Product Update

Making Service Ordering Quicker Than Ever

One of the most common interactions users make with At The Yard is ordering an ad-hoc service from their livery yard.

This is great for liveries. By making it quick and easy to order additional services they can make the order as they think of it. No more forgetting to write it a book when you get down the yard like the old days. It’s also great for the livery yard. The easier it is for their customers to order extra services, the more they’ll do so and so the more revenue the yard makes! We think this is a pretty great win win all round!

So! With this in mind we’ve been polishing and refining the ordering process to make it easier than ever. To do this we made 2 small changes to how the ordering process works:

  1. It now defaults to opening the one-off ordering screen. This is the most common type of order and so it makes sense to show it first (you can always click a button to jump over to the recurring ordering screen).

  2. It now shows the ‘week style’ order screen first as it’s generally easier to click on a day than choose a specific date from a calendar. It also means if you need help for a few days in a row you can do it in one order rather than many.

With these changes (and a bunch of little others like improving the day selection checkboxes to make them easier to select) we’ve got the number of clicks for an average service order down from 9 to 5 (if our counting is right). This is not only quicker but it has simplified the whole process as well.

Sounds good, but seeing is believing! So take a look at old and new side by side and get a feel for how much quicker and easier it really is.

Out with the old!

Out with the old!

In with the new!

In with the new!

We hope you all agree that it’s a significant improvement.

This update is the latest in our ongoing series of refinement and polishing updates. These improve the day to day experience of using At The Yard. We’re having a great time making them and believe the cumulative results will lead to real benefits for our users over time.

So, if you have any suggestions for any little tweaks or improvements to a feature, please get in touch and let us know!

Lots of Little Updates

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This week, rather than bring you one big update of an existing feature or something brand new, we’ve launched lots of little updates and tweaks to existing features in At The Yard.

Charges Filtering

We’ve always had the ability to filter charges by date and by a specific ID. We’ve updated this to remove the ID filtering (it was never used) and add the ability to filter by description. This means you can now filter charges by a particular service (e.g. a Lesson).

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We’ve also added a total of the charges at the bottom. Meaning you can now choose a service and see the total income for a chosen time frame!

User Calendar Navigation

The user calendar is present on the front screen of every users page. We’ve updated this so that users can travel forward and backwards in time to see what’s going (or has been going) on. They’ll see their services, bookings as well as the public service and bookings of other users.

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There’s also a small update on it’s design. We now only show a week (as you can navigate through) so it uses less space and it now automatically increases/decreases in size to show all the calendar items present without having to go to another page. Finally depending on the view it’ll automatically enlarge todays forecast.

User Creation

When creating a user in At The Yard you had two methods:

1. Invite a user. This sent them an email with which they could sign up and enter their details. Once setup you could then start configuring their subscriptions etc.

2. Create a non login user. This would create a user who couldn’t log in but would allow you to instantly start configuring them. Once setup you could then later allow them to login, at which time they’d receive an email with instructions as to how to login.

These are still both present but we’ve added a third!

Create a Login User. This allows you to create a user who will instantly receive an email with instructions as to how to login whilst also allowing you to instantly start configuring their account.

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As part of this addition we’ve made a new menu which explains the various options and allows you to easily select them.

This should reduce any confusion that previously existed and add extra options to yard owners!

Create All Invoices

The create all invoice button allows you to automatically create invoices for all customers who have an outstanding debt. Previously when you did this you had no choice but to send an email. Today we’ve added an additional option which allows you to create the invoices without sending emails.

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That’s all for now!

There are a few extra little tweaks here and there (but they’re not too exciting so we’ll spare you the details). As always we’re working on new features and look forward to being back with more soon - in the meantime enjoy the little tweaks and small additions.

Published Calendars

It’s #FeatureFocusFriday again and this week we’re pleased to be launching another new feature for all our users.

We’re introducing Published Calendars. With published calendars you can choose a subset of your Facilities and Services to put on a calendar that can be embed’ed on your own website, available for everyone to see, no login required!

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This feature goes even further than last weeks’ Yard Wide Display by letting prospective customers (not yet registered in the system) to see availability and also get a general idea of what’s going on at the yard.

