Whether or not you’ve used a dating app, you probably know all about the convenience it provides, and how it’s now absolutely possible to get to know someone without putting on pants. Plus, its usually free (the basic functions are anyway). So why engage a dating coach when you can find love for less? Well, there are a couple of valid reasons.

They get you a lot of things swiping by yourself won’t

For one, they conduct identity verification. This is important because even if you’ve found the guy’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, he may not actually be the one you’re really talking to.

“As part of our service, we meet and screen each member in person and verify their identities before sending them on dates. There is a stringent verification process that requires official documents,” says Angela Ip-Weaver, a Senior Dating and Relationship Expert at Lunch Actually. She adds that they also conduct checks with the Social Development Network to ensure that their members are genuinely single.

Then there’s the privacy you get from using their service.

“Our clients turn to us because they want confidentiality. Nobody needs to know that they have signed up for a dating service other than their dating consultant and their date. With online matchmaking sites, one has to put up a profile and photos for all to see.”

They also do the looking for you, so you can spend the time you’d otherwise use on swiping in bed on something else. But they don’t just set you up. If you consistently struggle to have a meaningful relationship, they help you iron out the kinks.

“I help singles have greater dating success by analysing the challenges that are preventing them from becoming attached. This includes identifying the signals they’re receiving, understanding the signals they’re giving, securing a date and progressing from that first date,” she explains.

And much like friends, they lend a listening ear and counsel, but perhaps more objectively.

“Being a dating coach requires a bond of trust with the client. The coach must actively listen, and the coachee must feel actively listened to. People come to us because they have no one else to turn to—they’re lonely and want to change this state of being. Many of our clients struggle with loving themselves, which is needed in order to accept love from others, so I also act a mentor and even counsellor to them.”

But they’re not magicians

There are a couple of misconceptions about dating coaches and their work. For example, much as they can change the quality of your next date, they can’t guarantee chemistry.

“Many people believe that we have magic wands—that we can make other people fall in love with them. Of course, this isn’t the case. Much of what we do is guide clients to find the answers from within and, although this sounds easy, taking the first steps to be able to look at yourself honestly can be an emotional process,” says Angela. She points out that dating is a numbers game and that while some matches look perfect on paper, they may not hit it off in real life—something that is impossible for them to predict.

Another one is that because a dating agency is a business, they’d accept anyone as a member.

“We do not sign up clients who have very narrow preferences as it might be difficult for us to find them the right match. If this is the case, we tell them openly and we will not accept their money.”

And much as Angela provides a service, she sees the benefits of using a dating app and has some advice if you’re planning to meet up with someone you’ve been talking to on it.

“Date different types of people to find out what type of guy you’re most compatible with. And if a date didn’t turn out well, don’t worry about it. Learn from it! There is usually something you can do better. You learn about yourself with every date, relationship and experience you go through.”