By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
As your construction business grows, managing crews on multiple job sites will become a bigger and bigger challenge. While one or two job sites in the same city or neighborhood may be typical for a small startup construction company, a larger company may find itself juggling dozens of different job sites across a vast region.
With more job sites come more headaches, especially when it comes to managing, overseeing, and tracking time for all the employees you send out to those job sites every day. Accurately tracking employee time and knowing where of your construction workers are at any given time helps you:
- Better track and predict labor costs.
- Avoid unnecessary overtime and cost overruns.
- Work more efficiently.
- Bill clients correctly.
- Assess job profitability.
So how can you simplify time tracking for construction workers at multiple job sites? Try these tips.
Delegate time tracking responsibilities
Do you still insist your crews go to the main office to clock in before heading to a job site? If so, you’re wasting time they could better spend working. Delegate time tracking to the supervisor or foreman on each job site and you’ll save everyone time and headaches.
Supervisors can speed things up with a time clock kiosk, a tablet-optimized punch clock that works anywhere there’s an internet connection, from TSheets by QuickBooks. And using the TSheets’ crew function on their time clock, supervisors can clock in entire crews at once, or workers can clock in individually using unique four-digit PINs.
Do some of your construction workers need to grab equipment or materials from the warehouse before they head to the job site? No worries. Set up another time clock kiosk at the warehouse.
Minimize mix-ups and curb buddy punching
Workers clocking in their friends is an age-old problem in the construction industry — and it’s one that costs you money. Today’s time tracking technology can foil the act, known as “buddy punching”, without pointing a finger at any one employee.
Add an extra layer of security to your time clock kiosk by enabling facial recognition on the device. TSheets snaps a quick photo of workers as they clock in and compares it to previous photos. If faces don’t match up, photos are flagged and admins are notified immediately. Employees aren’t stopped from clocking in, and admins can review flagged photos at any time.
Opt for a mobile timesheet solution
You don’t need an on-site tablet to clock workers in and out at each job site. TSheets mobile time clock apps work on iOS and Android phones, so your crew members can clock in and out from anywhere, using the devices they always have with them.
TSheets mobile apps use GPS technology to track where employees are working throughout the day, so admins and supervisors always know who’s at each job site. Employees can manage their own timesheets, and admins can see where they’re working or when they’re en route to a job site.
Dial-in timesheets break down language barriers on job sites
TSheets also offers dial-in services, so construction workers can call a phone number to clock in or out or switch job codes. Phone numbers are unique to your business, and you can even choose a different phone number for each job site to keep things straight.
Dial-in services timestamp each call, so you know the tracking is accurate. Your workers can even leave voice notes when they clock in or out. For example, they can update supervisors and admins on materials running low or jobs taking longer than projected.
TSheets dial-in services are especially great for Spanish-speaking construction workers. Employees can receive prompts in English or Spanish to support timesheet communication on the job site.
Make an appearance
No, you don’t need to visit individual job sites to track your construction teams’ time. (That’s what time tracking tools are for.) But connecting with your crews in person makes a big difference in motivating them, building camaraderie, and showing that you care. All these factors can influence your workers to be more productive on the job. If you can’t visit every job site in person, try Skype or FaceTime to stay in touch.
By delegating some of the work, giving your teams options, and implementing new technology, you’ll find tracking time for your construction crews isn’t such a headache after all.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.