I'm working on a site for at-home services. What is the best practice to define a service provider's service area?
My initial thought was to define each provider’s service area as a set of zip codes. If the customer requests a service, simply search for providers with matching zip codes - easy enough. I’ve done a bit of research and I’m confident it will work - provided I can find an accurate zip code database. The best database I’ve found is costly, and before I embark on this zip code endeavor, I want to make sure there isn’t a better way to accomplish this task.
For example 'Google Business Listings' used to ask you to define your “Service Area”. How did Google store this data – as a lat/lon coordinate box or circle?
It seems this process for defining and storing a “service area” and then matching it to a request would be commonplace – so what are today’s best practices for this process?