Wake Up!

Hubby Patrick’s brother Kevin has been a small-time rock musician since he was 18. When he turned 38 this year and the band — Youth Movement — still hadn’t made it, he came to the realization that he needed more conventional employment. So now he’s in trade school learning medical billing. By June, Kevin should have his first 9 to 5. Patrick applauds his brother for going legit, but he’s afraid 20 years of staying up till three o’clock in the morning and getting up after noon is going to be a hard habit to break. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin overslept on his first day of work,” said Patrick.

“Why don’t you get him a wake-up service,” suggested my friend Bernice. Eve was on the case.

“The whole idea of automated wake-up calls being available to users anywhere hasn’t been around that long,” explained John Tadlock, president of Tavoca Inc., of which MyCalls.net is a division (800-385-9044). “Doctors and hospitals pay us to remind their patients to show up for appointments. And because of our expertise with automated dialing and our recognition that there was an opportunity to expand the wake-up-call services market, we added this service to take advantage of ideal time on our servers.”

How does your wake-up service work?

“It is an online-managed account. The user simply signs up online using any major credit card, and their account is instantly available for use. They can schedule calls to themselves on a repeating weekly schedule or use a calendar to manage calls one day at a time, whichever is better for their particular situation. And they can schedule different times for different days and use various phone numbers if they are traveling.

“We have three plans: bronze, silver, and gold. Our bronze plan is one wake-up call every day of the month if you want it, and it includes weekends if desired [$4.99 a month]. The silver plan is a wake-up call plus one snooze call per day [$6.99 per month]. The gold plan is a wake-up call plus three snooze calls per day [$9.99 a month]. All of those plans offer an annual option: if you buy 11 months, you get the 12th month free. [The bronze is $49 a year, the silver $77 a year, and the gold $109 a year.]

“We also offer a one-time wake-up call [$1.49], and you get a wake-up call plus five snooze calls.”

What type of clients do you have?

“Our client base is slightly skewed to be more female than male.

“We have a lot of college students who use the wake-up-call service. And a lot of people in the 25-to-50 age range use the service, typically folks who are working early or unusual shifts. They get up really early, or they get up in the middle of the afternoon. And then we have some retirees who just want to stay on a good schedule, and they like the ringing phone as opposed to the alarm clock scaring them to death.

“The majority of our clients do not have children. Those with children tend to be woken up by the children, at least that is what we have been told.”

David Batchelor, owner of WakeupLand (wakeupland.com; 866-399-9253), says a lot of parents use his service. “They are using it for their college students to make sure that their kids actually get up in the morning,” Batchelor said. “They sign up their kid’s cell phone number, and then that way they can be sure that their son or daughter gets up for class. We have a lot of people who are diabetics [using the wake-up calls], people that have a hard time waking up in the morning. And we have older people who use it for a medication reminder.”

What does the recording say?

“It’s a taped recording, and you can pick between a male and a female voice. ‘Good morning, this is your WakeupLand wakeup call, have a great day,’ something along those lines.” And there are other options you can add, like a “weather report, where it tells you your daily local weather, daily news headlines, or joke of the day, things like that.”

Is there a suggested placement of the phone?

“As far away from your reach as possible if you really want to get up, so you have to get out of bed to pick it up.”

If the phone is not answered, the service will call up to four times. “If you pick up the phone and you are all groggy, you have to verify that you’re awake by pressing the one key.

“The price for the monthly service is $4.99. If you buy a year in advance it is $44.99. And then if you just want a one-time wake-up call, it is $.95.”

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