2 clients for 1 service without picking a provider.

Hello. We have a need for signing up 2 people for one service during the same time. Initialy we had one provider assigned to service but that does not work by design (1-to-1). FAQ states that this is possible by usig dummy providers (or a hack code that may not work). We’d like to stay away from hacks that may not work and the FAQ (and documentation) leaves very little details on how to setup and use dummy providers properly.

Here is what we did. In addition to the main provider for the service in question I created a dummy provider (WP user tagged as dummy under service providers in A+ settings) also assigned to the same service. The working hours are the same for the main provider, dumy and also the “no specific provider”. I am not sure if working hours for “no specific provider” need to be filled out and when/how they are being used. Now when I try to schedule an appointment for the service in question and leave the “select provider” as “no preference” the calendar shows the service as “busy”. I must select a provider either a main one or a dummy for the calendar to show “available” dates/times. I was under assumption that “no preference” would automatically pick first available provider, either main one or dummy. By forcing a selection of either main provider or a dummy how is it different from having two “real” providers for the same service? Other than email forwarding I don’t see a difference and that could be done using distribution lists (or by updating provider’s email addresses directly in SQL if one feels adventurous). Basically, we do not want to force our clients to select a provider for service (or even see the list). Is that possible? In our case provider is a place and not a person and the place is already implied by the service. For example if service is “cleaning up street” the client knows the provider would be “the street”, and we dont want them to select “street” or “dummystreet”, etc)

We don’t mind having extra providers as long as clients don’t see them and don’t have to pick one up. If there a way for the “no preference” to work (it is first on the dropdown, default)? Any other ideas on how we can implement this?