Using Google Calendar in my appraisal business
Would you like to know how to use the FREE Google Calendar in your appraisal business? This useful but simple app can help you do the following:
- Schedule appointments
- Map out inspection
- Create a task list to help you stay organized
- Create notifications
- Deliver a daily agenda via email
If you’re anything like me you like to save money. Over the last several years there have been numerous apps that have become available to help appraisers in their business but they cost money. While each one may not be that expensive by themselves, if you use a couple of different ones the price can add up.
Google Calendar is free and I have found that it does everything I need it to do to organize my business and help me plan my day. It syncs well with the different devices I use which makes it very convenient too.
I’m going to show you how I use this free app however, I will not cover everything it can do, which is a lot. If you use it in a different way please leave a comment below to help other appraisers who may not use it but would like to try it out to see if it works well for them.
Schedule an appointment
I will assume you have Google Calendar on your computer already. Whenever I get a new job I like to log it in as soon as possible (I use Google Sheets by the way) and then call and schedule the appointment. Google Calendar has a couple of ways to schedule an appointment, but the way I normally do it is by simply clicking on the day and time I want.
This will create a pop-up box where you can name the event you are scheduling. I type in “Field Inspection” and then click the “Edit event” button. The new screen will have a lot of different options for you to use in scheduling your appointments.
As I said before, I don’t use every feature Calendar has but the more I learn about it the more features I incorporate into my daily routine if I find that it can streamline my business.
I then type the address of my appraisal inspection into the “Where” field. Most of the time whenever I begin typing the address Google will auto-fill the field and I will then choose the exact address. If you like, you can add notes in the “Description” field, but most of the time I just skip this and choose the “Save” button.
My appointment will now be added to my calendar. I can adjust the time and length of the appointment if I choose to by dragging the appointment to another time slot or dragging the bottom of the appointment lower to extend its length.
Map out inspection
With the appointment now scheduled, and the address included, you can now click on the appointment and a pop-up box will appear with the name of the appointment, date and time, and the location of where you are going. If you click the word “map” after the address it will take you to Google Maps with your appointment address marked, and if imagery is available it will show up on the left side.
I have used Google Maps to help me fill out the offsite improvements section of my report before going on the actual inspection. I can browse around the area and get information like street type, sidewalks, street lights, etc.
The appointment is now scheduled and mapped out. If I want to know how long it will take to get to the appointment I can get directions from Google and find out the exact travel time.
Bonus Tip: You can Quick Add an appointment into Google Calendar by clicking on the little triangle next to the CREATE button in the top left corner of your calendar. You type in an event you’d like to add, then hit Add and it will appear in your calendar. The other quick way to do this is to use a keyboard shortcut by hitting the “c” key which will take you to the event creation screen. Both of these methods make it easy to quickly add an event.
Create a Task list
After I schedule my appointment I like to add the due date to Google Calendar so that I can stay organized. I do this by enabling the Task list within the Calendar. This is done by clicking the box next to Tasks, which is underneath the “My Calendars” box. After you do this the Tasks panel will pop up on the right side of the calendar.
You can now add a task to your list by clicking the plus sign (+) on the bottom right side of the calendar, which will add an empty slot where you type in what the task is. I normally just type in “123 Main Street due”, and then click the right arrow (>), which will take you to the date screen, where you can add the date that the job is due along with any notes. After adding the date you would then click the “back to list” link below the notes section. This will add the task to your calendar so that you know when your job is due.
Create appointment notification reminder
Another helpful feature within Google Calendar is notifications. By turning this on you will be notified before the appointment to remind yourself. Most of the time when I’m working on appraisals I’ll lose all track of time, so this feature helps to remind me right before an appointment.
You can turn the notifications on to remind you of appointment by doing the following:
- Open Google Calendar
- In the top right corner click the gear icon
- Click the settings option
- Choose the Calendars tab under the Calendar settings
- Select the calendar that you want to edit notifications on
- Click the “Edit notification” link
- Next to “Event notifications” you then check the notifications option and also the time before each event that you want to be notified.
Now you will receive a notification before your appointment. If you sync your smart phone with your main computer you will also get the notification on it as well.
Deliver a daily agenda via email
The last feature that I use and want to share with you here is the daily agenda. If you are a busy appraiser it is helpful to stay organized, and the daily agenda helps with that. You can have all of your appointments emailed to you so you know what you’ll be doing for the day. To turn this function on, follow the exact steps from above to turn notifications on. When you are on the “Edit notifications” screen you will scroll down to the “Daily agenda” and make sure it is checked. You will now get an email with your agenda every morning around 5 a.m..
Bonus Tip: To make working in Google Calendar a little easier you can turn on keyboard shortcuts. Just go to the gear in the upper right corner, click the settings option, scroll down to the enable keyboard shortcuts section and select yes, and then save. This will allow you to quickly make changes within calendar.
Do you have any tips to add?
These are the main ways that I use Google Calendar in my appraisal business. Do you have any other feature you use or tips or tricks you would like to add? If so leave a comment below and share it with those that may be interested in using this free app in their appraisal business.