Chronoblog
Timekeeping Blog
Can Your Employees Be Trusted?

We want to believe that all people can be trusted, but we think it’s better to approach it as Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”

That’s wise advice when it comes to your employees.  This article sites a Kessler survey in which 30% of the respondents admitted to falsifying their time cards. Businesses need protection from the few who can easily take advantage of a handwritten time card payroll practice. Our automated timekeeping system captures accurate time with a simple toll-free call or a click on our new mobile app. In a post, Minding Your Minutes, we referred to an article that stated that small businesses lose 10 minutes a day from each employee due to time theft. These minutes compounded every day 52 weeks a year adds up to a number that will shock you.  Fourteen employees making $7.50 an hour could cost your business $375 a month in unearned pay. These are unearned minutes going towards overtime as well.

The financial impact is devastating and along with your bottom line, it’s your honest employees who suffer.  This wasted money could be used for their pay increases and incentives. Instead small businesses that don’t have a solution to the time theft problem struggle to just stay afloat.

This is the greatest injustice. Hardworking, honest employees lose their jobs due to the actions of a few.

We can be your advocate. We will give you freedom to trust while we verify.

Gold Medal Winning Companies

The 2016 Summer Olympics are over, but the training is not.  I am reading a book about Dan Gable, undoubtedly one of the best wrestlers of all times, and yes, an Olympic Gold Medal winner.  Dan Gable was one to train immediately after his events, while others celebrated wins with parties.  The book has me thinking about the way to the Gold.   To be a Gold Medal winner you have to do the right things.  The ‘right things’ are different for every category, person and team.  We feel we serve some Gold Medal companies.  They did not start out that way, but they started doing the ‘right things’.  Only best practices make one a Gold Medal winner.  And those companies accomplish this one day at a time, with superior strategies and perseverance.  We are honored to be a part of their best practices.

GPS Technology Is More Than a Game

Don’t be alarmed when you see teenagers walk around your neighborhood staring at their smartphones and waving them in the air. And you might notice people aimlessly trekking circles in the woods behind your house. They’re probably not zombies. It’s likely that all of these people are playing augmented reality GPS based games, like Pokémon Go and Geocaching, on their smartphones.  But GPS is for more than just fun and games.

IMG_2903Many small businesses who manage a remote workforce use our timekeeping system to automate the time card collection process. Their employees can clock in and out on our mobile app and we will report the GPS location of the punches. Our system will visually display if the punches are tracked at the job site (or the McDonald’s drive-thru). It’s a great management and accountability tool.  If you get a “not located at job” result, call your employee and inquire.  Now he or she knows that you are watching.  To paraphrase what we’ve said before, don’t expect what you don’t inspect.

IMG_2904However, we always caution small business owners and managers to use the location data as a tool and not a smoking gun to fire an employee. GPS location technology, is just that-technology, not a science.  A million and one variables can alter technological results.  This article gives great detail on the many factors that can affect GPS accuracy.  Use the results obtained by our system as a tool to see red flag patterns develop that need to be addressed.  Hopefully, most of your clock-in and clock-out tracks will show “located at the job”.  Nice.  You don’t need to worry about those. Just deal with the GPS tracks showing your employees “not located at the job” and then take into account everything else you know about these employees.  How many “not at job” results has the employee given you in the last 3 months?  How many times has the employee been late?  How many no-shows?  How often is the employee too far over or under job budgets?

Chronotek can answer all of these questions to help build a profile on the employee.  The GPS tracking is an especially fantastic tool for many business owners with off-site employees.  When your kids show you their Pokémon captures, you can show them your employee locations.  Technology continues to become a great business tool.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Enjoy Labor Day

We want to extend an unequivocal large, loud, and very grateful thank you to the 158.5 million American workers (or so) that get up every day and make a contribution to keeping our great country marching onward.

Maya Angelou said, “Nothing will work unless you do” and that is so true and Americans as a whole do work hard. Americans work the longest hours on average than workers in the world’s other largest economies.

So, THANK YOU and enjoy your day off. You deserve it!

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Announcing our New Website and Exciting Changes Ahead

New www site

Everyone loves a new pair of shoes. The old loafers served us well and gave us many great miles, but getting a new pair is exciting. The same is true, but exponentially more, for the thrill and anticipation of new company websites.  Today we are beyond excited to announce a beautiful, new and functional marketing website for our telephone and app timekeeping company.

If you are just exploring, you may want to watch a short video on how our system will make payroll day a breeze, and read about all of the tools to help manage your off-site employees.  Use a handy slider to easily estimate what the cost might be. Enjoy the new website and all of its blog content on your phone, as it’s mobile friendly. And of course, you can give us a call if you still have more questions. For our current customers who have this page saved to login to your Chronotek account, you can still press the ‘Sign In’ button.

Speaking of mobile friendly… our NEW Mobile App has more exciting changes ahead. And we want to also let you know that the Admin site will soon have a new look, as we make it more mobile friendly for business owners and administrators who work out of the office. Stay tuned for more announcements on those future upgrades.

And if you’re a small business owner with remote workers and still use handwritten time cards, we welcome you to check us out. Simply click on our new orange button to start your free 30-day trial. You’ll love walking a mile in these shoes.

Giving You Just a Little More Time

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Time is something we think about a lot, like ALL of the time. At Chronotek we can get pretty geeky about it, too. Our timekeeping solution for small businesses with remote workers tracks 100% accurate time worked.  We’ve posted how to convert time in hours/minutes format to a decimal hour, it’s 60-based evil cousin.  We’ve also written that if you don’t mind your minutes, you can lose a startling 10 minutes a day per employee to time theft.  But one of the most important things we should do with time is to enjoy it.

The idea of enjoying time gets lost in our fast-paced, performance-based, hyper-connected world in which we live.  Too often this machine sucks us into the grind and under its wheels and we forget as we grow older how to enjoy time.  Or maybe we just forget to take time for ourselves.  We want you, the small business owner, to rediscover time.  Experience new ways to spend time – do whatever brings joy and more peace to your life.   That’s why we’ve been here for 20 years building and re-building our timekeeping solution for your small business. We want to simplify your business so you have more time to experience life.

With summer drawing to a close, we’d love to hear your stories on how you enjoyed some much needed down time.  If you’re one of our customers, it would give us great joy to know that we contributed to your ability to get away.  If you have time, and hopefully you do since you’re using our system, let us know on Facebook or Twitter. Use hashtag #umbrelladrinks.

 

NEW Chronotek Mobile App – Hired Hand for Small Business Owner

Suzie was relaxing with her family one evening when her cell phone rang. Once upon a time, before Chronotek, that evening call would have instantly pushed her into panic mode.   Her job as a supervisor used to ruin her evenings with late night emergency calls because jobs were not being covered.  But not any longer. This was a welcomed call from her brother, Jim.

Suzie: Hey Jim, how’s it going?

Jim: Everything is great. Do you remember telling me about the new Chronotek app last week?

Suzie: Yes, of course.  Why?

Jim: Well, your miracle story inspired me to do something about my timekeeping mess for my construction company.

Suzie: Are you still using paper time sheets, little brother?

Jim: Yes, but you got me thinking.  My business is growing and with 16 employees it’s getting very tough to manage, but I can’t afford a Super Suzie yet.  I’m the Suzie, and the marketing and sales guy, the bookkeeper, the secretary, the HR guy, and I’m sometimes the guy swinging the hammer at the job site and sweeping the floors in the office.

Suzie: You definitely have your hands full, not to mention your new baby.

Jim: I have a new baby? (chuckles)  Oh, yeah, I do!  Well, I think Chronotek’s employee time tracking system and the new app will finally give me time to spend time with her.

New App 7 TCSSuzie: Absolutely!  Chronotek and the new app can be your Suzie, and more.

Jim: I know, the entire system is amazing. My employees actually like the ease of clocking-in from the app.  And I no longer have to track down their time cards. Timesheets get created automatically and I can review them from the app or the website whenever I’m ready.  If my guys are late, I get alerted right to my phone.  I don’t have to worry; did they show or didn’t they show?  I can see from the app when they clocked-in, and it shows a GPS map that geo-locates where they clocked-in.  It is like I hired a supervisor at a fraction of the cost.

Suzie: You sound like a new man, Jim.

ChronotekUserWithMoreTimeForHisFamilyJim: I feel like one, too. And speaking of my baby, in the evenings I’m not stuck in my office doing work at the desk.   Just last night I was rocking Sophie to sleep while reviewing and editing time cards on the new app.  I even added a new employee on the app while singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.

 

Suzie: You’re too funny, Jim.  It sounds like Chronotek is giving you your life back.

Jim: Chronotek is my new hired hand,  and this new app is especially helpful.  Chronotek is taking some of this load off of me for sure.

Suzie: You’re learning, bro. Chronotek is helping us both!

Chronotek’s remote employee management system and our new mobile app have transformed the lives of Suzie the SUPERvisor and her business owner brother, Jim. Our mission for 20 years has been to provide a proven way to track labor hours of remote employees that yields greater profits and improved personal lives of small business owners.

If you would like to try it free for 30 days and experience the life-change that Suzie and Jim have, click here.

We would be honored if you stayed in touch with us. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

NEW Chronotek Mobile App – Life is Better

We’ve been chronicling the life-change of Suzie the SUPERvisor since she started using Chronotek’s new mobile app.   She can wake up in the mornings, fire up the Keurig for a fresh cup of coffee and check Workforce Stats on the app to review her employees’ activity through the night.  And our in-app messaging is the perfect communication tool to keep her employees just a click away.

Suzie was recently praising the app with her brother, Jim, who owns a construction company. She told him how the app made her boss and his janitorial company look like the industry leader to a prospect. Let’s listen in on their conversation:

Suzie: Jim, it was the most amazing thing. I wish you could have been there.

Jim: Yeah, me too. It’s not like you to get this excited about anything. What’s so special about this app?

Suzie: Many things, but just yesterday my boss, Gary, wanted me to go with him to meet a new prospect and present our bid to maintain his building.

Jim: Smart man, bringing in the big guns.

Suzie: Yeah, right. Well anyway, we got there and it turns out that a water pipe burst in one of his offices a few minutes earlier and he’s got a mess on his hands.

Jim: Not good.

Suzie: Not at all. John, the building owner, was frantic and wanted to cancel our meeting. I asked him what his plan was to clean up the mess and he hadn’t thought that far yet. They had just fixed the pipe. I knew that this was going to be a great contract if we got it so I took a risk.