It can also be used for large format displays in common areas, tack rooms etc. to keep everyone in the loop and aware of what’s going on at your yard/equestrian centre (please send us photos if you do this 😁).

To help get you up and running we’ve put together a screencast showing you how to configure a new published calendar. Then we show you how to embed it in Squarespace and Wordpress. You can of course use other platforms as well and if you need help please let us know.

Check it out below

As with many of our new features this comes from discussion with our customers. If you have any feedback of existing features or would like to suggest new ones we’re always happy to hear them! Drop us a message on the contact form on our home page!

Enjoy your weekend!

Yard Wide Display of Orders and Bookings

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For certain services and facilities you want all your customers to be informed when ever a new order or booking is made. To make this possible, this #FeatureFocusFriday, we’re introducing Yard Wide Display of Orders and Bookings.

To setup yard wide display (also known as public display) you need to go to the Admin tab and click ‘Services' or ‘Bookings’, click Edit or Create. On the form that loads scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a check box ending in ‘to all users?’.

Configuring a service

Configuring a service

Configuring a facility

Configuring a facility

When you check this checkbox, whenever a booking or order/subscription is made for the facility/service it’ll be displayed on each users individual calendar on their front page.

Like their own calendar entries the type will be denoted by it’s colour in accordance to the key. New with this feature, in the case of a public event it’ll be denoted with a 📍either side of the entry.

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When you click on a calendar entry it’ll load the usual detailed view. In the case of a public entry it’ll also display an additional line letting you know who’s made the booking or order.

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This feature helps in providing transparency and increased communication for your customers. If you need any help setting up your public services or facilities please feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

As with many of our new features this comes from discussion with one of our customers. If you have any feedback of existing features or would like to suggest new ones we’re always happy to hear from customers (both existing and prospective 😀)!

Invoice Grouping

We’ve got a small update to the invoicing system on this #FeatureFocusFriday. It allows you to customise how you want to group similar charges made by a user when creating an invoice.

First let us take a look at an example where a customer has purchased multiple of the same supplement on different days. In the first image below we have the default grouping options which separates the purchases out by date.

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In the next image (below) we have adjusted the grouping options so that it ignores the date. This means that all purchases of the same type and with the same details will be grouped together. As a side effect of a larger group you’ll see a date range in which the all the charges were made.

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To change the settings all you need to do is click the Grouping Options button when creating a new invoice. You’ll then be able to check/uncheck the options you wish to exclude.

For example, if you want to exclude different dates as a distinguishing factor for your groups you would simply check ‘Date of charge’, if you want it included you uncheck it.

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As always, if you find yourself needing additional options let us know and we’ll add more as needed.

Enjoy your #FeatureFocusFriday!

Third Party Payment Requests

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It’s common for yards to look after a horse on behalf of the owner when the Vet, Farrier, Equine Dentist etc. comes to the yard. This is an essential service for owners who work full time and might not be able to get to the yard themselves.

When it comes to paying it’s simple when it’s a large business (like a veterinary practice) they just add it onto the owners account and have their finance department keep track. But when it’s a smaller supplier typically 1 of 3 things happens:

  1. The supplier bills the yard and then the yard recharges it to the owner.

  2. The supplier sends the bill to the owner (text/email/etc) and the owners pays them directly.

  3. The supplier asks you to give the bill to the owner.

Option 1 ensures the supplier is paid in full and on time (which keeps them happy) but mean’s you’re having to use the yard’s money, not only tying up capital but should the owner decide not to pay making you the one out of pocket.

Secondly when you recharge the owner it’ll count as an income from an accounting point of view (even though there’ll be an equal expense to cancel it out). Whilst this shouldn’t increase your tax bill can push you towards the VAT registration threshold (we wrote a blog post around this subject last year - https://www.attheyard.co.uk/blog/2018/5/11/the-future-of-vat-and-livery-yards). Many yards wish to stay under this threshold and certainly wouldn’t want to be pushed into it based on ‘recharged’ services where there is no upside for them.

Option 2 takes all the burden off of you but comes with other issues. You can end up being in the middle of a supplier and owner who’s paid late or not at all. In the worst cases this can sour the relationship between the yard and the supplier - something nobody wants to happen.

