What's your ETA?

March 21, 2021

by Appointment Reminder Team
Categories: thoughts


Are you a “better late than never” person or an “early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable” person?

If you’re the first type, your friends probably tell you that events start half an hour earlier than they actually do, just so you’ll be on time, or maybe just less late than you normally are. If you’re the second type, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and maybe even surprised a few unprepared hosts who weren’t expecting you just yet. Since life can be unpredictable and tough to manage, most of us probably fall somewhere in between depending on the day.

Being “on time” all depends on the nature of the appointment. So here is a cheat sheet to help you save time and save face in your personal and professional life. You might be surprised to find that your ideal ETA could actually be holding you up!


Medical Appointments Most medical offices, including dentists, veterinarians, and mental health professionals, will give you a check-in time that’s about 10-20 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow time for paperwork. You can also request to have paperwork emailed to you ahead of time, so it’s already filled out when you arrive instead of coming in extra early.

Lawyer, Insurance or Accountant Meeting Being on time for a meeting with your lawyer or accountant or similar is imperative, since you’re almost definitely paying an hourly premium for their professional service. You should plan to arrive the standard 10-15 minutes in advance to allow time for paperwork and checking in.

Business Meetings If you’re presenting or pitching at the meeting, you should aim to be the first to arrive, so you can prepare tech, get your things in order, and be there to greet your guests. Give yourself at least 20-30 minutes if this is the case. If you’re attending as a potential client or just there to hear the presentation, thespruce.com says 5 minutes is appropriate to get yourself seated.

Weddings For a typical wedding, you should arrive 30 minutes before the time printed on the invitation, according to theknot.com. They also suggest arriving even earlier for larger weddings, like those with more 200 guests in attendance, in order to allow the ushers time to seat you.

Job Interviews Businessinsider.com says that you should arrive to a job interview 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. 15-20 minutes is a smart time to arrive, but arriving earlier than that can create an awkward situation where you’re left sitting in the lobby for an uncomfortable amount of time. The person you’re meeting with might feel the need to rush what they’re doing to meet you earlier than planned.

Parties (Casual vs. Formal) Fashionably late is typically considered to be within the first 15 minutes for a casual party, but you should plan to be right on time for a more formal gathering or dinner party. Close friends probably won’t care if you’re a few minutes late to a cookout or cocktail hour, but you don’t want to make a less casual acquaintance think you had more important things to do than be on time for their event.

Salon Appointments If you’re meeting with your stylist for the first time, you should arrive about 15 minutes early for the appointment. If you have an established relationship with your stylist, its acceptable to arrive about 5 minutes before.


Many professional offices provide helpful text reminders and appointment booking apps to help make it easier to manage your visits. Appointment Reminder offers convenient booking, confirmation, and cancelation tools that make being on time even easier. Contact Appointment Reminder today to learn about our complimentary 30 day trial!