Jim: Oh no!

Suzie: I turned to Gary and said, “Why don’t I get a crew over here immediately and take care of this for John? This one will be on us.”

Jim: That’s pretty bold, Suzie. Do you think you own the company?

Suzie: It was a small office, so I knew that things wouldn’t be too bad.

Jim: This is all great, but what does it have to do with the Chronotek app?

Suzie Supervisor - Chronotek New AppSuzie: I was getting there. So, I open the app, go to the screen to add a new job, put in the name of John’s business, created the job code, and the app is able to geo-locate me. This allows me to quickly add the address without having to ask or look it up.

Jim: Cool!

Suzie: And that’s not all. Then I broadcast a message to all of my employees that I need 5 people right away and the first 5 who respond to the message get the work with bonus pay. I had 7 replies in just a few minutes. And when they got to the building to clock in, the app geo-located them, and the job was the first one on the list to choose from. So simple for my employees to clock-in.

Jim: How did Gary take the bonus pay thing?

Suzie: He took it fine when John told us that we got the contract. John was amazed at how we swiftly and easily we handled his unexpected crisis. He said it was nothing short of a miracle.

Jim: Suzie, you’re a miracle worker!

Suzie: Ha! The new Chronotek mobile app is the miracle, not me.

Jim: I’d say so. I knew that something was different about you. You’ve seemed a lot more relaxed lately.

Suzie: Oh, little brother, you have no idea.

Suzie is learning that life is better with the new Chronotek app, and not just work life.  We all know the extent that day-to-day work stresses permeate our personal lives. When you can find a way to alleviate the work stress, our personal lives are so much sweeter.

Stay tuned into Suzie’s story by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

NEW Chronotek Mobile App – Relax With Revolutionized Messaging

image001Suzie, the janitorial supervisor we introduced to you in our last post, was out to lunch with friends recently when she received a push notification to her phone’s lock screen.  It was from Larry, one of her employees, who used our mobile app to send Suzie a message.  Larry was calling out sick from his scheduled shift and it just happened to be one of Suzie’s most important clients.

In Suzie’s pre-Chronotek life this news would have abruptly ended her lunch and sent her scampering back to the office to look at paper schedules for a replacement. Instead, Suzie took a deep breath and relaxed. She could handle this issue here and now with the new Chronotek mobile app.

 

 

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Suzie sent a quick ‘get well’ reply to Larry and looked at the day’s schedules on the app.

She quickly saw which employees were working at nearby jobs so she created a group message through the app. She set it as ‘required’ so they would have to read the message before they could clock out.

 

 

 

 

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A few minutes later Dan replied to the group that he could cover the shift.  Suzie smiled, took a sip of sweet tea and was back to enjoying time with her friends.

The new mobile app centralizes communication with off-site employees, keeping announcements and messages in the app for easy access. In-app messaging is just one of the tools that are revolutionizing supervisors’ lives, both at work and home.  It’s peace of mind that Suzie has never known.

For 20 years now our passion to help small businesses succeed has driven us to build the best and most reliable timekeeping system in the country.

We’ll be back soon to check on Suzie. In the meantime, stay tuned and stay in touch by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

NEW Chronotek Mobile App – Making SUPERvisors!

Supervisors all over the country have joined the party as we’re still celebrating the release of our new mobile app.  In our last post, we outlined why and how your remote employees love it as they use it to create time cards in our automated timekeeping system. Today we report on Suzie, a supervisor in a small janitorial company who manages 25 workers that clean multiple buildings throughout the city. She’s learning the new app and has discovered that she has the freedom of functionality to do things in the field that once tied her to a desk.

The new app is an assistant of sorts, even working through the night.  Suzie can already sleep easy knowing that our system will alert her by text if an employee is late to a scheduled job. Now she can wake, open the app to quickly review the live dashboard of Workforce Stats to see all the details she needs to start her day. It’s the power of information at her fingertips.

The Workforce Stats dashboard gives Suzie live, vital information for 12 hours back and 12 hours ahead.  Notice the Alert tabs that float-to-the-top the crucial information in living color :

New App 7 WFS

Not at job- Who wasn’t GPS located at the job when he clocked in/out (5).
Late Arrival- Who was late to scheduled jobs (3) and shows the scheduled time and the actual times (Samuel Price was scheduled 6:30am-7:30am but clocked in late at 12:20pm).
No Show- Who didn’t show to a scheduled job (91)
Denied- Who denied request for GPS tracking when he clocked in or out (this means they have their smartphone location services disabled).
Who’s clocked in now (the green dots).
Who’s scheduled for the next 12 hours.

And all of this information can be zone filtered so that if Suzie is one of multiple supervisors, she only sees employees and jobs in her supervisory zone.

It’s a loaded first look. This one screen alone, the Workforce Stats page, is changing Suzie’s life.  But it’s only the very tip of the iceberg.  In our next post, we’ll explain more on how the new mobile app is making Suzie a true SUPERvisor.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

NEW Chronotek Mobile App – Employees Love It!

We still have the red carpet rolled out celebrating the release of the new Chronotek mobile app. We’re pretty excited because we believe it will revolutionize remote employee management for our telephone timekeeping customers.

In our last post we offered a sneak peek of a few snappy things that the new app will do and today we’ll dive deeper into the employee interface and capabilities. The employee portal is very simple, yet very smart.  Reinhard Grab, owner of ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning, LLC in Summerville, South Carolina said, “The new app is so simple for employees. The big round button can’t be missed.”

New App 1 GoNew App 2 jobsYour employee, Tom, opens the app, presses Go and then a list of jobs appear in order by his GPS location.

That’s right. If Tom is standing on the job site, that job will be first in his list.

We said smart, didn’t we?

 

 

 

 

 

New App 3 Stop

When Tom is finished with his shift, he presses Stop.

It is that simple. Go and Stop.

The app uses minimal battery power and data.

So the next time Tom needs to clock in or out, it’s a quick press of a button and he’s ready to go to work.

 

Other employee options are one-click buttons at the bottom of the screen:  view  personal Schedules,  send/receive Messages, and view personal Time Cards.

 

For those business who want employees to use the phone clock-in method, simply assign employees to the mobile access level of ‘Employee View Only’ that does not allow app clock-ins, but does give access to the other employee options.

New App 4 SchedulesNew App 5 Time Cards

Tom can see his work schedules for the day, the week, the month, or an easy-to-read Agenda view.

Job Navigation uses the  Maps app for directions to the job.

Tom keeps us with his hours through the Time Cards option.  View weekly hours and scroll to past weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

New App 6 Messages

Drop more confetti!  We’re really excited about in-app Messages. Tom can read messages from, and send messages to his supervisors and administrators.

  • Do you want to require Tom to read a text message before clocking in and out?
  • Check!
  • Do you want to broadcast an in-app announcement to all employees?
  • Check!
  • And if Tom sets his phone to receive notifications from Chronotek, his phone will beep when a new message arrives.
  • Check! Check! Check!

Go, stop, schedules, time cards, in-app messaging and GPS ordered jobs, maps to the job. It’s a brave new world!  Welcome to the employee portal of the new Chronotek mobile app.  In our next post we’ll introduce you to the supervisor and admin functions.

Timekeeping for remote employees is now smart, simple, and predictive. Powered by Chronotek.

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with all new posts.

 

 

Celebrating with our NEW! Chronotek App

Launch the fireworks! Toss the confetti! Start the music! We’re still celebrating our 20th birthday and we’re doing it in Chronotek style with something great for customers of our telephone timekeeping system. It’s better than any door prize or party favor; it’s the release of our brand new mobile app!

We’ve been beta testing the new app with a few of our customers and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Reinhard Grab, owner of ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning, LLC in Summerville, South Carolina said, “I love the simplicity of the new Chronotek mobile app. The simplicity is like art. It’s beautiful and intuitive and has uncluttered functionality. It’s so easy for employees to use.”

Bruce Jeffers, owner of Classic City Solutions in Winterville, Georgia had this to say, “The new app works great. It gives me access to valuable data that my managers and I need out in the field.  I love Chronotek!” We love you, too, Bruce!

Manuel Silva, Operations Supervisor with nanoCLEAN Decontamination Services, LLC in Quincy, Massachusetts said, “The new Chronotek app gives me a lot of great information. The Workforce Stats page tells me who is and isn’t clocked in, who was late, and who wasn’t at the job when they clocked in. I can edit time cards from the new app. It’s very helpful.”

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We think that you will agree. The power, functionality and usability of the new Chronotek app reinvents the reality of mobile workforce management.

 

  • Would you like to send a group text message to all of your employees? Done.
  • View one quick and easy stats page showing who’s late, who’s a no-show, who wasn’t at the job when they clocked in/out and who denied the request for GPS tracking? It’s all there!
  • Add jobs and employees from the app? Absolutely!
  • Edit time cards while the doctor makes you wait for your appointment? You bet!
  • See a list of your employees’ actual hours worked and their future schedules for the week? That’s pretty handy for preventing overtime before it happens and the new app has it!

We want to tell you so much more about it. Our next post will go into deeper detail on how your employees can use the app. Then subsequent posts will highlight the supervisor and administrator functions. Be first to the party. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with all new posts.

But for now, go to your app store and download the new app. Download it free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

 

 

New Overtime Rules – Don’t Panic

The Department of Labor is affecting business owners in a big way.  We are privileged to have this detailed explanation from Matt Lapointe, a business lawyer with Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. in downtown Tampa, www.whhlaw.com.  Matt advises business owners on regulatory compliance, financing, contracts and many other areas.   

 

NEW OVERTIME RULES

DON’T PANIC –

Employers Have Until December 1, 2016 to Figure This Out

On May 18, 2016, the Obama administration announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rules updating the federal overtime regulations.  We knew these rules were coming.  In 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the DOL to update these regulations and on July 6, 2015 the DOL published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  These final rules differ a bit from what the DOL proposed in 2015.  This article will bring you up to date and will suggest some strategies to comply with the new rules.

Mandatory overtime for certain classes of employees is required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”).  The FLSA regulations establish two categories of employees:  exempt and non-exempt.  Exempt employees are exempt from the overtime requirements; non-exempt employees must be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of forty hours in any given week.

