Apr 30, 2012

Aesop Job Notifications: Comparing Jobulator, SubAssistant, and Sub Sidekick

Previously, I posted about SubAssistant, an online automated service subs can use to check their SubFinder accounts for new jobs. At the time, SubAssistant didn’t support the Aesop system, but my wife subbed for a district which uses Aesop. So, we tried Jobulator and and Sub Sidekick for notifications, but we didn’t like either of them since they both had to run on your computer 24/7 to check for jobs. Then, in February, SubAssistant launched support for Aesop. Since she was already using SubAssistant, she could just add the Aesop account to her existing SubAssistant account for no extra charge and have it check Aesop for her. But, I wanted to compare the services to see which one actually provided the best service. In the end, we chose SubAssistant (www.SubAssistant.com), but here’s the breakdown we came up with:

1. SubAssistant
Pros: Sends a text message, email, or push notification on Android when a job offer is available on Aesop. The service is cloud-based, meaning, the service is entirely online so you don’t have to download, install, or keep any software running on your computer or phone.  SubAssistant also keeps a graph in your account which shows the number of job offers you’ve received by the hour, so you can see which hours are most popular for jobs to pop up on Aesop.  (We thought that was a neat touch)
Cons:  No automated job acceptance
Other comments: Checks every 60 seconds. Costs $7.95 a month, can cancel at any time.

2. Jobulator
Pros: “Aesop approved” because its made by the same company who makes Aesop. So, presumably, you’d exepct the software to work better. Motives are nefarious, though, with them making a separate piece of software and charging subs to use it, but whatever…. Jobulator sounds notifications on your computer or phone, and you can pick up the jobs from the app.
Cons: The desktop software and mobile app are self-hosted, meaning, you have to run it on your computer or phone 24/7 to get notifications. This runs down the battery on your phone, and keeps your home computer running 24/7. Anytime the phone or computer is restarted, you have to remember to start the app again to receive notifications.
Other comments: Checks every 60 seconds, costs $40 for 12 months + your cost of electricity.

3. Sub Sidekick
: Sounds notifications on your computer and sends text or email notifications.
Cons: Again, this app has to run on your computer 24/7 to check for jobs and send notifications. Anytime the computer is restarted, you have to remember to start the app again to receive notifications. No mobile application.
Other comments: Checks every 60 seconds, costs $9.99 a month or $90 for 12 months + your cost of electricity.


  • I recently purchased a trial version of Jobulator. I used the new app for my iphone. This did not require my computer to run 24/7 and I was able to get messages via text immediately. I could accept those jobs straight from my phone.

    When that trial ran out (in April 2012), I switched to the free trial of sub sidekick. I find it to be a hassle to have my computer running constantly. I have also missed a lot of jobs because there is a delay in the text notification.

    I am going to try sub assistant for this last few weeks.

  • Yeah, you’re right about that. But I experienced fairly significant battery drain on my phone while running Jobulator. Did you also experience this?

  • I receive notification for a job but before I can accept it, its taken, i assume as it goes back to 0.

  • I am seriously considering signing up for a free trial of SubAssistant. However, I’ve read on some substitute message boards that using this, or any other program other than Jobulator, is somehow a violation of the user agreement with Aesop, and that your account would be terminated. Is this true? I wanted to get a clear answer on this before I pay a subscription or risk my job.

  • @Heather

    Well, the Aesop terms of service state that a third-party service (like SubAssistant) cannot refresh faster than every 60 seconds and cannot automatically accept jobs for the sub. SubAssistant checks Aesop accounts every 60 seconds, and is a notification-only service, so neither of these conditions set forth by Aesop are violated. I haven’t heard of anyone getting into trouble by using SubAssistant. (Of course, I only know of the people I’ve talked with…. use SubAssistant at your own risk and, of course, you are still responsible for adhering to any conditions set forth by your employment)

  • Thanks anonfx! I appreciate the quick response and information.

  • Just wanted to mention that Sub Sidekick is now web-based; no more leaving your computer on 24/7. If you have time, I’d love to see an update on these services–now that the computer doesn’t have to be on 24/7, how do Sub Sidekick and SubAssistant compare? Is being able to accept the job from the text enough to warrant the higher price at Sub Sidekick?

  • I used to use sub sidekick and it would automatically accept jobs, but AESOP found out and put a stop to it (It was great!) . The owner of the company got in trouble, not me. Hey I’m just an innocent consumer.

