Health and Fitness

Front Desk – The Complete Review

by

July 11, 2018

Front Desk is specially designed for “Personal Services” businesses, including fitness, health and wellness, sports instruction, music, kids’ activities, dance, and more.

Administration is a necessary evil that can take up an enormous amount of time in your business. The less time you have to spend on admin, the more time you can spend on getting new clients, improving your products and services, or carrying out billable work. This Front Desk review takes a look at the online app that promises to substantially reduce the time you spend on admin and makes billing customers simple and easy.

Brief Overview of Front Desk Services

Front Desk is designed around several main areas:

  • Scheduling — Allows employees to efficiently schedule meetings and gives clients the opportunity to book time or lessons with your staff.
  • Billing — Easily accept payments from customers, set pay rates for classes, and run payroll for your employees.
  • Manage clients — Makes customer relationship management easy.
  • Reporting — Detailed reports on client acquisition, workflow, meetings, payments, and more.
  • Apps and add-ons — Integration with third party apps, including sales and marketing automation.
  • Customization — A white label approach and the ability to tweak your Front Desk interface to your exact needs.

Front Desk In Its Own Words

“Front Desk is mobile client management and scheduling software that’s simple and intuitive — a powerful platform for personal service providers. We’ll help you reduce time spent on administrative chores and spend more time building relationships with clients to grow your business.”

Front Desk screenshot

Front Desk Features and Benefits

Front Desk has plenty of features for its users. Here are some of the areas where it can help.

Scheduling

Self-service scheduling
Customers can effortlessly book time with your staff using easy online scheduling. Automated reminders and notifications help to reduce no-shows and maximize bookings.

Visible free and busy times
Your clients can see exactly when people are (and aren’t) busy, and schedule a time that works for everyone.

Embedded scheduling features
The scheduling part of Front Desk can be easily embedded into your website, ensuring seamless booking for your clients.

Reminders to reduce no-shows
Front Desk automatically sends out reminders to clients to ensure they keep their appointments.

Avoid double-bookings
Front Desk makes sure your staff are never double-booked, so they’ll always be there to provide the services your clients need.

Staff notifications
Front Desk will notify and alert your staff about upcoming appointments.

Front Desk staff screenshot

Billing and Payments

Accept all major credit cards
Front Desk accepts cards from all the major card issuers, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

Upfront payments
You can setup your payment system so clients need to pay upfront, before they use your services. You can save their payment details for future transactions.

Online payments
Your clients can easily pay for your services online, via their smartphone, mobile device, or PC.

Recurring payments
Front Desk lets you set up recurring payments with regular clients and bills them on a periodic basis. Perfect for ongoing class fees, regular massage clients, and more.

Reduce late payments
All billing is automated, including providing regular notifications and reminders to customers. This helps ensure you’re paid what you’re owed, quickly and effectively.

Apply discounts, coupons, and complimentary passes
It’s quick and easy to incentivize customers to book additional services via discounted rates, coupon codes, trial periods, and more.

Make purchase requests
You can create specialized, one-off purchase requests to ask for payment.

Set pay rates for staff and clients
You can customize pay rates to specific clients, staff, and services. This includes special discounts, incentives, bonuses and other factors.

PCI DSS security
Full PCI DSS compliance and strong encryption keeps your client and business payment details protected.

Related Article: What You Need to Know about Required PCI Compliance.


Reporting Features

Easy to understand dashboard
You can see how effectively utilized your staff is on a day-to-day basis, view everything in a calendar, or drill into details.

Tweak your business and processes
See what your most popular products and services are, who of your staff are most utilized, and how customers are interacting with and paying your business.

Customize reports
You can filter and customize the information in your business to learn what works, what doesn’t, and find new ways to expand.

Analyze details and trends
Find your top-performing clients and employees, popular dates and times, and get other insights into your business.

Understand your costs
Learn about your cashflow, service costs, and more so you can optimize your offerings accordingly.

Plan to scale
Keep an eye on the number of visits, repeat visits, and more. Plan to grow your business in the most profitable direction.

Grant or deny access to reports
Ensure your employees have the appropriate access to reports so they can see the data they need to do their jobs effectively, or aren’t viewing reports irrelevant to their job duties.

Paying your staff
Track payroll and pay rate information.


Mobile Features

Responsive design
The app works well on tablet and smartphone devices, making it easy to manage your business from anywhere.

Full mobile functionality
Get access to all Front Desk features on-the-go including CRM, scheduling, payroll, and reporting.


Client Relationship Management

Client self-service
Clients can update their profiles, track previous and upcoming appointments, amend payment details, and more. You can also link clients together so, for example, a mom could manage her daughter’s dance class attendance.

Simple sign up
Clients can either sign themselves up through the app or your staff can add them.

Easy sign in
Front Desk can create a QR code on a client’s phone that you can scan to easily check them in.

Track interactions
Find out exactly how clients have interacted with you historically and nurture relationships.

Client notes
Add special notes for each particular client to make it easy to track information or provide more personalized service.

Client management
You can give staff members responsibility for particular clients, letting your customers have a single point of contact.

Complete client history
You can check the complete history of a client including appointments, bills, payments, notes, interactions, documents, and more.

Customized onboarding
When you sign up clients you can create customized questions to help you better understand and serve your customers.

Share staff details and bios
You can embed details of your staff, their expertise, and experience directly into your website from Front Desk.

Data migration
Easily transfer data from other CRM apps into Front Desk.


Other features

In addition to the variety of helpful features discussed above, Front Desk also offers:

Payroll
You can quickly and easily run payroll at the touch of a button to make sure your staff is paid promptly.

Email marketing
Front Desk offers integrations with MailChimp and Emma for effective email marketing to your clients.