Many employers erroneously believe that if they pay an employee a salary, the employee is not eligible for overtime pay.  This is and always has been WRONG.  To be exempt from the overtime requirements, three tests must be met:  (1) the employee must be paid a fixed salary, (2) the amount of the salary must exceed a certain amount, and (3) the employee’s actual job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, professional, computer, or outside sales duties.  All three tests must be met for the employee to be exempt.  Even if an employee is paid a salary that exceeds the minimum amount (tests 1 and 2), if that employee’s actual job responsibilities do not fit within one of the job duties exemptions (test 3), then that employee is entitled to overtime for hours worked over forty hours in a work week.

The new rules have changed test 2.  The current rules set the minimum salary amount at $455 per week, or $23,660 per year.  The new rules, which go into effect December 1, 2016, raise the minimum salary to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year.

The new rules did not change the so-called “duties tests.”  The DOL has published a number of “Fact Sheets” providing helpful information on the various duties tests.  See https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/fact_sheets.htm  For example, to qualify for the administrative exemption, the employee must meet a 3-part test:  (1) the employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis at the new rate (effective 12/1/2016) of not less than $913 per week or $47,476 per year, (2) the employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operation of the employer or the employer’s customers; and (3) the employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.  It is this last one that trips up a lot of employers.  DOL Fact Sheet #17C states:  “The term ‘matters of significance’ refers to the level of importance or consequence of the work performed.  An employee does not exercise discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance merely because the employer will experience financial losses if the employee fails to perform the job properly.’

We recommend that employers take another look at all employees who are currently classified as exempt and review the duties tests for each exemption. If an employee does not meet the applicable duties test, then he or she is currently misclassified and should be re-classified as non-exempt. Assuming all of the currently exempt employees meet the applicable duties tests, the next step is to determine whether any of them do not receive a salary of at least $913 per week or $47,476 per year.  Beginning as soon as possible, these employees falling under the minimum salary threshold should begin tracking their time, to determine whether or how often they exceed forty hours per week.  Once the time data has been collected, the employer will need to decide whether it makes sense to raise the salaries of certain of those employees so that they will remain exempt starting December 1, 2016 or whether such employees will be re-classified as non-exempt as of December 1, 2016.  If the employer decides to re-classify currently exempt employees as non-exempt beginning December 1, 2016, the employer needs to have a reliable method of tracking those employees’ hours to determine overtime compensation or to ensure that such employees do not work more than forty hours per week.

These new regulations are expected to impact approximately 4 million workers.  Fortunately, there is adequate time for employers to plan for the impact of the new regulations.  Employers should discuss their options with their legal counsel.  The lawyers at Wetherington Hamilton stand ready to assist.  Feel free to contact Matt Lapointe at 813-676-9075 with any questions.

New OT Rule Makes Automated Timekeeping a Necessity

The federal government has given small business owners another reason to closely monitor and track their employees’ hours.  A new rule in the Fair Standards Labor Act (FLSA) beginning December 1, 2016 will raise the salary threshold of workers for which overtime must be paid.

In 2004 the Department of Labor 1required businesses to pay salaried workers overtime if they made less than $23,660 a year, making those workers non-exempt from overtime pay.   The new rule will almost double this threshold to $47,446, resulting in more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay.  Employees with salaries less than the new rate of $46,446 must be paid time-and-a-half overtime for every hour over 40.

An article in USA Today outlines ways companies might respond to this change.  They could continue to pay the same salary and start paying OT.  Or they could raise employees’ salaries to $47,446 to avoid OT.  Another strategy is that employees could be instructed not to work overtime, and part-time workers brought in to cover the workload.  Other businesses may cut the base pay of workers and pay OT in an attempt to keep paychecks at the same level.  Finally, salaried workers could be converted to hourly.

However you slice it, small businesses will need to accurately and efficiently monitor and track the hours of their employees.  We’ve explained before why handwritten time cards are a bad idea.  If your small business isn’t using an automated system to gather employee hours, now is the time to start.  For over 20 years we have provided business with a proven solution to control labor hours with our app-based and telephone timekeeping system.

Click here to start your free 30 day trial and get ahead of the December 1 deadline.

 

No Need to Blame Someone Else

National Blame Someon Else DayToday is the day that you can do no wrong. It’s National Blame Someone Else Day!  This day comes on the first Friday the 13th of every year. If bad things are going to happen, you may as well blame someone else, right?

According to National Day Calendar , this day was created in 1982 by Anne Moeller whose alarm clock failed to go off on Friday, May 13.  She was late to work which prompted a series of unfortunate events.

It could happen to any off-site employee. Wake up late, miss a scheduled cleaning at a job site, your customer gets angry and you lose an account. That makes for a bad day.

But that doesn’t have to happen to you.  With our telephone and online timekeeping system, you can create job schedules for your employees and receive text or email notifications if they are a no-show. Then you have time to get the job covered and keep your customer happy.

Sign up for a free 30 day trial. It’s definitely one thing in which you won’t go wrong with today. If you don’t, there’s no one to blame but yourself.

#BlameSomeoneElseDay

 

Tax Expense or Tax Deduction

You might remember from a previous blog post we analyzed the financial ramifications of a daily Red Bull habit, and the even more monetarily crippling practice of using handwritten time cards to track the time of remote employees.  In that post we made an assumption that your 15 employees are twice as honest as the national average and you lose only $2600 a year in inaccurate time card reporting.  With tax season still lingering on our minds let’s evaluate the potential tax ramifications with that situation.

Today we want to use the previous post as a basis to explore the difference in a tax expense and a tax deduction.  In that example, the $2600 that you spent in unearned wages also comes with payroll tax expenses.  According to this MIT article, you must add to the $2600 payroll expenses for Social Security/FICA (currently 6.2% on the first $90,000 of salary), Unemployment/FUTA (6.2% on $7,000 of salary) and Medicare (1.45% with no salary cap).  Workers compensation for the service industry could be an extra 5-8%.  So, the real total number is more like $3000.  These are unearned, undeserved, wasted dollars.  There’s a plethora of other consequences of time theft: poor work quality, a culture of dishonesty, low company moral, etc.  But we are just focusing on the dollars today.  Wouldn’t it be more fun to pop the top off a convertible, hit a long country road, load up Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”, and toss $100 bills into the wind?  At least you’re choosing to blow the money.

But in a sense you are inadvertently choosing to blow money too if you’re still using handwritten time cards.

Now let’s look at the tax deduction side of this.  Invest in our telephone and app-based timekeeping solution to get accurate, automated time cards that will eliminate the $3000 waste.  In our previous post we estimated the cost for your 15 employees on our system to be $2100 annually.  That’s $900 back in your pocket.  But it’s really more, because of the business tax deduction you are allowed for the expense.  This puts another $500 back on your side of the ledger which brings the real cost of our system to approximately $1600 annually.

Invest $1600, save $3000.

It is like you just got paid to use our system!  You’re up $1400 in tax-free money. That’s an 87.5% return on your investment.  Much better than your CD.

Now you can reinvest this $1400 in another tax deduction, maybe Red Bulls for your employees in the break room.  Using an automated timekeeping system makes great business sense, and investing in your employees is always a fantastic idea too.  Tax season can be better for everyone!

 

World Password Day – Deter Cybercrime

Today is not only Cinco de Mayo, it’s also World Password Day. Yes, it’s a real thing.

Today is the day to update your passwords for all of your logins.  In our modern world of encrypted emails, internet hacking and identity theft, we think that it’s a good idea. Here are some statistics that seem quite unsettling:

1.    There are 1.5 million cyber-attacks every year. That’s over 4,000 cyber-attacks every day, 170 attacks every hour, or nearly three attacks every minute. (CBS, March 3, 2015).

2.    Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion. (Rob Douglas, Identity Theft and Scam Prevention Services).

3.    Companies in the U.S. lose more than $525 million annually due to cybercrime. (Statista, Statistics and Market Data on Cyber Crime).

Cybercrime statsThis chart gives the global impact of consumer cybercrime in 2013.  Growing astronomically, the CBS news source estimated cybercrime to be over $400 billion for 2014. And researchers are estimating a staggering $2 Trillion lost by 2019.

It’s a HUGE problem that’s not going away.

Yet we can’t revert back to the dark ages. Technology is our future and we must harness its power, but we need to be wise.  Start by updating your password for your account on our online timekeeping system.   Once you’re finished and your workday is done, go relax.  After all, it is Cinco de Mayo!

 

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Happy Admin Prof Day

We are privileged to work with thousands of administrative professionals across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and we want to wish you all a fabulous day!

As the saying goes, behind every great CEO is an awesome administrator. Well, it’s not a saying until now, be we do appreciate the efforts and tremendous contributions that you all make. The wheels of small business would fly off without you.

And to all the CEO’s out there, if your administrative assistants are still collecting, calculating and processing handwritten timesheets for your off-site workers, please give them the gift that keeps on giving-automated time cards!

Thank you Administrative Professionals!  We celebrate you on this very special day!

 

Chronotek is Celebrating its 20th Birthday

Limited Edition 1996Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! This goes out to all of our customers, present and past, that have helped us reach a momentous milestone. Chronotek turns 20 this year.

It’s a big deal and we couldn’t be more proud or grateful.  Only about 25% of all new small business startups make it to their 15th birthday.   Most get out-lived by their pet dogs. So 20 years is pretty special.

We want to celebrate with our awesome customers by playing a game.  Test your knowledge in our Chronotek Challenge.   Let the games begin!

1.  What movie won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film the year that Chronotek started?  (We didn’t say the quiz would be easy.)

A. Ghostbusters
B. Shawshank Redemption
C. A Close Shave
D. Apollo 13
***Ok, so maybe it is easy.

2.  The Greek god, Chronos, is sometimes allegorically referred to as:

A. The Dark Shadow
B. Jimmy Longlegs
C. Father Time
D. The Ghost of Christmas Past

3.  How much money is lost in payroll by using handwritten timecards?

A. 2%
B. 4%
C. This is a trick question because it could be any of these.
D.  6%

4.  The Roman numeral for the year 1996 is:

A. XXX:)VC
B. MCMXC
C. MCMXCVI
D. MCMV+)

5.  What music video won the Grammy in 1996?

A. “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal
B. “I Can’t Go For That” by Hall & Oates (this should be your theme song if you happen to be reading this and you’re still using handwritten timesheets)
C. “Scream” by Michael Jackson (your go-to song on payroll night if you are still using handwritten timesheets)
D. “Aba Daba Honeymoon” by Debbie Reynolds

6.  The Chronotek free trial period is:

A. 15 days
B. 42 seconds
C. 30 days
D. Is this another trick question?

Answer key: 1.C, 2.C, 3.C, 4.C, 5.C, 6.C.  We’ve mentioned before that you should always choose C.

