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Managing your Availability

Managing your Availability

In SimplePractice, you can easily indicate the times you're available for existing and prospective clients to request appointments online. You can also specify the services offered during these times.

Before you begin setting up your Availability, you’ll want to enable online appointment requests at Settings > Scheduling > Client portal permissions. To learn more, see Enabling online appointment requests. 

In this guide, we'll cover: 

Note: For answers to commonly asked questions about Availability, see Managing your Availability FAQs.


Setting Availability

For many clinicians, setting your Availability means setting your practice hours. For others, it might mean setting a few specific blocks during which clients can request appointments online.

To set your practice’s Availability:

  • Navigate to the Calendar
  • Select the gear icon in the top right corner
  • Choose Set up availability

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  • Check the box to Allow online appointment requests, if applicable

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  • Enter a title for your block
  • If you're in a group practice, select the clinician you're setting the Availability for
  • Adjust the Availability's day(s) and hours
  • If you'd like your Availability to repeat, check the Recurring box and choose how often it repeats
    • For example, if your practice hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, you can create an Availability block with these times that repeats for each day of the week you’re available
    • Set the frequency with which this Availability repeats
      • For example, every week, every 2 weeks, and up to every 8 weeks
    • From the Ends dropdown, choose when you want this repeating Availability to end
      • If this Availability is temporary, you can select After or On Date and specify your desired end point
      • If this Availability is permanent, you can select Never
  • Select the Location(s) where you want to offer this Availability
  • Select Add service to choose which services you'd like to offer during this block
    • If you'd like to create a new service code, you can do so at Settings > Billing > Services and products > Services
  • Click Save

Note: We’ve integrated a call-to-request feature which allows you to designate services as bookable only by phone. To learn more about adding and editing service codes, see Creating and using service codes and products.

If you have multiple office locations and would like to offer different services at each location (for example, you only offer initial consultations via Telehealth), you can add overlapping Availability blocks. Follow the previous steps to create additional Availability blocks, as needed.

Note: Any client appointments, Other appointments, or all day events you have scheduled will automatically block off that time so it doesn't appear as available when clients request appointments online.


Editing Availability

If you need to update your Availability, you can do so at any time. To make changes to an existing Availability block:

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  • Select the Availability block you'd like to edit 
  • Adjust the title, days, hours, Location(s), and/or Service(s) offered
    • If you'd like to modify when or how often the Availability repeats, select Change

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  • Once you’ve made your updates, click Save

Deleting Availability

If you’d like to remove your Availability for any given day, you can delete the Availability block. To do this:

  • Navigate to the Calendar
  • Select the gear icon > Availability schedule
  • Select the Availability block you'd like to delete
  • Click the trash can icon

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  • If the Availability block is recurring, you can choose to delete:
Only this event This will only delete the selected Availability block
This and all future events This will delete the selected Availability block and all future scheduled Availability blocks in this series
All events in the series This will delete the selected Availability block, as well as all past and future Availability blocks in this series

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  • Click Delete

Scheduling time between appointments

If your online appointment requests settings allow clients to request appointments by service duration, you can automatically schedule breaks in between sessions, or add extra buffer time for paperwork between clients.

For example, if you have a 50-minute appointment and would like 10 minutes after to prepare for your next session, you can include this buffer time in the service duration so that the appointment will block off 60 minutes.

Important: A service's Default Duration and buffer time must be equal to or less than the Availability block’s total duration in order for a time slot to appear for online appointment requests.

To adjust a service's duration: 

  • Navigate to Settings > Billing > Services and products > Services
  • Select the service code you'd like to edit
  • Make sure Available for online appointment requests is selected to see all Booking Options 
  • Indicate how many minutes you'd like to add as a buffer before and/or after the appointment

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  • Click Save

Note: We recommend only blocking off time before or after a service, not both. This will help keep your Availability streamlined and make troubleshooting easier if issues arise.


Scheduling available appointments on the half hour

You have the flexibility to customize your Availability for online appointment requests as needed. 

To offer appointments that start at the beginning of every half hour, such as 9:30 AM, 10 AM, 10:30 AM, or 11 AM, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to Settings > Scheduling > Client portal permissions
  • Select On the half hour under Appointment start times

  • Click Save changes

Note:  To allow appointments to be scheduled every half hour, first check that Availability blocks have been created for the appointment times you’d like to offer. For more information, see Setting Availability.

Alternatively, to offer appointments starting at the middle of each hour only, such as 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, or 11:30 AM, follow these steps:

  • Set up an Availability block that begins in the middle of an hour
  • Check in Settings > Services and Products > Services that the service’s duration, combined with its buffer times, is equal to one hour

  • Navigate to Settings > Scheduling > Client portal permissions
  • Select Based on service duration under Appointment start times

  • Click Save changes

Tip: You can customize the buffer times between services if you’d like your appointments to be bookable every 1.5 hours or at other custom times.


Displaying Availability without enabling online appointment requests

You can create Availability blocks to display your availability for yourself or your team members, without making these times available for online appointment requests. To do this:

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  • Click anywhere in the calendar to create an Availability block
  • Uncheck Allow online appointment requests

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  • Enter a title for your Availability block and adjust the days, hours, and Location(s) as needed
  • Click Save

Troubleshooting your Availability 

You can use the checklist below to make sure your Availability appears for online appointment requests as expected:

Review your Availability blocks

  • Make sure that the Availability blocks you've created have Allow online appointment requests selected.

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Check for conflicting appointments

  • Review your calendar to make sure that you don’t have any conflicting appointments or All day events blocking times from appearing as available.

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Review daily appointment limits

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Review your online appointment requests settings

  • Double check your online appointment requests settings at Settings > Schedule > Client portal permissions. Make sure that your appointment slots work within the parameters that you’ve set up, including when clients can request appointments and if new clients can request appointments.

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Check your services

  • Check under Other appointment requests to see the services offered in the Availability.
    • A service must be selected in an Availability block to appear available to clients.

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Review time blocked off before and after appointments

  • Navigate to Settings > Billing > Services and products > Services and review the time you’ve added as a buffer before and/or after each service. Keep in mind that this buffer time is added to a service's duration, and that the total service duration (the Default Duration plus any time you've added as a buffer) must fit within an Availability block to appear for online appointment requests.

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Check your clinician’s blocks

  • Make sure that you have separate Availability blocks set up for each clinician in your group practice. Each block is designated for 1 clinician.

Consider using longer Availability blocks

  • Instead of having multiple, shorter Availability blocks, consider creating one full-day block. A longer block for your entire workday will allow for more seamless booking.

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