Best Practices For Scheduling Overnights And Boarding
In this article, we'll review best practices for scheduling overnight and boarding services.
IN THIS ARTICLE
The Do's & Don'ts Of Scheduling Overnight And Boarding Services
DO NOT: Schedule One Long Event
In Time To Pet, clients are invoiced based on the number of services they have scheduled and not the duration of the service. This is easy to understand when scheduling dog walking and pet sitting visits - if you have a client who works Monday through Friday and needs their dog walked once a day, you schedule five separate walks, one for each day of the week.
But when it comes to scheduling Overnights or Boarding services, some pet sitters expect to be able to schedule just one long event that starts on the first day and ends on the last day and have Time To Pet automatically calculate the cost based on that duration. However, scheduling this way will result in the client only being charged for one single Overnight or Boarding service.
DO: Schedule One Individual Event For Each Day/Night
To invoice the client correctly, you must schedule one separate event for each day you’ll be caring for the pet:
The easiest way to schedule multiple days of Overnights or Boarding services is by using the Trip Tool to schedule all of the events at one time instead of each event one by one. Here is our help doc on how to use this tool: Scheduling A Trip
Pro Tips For An Organized Schedule
If you provide 24-hour Boarding or Overnight services, you may find that having services scheduled for the entire 24 hours takes up too much space on the calendar and makes it difficult to view your daytime pet sitting and dog walking visits. To keep your schedule organized and less cluttered, some companies choose to put their Boarding and Overnights on the Scheduler only during the hours when they’re not doing other visits (even though they’ll be caring for the pets for the full day). For example, instead of scheduling each event with a 24-hour duration:
You may choose to schedule them with a shorter duration during the overnight hours only:
For larger companies with multiple staff members completing overnight and/or boarding services, the above method may still be a little too cluttered. Instead of scheduling your overnight and boarding services for the entire overnight duration, you could instead schedule them for 15-60 minute durations, one after another, at the bottom of each day's schedule:
Configuring Schedule Blocks For Overnight And Boarding Services
To make it easy for clients to request overnights or boarding through the portal, it's recommended that you set up a Schedule Block called "Overnight" or "Boarding" so that it's clear to clients which time frame they should select for their overnight or boarding request, and limit your overnight or boarding service to that Schedule Block so clients can't accidentally choose a different Schedule Block.
Blocking Overnight And Boarding Requests
If you are fully booked for overnight and/or boarding services and need to prevent more clients from requesting just those specific services for specific dates, you can do this by following the steps above to create a Schedule Block just for these services, then block them on the schedule following the steps in this help doc: Blocking Service Order Requests.
Requesting Drop Off And Pick Up Times
When it comes to boarding services, knowing your clients' pet drop-off and pick-up times is crucial. You can tailor the "Additional Details" text area at the bottom of the service request form to collect this specific information. By default, it's labeled as "Additional Details," but you have the flexibility to personalize both the title and description to request the specific information you need. For instance, you can create a customized "Drop-off & Pick-up Times" text area:
To customize this text area, navigate to Settings > Client Settings > Portal Settings, scroll down to the "Scheduling" section, and switch the "Customize Additional Details" setting to "Yes". You'll then see the customization options. Don't forget to save your change when you're done!
Creating Overnight Packages & Bundles
Some companies offer clients an overnight package/bundle that includes a specific number of daytime drop-in visits for a flat price. For example, you may offer a "Super Overnight Package" for $150 that includes an 8-hour overnight plus two 30-minute visits at no extra cost to the client. If you have staff, you may also need to ensure that they are paid for the free visits that aren't charged to the client.
Although achievable through the Packages tool in Time To Pet, we strongly advise against using it for this purpose. Using Packages would increase administrative effort for you and your clients. Each night of a reservation would require a separate invoice and service request due to the limitation of only one Package being attachable to any single service order/invoice.
Unfortunately, there isn't an automated way to schedule (or have clients request) these types of bundles, but we do have a few tips on how you can manage this in Time To Pet.
Method One: Cost Split Between Services
This is the simplest of the three methods as it doesn't require anything special in regard to generating pay stubs or moving services between service orders/invoices.
- Decide on the total cost of your bundle.
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 8-Hour Overnight Service" and set the cost to a fraction of the total bundle cost (for example, if the total bundle costs $150, you may set the overnight service to $100). Set the staff pay rate to either a percentage or a flat dollar amount.
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 30-Minute Visit" and set the cost to half of the remaining amount of the bundle (for example, if the overnight is $100, there is $50 left to be split between two visits, so this service should be priced at $25). Set the staff pay rate to either a percentage or a flat dollar amount.
You can then schedule the services as needed, and clients can request these services in the Schedule Blocks they want them to take place in as well. You won't need to remember to do anything special when generating pay stubs, and you don't need to move any services to a "Not Invoiced" service order.
Method Two: Overnight Carries The Cost And Daytime Visits Are Invoiced
In this method, only the overnight service is charged to the client, and the daytime visits are invoiced at $0.
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 8-Hour Overnight Service" and set the total cost the client should pay for the bundle. Set the staff pay to either a percentage or a flat rate.
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 30-Minute Visit" and set the cost to $0. Set the staff pay rate to a flat dollar amount (a percentage won't work with this method).
You can then schedule the services as needed, and clients can request these services in the Schedule Blocks they want them to take place in as well.
With this method, when generating pay stubs for staff, you'll want to make sure to check the option to include "Flat Rate Staff On $0 Services" to ensure the staff member(s) who complete the daytime visits are paid correctly.
Tip: You can configure your pay stub settings to have this option checked by default in Settings > Staff Settings.
Note: If you have other services that are $0 to the client and you do not want staff paid for those services, this method is not the best solution for you. Using this method would result in staff being paid for those services by default, thereby requiring you to manually edit and remove their pay for those services every time you generate a pay stub.
Method Three: Overnight Carries Cost And Daytime Visits Are NOT Invoiced
If you have other services that aren't charged to the client and you do not want staff to be paid for them, Method One (above) wouldn't be the best option for you since you would need to check the option to pay staff for $0 services. Instead, you can do the following:
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 8-Hour Overnight Service" and set the total cost the client should pay. Set the staff pay rate to either a percentage or a flat dollar amount.
- Create one service called "Super Overnight Bundle: 30-Minute Visit" and set the cost to $0.01. Set the staff pay rate to a flat dollar amount (a percentage won't work with this method).
You will then schedule the Overnight services on a regular invoice/service order, but you'll schedule the daytime visits separately on a "Not Invoiced" service order. This way, the client isn't charged for the midday visits, but they also aren't considered $0 services. So, you can leave the "Flat Rate Staff On $0 Services" option unchecked when generating pay stubs, and staff will receive their flat rate pay for the visits.
For clients to request this service, they can either:
- Request only the Overnight services, and you manually schedule the daytime visits on a "Not Invoiced" service order. Or
- Request the Overnight services and daytime visits, and you manually move the daytime visits to a "Not Invoiced" service order.