Well, it’s been fun, and thank you again for making Chronotek the best telephone timekeeping system over the past 20 years.  Okay, just one more challenge before we go.

If you aren’t using an automated timekeeping solution for your remote employees, the reason is:

A.    My desk has that “tornado just hit my desk look to it” and I like it that way.
B.    My employees will get mad and take me off their Christmas lists.
C.    I really, really want to, and know that it would be the wisest business decision that I could ever make, but I have been putting it off.
D.    I LOVE losing money.

Thanks for celebrating with us!  Easy to do if you subscribe to this blog or  follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

#4 Enjoy Your Spring – No More Handwritten Timesheets

You steal a glance out your window and notice that it’s a beautiful Spring evening.  A walk and fresh air would be great, but there’s no way. Your desk is littered with handwritten timesheets. And tomorrow is pay day!  Do you even have Donnie’s timesheet?

In this last installment of Spring Cleaning For Small Businesses we’re going to show you how to break free of your office so that you can get outside to smell the roses.

We’ve talked before about the need to automate and centralize the time collection process of your remote employees.  Chronotek is the answer!  So why not go all in and make payroll a squeaky clean and easy process?

Chronotek has a Payroll Snapshot report that accurately calculates overtime for any pay period including the pesky semi-monthly. This report also has California OT settings! Imagine your life not having to do those manual OT calculations any longer. Go ahead, take a minute.

Now for even better news. This report integrates seamlessly with desktop QuickBooks! Just click and in less than the time it takes to steep a cup of green tea your online time cards will be in QuickBooks ready for you to cut checks.

Spring cleaning feels good, doesn’t it?  You know where your employees are now; time cards are nice and tidy with Shift Lock, and payroll day can be a breeze instead of a burden with our Payroll Snapshot and QuickBooks Integration.

Reclaim your life and enjoy your Spring this year! It’s amazing out there!

 

#3 Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses: Use Shift Lock to Clean up Time Cards

We’ve all seen those late night infomercials. The ones that claim for 6 easy payments we can buy a new product that miraculously cleans our house while we sleep and will change our lives forever. The lesson we learn with infomercials is that the payments aren’t easy, there is no miracle, and we’re still doing housework on Saturdays.  Well, we have great news.  First, this isn’t an infomercial and second, we have a new tool on our telephone and app timekeeping system that DOES work and WILL change your life forever.  In this installment of our Spring Cleaning For Small Businesses blog series, we want to introduce to you Shift Lock, a massive time-saving tool that cleans up your cluttered and confusing time card issues.

If employees work designated shifts and your company policy is to pay for only those hours, yet employees continually clock in early and out late, then you have a mess on your hands.  You pay the extra time which throws off your job budgets, or you spend a lot of time correcting the time cards.  Either way it’s more money or more time unnecessarily wasted.  Lose/lose.

With Shift Lock, time cards are automatically adjusted to the scheduled shift time. Your early bird employees can clock in when they arrive to the job, but their times cards lock to the scheduled start time. Late clock-outs can be adjusted to the scheduled end time. They hear this announced when they call to clock in and out or see the message on the mobile app, so there aren’t any surprises on pay day.

Save money. Save time. Win/win.

You may even consider Shift Lock the miracle that cleans up time cards automatically (so you can get some sleep).

Keep posted on this new series by subscribing to this blog or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

#2 Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses: Locating Your Employees

Sometimes we are forced to clean when we can’t find something.   Since we’re Spring cleaning, let’s address a messy issue that’s been nagging you for a while; employees may not be on the job when they claim to be.    How do you monitor offsite employees to ensure that you’re not wasting money on unearned payroll and potentially damaging relationships with your customers?  We can bring some order to this chaos.

Our simple employee telephone and app clock-in system offers many smart tools and strategies that give small business owners peace of mind that their off-site workers are on the job. We’ll briefly mention a few, but we encourage you to contact us for more information.

  1. Our mobile app provides a GPS track of employees’ locations when they clock in and out. Quickly and easily view if employees were tracked at the job or not at the job.
  2. Lock down jobsite phones with our Linked Phone feature to require employees to use specified phones.
  3. Random Voice Verification helps catch Bob and Bill who work together and have been covering for one other as each take unapproved, but paid “time off”.
  4. Set up check-in alerts for your Bobs and Bills that will notify your manager by text or email, and she can drop in on them at the job.  We’ve had customers implement this strategy and it works great to raise the accountability level.

We’ve said before, that you can’t expect what you don’t inspect, and the aforementioned ideas are great inspection tools to clean up your time theft issues. We will be back soon to offer some more Spring Cleaning suggestions. Don’t miss any!  Keep posted on this new series by subscribing to this blog or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

#1 Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses

The arrival of Spring is such a welcome sight. The world bursts with colors as trees regenerate, flowers bloom, and the green landscape rolls in. We open the windows to let in the crisp breeze and we fire up the grills in the evening with the extra daylight. And for many people, it means Spring cleaning.

Businesses need to do Spring cleaning as well and evaluate policies, procedures and strategies. The very practices that got businesses to where they are now may not get them to the next level in their growth. Or even worse, current activities could be tarnishing the bottom line.

For companies with a remote workforce, our telephone timekeeping system  is a breath of fresh air. In our new series, Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses, we will introduce strategies to help you track, manage and report on your off-site employees. These ideas will clear the clutter in your daily remote workforce management practices as well as save you time and money. Some of the topics that we will discuss are: how to keep job budgets on track; save time editing time cards; prevent time theft by insuring that employees are on the job; and simplifying the payroll process.

Keep posted on this new series by subscribing to this blog or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Change Your Future – No More Time Card Pain

“People won’t change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

The internet cites many sources for this quote, but whoever first said it really understands human behavior. And since humans own and run companies, this truth has both personal and business implications.

We frequently hear the story. The owner of a small, but growing janitorial company, Becky, is up late doing payroll manually. She goes through 25 handwritten timesheets (actually 24 this pay period) to verify the hours with a nagging certainty that not every one of her off-site employees could have worked perfect 6-9pm shifts every night of the week.  Yet that’s what is written on all of the timesheets.  Then there’s Donnie, like always, who failed to turn in his at all. Her pain is immense. At that moment. In her late night-early morning agony she Googles for an employee call in system, and signs up for a free trial on our telephone timekeeping solution.

Ok, this is a new start.   But by the next day the immediate headache has passed, and Becky is caught up once again in the day to day grind of running her business. She doesn’t have time to talk when we give her a call to help her get started, and will call us back later. Later never comes.

Becky experiences the pain again a week later while she does payroll and thinks about us. Then she considers the time it will take to learn the system and train her employees, and she decides she just doesn’t have that time.  After all, she is too busy, because it is payroll day, again!  And her employees will probably give her a hard time about it, especially Donnie.

So her weekly payroll pain is not greater than the “perceived” pain of changing her processes.  And she does nothing.  Chances are she will always be a 25 or less employee company.  She never commits to the time and effort to step out of her business to work on her business.

We truly believe that Becky would like to change. It can’t be fun dreading one day out of every seven.  After all, we already have Mondays in which to contend.  And who likes to knowingly waste money?

If you own a small business with employees who work off-site and can relate to Becky’s pain, why not let 2016 be your breakout year?  Do something bold and courageous. Consider this quote by Seth Godin, “Change-making happens when people fall in love with a different version of the future.”

Fall in love with a future of automated and accurate time cards, a 2-6% payroll savings (a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned because it’s tax-free),  and most of all, a future with no more stress-filled late nights doing payroll.  Take your life back!   Sign up for a free trial today and let us help you change your future.

 

Building a Business: Change Happens

In this last installment of our Building a Business series we’re going to talk about change. Change is inevitable. In our second post of this series, Focus on Service Done Well, we discussed staying committed to your core purpose as a small business. This laser-like focus doesn’t imply that your business won’t undergo or implement changes.  Instead, these changes should serve and bolster your core purpose.  Your service and product line will evolve.  Technologies emerge.  Sony didn’t stick with the Betamax.  And some people probably complained.

That’s the topic of this post.  Well-planned and strategic change is often vital to your business’s survival and success.  And not all of your customers will be pleased.  But just as you can’t allow customers to force you off track into services you don’t need, you can’t let these same customers prevent you from making necessary changes.  And you can’t roll out a change and yet still continue with the old way, thus duplicating your efforts, just to pacify  these customers.  You must cut, allow the bleeding and subsequent healing.  This healing comes as you educate your customers on the benefits of the new way and how to best handle this change.  Document, inform,  offer webinars, do face to face training if necessary and receive their feedback.

When you implement a change it will be the byproduct of much thought, research and strategic planning, and a decision that it was essential to your core focus.  And ultimately, the change would be beneficial to your customers.  But the reality is that most changes will be met with some critical reception.  Expect it, and move forward with confidence tempered with empathy for your clients.

Our core purpose has always been to help our clients succeed by providing a proven way to control labor costs and increase their customer satisfaction.  While our features and tools to accomplish this purpose may change and evolve over time, our core purpose does not.

We know this is the end of the first quarter, however, it is never too late.  We wish you the best year ever and hope that our Building a Business series has been helpful. We welcome you to comment and like us on Facebook.  Also, please give us a call and let us help you build a great business.

 

Building a Business: The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule states, “do to others what you would have them do to you.” Notice that it doesn’t say “don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Therefore, “do to others” implies an active engagement of treating others in the way that you want to be treated.  And most people want to be treated well.

How does the Golden Rule relate to our blog series on how to build a business?

As a service business with a remote hourly workforce, your employees are the building blocks of your business and it’s vital to lay a solid foundation. You want employees who work hard, are loyal and honest, dependable, committed and reliable. You want good employees who will stay with you for a long time. The alternative, a high turnover rate, can be crippling. We have had janitorial business owners tell us that 200% employee turnover annually is a conservative number!  That’s a vicious and constant churning of time and dollars to recruit and train new staff, pay overtime to existing staff to compensate and suffer through lower productivity.

It’s much more efficient and profitable to retain your good employees and limit the turnover. We have learned that this can be achieved by following the Golden Rule. Treat employees well to give them a reason to want to stay.

The best way to create and cultivate an efficient and long term workforce is to lead with the same type of qualities that you’re wanting from your workforce.  Build loyalty by being loyal. Develop trust by being trustworthy. Gain generosity by being generous.