  • I’m down to one day left on my trial of Sub Sidekick. There’s a computer alert (yabba dabba doo), but I never hear it and my laptop is left on most of the day. The only time I hear it is when I restart the computer. So then I tried the texting alert to my phone. I don’t have unlimited texting so this can be rather costly. Most of the time, a number of jobs come in at the same time, and they all show up in a separate text. I turn off the texting when I leave (since I have a basic phone and don’t have web), but sometimes, I continue to get texts. The computer alert doesn’t work like I wanted and Texting is expensive. Next I’m trying Subassistant. I’d like one that has the computer make a noise when a job is available so I don’t need to use texting.

  • Ah, the wrath you “auto accept” people have had hurled at you from the rest of us…. May you only get jobs with problem classes full of incontinent children!

  • I tried the Sub Assist. I doesn’t seem to work. I stalked it for an entire two days only to get ‘zero’ notifications. So I went to the actual Aesop site and logged into my school and guess what, there was a job sitting there. I was thinking ummm where was my email and text notification of this job. I accepted it from the school site not from sub assist and it shows ZERO jobs loading… could all teachers really be IN class everyday… ummm not according to my sub sign in form when I get to the schools where I sub… teachers are out all the time… so where are the notifications? Did I do something wrong, or sign up wrong or what. I’m scared to do Jobulator if it doesn’t work either.

  • Is there anything out there now that auto-accepts the job. I swear that I am seeing jobs pop up, are taken immediately and then pop up again within a few minutes. I am guessing that someone is auto-accepting and then dumping it.

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  • I haven’t been getting notified of jobs at our high school. It is selected on my preferences. I have been sitting next to someone and they get them but when I go on they don’t show up. Any ideas

  • If you don’t see notifications, there are probably a set of preferred subs. If you can only refresh every 60 seconds, jobs are accepted and disappear from the website before you even see them.

  • I have loved Sidekick. It works great, I can accept when I get the notice and, most of all, it includes both Aesop and Eschool solutions districts. I believe that Jobulator only works with Aesop districts, so it is not so helpful.

  • I have Jobulator and SideKick and work in an all-Aesop suburban region for multiple districts and 3 commercial sub placement services. I prefer SideKick over Jobulator because SideKick gets me 3 times as many jobs as Jobulator. This is because I have a cheap and stupid smart phone that doesn’t have the bandwidth for Jobulator but can handle the texts from SideKick. I have a cheap low quality no-contract cell phone service but it has unlimited texting. So, I run Jobulator on my netbook at home when I’m in the computer room (it stopped working on my laptop and Jobulator tech support is lousy) and it chirps loudly. It’s faster than SideKick. When I am anywhere else, I get the texts on my cell from SideKick. It does eat up my battery getting all those texts but no more than texting with my wife and not as bad as trying to run Jobulator. Yes the rich kids with the iPhones and expensive cell plans get the best jobs, but In my area, subs only know Jobulator and all subs have it, so I can keep up by having SideKick as well. I don’t talk about it at school. If everyone had SideKick, I’d get a lot less work or less quality work. I would like to try SubAssist. It is 2 or 3 dollars a month cheaper than SideKick.

  • I have well-satisfied with sub sidekick for well over a year.

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  • I’m currently on my last 9 days of my sidekick trial. It’s great! I live in a very small community, and only 1 of the 6 schools in the area use Aesop. I don’t know what the actual delay time from when the job is put into Aesop, to when I get the text message is, but accepting them straight from a text message is pretty darn handy! Also, being the only tech savvy sub in the area probably doesn’t hurt. I’m keeping sidekick my little secret!

  • I’ve been using sidekick since Sept. It worked great until 2 weeks ago. Now I’m not able to accept jobs directly through the Aesop link embedded in the text. I get some message about a failed connection with Aesop’s website. Just wondering if anyone is having the same problem with sidekick. I’m wondering if update my iphone 5 to iOS7 within the last month is the cause of my problems. I also wonder if Aesop has erected a new firewall. I’ve found a work around but it takes a couple of extra seconds and sometimes I miss out on the job in those few seconds. Anyone have any ideas about what might be the problem?

  • I meant to say I’m wondering if updating my iphone to iOS7 is the source of recent problems I’m having in connecting to Aesop through sidekick to accept jobs.

  • I thought SubSidekick was working but there were just fewer jobs these days. I’ve noticed some days when I finally get a job at the last minute, that when I signed in at the school, the signip sheet was full. Then last Friday, the only job available was an afternoon job which I accepted. When I arrived I was told there were 108 subs working. Well, I sure did not get any of those!!

