose Among Multiple Paid Appointment Options
Okay way back up there, I said that there IS a workaround for allowing clients to choose among multiple packages even though we can’t utilize that feature on a proposal. An example of needing to do this might be if you are a photographer and you want your clients to be able to select their session length and pay accordingly.
If you want clients to have a choice among packages, then you’ll simply need to create a paid scheduler for EACH package you want to offer. Depending on how you are using your proposal, this may mean that you need to have individual proposals for EACH package as well. You’ll fill in the cost of each package on the Scheduler Deposit Invoice and make sure the scheduler title includes the cost of the appointment, just like in your original one. Don’t forget to change which workflow is hooked up to the proposal, if necessary!
Once you’ve created all of the individual paid scheduler variations, you will then create a SCHEDULER GROUP that you can embed on your website. The Scheduler Group will contain all schedulers that you dictate, so the client will be able to preview them and select which type of appointment they want to book.
Pay in Full vs. Payment Plans using Paid Dubsado Schedulers
Okay so this is one of the biggest problems with using a paid Dubsado scheduler IMHO. The best way to do this, is to require the appointment to be paid in full up front. There is no reasonably solid way to offer any kind of payment plan.
- There’s no way to require a particular payment up front in order to book the appointment and then ALSO have a remaining balance applied to the invoice automatically. This means you’d have to manually add the final cost to every single invoice individually.
- Payment Plans cannot be based on APPOINTMENT dates. Which means that there’s no automatic way to make sure the client is prompted to pay their balance on time, you’d have to manually add the final due date.
- If you do some workaround where you only put in the partial cost on the invoice, then your subagreement/contract will not display the correct total cost, and the client could end up not being required to pay you.
Now to be transparent, are there possibly *some* ways to figure out how to work-around these limitations? Yes. BUT, in my (very strong) opinion, they’re not worth the trade offs they come with. It either involves manual work on your part, delaying the entire experience to give you time to do those manual tasks, asking your clients to put in the same information multiple times, or creating copious numbers of duplicate assets in your Dubsado account which could lead to confusion and general clutteriness. In general, for quickly-booked appointments that cost less than $1000, it’s simply not worth the tradeoffs to offer a payment plan. If your offer is more than $1000, then I would alter this process so they are picking their package and getting their contract/payment plan through a regular proposal/contract/invoice process and then sending the scheduler for them to pick their day & time after they’ve booked.
Are you trying to create a process for booking mini sessions? Check out my recommended method here!
To Create a Paid Dubsado Scheduler for the first time!
- Map out your process
- Write all of the template emails you need for your process and design all of your forms. This MUST include a Public Proposal.
- Create your paid scheduler, hooking up your confirmation email, appointment reminder emails, your public proposal, and your deposit invoice.
- Create your workflow based on the process you mapped out in step 1.
- Make sure that nothing in your workflow will happen until after “invoice paid in full” (remember that you can NOT use the “after an appointment is scheduled” trigger because the workflow doesn’t know an appointment was scheduled!)
- When you use a scheduler to create a project & start a workflow (whether it’s paid or not), the project/workflow will NOT know when the appointment was scheduled for. YOU still will know, it’ll be on your calendar. But you will not be able to workflow anything based on when the appointment is. This means your workflow can NOT include the following triggers:
- after an appointment is scheduled
- before an appointment start time
- after an appointment has ended
- Head back to your public proposal and hook up the workflow you created.
Dubsado released some recent changes where you MUST have a public proposal attached to a scheduler in order for the workflow that starts upon project creation to continue ONLY if the invoice is paid in full. This WILL NOT WORK with a Lead Capture!
The quickest way to audit your account if you are already using paid Dubsado schedulers:
Do not make my mistake!
Even though I knew about this change from Lead Capture to Public Proposal, I completely forgot to go in and edit my OWN account, which meant that some workflows did not fire as expected. Don’t be like me! Go in and update your account NOW!
- Go to Dubsado > Templates > Forms
- Review your list of LEAD CAPTURES to see which ones you know are attached to a scheduler
- Copy each lead capture that’s attached to a scheduler and then DRAG the new copy over to the “Proposal” column
- Open up the copy in the Proposal column and
- insert a package. Make this a “Thank you!” package with a value of $0. Mark it as pre-selected, and clear all of the text out of the text box.
- Go to settings and toggle ON “Create new project once proposal is completed”
- Make sure you select the workflow that should start on project creation (this may already be there by default when you toggle on the project creation)
- Rename the form so it says “Public Proposal” in the title
- Save & Close
- Head to Templates > Schedulers and locate each scheduler that would have a lead capture attached.
- Go to the “Advanced Settings” of each scheduler and swap out the “Additional Form” to have your new Public Proposal attached
- Click Save
Need help creating a paid Dubsado Scheduler booking system?
We can tackle that in a Strategy Session! Book here (and observe how it works from the client side)!