How does this look from an employer’s perspective?

Chronotek has a “perk” system to reward and honor employees. These perks are designed to make each staff member feel special and valued, like a VIP.  Many are gifts, while others are special privileges.  A culture of trust and loyalty has developed.  An atmosphere of high expectations and high rewards has emerged.  And these high expectations don’t just come down from the top. It’s intrinsic amongst the staff.  Everyone feels an ownership stake. As a result, the turnover is minimal to zero.

The Chronotek model may be unique, but the basic principle of the Golden Rule can be applied in any business. Treat employees well. Reward their good behaviors. Create a culture that they can’t find anywhere else. Our telephone timekeeping system can help set apart your employees that should be rewarded. Do you have employees that have never been late to a scheduled job? Give them a $5 Starbucks gift card occasionally. What about employees who are consistently on target with job budgets? Give them a paid day or half a day off once a quarter. These employees will learn that you value them and word will get out to other employees that you are an employer who can be trusted to notice and appreciate hard work.

You may think that the Golden Rule strategy is too expensive to implement, but it’s probably more profitable than constantly dealing with a 200% turnover. And it would certainly simplify your management processes to have a more stable and consistent workforce. What is peace of mind worth?  It is not too late to try it in 2016.  You may enjoy it, and your employees will think you are golden.

 

Building a Business: Choosing Vendor Partners

A small business depends upon successful relationships with quality vendor partners.  How a small business chooses its vendors is of upmost importance.  It’s like drafting a player for your team.

Seek out the most reputable vendor partners who provide the optimal solution and offer the best possible customer support.  If feasible, test-drive the services on a free trial period.  Determine that the company is committed to its product and service, as well as to your success.   Your company is as great as its weakest link.  Your quarterback may be awesome, but if he has a horrible offensive left tackle, your team (and QB) will suffer. Your standards for vendor selection should be as high as your internal standards.  Choose the best.   If there’s a tie between 2 or 3 great candidates, let price be your tie breaker.  Then, and only then, should price come into consideration.

Many companies will make the mistake of using price as the primary determining factor in selecting a vendor partner.  While price is important, it’s not paramount. The cheapest uniform supplier may provide apparel that’s dirty and late, and sales people may be inaccessible when you need to contact them. The most expensive vendor might wrap their deliveries in perfume scented paper and include chocolate mints, but do you really care and want to pay for it?  We have learned in 20 years of operating a telephone timekeeping company for small businesses with remote employees that price isn’t the highest determining factor in selecting a vendor partner. The cheapest vendor might prove to be your weakest link. We have often switched to a more expensive vendor because of better service.

Relationships should be built with your vendor partners. Remember that if you chose correctly, this vendor is on your team and committed to your success. You and your vendor will work together. It’s a partnership. It should not be an adversarial relationship.  When issues arise (and they will), you need the confidence that your vendor is working to help solve the problems as if it’s their very own business.

Ultimately, we consider ourselves as vendor partners with our clients.  Our part is to capture accurate time of the hard-to-manage off-site employees.  We have written before that we are not your vendor, but your vendor partner.  We want to be your partner, your teammate, your helpmate.  As a small business owner seek out professional relationships with businesses who feel the same. Together with your vendor partners you will build your business by providing a strong service to help your clients with their needs.

And you both win together.

 

Building a Business: Focus on Service Done Well

I saw this situation unfold just the other day in my own backyard.  Two brothers were playing ball next door and the older, more experienced one wound up and threw a perfect pitch to his father.  I knew that he was the star pitcher on his travel team. Then the younger brother says ‘me too’ and tosses a pitch that sailed over his father’s head. The younger brother was disappointed, yet the father didn’t look surprised. However, the world seems filled with companies with this  ‘me too’ syndrome; companies that think that they can do just as well as the experts in the field and then seem surprised when they fail.  Truly successful businesses fill a need with a service they do with excellence.

Like with any expertise, it takes knowledge, hard work, and extreme dedication to be the best.  Chronotek is considered an expert in timekeeping and remote employee management.  There are other companies that have their expertise in HR, payroll, and staffing.  As a consumer I would expect their service to be the best.  A phenomenon has been happening though.  Companies are trying to diversify into other areas outside of their core focus, which dilutes the quality of the product or service.  According to Peter Bloom, writing in the Washington Business Journal, diversification can be deadly.  He says, “… a company that diversifies without appropriate strategic considerations risks duplicating its systems, increasing overhead cost, distracting company leadership, and potentially even competing against itself.”

Sometimes companies feel pressured to diversify because their clients demand certain services that the company doesn’t offer.  Fear of losing one or two clients will throw the company off track.  Or a company may have venture capitalist partners pushing for higher and higher profits, and the company has to scramble for more revenue streams.  But it’s imperative for the small business owner, the expert in the field, to identify what “upgrades” fit their business model and which ones do not.  We have heard from many of our clients who first tried “me too” companies that offered multiple services and timekeeping was an “add-on”.  You know how that ended, because now they are our clients.  Other customers have left us for these type of companies only to eventually come back to us.

A small business needs to continually evaluate its mission or core purpose.  S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, strategically chose his company name to constantly remind him of his core business-chicken sandwiches made from the best part of the chicken, the breast fillet. He also modified the spelling of fillet to end in a capital “A” to symbolize, Grade A, the best.1     The Chick-Fil-A sandwich has been the cornerstone of his business for over 50 years and the menu has expanded very little in that time.

Why did you start?  Who are you trying to help?  Does diversifying and offering more services and products enhance or detract from your core purpose?   The greatest way to preserve your profits is to stick to what you do best in order to serve your customers with excellence. Purpose first, and profits will follow.  Or stated another way, keep focused on your vision and the provision will come.

Our core purpose has always been to help our clients succeed by providing a proven way to control labor costs and increase their customer satisfaction.  Diversification is ONLY an option if it strengthens this core and serves our clients better.

Your clients and venture capitalists may demand more services, but they wouldn’t be happy if chasing after these add-ons had a negative impact on the quality of your existing services and products.  This type of chase could damage your credibility. You know your business best. Don’t be pressured.  Build a client base that understands and appreciates your pursuit of excellence and commitment to the core purpose that serves them best.  Let the ‘me-too’ companies be the jack of all trades and master of none.

You can be the All-Star.

  1. How Did You Do It, Truett? S. Truett. Cathy

 

Building a Business: Great Companies Help People

Many businesses enter the new year with goals to improve their practices and bolster their bottom line. So how is it going?  In this new series, we want to help by sharing a few things we’ve learned in our 20 years of growing a successful telephone timekeeping business.

We believe that great companies are those created out of a desire to help people.  They may not have planned to be companies at all.  They started because someone saw a need and had an idea to fill the need to help people.  We agree with Zig Ziglar who said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Apple wanted to build a computer simple enough for everyone to use. Henry Ford wanted to build a better and cheaper car for the multitude.   And more than likely your company got started for a similar reason.

Chronotek was started 20 years ago because our owner wanted to help his entrepreneurial family manage remote employees across the many industries they served.  They struggled every pay period with employees who submitted falsely reported, inaccurate timecards and didn’t show to scheduled jobs.  The struggles are as real today as they were then for small businesses with a remote workforce.  He put his computer education and business experience to work and designed one of, if not the first, web-based timekeeping solutions to help his family and other small businesses.

Today Chronotek is an efficiently run, privately-owned and debt-free company.   We are committed to help our customer’s succeed by providing accurate timekeeping and the innovative tools to manage a remote workforce.  It is our privilege to serve thousands of companies in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico across all industries-janitorial, house cleaning, construction, landscaping, painting, security guards, pool companies, home health, greenhouses, etc.

You might have a similar story, yet are fighting for a breakthrough. We believe that we have gained some insight on how to build a great company that people can trust to help them, and in this next blog series we want to share these thoughts.  We take great effort not to get off track, and we are fortunate to still have the focus of helping people.   So stay tuned as we share from 20 years of doing the hard work.  Hopefully our experiences will help you build a great company.

 

Reference for Cell Email Addresses (Email to SMS): Setup for Text Alert Destinations

Many of our clients set up their Chronotek accounts to get alerts when employees clock in or out, or when they are late to a scheduled job.  We send these alerts from our email address to theirs, and can send them as text messages as well.  Sending messages from email to text requires a cell ‘email address’.   The technical term for text delivery this way is “email to SMS”.  SMS stands for “Short Message Service”.

We put together a quick reference for setting up new text alert destinations for your managers and supervisors.  Outside of our system, these formats work in your personal email ‘To:’ section to send email messages to someone as text messages.  It can be easier, if you are already sitting at your computer, to access your email account and pop off a quick text message, rather than having to pick up your phone to type out a message. To send an email to someone as a text message,  the proper format for your friend’s cell phone provider must be used.

Our phone and app-based timekeeping solution can send these alerts to multiple destinations.  Separate with a semicolon (;) just like in sending through email.

Some of our most popular providers’ formats:

Cell Provider Cell Email Address
AT&T XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.att.net
Boost XXXYYYZZZZ@myboostmobile.com
Cricket XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.mycricket.com
Metro PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@mymetropcs.com
Sprint XXXYYYZZZZ@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@tmomail.net
Verizon XXXYYYZZZZ@vtext.com
Virgin Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobl.com

 

 

The expanded list of Text Messaging Email Addresses:

Cell Provider Cell Email Address
ACS   Alaska XXXYYYZZZZ@msg.acsalaska.com
Alltel XXXYYYZZZZ@message.alltel.com
Ameritech XXXYYYZZZZ@paging.acswireless.com
Arch XXXYYYZZZZ@archwireless.net
AT&T XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.att.net
Bell   Canada XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.bellmobility.ca
Blue   Sky Frog XXXYYYZZZZ@blueskyfrog.com
Boost XXXYYYZZZZ@myboostmobile.com
Carolina   West XXXYYYZZZZ@cwwsms.com
Cellular   One XXXYYYZZZZ@mobile.celloneusa.com
Cellular   South XXXYYYZZZZ@csouth1.com
Cincinnati   Bell XXXYYYZZZZ@gocbw.com
Cingular same as AT&T
Claro XXXYYYZZZZ@clarotorpedo.com.br
Comviq XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.comviq.se
Cricket XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.mycricket.com
Edge XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.edgewireless.com
Einstein   PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@einsteinsms.com
Fido XXXYYYZZZZ@fido.ca
Immix XXXYYYZZZZ@immixmail.com
Metro   PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@mymetropcs.com
Mobile   One XXXYYYZZZZ@m1.com.sg
Ntelos XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.ntelos.com
Optus XXXYYYZZZZ@optusmobile.com.au
Qwest XXXYYYZZZZ@qwestmp.com
Rogers XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.rogers.com
Sasktel XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.sasktelmobility.com
Smart XXXYYYZZZZ@mysmart.mymobile.ph
Southern   Linc  XXXYYYZZZZ@page.southernlinc.com
Sprint XXXYYYZZZZ@messaging.sprintpcs.com
SunCom XXXYYYZZZZ@tms.suncom.com
Sure   West XXXYYYZZZZ@mobile.surewest.com
T   Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@tmomail.net
TBayTel XXXYYYZZZZ@tbayteltxt.net
Telenor XXXYYYZZZZ@mobilpost.no
Telus XXXYYYZZZZ@msg.telus.com
Tim XXXYYYZZZZ@timnet.com
Unicel XXXYYYZZZZ@utext.com
V   Mobile CA XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobile.ca
Verizon XXXYYYZZZZ@vtext.com
Virgin   Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobl.com
Vodafone XXXYYYZZZZ@vodafone.net
WellCom XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.welcome2well.com

***Where XXXYYYZZZZ is enter the 10 digit phone number without spaces or punctuation.

If this information is helpful, feel free to bookmark this blog page for future reference.

