I’m a tutor, going from house to house. I’d like to offer online scheduling to my students and their families, but I haven’t found any options that take varying transit times into account.
For instance–let’s say I have three students: Erica, Joe, and Paul. Erica has already scheduled. It’s 30 minutes from Erica to Joe, but it’s 45 minutes from Erica to Paul. Suppose Erica sees me on Tuesdays, 3:30–5:00 pm. I’d love to find online scheduling that would offer Joe an opening at 3:30, but that would offer Paul a time at 3:45 pm.
I realize this is a somewhat specialized question, but I don’t know whom to ask about this topic. I’ve posted a similar question on stackoverflow, but I thought that maybe the collective genius of the Dope might be able to help.
Many such tools exist. The problem is that most of them are vast overkill for you because they are tailored towards large operations and very expensive.
However, there are some out there that are very reasonably priced for a monthly fee for everything. The general category of software that you are looking for is “online dispatch software” and “online service management software”. There are many available on Google but, again, many of them are huge overkill for you. There is a one general purpose online application that looks promising called kickserv. You will have to look at it and talk to them to see if it can meet your needs but it is in the ballpark and there are others if they don’t.
Your problem is fairly easy to solve through a custom solution for any competent web developer but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you want to have a sideline in minor league software development and maintenance. That is perfectly possible but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are interested in managing and maintaining such things.
Housecall Pro may be worth checking out as well.
Thanks, Shagnasty! I had no idea Kickserv even existed. I’ve sent them an email, to see if their online scheduling is what I’m looking for. Fingers crossed!
I had a phone call/demo with HouseCall Pro earlier this morning. They’re not really what I need, but it might be on the right track. They’re changing a few things in early September, so I’ll check back then. I’ve put in a request to Capterra, in hopes that they’ll be able to find the right software for my needs. But, in the meantime, in case anyone has any suggestions–
I’m looking for online scheduling software that can estimate travel time between customers who’ve already scheduled and customers trying to schedule. The software would then use that estimated travel time to come up with openings specific to each customer.
For example–suppose we take a look at the three students I mentioned in the OP: Erica, Joe, and Paul. Erica is already scheduled for Tuesdays, 3:30–5:00 pm.
When Paul tries to schedule, the online scheduling software plugs his address and Erica’s address into Google Maps. (The scheduling software also looks at other possible openings. It would therefore also find the travel time between Paul and other people before or after whom there’s an opening.) Let’s say the estimated transit time between Erica and Paul turns out to be 22 minutes. The scheduling software then applies the rules I’ve made for adding extra time and offering openings:
For all transit times of zero to 15 minutes, allow 30 minutes total between appointments.
For all transit times of 16 to 25 minutes, allow 45 minutes total between appointments.
For all transit times of 26 to 35 minutes, allow an hour total between appointments. But offer those appointments only if they’d be the first or last in the day.
For all transit times greater than 35 minutes, don’t offer the opening.
Since Paul’s transit time is 22 minutes, and Erica’s done at 5:00 pm on Tuesdays, the scheduling software offers him a time of 5:45 pm on Tuesdays. The scheduling software would also give him other permissible scheduling options, if any exist. Paul would then pick a time, click on it, confirm, and be done. It would be nice if the software could automatically send him a text and email to confirm, but it’s not really necessary.
If I think of it while I’m at work I’ll see if I can find the software my boss uses to schedule certifications. Our start times are all the same, but you select the project, it returns only time slots that have availability of the two people who need to be there to certify them (and this varies on how involved those potential certifiers are with that particular state.) The program knows that if Joe is from Maine he can only be offered slots for times when Suzy and Shane are available to conduct the certification, not times when Brenda and Mark or Terry and Pat are.
In your case, you’d have them select a transit time instead of a state. This would involve them using google maps to figure the transit time out, but hopefully they could manage if you make the directions clear - like if it’s 25 minutes, round up etc.
She said it’s called Full Slate.