All this whilst being out of the loop of what’s going on and unable to step in and defuse the issue before it becomes critical. It’s the simpler option but perhaps not the most effective…

Option 3 is a middle ground. The yard would act as an intermediate, receiving the requests for payment and passing them onto the owner, who can then pay the supplier directly.

You can keep informed whilst never being out of pocket, the only real downside is it means more admin work.

What At The Yard CAn Do To Help

After considering all the options, and talking to our customers, option 3 looks to be the best approach and so, today, we are introducing Third Party Payment Requests into At The Yard.

With Third Party Payment Requests in At The Yard you get all the benefits of acting as an intermediate with none of the downsides. We’ll help you keep track of everything and keep the admin to a minimum.

All you need to do is enter the requests from the supplier into At The Yard when they give them to you. Once done the owner gets a notification of the request and can go ahead and pay it (and let you know). This way you can stay on top of everything - with At The Yard automatically showing you who has outstanding bills so you can give them a friendly prompt and keep relations between the yard, owners and suppliers in tip top shape!

How?

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As always, all current subscribers to At The Yard have already received this update.

As a manager user go to the manager tab and click payment requests. From here you can start adding requests for payments on behalf of the suppliers.

P.S. If you've stumbled across this page and have your own livery yard we'd love to show you more of At The Yard. Please visit our contact page and get in touch.


Composite Bookings

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Over the last year we’ve seen our customers starting to use the booking system in At The Yard to schedule riding lessons. To make this easier we’ve been periodically adding features to make using it for this scenario more effective. One example of this development is the Request system we implemented a while ago which allows a user to request a booking and for you to approve, deny or suggest an alternative.

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When booking a riding lesson you also need to ensure that another facility (such as the outdoor school) is available at the same time (it’s not much good having a lesson if you’ve got nowhere to ride). Until now you’ve had to manually do this process, either by booking it before approving the request or by asking your customer to also request/book the necessary facilities when booking the lesson.

Whilst this has worked, it’s been an area that we’ve wanted to improve for a while. We want customers to just book the lesson and have all the dependencies booked automatically at the same time.

To make this possible we are today releasing the a feature called Composite Bookings.

Composite Bookings

An example needing the school and an instructor.

An example needing the school and an instructor.

Composite Bookings, literally meaning bookings made up of several parts, takes away the extra steps that have been involved in booking a lesson up-to now. It supports the ability to have multiple dependencies (e.g you can require the outdoor school and also for an instructor to be accessible) or simply just one dependency (e.g like a school in our original example).

Once setup, however simple or complicated your dependencies, it’ll automatically book everything needed. Your customers simply need to book the one thing they care about. In this case, the lesson!

Setting up the facilities dependancies

You cannot have loops in your dependency between ‘Facilities’.

You cannot have loops in your dependency between ‘Facilities’.

This setup process only needs to be done once by the yard admin. It’ll define the relationships between different facilities. Each facility can be involved in multiple dependency chains (e.g. Both Lesson with Instructor #1 & Lesson with Instructor #2 can both depend on the Indoor School being free). The one restriction that we impose is that you cannot have loops in your dependencies (as show in the diagram) - but don't worry it’ll let you know if you try and form a loop.

To start the setup process go to Admin -> Facilities Note: You’ll need to create all your facilities before creating the dependancies. To setup the dependancies for a facility, click on Edit for the respective facility. On the dialog which opens, scroll down to the Dependant Facility section. To add a dependancy click on the Green + button. You can then select the dependancies for this facility (shown in the diagram below for our example “Lesson with Instructor Number 1”). This can be repeated as many times as necessary.

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Once you’ve finished choosing the dependancies click on Update Facility. This will set your dependancies and from then on, in our example, any bookings for “Lesson with Instructor Number 1” will automatically make a corresponding booking for the School and for Instructor #1.

Making a Composite Booking as a Customer

An overview of all the bookings made, including the automatic ones made as a result of the defined dependancies.

An overview of all the bookings made, including the automatic ones made as a result of the defined dependancies.

The process of making a composite booking as a customer/member/livery is exactly the same as they’re already used to. They just go to the booking screen, select what they want, choose a time and then click on book. The difference is it’ll book all the other required facilities at the same time.