 

 

Obamacare Q & A: Must Offer ‘Affordable’ Coverage

Our guest blogger, Matt Lapointe, helps to explain the ‘Affordable’ concept in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Matt Lapointe, is an attorney with Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. in Tampa, FL,  www.whhlaw.com.  Matt advises small and mid-size businesses on all areas of business law, including the ACA.

Q.  I own 5 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises. Each is in a separate LLC, but I know they must be grouped together for ObamaCare purposes under the aggregation rules you discussed in Part 1 of ObamaCare Q & A.  I offer health coverage to all my full-time employees, but I heard that I could still get fined if the coverage I offer is not affordable to my employees.  How does the ACA define “unaffordable”?

A.  Health insurance coverage is deemed “unaffordable” if the premium required to be paid by the employee exceeds 9.5% of the employee’s household income.  Recognizing that an employer has no way of knowing the “household” income of its employees, the regulations allow affordability to be determined on the basis of the employee’s own income as reported on his or her Form W-2 (in Box 1) instead of household income.  If any employee’s share of the premium exceeds 9.5% of her W-2 reported income and any employee obtains subsidized coverage from the ObamaCare exchange, then the company must pay a penalty of $250 per month ($3,000 per year) multiplied by the number of full-time employees who obtain subsidized coverage from the exchange.

We’ve mentioned our new ACA-ALE Status report that calculates by month the total number of full-time and full-time equivalent employees to determine if your company must comply with the ACA. ACA FT Status

Our other new ACA report, ACA: FT Status – Monthly, breaks down each employee’s hours by the month to point out which employees meet the full-time (FT) status according to the ACA 130-hours per month ruling.

(These new ACA reports are coming out with our next update.)

We would like to thank Matt again for his time as a guest blogger in this series and for his assistance in creating our new ACA reports. As we’ve mentioned before, the Chronotek staff does not have ACA experts and therefore cannot answer compliance questions. Feel free to contact Matt.  We may hear from Matt again. Please stay up to date by subscribing to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Obamacare Q & A: Does Your Company Qualify – ALE

It’s a daunting task to determine if your business is required to comply with ObamaCare’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). In this third post of our series, ObamaCare Q & A, our guest blogger, Matt Lapointe, an attorney and ACA expert with Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. in Tampa, Florida, will clarify the definition of an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). Matt also helped us create a new report, ACA-ALE Status to crunch the numbers. Thanks Matt, for this ALE Q & A session.

Q.  My office cleaning company has 60 part-time cleaners who work on average 20 hours per week.  I also have 10 full-time supervisors, 3 full-time office staff (including my husband and me) and 2 full-time sales people.  I know that ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate applies to companies with 50 full-time employees.  We only have 15 full-time employees, so ObamaCare doesn’t apply to us, right?

A. WRONG.  To determine whether an employer is an “Applicable Large Employer” or “ALE” the ACA rules require you to convert your part-time employees to “full-time equivalents” or “FTEs.” Under the ACA, “full-time” is 30 hours per week or more. To calculate your FTEs, you take the total number of hours worked by all your part-time employees in a particular month and divide by 120.  In your case, assuming each of your 60 part-timers worked 20 hours per week in a particular month (60 x 20 x 4.3), the total hours worked for that month would be 5160.  Next you divide the total hours for the month by 120.  In your case, 5160/120 = 43 FTEs.  Adding 43 FTEs to the 15 full-timers, you end up with a total of 58.  You need to perform these calculations for every month of 2015 to determine whether, on average, your cleaning company employed 50 or more full-time employees over the course of the year.  If it did, your company is subject to the Employer Mandate.  Here is a chart that demonstrates the necessary calculations:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
FT 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
PT/FTEs 43 45 47 45 41 35 33 31 35 37 39 40
Total 58 60 62 60 56 50 48 46 50 52 54 55

12 month total = 651

Monthly Avg   651/12 = 54.25 = 54

Because 54 >50, the Employer is an ALE.

 

 

ChronotekACA-ALEReport

Chronotek has a new report, ACA- ALE Status, that helps to simplify the process of pulling together and understanding the numbers for customers of our telephone timekeeping system.  As Matt mentioned, it’s important to remember that your definition of full-time is quite different from how the ACA determines your company’s full-time and full-time equivalent count. Our new report compiles these numbers automatically.

In our next post in this series, Matt will explain the meaning of “Affordable” in the Affordable Care Act.  It’s not a random or subjective term and all ALE companies need to understand it’s specific directives. Stay informed.  Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

ObamaCare Q & A: 50 Employee Rule Defined

The Affordable Care Act 50 employee rule is cause for some discussion.  In our last post we introduced Matt Lapointe, who is an attorney with Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. in Tampa, Florida.  Matt is an expert on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and it’s our privilege to host him as a guest blogger in our ObamaCare Q & A series. He will address vital questions to help prepare small businesses on ACA requirements.  Matt’s first blog deals with an explanation of the 50 employee rule.

Q.  I know that ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer health coverage to their full-time employees starting on January 1, 2016.  My wife and I each own 50% of two different LLCs – my interior design business and her plumbing company.  The interior design business has 15 employees and the plumbing company has 38 employees.  Because both companies are under 50, we don’t have to worry about the Employer Mandate, do we?

A. YES YOU DO.  Under the ACA, companies that have common ownership or are otherwise closely related are aggregated for the purposes of determining whether or not they employ at least 50 full-time employees. This “aggregation rule” in the ACA piggybacks on two established tests codified in Section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code dealing with “controlled groups” and “affiliated service groups.” If two or more companies meet the “controlled group” test or the “affiliated service group” test and the combined total of employees meets the 50 employee threshold, then each separate company is subject to the Employer Mandate even if the separate companies do not individually have enough employees to meet the threshold.  Because your two companies are commonly owned by you and your wife and because both companies combined employ a total of 53 employees, each company is subject to the Employer Mandate.

Thanks, Matt. This is valuable information and probably surprises many small business owners.  As we mentioned in our last post, we aren’t ACA experts at Chronotek, and will not be able to answer ACA questions.  We leave that to the legal advisors like Matt.  However, we will soon be releasing 2 reports to help customers of our telephone timekeeping system.  Our ALE Status (Applicable Large Employer) report calculates by month the total number of full-time and full-time equivalent employees as deemed by the ‘new’ numbers. This report can assist with determining the 50 employee ruling that Matt addressed today. Please remember that if you have more than one Chronotek account, you will need to combine the totals from both accounts.

In our next post Matt will address the very tricky issue of calculating the “real” number of full-time equivalent employees for ACA purposes. Don’t miss it. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

ObamaCare Q & A Series

We’ve been preparing for it. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is imposing new numbers on small businesses.  Like death and taxes, it’s something we’d like to avoid, but unfortunately we can’t.  The best alternative is to be prepared and gain an understanding of its implications for your business.

In our new blog series, ObamaCare Q & A, we’re going to hear from Matthew Lapointe, who is an attorney with Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. in Tampa, FL,  www.whhlaw.com.  Matthew advises small and mid-size businesses on all areas of business law, including the Affordable Care Act.

Matthew will conduct a series of Q & A’s on ACA compliance to give us insight on who must comply and who doesn’t. He also consulted with us as we developed two ACA reports that will be released soon.  We aren’t ACA experts and will defer any questions that you have to your own legal advisors, but our reports will help compile and organize relevant data for companies who use our telephone timekeeping system for their remote employees.

Please check back with us soon for our first Q & A installment in which Matthew will address the ACA compliance issues of owning multiple businesses.  You can also subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with all new posts.

We Give Thanks

Can you already smell the roasting turkey and fresh pumpkin pies?  Or are you relishing the thought of an afternoon with a happy, full stomach, watching football, and taking a long nap?  However you spend your Thanksgiving, we wish you a truly great one.   As the backbone of our great country, we give thanks for you every day.

Please enjoy a relaxing and restful day of Thanksgiving. One way to assist with this is to disable all alerts for the holiday. Go to My Account, Company Set Up and remove the check from the Enable Alerts box. This will turn off all alerts for no-shows and clock ins and outs. Be sure to turn them back on after the holidays.

We thank you, our loyal customers,  and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Always Choose C!

It’s a running joke that when taking a multiple choice test and have no idea of the right answer, always choose C.  When starting a small business, there are Plans A, B and C.  And C is still the right answer, but it’s more than a lucky guess.

Plan A:  You love the idea of being your own boss. You are good at something and decide to turn it into a business. Then you discover that there are many hats to wear in a small business. In The E Myth, author Michael Gerber defines these roles as The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician.  You dive in and do your best to perform all of the roles, but soon discover that you can’t keep up.  Each day holds too many tasks  and you realize that you aren’t good at one or two of the roles. You become frustrated and disillusioned as your dream slips away.

Plan B:  You are wiser and hire employees to do the work so that you can work on the business. Then you discover that your employees are late to jobs, or don’t show up at all, or the workmanship is poor.  And even worse, you know that their handwritten time cards are largely inaccurate!  You hired people, but there’s no accountability system in place.  William Deming said, “You can expect what you inspect.” 

