Schedule Blocks

Using the Client Portal or the Client App, your customers can request service appointments which significantly cuts down on the number of emails and phone calls you have to handle. However, If customers were able to request appointments at any time on any day, it could quickly get out of hand. As the business owner, you should be in control of your schedule, not your customers.

This is where Schedule Blocks come in. Schedule blocks allow you to specify pre-defined periods of time on a day-by-day basis that your customers can then choose from when requesting services. Instead of selecting a visit at 7 am, your clients can select a visit in the Early Morning schedule block. This allows you to control what times and days you are available.

Check out a short video from our Onboarding Team on the Schedule Blocks Settings!

When clients are requesting visits in the Client Portal or the Client App, they will only be able to select one of your schedule blocks. This gives you and your time more flexibility when you are approving and completing each event.

Web portal view of client service request form

Accessing Schedule Blocks

  1. Login to your Dashboard.
  2. Using the sidebar navigation select “Settings”.
  3. Look for the "Schedule Blocks" section in Client Settings.

Schedule Blocks page in client settings

Creating A Schedule Block

Your Time To Pet system comes pre-populated with a default set of scheduled blocks. As each business is unique, you will more than likely need to adjust these to fit your schedule and availability. Here are the instructions on how to create new schedule blocks. We will include information on how to adjust existing schedule blocks in the Updating A Schedule Block section below.

  1. Click on any empty space in the calendar.
  2. A popup window will appear with a form to create the new schedule block. Modify the fields (descriptions of the fields immediately below) and click the button labeled “Save Block” to finish creating your schedule block. 

    Create Time Block pop up window

Schedule Block Form Fields

Title: The name of this block. This will be visible to your customer when they are requesting services.

Block Time: The start and end time for this block. This can be as short or long as your desire.

Repeat On: Which days of the week the schedule block should occur on. You must select at least one day. This means that if you select “Mon, Tue, Wed” customers could then only select this time block if they are requesting a service on those days of the week.

Tip: You can also specify the start and end time of the schedule block by dragging before letting go of your mouse button when clicking on an open space in the calendar.

gif showing how to click and drag to create a new series of schedule blocks

Updating A Schedule Block

The details of a schedule block can be updated and modified at any time. You can change the title, the start and end time, and change which days of the week it is available.

  1. Click on the schedule block you wish to modify. If the schedule block is on multiple days, you can click on any one of them; it doesn’t matter which one.
  2. The exact same form that you use to create the block will appear, except the fields will be populated with your schedule block details.
  3. Make any modifications and click the button labeled “Save Block”. If you make changes but do not wish to save them, simply click the “X” in the top right corner of the popup window.

Deleting A Schedule Block

Schedule blocks can also be deleted. Deleting a schedule block will completely remove it from every day that was previously available (if instead you simply want to change which days an existing block is available, update It instead).

  1. Click on the schedule block you wish to modify. If the schedule block is on multiple days, you can click on any one of them; it doesn’t matter which one.
  2. The form popup window will appear just like when you are updating the block.
  3. Click the red button labeled “Delete Block”. Your schedule block should now be deleted.

If all Schedule Blocks are deleted, a warning will be shown in Client Settings - Schedule Blocks as well as at the top of the Services List that clients are not able to schedule services. This warning is shown to Admins, and clients will be shown "No Times Available" if they try and schedule services when all Schedule Blocks have been deleted. 

Show Exact Time To Clients?

Image of the hide exact times feature at the bottom of the schedule blocks screen

When Hide Exact Times From Clients is enabled, Time To Pet will not show clients the exact time their visits have been approved for. For example, a client who selects the "Morning" schedule block from 10 am-12 pm and has a visit approved for 10-10:30 am will only see "Morning" on their schedule and will not see that their visit is scheduled on the admin calendar from 10-10:30 am. 

Each scheduled event will also include a “Client Time Display” field that can be customized on an event-by-event basis by admins when scheduling on behalf of the client. When a client requests their own services, the “Client Time Display” field will be populated with the schedule block name (for example, "Morning"). If exact times are hidden, you can also set "Auto Client Time Display" rules that will automatically set the Client Time Display for events scheduled by an admin or office manager on the client's behalf. 

Notes: The Client Time Display of an event will populate in the "Description" column of the invoice for that event. Check out Client Time Displays And Invoice Descriptions for more information.

When enabling "hide exact times" and creating custom client time displays, only newly scheduled events will include the new time displays. Template services and pre-existing events that were manually scheduled must be manually updated to include a client time display. However, events that clients requested will automatically include the name of the Schedule Block they were requested in, even if they were scheduled before hiding exact times.