This result is shown in the diagram on the right/above. You’ll note that there is no Cancel Booking on the automatically made bookings. They’ll be removed automatically if/when the Cancel Booking button is pressed on the primary booking (in this case Lesson with Instructor #1).

A Note On Terminology

Reading this post you’ll notice that there are a few ‘inconsistencies’ in the way we use the term Facility(ies). For example whilst a Lesson would more logically be called a service we’re still calling it a facility. This discrepancy occurs because within At The Yard Services are typically date based (e.g. booking for a muck out for a date or a selection of dates) where as Facilities are time based (e.g. you have slots available to book and they select time from those slots). This discrepancy won’t cause issues for your users but we thought we’d note it here to remove any confusion that may arise when setting up.

What’s Next?

The next enhancements to the booking system will be attaching a ‘booking schedule’ to each horse. This means you’ll also be able to ensure that the horse they’ll be using for a lesson will be available at the same time as a lesson. This is great for facilities which have horses available to use as part of a customers membership.

Check back soon for more updates or follow us on Facebook where we post notifications of updates to At The Yard.

Track Staff Working Hours & Generating Time Sheets

Running a yard requires a team of people to make it a success. This means you'll likely be hiring regular staff, bringing in helpers or using freelancers to help with the day to day running of the yard.

To help make life easier we’ve introduced tools into At The Yard to help you and your staff keep track of the hours they work. This makes it quicker and easier to pay them (which is great for both you and them) whilst ensuring the amounts are accurate and fair.

In the rest of this article we’re going to take a look at how to use this new feature.

Contents

Tracking Hours as a Staff Member

You can access the staff work recording area by clicking on the Staff Menu and clicking on Record Work. You’ll be greeted with the page shown below. You can enter your worked hours and review your previous hours.

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Entering Hours

The left hand side of the screen is dedicated to entering your hours. Staff can do this at the end of the day and can enter multiple times at once by clicking the green + button (this is great if they take a break for lunch etc). When they’ve entered all their work hours for the day all they need to do is click Record and the hours will be saved.

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reviewing Hours

Once you’ve entered your worked hours you’ll see them on the right hand side of the screen. There is also a label to let you know if it’s been approved by your yard manager or not. When they approve the hours this will be updated.

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Managing Staffs Hours & Pay Rates as a Yard Manager

Setting Staff Pay Rates

In the menu click on Admin and Edit Staff Rates. This will bring you to the Staff Pay Rates section where you can review your current staff pay rates and create new ones. The rate set at the time a staff member records their hours will be used to automatically calculate the total pay owed to them. Because of this it’s important to set up your staff with the correct pay rate before they record any hours.

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To create a new Staff Pay Rate click on New Staff Pay Rate and it’ll open a new dialog. In the dialog you can choose the staff member and set their rate. When you’re ready click Submit and it’ll be ready to go.

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Reviewing Staff Hours worked

Click on Admin and Review Staff Hours. This will bring you to the staff hours review page. Here you can record additional hours on behalf of staff members (useful if they’ve forgotten to enter any). You can also see all the records staff have recorded and approve them. Finally you can create time sheets (which can be printed). The timesheet will show all the hours worked and the total pay owed to the staff member.

Recording Additional hours on behalf of staff

This is the same process as listed above for a staff member. The only difference is that you need to select the member of staff it’s for. If you need to make multiple records just enter one, click Record and repeat.

Approve Recorded Hours

On the right hand side of the screen you can see all the recorded hours for the month (you can swap months by choosing a different month from the drop down box and clicking go).

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To approve a record click Approve. It’ll swap to ‘Approve by Your Name’. Once approved the record will be eligible to be added to a time sheet.

Creating a time sheet

To begin the process of making a time sheet for a user select the users name and click on New Time Sheet.

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You’ll see all the staff work records that have been approved and are not yet linked to a time sheet. If you want to exclude a record from this time sheet you can untick the box under Include?. Once you’ve finished selecting the staff work records you wish to use click on Create.

This will create the time sheet and take you back to the review page. You’ll see a new time sheet has been added. For each time sheet you can see the total time worked and the pay owed to the staff member.

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If you click on Show it’ll bring up the time sheet and show you all the details. Please Note: This is only a timesheet and does not act as a Pay Slip. If you need to issue a Pay Slip you’ll need to use appropriate tools for that.