Plan CThe Chronotek Plan.  Hire good people and use our telephone and web-based timekeeping solution to help manage your off-site, hourly employees. We have uncovered some of the common problems a small business with remote workers faces and how we can solve them.

 

PROBLEM:  Falsely reported hours on handwritten time cards.  A study has shown that on average a company loses 10 minutes a day per employee due to time theft. Run those numbers and see how much is wasted in lost wages.

SOLUTION: Our timekeeping solution is an investment at a fraction of the money lost in wages, and will capture accurate time based on a simple and quick action by your employees: call a toll free number or use our app to clock in and out.  Either method takes about 15 seconds and you recoup lost, unearned wages. (And you don’t have to track down and manually calculate those handwritten time cards!)

 

PROBLEM: Missed jobs. There’s nothing worse than getting a morning call  from your best customer because his building wasn’t serviced the previous night.  You had an employee scheduled; the employee didn’t call out, so you went to bed and assumed all was well.

SOLUTION: This nightmare can end with our no-show alerts.  Get a text or email alert if your employee doesn’t clock in by the time you specify on the schedule.

 

PROBLEM: Buddy punching. Your employee, John is running late to the job site, so he calls his co-worker, Jill and asks her to call and clock him in. She uses the job site landline, punches in John’s employee code and you never know the difference. You’re paying John to work even though he isn’t.

SOLUTION: Our Random Voice Verification tool can help prevent this time theft by randomly requiring your employees to state their names on clock in and out. Supervisors can listen to the voice recording and verify the identity.

 

PROBLEM: Countless hours processing payroll.  You’re either paying someone to process payroll, or you are spending time doing it that could be invested in prospecting for new business.

SOLUTION: Use our seamless QuickBooks API Interface to quickly and efficiently transfer time card data from our system to the timesheet section of QuickBooks.  Then cut checks.   Done.

 

PROBLEM:  Losing money on jobs. You bid on new jobs based on an estimated amount of time to get the work completed. Then at the end of the month you wonder why you’re searching the sofa cushions to make payroll. You’re certain that you bid the jobs accurately, but as you analyze your handwritten timesheets you realize that your employees are spending too much time at each site (or at least reporting they are).

SOLUTION: Protect your profits with the Budget Planning Tool. Our new Budget Planning tool analyzes actual hours along with future schedules to help monitor your budgets in real-time.  Through interactive charts and easy-to-follow color-coded graphs, you will know each day if your budget is on track or not.

 

We believe that our web-based and telephone timekeeping system can change your life and keep your dreams alive.  It’s a simple and easy-to-implement solution.  Just choose C and you’ll pass the test!

 

Landmark Books Outline Success for Business Owners

Our most recent blog series entitled Managing Remote Employees dealt with the common challenges that small business owners face and suggested many creative management practices that can be implemented with a telephone and app-based timekeeping system.  In addition to having good management practices in place, a small business owner must have at the core of his business a proven business philosophy that guides all decisions.

Experience is definitely a good teacher and helps shape guiding principles, but much can be learned from the expertise and experiences of others.  We would like to suggest a couple of excellent books that we have read that are landmarks in business publishing.  They have been around for a relatively long time and have stood the tests. If you are just too busy to take on a reading project, simply download the audio version and listen to it while driving or doing desk time.   We are convinced there are many business savvy takeaways from both books.

The first book is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.  E-Myth Revisited bookOriginally written in 1986 and titled, The E-Myth, this powerhouse was revised in 2004 and has sold more than 2 million copies.  To exercise a couple of overused clichés, this book is a game-changer and a paradigm shifter.  Gerber refers to the well-known statistics for small business: 40% fail in 1 year, 80% fail in 5 years, and 80% of the remaining will ultimately fail.  The book describes the approach necessary to be in the minority that succeed.   It’s all about working more ‘on’ your business than working ‘in’ your business.  If you are wearing all of the hats for your business then you likely aren’t spending enough time ‘on’ your business.  The irony is that taking the time to read this book is one of the characteristics of a successful small business owner.

The second classic book is Good To Great by Jim Collins, written in 2001.Good to Great book  Quoted from the Publishers Weekly review on Amazon, “To find the keys to greatness, Collins’s 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project.”   The team studied 1435 companies and the result is an engrossing read that lays out the key characteristics of the 11 great companies that went from good to great (i.e. companies that were built to survive leadership changes and generated stock returns that beat the general market by 7 times for at least 15 years).  Learn the key characteristics that cause Good companies to be Great.  Don’t let your mind drift with the thought that you don’t plan to build a publicly traded company.  The ideas presented in the book are fantastic for companies of all sizes.

We believe in these books and want you to read them. In honor of Labor Day 2015, if you like our Facebook page between now and Monday, September 14, 2015, we will enter you into a drawing to win both of them.  We will even let you choose between the paper version or CD (if available).   We hope to help make you wiser in your labor pursuits.

 

Managing Remote Employees: Preparing For Payroll

Getting payroll done does not make for a fun day, or two, for many small business owners. This is especially true if the company is still using handwritten time cards with its remote workforce. Does this look familiar?PayrollDay_PullingHairOut

In this last installment of our Managing Remote Employees series, we are going to cover how to prepare for payroll.  The first and best way to prepare for payroll is to begin using a timekeeping solution that automates the time card collection process.  With accurate time cards automatically stored in one place (instead of driving all over town to collect them), life gets a lot simpler.

Now, assuming that you’ve made the wise leap into technology (to spare your hair), or you are an existing customer, preparation steps for payroll can begin before the day checks are printed.  It’s easier to keep up, than catch up.  Automated time cards make this possible.   Each morning look for red flags on the Edit Time Card screen.  The red flags indicate missed clock outs.  You may have ditched the handwritten time cards for an automated clock-in  system, but you still have human employees, who will forget to punch out every now and then.  It is easier to monitor and fix these daily, than to wait until the end of the pay period when you may have several employees to contact.  Besides, 5 days later the employee may not remember what time he left the worksite.  We had one customer with an employee who routinely ‘failed’ to clock out; and she got tired of chasing him down, so she ‘failed’ to direct deposit his paycheck.  His wife called that morning and that problem was solved.

Along this same line, if you use our actual or Google map estimated travel time feature, we recommend to approve the travel records every couple of days.  The approved travel time is automatically factored in the  employee’s total accumulated time so you can keep tabs on overtime, and prevent the overage before it happens.

Now, when you get to your desk on payroll processing day, most of the work is done.  Simply double check for errors and run the time card report. Payroll hours are automatically calculated and can be easily viewed as a .PDF or a .CSV, or exported in our timesaving Payroll Snapshot tool.

If your company routinely has overtime issues, and particularly if you have a semi-monthly payroll, and/or are in California with expanded overtime settings, the Payroll Snapshot reports can accurately calculate payroll hours for regular, overtime, and other set pay types.  The automated overtime calculation is a true a life-saver for those with semi-monthly overtime calculations.  We have been told the Payroll Snapshot feature alone is worth the price of admission.

The Payroll Snapshot also integrates with QuickBooks seamlessly. By using the Payroll Snapshot, Chronotek directly exports your time cards into the Weekly Timesheets section of QuickBooks.  With the click of a button, send the calculated shift hours (including overtime and other pay types) to QuickBooks with absolutely no file handling.  The Payroll Snapshot can also be used to create exports for payroll companies, such as ADP, Paychex and Paycom.

One of our goals as an app-based and phone timekeeping solution is to simplify the lives of small business owners.  With our suggestions for preparing payroll, we hope to give you back time you can use to really grow your business, or spend time with family, or get your hair done.

 

Managing Remote Employees: Automated Job Budgets

Spreadsheets are powerful, but lifeless. A spreadsheet can have fabulous pivot tables, line charts and colored graphs to provide vital information as long as human hands are entering the data…and keep entering the data.  The information spreadsheets provide to assist with business decisions is only good if the data is current.  For a small business owner with hourly employees who use handwritten timesheets, maintaining job budgets on a spreadsheet is nearly impossible.  Yet it’s worse for a company whose only mode for tracking success or failure is whether or not he has any money left in the bank at the end of the month.   There’s a better way to monitor hours worked at jobs than tedious drudgery or sheer luck.

In this third installment of our Managing Remote Employees series we would like to suggest the best business practice on tracking job budgets.  It begins with using a phone and app-based timekeeping solution that automates the employee time collection process.  Employees need a simple way to clock in and out whether it is with a phone call or by using the app.  With either method, automated time cards are created by the system to bring life to the data evaluation process.

With our timekeeping solution, the best method to track actual job site hours worked is with our Budget Manager.  It provides a small business owner with vital up-to-date information on worked hours compared to the budget numbers.  Of course, too many employee hours could indicate several things: the job was underestimated, employees are padding their time cards, or they are working too slow.  But too few hours might mean that employees aren’t spending enough time on the job and the quality is poor.  Either way, a small business owner needs help.  She needs current information to make important management decisions.

For each job, create a budget for the contracted hours.  Then without any more effort, our timekeeping solution will crunch the numbers and quickly report actual hours versus budgeted hours for each job.  Create  job budgets for the entire year and then monitor the hours by week or month.  Know in dynamic, digital color-coded clarity via the Budget Dashboard if your budgets are on track, where they are headed, and if necessary make on-the-spot future scheduling changes to bring the budget back in line.  No need to wait to enter the daily timecard data into a spreadsheet to know how your jobs are doing.  The Budget Manager information is automated, live and predictive.

Breathe life into your management processes. Each morning instead of stretching your hands to do a morning full of data entry, simply log into your dynamic Budget Dashboard and welcome the new day with the current information you need to make the decisions when they need to be made. That is the power of using budgets in an automated phone and app-based timekeeping system.

Please check back with us for our next installment of Managing Remote Employees when we give smart tips on how to prepare for payroll.  Or make it easy on yourself to stay updated by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter.

 

Managing Remote Employees: Location, Location, Location

Location, location, location resounds in our second installment on Managing Remote Employees.   Yes, you can have confidence that your employees are really on the job site when they say they are.   Location tracking is one of the many benefits that a telephone and app-based timekeeping solution like ours can give you that handwritten time sheets cannot.  Johnny may write on his time sheet that he cleaned the building from 5-9pm, but he may have been in Bob’s Bar and Burgers an hour away by 6:30.