Understanding Exact v. In-Exact Times

Many pet-sitting companies do not want to promise exact times to their clients. The reality is, it is nearly impossible to make an exact appointment time due to traffic, emergencies, and unexpected events. Fortunately, Time To Pet allows you to hide the exact scheduled time of an event from clients and instead show them a descriptive time, i.e., “Early Evening”.

When “Hide Exact Times From Client” is checked, a new field will appear on the scheduled event edit form called “Client Time Display”. This field allows us to specify a time that will be displayed to the client (other than the exact time). For example, “Evening” or “Morning” instead of 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM.

Edit event form on a service with an arrow pointing to the client time display box

If a client requested this event through their Client Portal, the “Client Time Display” will automatically be updated with the name of the Schedule Block. If we are scheduling this service ourselves, we need to set the “Client Time Display”. You can set it manually for each event, or you can configure the scheduler to automatically populate the value based on the time of the event.

Let's walk through an example:

Say you need to schedule an event for John Doe at 8:30 AM. We have “Hide Exact Times From Client” enabled. When we schedule the event, the “Client Display Time” will be empty, so we will have to manually change it to “Morning”.

If, however, we created an Auto Client Time Display with the name “Morning” and a start time of 7 AM and an end time of 11 AM, when we scheduled that event for John Doe at 8:30 AM, the “Client Display Time” will have automatically been set to “Morning”.

Auto time display with red arrow pointing to a morning time display set for 7am to 11am

What The Client Sees

If “Hide Exact Times” is disabled, the client will see a calendar with events having exact times and duration similar to the calendar on your scheduler. If “Hide Exact Times” is enabled, they will simply see an agenda with each event having only the descriptive time i.e. “Early Morning”.

The screenshots below should better illustrate the differences:

When “Hide Exact Times” is enabled, the client will simply see an agenda view.

Image of client agenda view in the client portal when hide exact times is enabled

When “Hide Exact Times” is disabled, the client will see a calendar.

Image of client's schedule in the client portal when hide exact times is disabled

When “Hide Exact Times” is enabled, the client will not see a time range for the schedule block.

Image of client service request form with hide exact times enabled showing schedule blocks with only names of blocks

When “Hide Exact Times” is disabled, the client will see times listed next to the schedule blocks. 

Image of client service request form with hide exact times disabled showing schedule blocks with names and times of blocks

Note: If you want your clients to be able to see timeframes when selecting their preferred Schedule Block and you have Hide Exact Times enabled, make sure to add the timeframe into the Title of the block. This will allow clients to see a time frame of when their event will happen without showing the exact time you have scheduled it for. 

pop up window to update time block showing how to add the time frame into the title of the block

Image of schedule blocks showing time frame included in the name of the block

Limit Services to Specific Schedule Blocks

In order to simplify the process of service order requests, you do have the ability to limit services to specific schedule blocks. For example - you may want your "Boarding" service to only be available in the "Overnight" Schedule Block. You can customize what schedule blocks a service can be requested by editing your service in the Services List.

When editing a service, look for the "Scheduling" tab.

Service setup - scheduling tab

You can create services that have no limits.

Service scheduling tab - drop down menu for limiting service to a schedule block

You can also have your services limited to certain schedule blocks.

Week View of  all schedule blocks with check boxes for limiting service to the schedule block

When clients request a service that is limited to a specific schedule block(s), they will only be able to select that block. All other blocks will be greyed out.

service request screen in the mobile app with schedule blocks greyed out and marked as not available

A Special Note For Companies Who Schedule In Time Frames

Time To Pet utilizes a hybrid approach to scheduling with Schedule Blocks and exact times. On the client side, customers have to select a Schedule Block to request services; they can not select exact times. However, on the admin side, we use a real calendar to schedule events. This is very similar to a Google calendar setup. This makes it a little easier for an Admin team to schedule events in the order they want them completed while still keeping the flexibility of the Schedule Blocks. For example, if there are three clients in the 9 am-12 pm Schedule Block, an Admin can set them to start at 9:01 am, 9:02 am, and 9:03 am so they can suggest the order they should be completed to the staff member.

Note: You can enable the ability to show schedule blocks to staff by hiding exact times to clients in Settings > Client Settings > Schedule Blocks, creating custom “Client Time Displays”, then making the Client Time Display visible in the app in Settings > Mobile App > Field Visibility.

