Millinery Market – How to Keep Track of your Bookings
It’s important to keep track of your hat bookings for the following reasons:
- So you remember to post your hat on time.
- So you don’t rent the same hat to two different people on the same week.
- So you can make sure there is enough time between bookings for shipping.
How you keep track of your bookings is up to you. The following two sections provide some suggestions depending on how many hat listings you have and how often you receive bookings.
1) For Low Booking Frequency – Use a Diary and Phone Calendar App
If you only have one or two hat listings and receive the odd booking from time to time, it’s best to keep things simple.
If you use a diary, you can mark the hire dates and the required shipping date in your diary. Make sure you leave enough time for shipping including at least a 1 day contingency.
Once you have determined the date you will post the hat, set an event in your phone’s calendar app to remind you. It’s handy to set a reminder an hour before the event, and a second reminder for one day before the event so you remember.
2) For High Booking Frequency – Use an Excel Spreadsheet
If you have a lot of hat listings and have Microsoft Excel on your computer, we recommend downloading this calendar excel sheet template.
Alternatively if you don’t have Excel, you can print this pdf version and colour the cells in using different coloured highlighter pens.
You basically enter each one of your hats in the rows and use the columns to colour in the dates that the hat is booked.
Let’s have a look at an example booking:
- Victoria lives in Brisbane and wants to hire your ‘Gold leather flower crown’ (Hat 5) for a race day on 19th January 2019.
- Victoria wants to receive the hat on Tuesday 15th Jan and return it on Monday 21st Jan.
- Australia Post’s estimated shipping time from Gold Coast to Brisbane is 2 business days.
- Allowing a 1 day contingency, we need to ship the hat on the 10th Jan for it to arrive on 15th Jan.
- To help us remember to ship the hat on 10th Jan, we set a reminder in our phone’s calendar app.
- Victoria will return ship the hat on Monday 21st Jan, so we can expect to receive it on Thursday 24th Jan.
You can see how this information would be entered into the spreadsheet calendar in the image above.
Now let’s say another customer, Jane from Sydney, requests to hire the same hat and receive it on Tuesday 29th Jan. Since the estimated shipping time is 4 business days from Gold Coast to Sydney, we can quickly see that there won’t be enough time to get the hat to Jane. We would need to either decline Jane’s request, or explore the option of express postage or seeing if Victoria would be willing to ship the hat directly to Jane.
Pro Tip 1: At the bottom of the excel sheet is a table where you can enter your location and Australia Post’s estimated delivery time to a number of Australian cities. Enter the shipping times to save you having to reference the Australia Post website every time you receive a new booking. You can add cities to the list as you receive new bookings to those cities.
Pro Tip 2: For lightweight parcels of 0.5 kg or less, the difference in cost between express post and parcel post can be as little as $3, but the difference in shipping time can be as much as 5 business days depending on where you are shipping to. If the cost difference is small, consider changing the shipping cost to the express post price. This will help you better manage back-to-back bookings.