  • Subs our there… Do you find it more affective to use more than one program? Jobulator and Sub Assistant?

  • I can’t find a phone number or email address to cancel my subsidekick.. GGGGGRRRRRRR! anyone know how to do this?

  • This info is outdated!!! I love SubSidekick and it does not run on my computer. They have a website, http://www.subsidekick.com! I’ve tried both SA and Subsidekick and receive more job notifications with Subsidekick! It’s worth every penny!

  • I have tried all 3 of the programs, and I liked all 3 of the programs. My favorite would probably be sub assistant, sub sidekick and then jobulator. I loved jobulator for what it did, but I had to have the app downloaded on my phone. That month my data usage almost doubled. I got rid of it and got another one of the programs and the data dropped, so I know it was jobulator that did this. Truthfully they all do about the same thing, and I rated them based on price. I don’t like that jobulator was only 1 price and not monthly. Overall it would be the cheapest, but I don’t want to pay for a service when I’m not using it. That’s why I rated sub assistant – 7.95 a month and then sub sidekick 9.95 a month as my favorite. The info listed here is a little outdated as you can accept jobs from all of them

  • I was looking into the different services today to see if they would be beneficial, but I do not see any advantage. I have moved with my family a few times and previously worked for two districts and currently for two other districts that use Aesop. There have been comments I’ve seen today (on various sites) about being required by districts to sign up for Jobulator–that’s never been a requirement for me. The first district where I used Aesop was very competitive; jobs would pop up on the website, click on it right away and the jobs were already taken. In that case, it may be an advantage to subscribe. But now I get most of my jobs from 1) going on the regular website, 2) being on teachers’ preferred sub lists (make sure your district has this in their Aesop package) or 3) just having the teacher or secretary ask when I’m in their building if I’m available for their date. Get a good rep–get the jobs :-)

  • I know this is off topic, but does anyone know what the time icon that is not a full circle or a half circle, but a circle that is full on one side and slashes on the other side mean? Thanks!

  • Subsidekick wasn’t working for 3 days last week and this week as of yesterday Friday, 4/25, the website is not available at all (Safari can’t find the server is the message I am getting) and all emails to support are being returned as daemon failures. Any subsidekick users care to comment about this? I would love to hear what you think.

  • Jennifer, half days are usually calculated as 4 hours and under and full days are usually the full day. with yours having a half circle with slashes it is more than 4 hours but under the 7-8 hours of a full day. I have had jobs that were 4.5, 5.5 hours, things like that. Hope this helps. It should also show you the time in the next box over.

  • For the past 6 months I have subscribed to all 3(cost about 23.00 per month). I find that not all services get all the jobs and in most cases it is not that one is beating the other in time. Also I have found that sometimes each service has “gone down” and so I continue to get jobs with the other ones.
    But in other cases, there have been cases where each service has been the fastest.
    But by having all 3, I believe I am getting to see all the jobs that I am elgible to see (on preferred lists). I still sometimes am not fast enough but at least I know (with sa and ss), I what I missed. With jobulator you don’t know what the job is (no record left) if you missed it.

  • Janelle, I have had the same problem with sub sidekick. I have emailed them with my error windows and have gotten no response. Anyone have any info on this? I have been using sidekick for several years now and have been very satisfied.

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  • I found SubAssistant much better than Jobulator. Try calling Jobulator customer service, impossible, although they respond quickly to your email, they don’t answer your question completely the answer is vague.

  • I have been subbing in a district for the past 3 years with absolutely NO problems. I could go on AESOP and pick up a job, or get a phone call and accept or reject. I had tried the free trial on Jobulator last spring, but never used it, never needed to. Then, this fall I started missing all sub jobs and figured out it was because of Jobulator. To my dismay, I signed up. I think it is just plain wrong to have to pay for a service when we have AESOP and it has always worked! I do NOT like Jobulator. I have missed over 30 jobs in the past three weeks! I have managed to get two and a half. The stupid alerts come in the night a lot. I turn my phone off when I go to bed so I can actually sleep. I don’t want to be disturbed! When I wake up, I have missed jobs! Then, when a job pops up and I immediately click on it, it says “job no longer available”! This whole thing has caused me so much stress! I am missing out on the good jobs I used to get. What’s left are the jobs no one wants! I had one earlier this week anad the classes were so bad! I would not have normally accepted it, but I needed a job! In the past I could get jobs I actually wanted and it was all a pleasant experience. Now I am having an unpleasant, stressful experience. I need the extra income, but I’m not accepting jobs for Ag classes and math and science. They are usually HUGE classes out of control and the teacher leaves nothing for them to do. The people at Jobulator are not helpful at all.. They are making their money.