For companies who schedule in Time Frames, Time To Pet makes this possible by setting up Schedule Blocks to mirror Service durations. For example, if your company schedules clients anytime between 9 am-12 pm, 12 pm-3 pm, and 3 pm-6 pm, you can set your Schedule Blocks from 9 am-12 pm, 12 pm-3 pm, and 3 pm-6 pm and the duration of your services in your Services List to 3 hours. When scheduling for clients or when clients are requesting services, the default duration will be three hours, filling that selected Schedule Block and reflecting to staff that events can be completed within those three hours. Keep in mind that you can also set the Mobile App Timer to reflect how long the service should actually last in the staff mobile app.

Sample Schedule Block Configuration:

View of Sample Schedule Block Setup

Service Setup: 

Service with a duration of 3 hours and the mobile app timer set to 30 minutes. 

View of Service With 30 Minute Duration

Admin Scheduling For A Client: 

The 30-minute Dog Sitting service has a 3-hour duration set, when scheduling for a client, the “When” fields default to 3 hours. 

View of Adding an Event

Client View:

Time To Pet also offers “Hide Exact Times” if you prefer not to display Schedule Block times to clients. In this example, the Hide Exact Times feature is not enabled. Because the Schedule Blocks are set to three hours, the clients will be able to select a 3-hour time frame when requesting their services. 

Client web portal view of service request form


Q: How can I make it so that staff sees the Client Time Display for a service?

You can have the Client Time Display visible in the mobile app by adding it as one of the visible fields. This can be configured in Settings > Mobile App Settings > Field Visibility Tab. When this is set, they are able to see the time display labels (Morning, Afternoon, Evening, etc.). 

Mobile app - Staff schedule screen with an event's time shown to client to client field

If you'd like for the time frames to be visible, you'd have to adjust the client time display label in your schedule block settings. For example, instead of using "Evening" as the label, you'd set the label as "Evening 5:00 PM-7:00 PM". Just be aware this would also be visible to the clients.

Auto time display titles and configurations with time frames included

Q: If a client would client would like to schedule services for a specific time, how would they request this?

If clients need services scheduled for a specific time, they can add this information using the "Additional Details" field shown with the service request form.

Q: How do I make it easier for clients to request Overnight service for the duration/time frame of the service? 

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. There is also the option to Limit The Overnight Service To The Overnight Schedule Block, which would automatically schedule Overnight services in the appropriate schedule block.

client request form with overnight schedule block checked off and highlighted blue

Q: Is there a way for the Auto Time Display to be linked to the requested schedule block for the event? 

If you'd like your client time displays to mirror the schedule blocks you have configured, you'd create automatic time displays with similar details to your schedule blocks. The automatic time displays can be configured within your Schedule Block Settings and under the "Show Exact Time to Clients?" section. For example, you have a schedule block titled "Evening" for 5:00-7:00 PM, and you'd create an Auto Time Display titled "Evening" and the time frame set for 5:00-7:00 PM.

Q: When a client tries to select a schedule block, it is grayed out, and they cannot select it. I don’t have a request block set for this time or date. What may be the issue?

There is a chance you have your services limited to specific Schedule Blocks. Here is a help doc on how to check this: Limiting Services to Specific Schedule Blocks.

Q: Can I select from my Schedule Blocks when scheduling?

Schedule Blocks cannot be selected when creating events on the scheduler. If your company prefers to schedule events in time frames similar to your schedule blocks, you can refer to the Special Note for Companies Who Schedule In Time Frames for more information.

Q: Does removing or editing an Auto Time Display affect the Schedule Blocks?

The Schedule Blocks and the Auto Time Display are related in some ways but do operate independently from each other. For example, changing a time frame or name of an Auto Time Display does not change the details for any corresponding Schedule Blocks.

Q: What happens when a service is scheduled at a time frame where I don’t have a Schedule Block or Auto Time Display configured?

When the start time for the services occurs where there is no schedule block or time display for that time, it stays as the last time display that was chosen. The solution for events that are scheduled outside of the configured Schedule Blocks or Auto Client Time Displays would be to create a time display that includes those time frames, and this display will populate the client time display field when scheduling.

Q: What happens when there is only one Schedule Block configured for a day?

If only one Schedule Block exists on a particular day, it will automatically be checked when requesting services since it’s the only Schedule Block available. If you create more Schedule Blocks on those days, nothing will be automatically selected since there will then be more than one option to choose from.

Q: Where does the Client Time Display appear in the client portal and client app?

The Client Time Display appears with scheduled events in the client web portal and mobile app. The Client Time Display also appears within the “DESCRIPTION” column of the invoice for an event. Here is our help doc on this: Client Time Displays And Invoice Descriptions.

Next Help Article: General Staff Settings

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