Document management
Get contracts, waivers, agreements, and other documents signed via integration with Docusign.

Widgets
Integrate with Google Analytics or display schedule and staff widgets on your website.

Customizable look and feel
Integrate Front Desk into your website’s style and color scheme, including customized CSS for full control over your client’s experience.

Front Desk Pricing

Front Desk offers three billing plans, each with a variety of features.

Front Desk Business — $129 a month

This plan includes:

  • Schedule management
  • Attendance tracking
  • Automated billing
  • Integrated credit card processing
  • Reminders and alerts
  • Branding options
  • Reporting

Front Desk Pro — $179 a month

This plan includes everything in the Business plan, plus:

  • Docusign integration for digital waiver and contract signing
  • Customizable pay scales and options to run payroll
  • Website schedule embedding
  • Email marketing options
  • Website customization
  • The option to sell products in person

Front Desk Enterprise — Custom pricing

This plan includes everything in the Business and Pro plans, plus:

  • A site management tool
  • New location tool
  • Analytics
  • Multiple location or franchise management
  • Location-specific reporting (for businesses with multiple locations)

Front Desk pricing

All Front Desk plans include:

  • A customer service representative
  • Help with setup
  • Data migration assistance (if needed)
  • Apps for both your staff and your clients

Please note that prices are subject to change. Pricing is accurate as of November 2016.  

Front Desk Support

Front Desk has a variety to get support for using the app and service, including a detailed knowledge base, webinars and online video guides, setup and training instructions, and a “Trust Center.”

Front Desk Developer Support

Front Desk provides complete support for developers including a complete Front Desk API with test businesses, full API documentation for all integrations, and a complete reporting API to allow you to pull data for customized reports.

Front Desk Clients

Front Desk specializes in supporting solo, small, and medium-sized businesses, especially those providing personal services and classes. Their clients include sports businesses (including dance schools, circus arts studios, CrossFit gyms, Krav Maga and other martial arts, yoga studios, baseball academies, and more) as well as music lesson businesses, health and spa services, and more.

Front Desk Payment Processing

For taking credit cards, Front Desk integrates with EVO Payments and charges a flat rate of 2.89% for all transactions. Speaking with Front Desk, they mentioned that EVO may negotiate pricing, especially for higher-volume clients.

However, Front Desk also integrates with the Network Merchants (NMI) gateway, so you’re not locked into using EVO. That means you can shop around to compare pricing for credit card processing and find the best deal for your particular business. A quote comparison tool like CardFellow’s lets you quickly and privately see the total cost for your business from any processing company you’d like. Try it here.

Related Article: Guide to Credit Card Processing.


Front Desk Reviews

Okay, that covers the features and costs, but what do real businesses using Front Desk think? We’ve hunted out some reviews from around the web.

Capterra — 48 reviews, 4 out of 5 stars

Reviews of Front Desk on Capterra are generally positive.

Capterra screenshot

Customers found it to be an easy way to automate processes that would normally require a lot more time, thought the user interface is intuitive and easy to use, and that it was easy to keep track of scheduling and billing. Other clients thought it was easy to set up class schedules and client profiles, and appreciated the customization options. Some reviewers mentioned the identical desktop and mobile interfaces, and a few noted that the pricing seemed right for a small business budget.

However, a few negative points came up as well. Some reviewers felt that the integrations could be improved, that reports could be confusing, and that payroll doesn’t allow for staff to be paid by the hour. Additionally, there is no visual ‘storefront’ for customers to purchase add-ons.

GetApp — 6 ratings, 4.8 out of 5 stars

Reviews of Front desk on GetApp were also very positive.

Getapp screenshot

Reviewers comment that customer service is excellent, the layout is simple and easy to use, payment plans are inexpensive for the services you get, and that educational webinars and tutorials are helpful for improving business. The only negative comment is that reporting functions could be improved.

G2 Crowd — 24 ratings, 4.2 out of 5 stars

Again, reviews of Front Desk on G2 Crowd were positive (noticing a trend here?)

G2 screenshot

Reviewers said that having Front Desk feels like having a whole team on their side, that support staff are helpful, service is impeccable, costs are good, and that automatic client sign up and reminders are a helpful time-saver. The areas for improvement that customers noted included that the interface isn’t intuitive in all areas, clients can’t enroll until they add a credit card, and the program lacks easy widgets for websites for calendar integration.


We hope this has given you a comprehensive overview of what Front Desk does and what businesses like yours think of its service. It’s a feature-rich app that small business owners seem to love, designed for classes, fitness instructors, beauty spas, and other personal service businesses. Although some customers do have minor issues with the reporting functionality, the range and ease of use of the core features means customers are happy to pay for subscription to the app.

Front Desk also provides a free 14-day trial, so if you’re interested, we recommend you try it out for yourself, and see if it could work for your business.

Remember that if you want to take credit cards through Front Desk, you can work with any processing company that supports the NMI gateway. Comparing processors will help you find the best deal on pricing. If you need help finding a Front Desk-compatible processing company, fill out this no-obligation quote request form and give us a call for assistance finding the right option.

If you’ve used Front Desk yourself, or have any comments, please let us know!

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Paul Maplesden

BY Paul Maplesden

Paul Maplesden is a freelance writer specializing in business, finance, and technology. He brings shrewd research skills to CardFellow, resulting in detailed, actionable information for business owners.Paul finds writing about money deeply interesting, and much of his work for CardFellow focuses on the intersection of payments and technology. Whether he's writing about the latest payment app or detailing the differences in popular ecommerce platforms, Paul's work helps businesses understand the myriad products and services available in the processing industry.Aside from writing, he loves Earl Grey tea, pivot tables, hats, and other fine geekery.

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