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Summary

This new addition will give you the tools you and your staff need to easily and quickly keep track of the hours worked. It makes it easy to calculate the pay owed and reduces errors for both parties.

P.S. If you've stumbled across this page and have your own livery yard we'd love to show you more. This was one of our #FeatureFocusFriday posts where we highlight a feature in At The Yard but there’s much more to see. Please visit our contact page and get in touch to find out more.

Introducing Shared, Syndicate and Yard Horses

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We’ve been hard at work for the last 6+ weeks working on introducing the ability to share horses between your customers in At The Yard. This latest feature represents significant changes throughout the system from subscriptions through to invoicing and much more. It’s moved us away from the one horse - one user paradigm we’ve had up to now.

We’re excited at the new opportunities this change of paradigm brings to our customers, both now and into the future with features coming down the pipeline.

Lets look at a few of the new scenarios you can now manage with At The Yard.

Sharers for a Liveries Horse

A common arrangement is for a livery to have one or more sharers for their horse. These sharers are generally responsible for feeding, grooming, mucking out and everything else that the horse might need on their days.

Whilst looking after the horse it’s likely that there will be costs for feeds or other supplies. The sharers can now be given their own account in At The Yard and be given permission to record these against the owners account. This will save further time for owners and the yard staff alike whilst further reducing the chance for charges to be forgotten or missed.

By having their own account they can also now book facilities and order services in their own right and receive invoices for them directly. Again, further simplifying the admin burden for both owners and the yard manager.

Horses Available Yard Wide

If your yard keeps a collection of horses that are made available to liveries, members or regular customers you can now represent this within At The Yard.

Once setup the horses will then appear to your users when booking facilities, lessons, cross county courses etc and allow the costs of these activities to be billed to their individual user accounts.

We hope this addition will allow yards to explore additional business models and revenue streams and offer new and exciting services to their customers.

Syndicate Horses

Syndicate horses are owned by a collection of owners who both benefit from the horse as a group and cover the cost for the horse as a group.

With this latest update you can now support these arrangements in At The Yard. You can record the various stakes different members have in a horse and make the horse available to all the syndicate members.

Much like with the shared horses, described above, costs incurred whilst the yard or a syndicate member is looking after the horse can be billed directly to the horse’s own account.

And again, by having their own account they can also book facilities, order services that are for their individual sole benefit and have them billed to their own individual account and receive invoices for them directly.

Finally when it comes to invoicing, At The Yard will automatically calculate each member of the syndicate’s individual portion of the invoice they owe, based on the stake they have in the horse - whilst still showing them the overall invoice for the horse so they can see all the costs involved.

Getting the new shared horses feature

As always, all subscribers to At The Yard have already received this update. Throughout the system these options are now available. Over the coming week we’ll be releasing a collection of guides on how to setup each of the scenarios and also how to complete invoicing for syndicate horses. In the meantime if you’re looking to get this setup ASAP get in touch and we’d be happy to arrange a support call to guide you through the setup process.

Finally if you've stumbled across this page and have your own livery yard we'd love to show you more of At The Yard. Please visit our contact page and get in touch.

P.S. We know we missed this weeks #featurefocusfriday - we were aiming to have this ready for Friday but the final testing setup meant we slightly missed it. We’ll be back next week with another #featurefocusfriday.

Stock Order Management

We've just released an upgrade to the Stock Ordering component of the product management feature. This allows you to use the stock information in At The Yard to help you quickly and easily build an order to send to to your suppliers.

As part of this we've also introduced the ability to track stock deliveries as a way of recording an increase in stock levels without having to do an entire reconciliation. This can be done as part of an existing order or on an individual product at any time.

We're also trying something new - we've put together a video explaining the new feature and how to use it. Let us know what you think.

Product Management

One of the first features we added to At The Yard was Products. It let you display the items available for purchase at your yard (e.g. hay or straw) and allow your liveries' to record their purchases.

You've always been able to see these purchases by looking at the charges created on a liveries account. Whilst this worked we wanted to introduce new features to make this easier to use, more powerful and more informative.

To make this happen we are happy to announce today the new Product Management feature in At The Yard.