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Service Territory Design in Salesforce Field Service – Explained

By Aidan Flynn

Service Territories define the “where” teams can perform the work. Geographic territories come to mind, as the location is a fundamental factor in delivering efficient service. Salesforce Field Service, Territories can also be used for other types of divisions, such as distinguishing between sales and service boundaries.

A lack of attention to territory design can seriously impact the dispatcher’s satisfaction with the system. Serious thought is required in the initial design, and ongoing maintenance (even minor changes) can vastly improve or damage user productivity.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Field Service (FSL)

What are the Service Territory Types?

Service Territories in Salesforce Field Service are categorized into three types, evolving around a field technician:

  • Primary Territory: A field technician’s “home patch”. This is where the majority of their work is carried out.
  • Secondary Territory: Where the field technician sometimes has appointments.
  • Relocation Territory: Far from the primary or secondary territories, this is where a field technician is sent for a period of a day or more. This may apply to long work orders, and/or tasks that require highly-skilled individuals.

Keeping the three different types in mind, we’re going to explain territories in Field Service Lightning following a field technician; let’s call him Big Dave. Big Dave’s case uses real-life examples of territory-based challenges our team faced when implementing Service Territories.

How Service Territories Work – Use Case

Big Dave is a contractor who installs, repairs, and maintains garage doors. He normally sticks to Chicago West, his Primary Territory, but today his co-workers are taking the day off, so he’s going to be covering a Secondary Territory.

The Field Service route planning takes him on quite a journey through Chicago:

Big Dave has temporary access to the North and South territories. The dispatcher allows this by adding dated Service Territory Member records that will only be active for the duration of his work day.

The time Big Dave will spend driving around Chicago means he will only be servicing customers for four hours. This is displayed on the Dispatcher Console in Salesforce:

Secondary vs Relocation Service Territories

Should these be secondary or relocation territories? As an experiment, our team temporarily made Chicago South a relocation territory. At first glance, it seemed to have worked, but look into it further, and you will notice that the travel time has not taken into account the crossovers between territories.

This is not a bug, but expected behavior. Relocations really work best when they are for a day or more, otherwise there will be gaps in travel time.

Why Not Just Lump Them All In One Primary Territory?

The Field Service Lightning engine (particularly when it comes to optimization) uses the traveling salesman problem to sequence the day’s appointments.
This means it will normally try to send everyone within the confines of the territory, working away from a home base and then gradually back towards it. It’s a great solution when applied to small territories– however, larger, more populous cities are likely to have traffic, which could be a problem for field technicians.
In a territory this size, Big Dave’s case will become the norm, with some days having even more travel time.

Big Dave’s Normal Day

So what does it look like when Big Dave stays in his Chicago West territory? He is able to work a cluster of appointments with short travel distances close to his home base.
To demonstrate that less is more with territory sizes, we removed his secondary territory appointments and also cut his Chicago West territory in half.


Now you see why the design of Field Service Lighting Service Territories is so crucial to the overall success. The right balance must be found between customer demand, workforce size and territory size in order to get the desired result.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Field Service (FSL)

The Author

Aidan Flynn

Aidan is a Co-Founder at Brick Lane, a Chicago-Based Salesforce Implementation Partner with deep multi-cloud experience including Sales, Service, Field Service Lightning, CPQ, Billing, Health Cloud..

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