The last decade witnessed a revolution of sorts in technology adoption among out of school clubs and small businesses. Online booking systems and apps shunned their crowns and moved to the masses.
What was once considered a luxurious add-on for the big and mighty and the tech-savvy evolved into affordable subscription packages fit for all pocket sizes and technological abilities.
The subscription model wooed after-school businesses with flexible monthly/yearly contracts, quick set-up, affordable price tags and even free packages (mostly for a set number of users). Meanwhile, the more expensive in-house booking systems offered schools and bigger providers the freedom to customise the solution to their liking.
In-house After School Club Booking System
An in-house booking system is like a tailor-made suit that is cut and designed to your taste and requirements. You can get the solution built by specialist software development companies or after school-club software providers who offer bespoke/enterprise solutions.
You will have the luxury to specify the features and capabilities you are looking for in your solution. Once you reach a consensus with them regarding what is achievable, the developers design and build the system, run it past you and finally integrate it with any existing software systems that you are already using at your setting.
The major advantages of an in-house booking system are:
- Customisation: You can get the developers to build the system around your requirements and business model, which means you will have greater control over everything from the features to the layout and interface design. You don’t have to live with features you will hardly ever use
- Branding: You can get the software tailored to match the branding style of your website or other information management systems
- Expensive: In-house solutions are costly to build and maintain as you would need expensive web-hosting solutions and a team of highly-skilled developers, programmers, system architects and network/security specialists to do the job. It could also cost you more to incorporate any changes in the future
- Time-consuming: As the solution will have to be built from the ground up, it could take months or sometimes years to build a smoothly-functioning platform that fits your purpose
Subscription After-School Club Booking System
The subscription-based software systems are similar to in-house booking systems in their functionality, but they are available as fully finished products that are ready for use immediately. They are made by after school club/childcare software companies and usually include a variety of other club management features.
You typically pay the company a small monthly/annual fee, create an account with them and use the software just as you would use an in-house software.
- Affordable: They generally cost a fraction of what an in-house software would cost
- Quick to set up: As the software is pre-made, you can access your system almost immediately once you receive your logins and set up an account with the provider. Depending on the size of your setting(s) and the features you are looking to activate, you should be able to finish the set-up and training process within a couple of days or less
- More value for money: Most after school club booking systems offer a range of other centre management features as part of the subscription package such as online registrations, daily registers, invoicing, online payments etc
- Dynamic: As the subscription software systems cater to multiple clients, they are constantly upgraded (at minimal to no extra cost) to bring in new features, bug fixes and improvements following general feedback
- Difficult to customise: Apart from the changes that the developers bring overtime based on popular demand, there is little room to request for specific features
- Features you don’t need: As the software is built with the general industry requirements in sight, you might have certain features such as, say, meal-time planners that you may not require for your setting. However, as most of these features are available as free add-ons, you won't have to worry about paying for those
- Limited scope: Some providers only offer a limited set of features, such as online bookings or online payments alone. This would mean you would need to use multiple providers for other management features
Cheqdin is one of the industry leaders in after school club management systems. Our system offers a full-suite of after school management features right from online registrations, daily registers, bookings, invoicing and multiple online payment platforms as part of a single subscription package.
Interested in trying out Cheqdin for your centre?
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