  • All this electronics sub calling is awful! They should go back to calling on the oldtime telephone.

  • do not use any of them ( sub assistant, sub kick etc.) that is ilegal. You will loose your employment.

  • There is nothing illegal about any of these programs. They only notify you when a job is on your own aesop screen. They do not put you to the head of the line. My enployee knows this. I am a preferred sub for many teachers. I get my notices before non preferred subs if the job goes out more than 24 hours before the date. Then some time later the job goes to the non prefferred. Even if you have one of these systems, you will not see MY PREFFERED SUB JOB until after I do.

    I am tired of those that are uninformed of how these programs work and think that it is more than just a notification. It is not circumventing the system at all. I hope this clears up what these programs actually done. Those that think otherwise are wrong!!!!!!!

  • does anyone know the phone number for sub sidekick alert?

  • I am a new sub in one district and have done great without an alert system .I do check my tablet fairly often and my fiance gets annoyed . But , it is effective. If I glance down and see the. Little green box , I can click it quicker than if I were cooking and heard an alert . I don’t love being a scavenger for jobs but it is what it is .

  • I’m using SubAssistant at the moment because they have an ‘accept this job’ link in their text message. That’s the good news. The bad news is that whatever company they use to send text message seems to crash periodically. Until they find and fix the text message delivery problem, you don’t get any notifications, if you only use text message notification.

    To protect myself from this, I also have the Android app running. Usually, when the text message delivery fails, the Android still gets notifications.

    I also get emails delivered to my PC, but since I rarely check email from my Android, I have to be at my PC to see the emails.

  • Thanks for all the useful comments. I am getting so disgusted with Jobulator because the response time is much slower than SideKick or Sub Assistant because people keep stealing jobs that teachers are trying to give me, and they never show up on Jobulator because Sub Sidekick throws it out there first. We aren’t supposed to have Sub Sidekick or Sub Assistant with our district but many subs at this one school do and they always get the jobs first. If Jobulator is going to try and compete, it should make their system faster. Now I have to get Sub Assistant if I want to compete for the good jobs.

  • Within Aesop, teachers can designate you as their ‘preferred’ sub, which means only you see the assignment for some period of time before it’s released to all eligible subs.

    Teachers can also automatically assign you to dates, subject to you confirming the assignment. It’s extra work for them, but if they have a preference, it helps them get that preference.

    I have Jobulator and Sub Assistant both running right now, and it’s a toss up as to which one notifies me of an assignment first. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other. I think it’s partly an issue of timing. The search systems can only query Aesop every 60 seconds, so depending on when they query and when the assignment is created, either one could be ‘first’ with a notification.

  • I am listed with 2 school districts and they both use Aesop. For about the past 6 months I have been using SubAssistant. They send me numerous notifications through email. I try to accept some of the jobs they send me but it seems like they are already taken. I have gotten a few of them and have successfully completed the assignment. Sometimes I will call into Aesop to hear the same job offer. It seems like you have to be quick to accept the job. Then I will log onto Aesop.com and there is never any job listings in the online service. I was wondering if “Jobulator is worth joining, but at the moment my system seems to be working, and I am getting jobs.

  • I’m signed up with 3 districts. Two use SubFinder and one Aesop. I tried both Aesop-Jobulator App and SubstituteAlert/SubAlert App free trial. So far they both have been great, only if you’ve got good wifi signal that can act fast. I read and heard that Aesop rates the substitute teachers also. So sometimes teachers can choose subs with better ratings. SubAlerts uses Subfinder, Aesop and SmartFindExpress. You can have all three with no extra cost. I have never used SubAssistant so cannot compare. Now that my trial is up for SubAlert, I’m going to try SubAssistant. Some districts are very competitive so jobs do get taken fast, that’s why I signed up with 3 districts.

  • do a good job and teachers will call you direct

  • My FREE TRIAL of Jobulator impressed me and decided to pay for the service. From day one of the end of my trial, and paying via credit card, JOBULATOR will not work, I have emailed JOBULATOR support and the problem is not resolved and this is now three months later. I finally contacted the Attorney General because they will not help me at all.

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