Availability is a common feature of many booking/scheduling software solutions.
The tricky thing about availability is that as soon as you set it, things change and it's no longer accurate. If it's not accurate it's not useful.
We built our availability functionality with freshness in mind; it allows for the inevitable and it encourages your cleaners to keep their availability fresh each week so it's useful.
Check out Cleanetto’s Fresh Availability feature.
How do I set up scheduling availability for my cleaners?
Here’s how it works: Admins or cleaners first set their “Gross Availability”. That is, generally, every week they are available on these days at these times. Availability can be in chunks of time during the day or the whole day. Different days during the week can have different availabilities.
Of course things come up, like doctors appointments, getting sick, having to take care of family members and so on. Rather than having to keep a mental note that this cleaner can’t work on this day, we built Exceptions. For these “exceptions” each cleaner or admin can add an “exception”. Exceptions can span a small amount of time in a single day (like when they have a doctors appointment) or multiple days (like when they go on vacation). Exceptions can be edited and deleted.
The final component of knowing a cleaner’s true availability (what we call “Net Availability”) is what she is already assigned to. In other words to know if Margarita will be available on Monday, August 27 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm we need to know if she works that day at that time (Gross Availability), if she hasn’t told us she has an appointment or other conflict at that time (Exceptions), and if she is not already assigned to a booking on that day/time.
For the mathematically-inclined: Net Availability = Gross Availability - Exceptions - Bookings
Using Availability Information
You can query the system for the Net Availability for a cleaner right within the “Availability” tab of her profile this enables you to have the visibility needed for proper scheduling.
In the Assignment page, when you select a cleaner and an arrival time, the “Conflicts” card will show any conflicts as well as any Availability Exceptions, so you can see if a cleaner is unavailable to be assigned to a booking because of an availability exception.
What this means for you
Happier employees: A small step towards employee satisfaction is allowing them to control their schedules. When employees can have flexibility and an ability to prioritize their schedules they are more likely to experience higher levels of satisfaction and stay with an employer longer.
Time savings: Imagine how long it takes to get in touch with someone, wait to see if they are available and then the effort required to go back and find the time that works best for the client and the cleaner. It’s so much more efficient for everyone to have that built into the system and avoid back and forth between the client and cleaner.
More bookings: When time is saved on scheduling that means more time can be spent on billable hours. For one it is easier to book back to back cleanings when availability is clear and automated. Secondly, this makes things easier and faster for the client which will inevitably translate to more bookings.
ZenMaid touts “Simple Scheduling,” in their Google description we investigated to see if it holds up. (Read a full analysis of ZenMaid vs Cleanetto)
First off, there are many options. At first glance this can be a bit overwhelming. Do I need so many options and how will the options look in the app and for my cleaners?
The website itself, does not display a visual calendar, you will need to refer to the app for that. The site is geared towards owners and managers of the schedule, rather than enabling cleaners to adjust availability or exceptions this can mean out of date information being held up by the manager to enter the availability.
When opening the ZenMaid app and opening the calendar, you can view scheduled appointments and create new appointments, however managing availability of cleaners is not an option.
ZenMaid focuses on the granular details of each appointment and has many options for color coding appointments and checking in/out. Meanwhile, the big picture seems to be lost. Cleaners are not enabled to adjust their own schedules or scheduling exceptions, which could lead to last minute changes and unanticipated conflicts. The cleaner availability does not appear to clients.
No fresh availability for scheduling exists in ZenMaid. This is not scheduling made simple.
Launch27 calls itself “a powerful online booking system.” But does their system have easy to use fresh availability for its cleaners?
When opening Launch27 it was very easy to see how to create a booking and view the bookings dashboard. However, the booking system is dependent on cleaners approving/denying each booking. This system is much slower than fresh availability, which enables you to know in real time if the cleaner is available or not. Which translates to faster response to your clients and therefore getting paid faster. Who doesn’t like that?
Launch27 was created for multiple types of businesses, not just cleaning businesses. So they may not anticipate the same unique challenges that are prevalent with the cleaning industry, but use a generic scheduling system meant to accommodate many types of businesses. Additionally, this information does not appear visible to clients booking appointments.
This booking system is not the most powerful online booking system available for cleaning businesses. There is no use of fresh availability in the set of features and limited visibility from the client perspective.
BookingKoala is an online booking platform designed to help businesses across a variety of service-based industries manage internal operations from scheduling to acquiring clients through their marketplace. Cleanetto is made to "turn your cleaning business from interchangeable to indispensable".
Booking Koala has formulated an area where providers can update their availability. This is slightly hidden, under “Providers,” then “Manage Availability.” Whether it’s specifying one day off or changing availability by the minute, this option is permissible. When “requesting time off”, the default is for it to be approved, unless you block the provider from managing their own schedule.
Availability is indicated in green on the calendar, while unavailable days are indicated in orange or red if pending.
Additionally providers can change their default availability hours. This change in schedule also allows for a shift in bookings coverage, in the event that there is a booking on the schedule.
BookingKoala has a variety of scheduling options and functionality that allows for managers to see teams and/or individual availability. This works well when managing at a high or granular level. It’s easy to use, if you do not get lost in all of the options. It works from a management and employee, but does not have functionality setup from a client perspective. The client does not have a way to view live availability and book from the portal.
Overall, it handles scheduling and fresh availability well, whether having restrictions in place or making it easy for providers to control their own schedule. The only drawback is that it is not specific to the cleaning industry and may provide a generic feel, rather than a custom fit. Additionally, this may not be the best option from a client perspective.
Cleanetto's Fresh Availability feature is made for both internal and external use. Not only can your employees update their availability in real time, but clients can also view company and cleaner availability, freeing up back and forth communication to make one appointment. None of the competition can tout the same availability feature offered to their clients.
Cleanetto is also the only company that offers both reminders to its cleaners each week to make schedule updates and allows for scheduling exceptions. Not every week looks the same and that is certainly true of our cleaners. This makes Cleanetto's Fresh Availability feature most suitable to clients and cleaners.
So if you are looking for the fastest and easiest scheduling system built specifically for the cleaning industry, then there is only one choice, Cleanetto!