We work hard to provide the best tech-management tools to assist businesses with remote employees.  So how can you use technology to create automated time cards and be sure that employees are really on the job site?  We offer 6 smart tips:

  1.  Require employees to use job site landline phones to clock in and out if possible. The caller IDs of the phones used to clock in and out are noted on each automated timecard.   Question the employee about any phone number reported that’s not a job site phone.  You can also prevent the use of any phone number that appears on your account that you don’t want employees to use.
  2. Link job site phones to the jobs to ensure timecards are created from calls on site.   This essentially ties a phone number to a job preventing employees from clocking in with another phone.
  3. Use our smartphone app if landline phones are not available. The app is a great way for employees to clock in and out and it provides a very accurate GPS location track at the time of the punch in and out.
  4. Employees who don’t have smartphones can opt-in to GPS tracking that we get from their cell carriers.  We can currently get location tracks from the following carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular, Boost, (Canada) TELUS.
  5. Some customers want to retain the ability to use our voice features, such as Random Voice Verification and our Integrated Voice Messaging system which are not available on the mobile app, but they want the benefit of the accurate GPS tracks provided by our app.   So we have recently released our Dialer App.  For a description of the Dialer App, click here for the Google Play Store and here for iTunes. The Dialer App is essentially a speed dial into the normal toll free that your employees already use.  Once dialed in, your employee will still enter his employee code and job code, but the location track comes from the smartphone itself, and not the cell carrier.  The result is a very accurate location track. (Normal call charges apply).
  6. Enter addresses for all of your job sites and our Clock Locations screen reports if your employee was ‘on the job’ or ‘not on the job’. This information is based on the landline phone used, or the cell phone GPS track we received from the cell carrier, or the track we received from the device itself if the Mobile App or Dialer App is used.  For a great visual the map link shows the location of the track compared to the job site location.

Managing remote employees is always a challenge and while you can’t put it on autopilot, current technology does offer ways to simplify the task.  Steve Jobs said, “It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.”  We agree that technology is ever-changing.  From our perspective the accountability that technology provides gives you faith in people as the honest employees stand out.

Stay tuned for our next installment in the ‘Managing Remote Employees’ series in which we offer advice on how to make sure employees aren’t spending too much or too little time on your jobs.

 

Wet Paint….New Look!

We are pleased to announce that on Monday night (June 1st) we will unveil our new login screen and begiChronotekLoginScreennning changes to our user interface.

Customers will notice updated colors in the user interface and incremental enhancements as time goes on.   A new green ‘action’ color is used to better define the navigation buttons (such as the Save, Delete, and Cancel buttons).  These changes are designed to streamline the experience for our customers and enable us to easily incorporate future upgrades.

There are a few areas where the ‘wet paint’ signs are still hanging, so please bear with us as we refresh Chronotek.

Managing Remote Employees: Prevent Buddy Punching

One of the biggest issues that a small business owner with remote employees faces is not knowing what’s going on out in the field.   Is your employee really on the job when he says he is?   What if his co-worker buddy backs him up?  If he’s not on the job, but says he is, you are paying for unworked, unearned time that can undermine your bottom line.

You hope to hire hardworking and honest employees, but as we have quoted before, “You can expect what you inspect.”   And when your off-site employees are working together, there can be a cause for concern.  If your company is still using handwritten timesheets to keep up with employee hours, it’s as simple as an employee putting down hours for a shift that he really didn’t work and his buddy covering for him.  Or if using an automated system an employee can give his access code to his buddy and ask him to clock in for him at the job site.

Either way, it’s time theft.  It’s costly.   It’s unnecessary.

Our telephone timekeeping system offers some smart solutions to prevent buddy punching and helps to ensure that all hours reported are earned.

A popular management tool is our Random Voice Verification (RVV).  When calling to clock in and out, our system can randomly prompt your employee to state his name, and we record it for you to play back.  You can compare the random voice check against a voice file we made the first time your employee clocked in.  This layer of accountability when punching in/out lets your employee know that you are inspecting.

Another solution when you suspect that a particular team or crew may be buddy punching for each other is to use our alert system.   Set up the system to send a text or email alert to a supervisor when employees check in and out.  When the supervisor gets an alert, he can call the employees on their cell phones.  When one answers, he can ask the employee to hand the phone to the other employee.  One of our customers actually got a check-in alert and then drove to the job site to find that an employee was not there although she was clocked in.

A third idea is to use the Mobile App while physically monitoring the job site one night. Watch who arrives at the job site and then use the app to view which employees get clocked in.  See if an employee clocks in who wasn’t on site.

Finally, use our integrated voice message system.  Plan for a night when you will leave a voice message to a suspected employee that he will hear when he clocks into a job.  The message might say, “John, this is your supervisor, Jill.  As soon as you clock in and get this message, please call me from the job site phone.”   Or for an ultimate test, be on site and tell John in the message to meet you at the back door immediately.

By implementing these strategies systematically and routinely you should be able to flush out problem employees quickly and let the remaining know that time theft is not tolerated.   Check back soon for the next installment in our Managing Remote Employees series in which we will discuss more ways on how to ensure your employees are on the job site when clocking in and out.

 

New Blog Series Coming: Managing Remote Employees

In the United States small business owners employ roughly 11 million workers in just 4 industries: janitorial, security guard, home health and construction.  Most of these employees work off-site.    Still other businesses that employ remote workers include landscaping, painting, swimming pool, greenhouse, staffing, transportation/delivery and many more.  While we love and appreciate the workers who make up the backbone of our economy, we empathize greatly with the struggles that small business owners face who must supervise a remote workforce.

Relying on handwritten time cards for employee hours; paying employees when they aren’t on the jobsite; controlling overtime; staying on budget with monthly job contracts and preventing no-shows so that all jobs are covered are just a few of the issues and concerns that small business owners must overcome to remain viable in a tough economy. We care about small business owners and want to offer practical and strategic ways that our telephone and app-based timekeeping system can help contribute to their long-term success.

To this end, we will begin a new blog series entitled “Managing Remote Employees” that will offer smart solutions to many of these small business struggles.  Please check back with us soon, or even better, become an email subscriber to this blog or follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

 

A Timekeeping Solution for Your Business?

We offer a telephone and app-based timekeeping solution that works great for most small businesses with remote employees.  For 20 years we have helped small businesses in many ways, and we can determine if our timekeeping system is right for you.   The best way to approach this is to explain the ways our customers have told us we have changed their lives over the years.

If these things could benefit your company then our timekeeping service might be a smart choice for you as well:

  1. Save companies money by controlling labor hours as we capture accurate time with a simple phone call or using the mobile app.
  2. Enhance employee management abilities with inventive tools to prevent time theft with GPS location reporting on clock in/out and a tool to deter buddy-punching.
  3. Help clients deliver terrific service to their customers by alerting them of no-shows to scheduled shifts they need to fill.
  4. Assure owners that budgets are met when they see labor hours dynamically plotted against the job budget.
  5. Give owners the time to work ON their business by reducing the time they work IN their business (i.e. timecards are automatically calculated to reduce pay period processing time – and diminish the stress level!)

We get very excited when we hear how we have helped their small business.  Feel free to read a few customer testimonials from those who have written us.

Our knowledgeable support team listens to potential customers to analyze and determine their specific needs.  We answer your questions and are able to give expert timekeeping advice.   It does not happen often, but the other day we talked to someone where we concluded that their current timekeeping solution, a competitor, is the better fit.  We don’t enjoy turning away new business, but we are all about long-term, mutually beneficial, trusting relationships.  And we want what is best for the small business owner.

If you own a small business with remote employees and need a reputable timekeeping solution that is easy and cost-effective to set up and start using, we are confident that in most cases we can make your life better.   But please know that we will be honest with you.  Either way, you are welcome to try the system to help with your decision.

Click here for a free 30-day trial.

 

 

Effective Alerts for Remote Employees

The Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is a medical term that is becoming used in non-medical environments.  It means applying the smallest dose possible to achieve the desired result; and anything beyond that is wasteful.  If a cup of water will extinguish a tiny fire it’s overkill, and a waste of resources, to dump a five gallon bucket of water on the flame.  MED is relevant in the remote employee telephone timekeeping world as well.

One of the most valuable tools to help manage remote employees is email or text alerts sent to supervisors.  Companies can set up two types of alerts:

  1. All check-in and check-out alerts. These alerts are sent every time an employee clocks in or out.
  2. Late or no-show alerts.   These alerts are based on schedules and are ONLY sent when an employee is a no-show.

There is an effective way to handle alerts.  It’s the MED of alert management. 

All check-in/out alerts are beneficial when monitoring new or “problem” employees.  A supervisor receives the alert and then calls the employee on his cell phone, “I see that you just checked in.  Is everything going ok?”  The employee now knows that eyes are on him.    But if these alerts are applied to all employees they can become overwhelming, even a nuisance.  A company with 20 employees that work 2 jobs every night would trigger 80 alerts each night.  Make it 40 alerts if you don’t set the check-out alerts.  That many alerts will eventually become ineffective, not to mention unnecessarily disruptive.  The last thing you want is a supervisor turning off all alerts.    And why do you need these alerts for Susie?  She’s been a solid, faithful employee for 6 years.

On the other hand, create job schedules with late alerts to receive alerts only when employees are a no-show.  These are the alerts that really mean something.  They indicate that action must be taken to get the job covered. These alerts are the Minimum Effective Dose and their effectiveness must be preserved by limiting unnecessary alerts. If all check-in/out alerts are used for every employee, then these very important late alerts will get lost in a sea of texts or emails.

Any alert received should be actionable.  A strategically used check-in/out alert means that the supervisor will randomly follow up with the new or problem employee until the issue is resolved; after which the alert should be stopped.  A no-show alert gets a supervisor’s attention so he can get the job covered.  And yes, set late alerts for Susie’s schedule too.

Don’t pour a bucket of water on the problem when a wisely employed cup will do.  Go for the Minimum Effective Dose.  Using alerts effectively will help cure the headaches of managing remote workers.

 

Advice from a Janitorial Business Owner

We recently had a chance to ask one of our long term customers about his success and his business philosophy, specifically as it pertains to profitability.  We try to use this space to offer helpful information to small business owners as it is our corporate purpose to change lives by offering a proven way to manage employees and save money on payroll. Sometimes, however, the best advice comes from a comrade who understands the day to day struggles of small business ownership, but yet has found a way to be successful.

David owns a janitorial business in East Texas employing over 100 hourly remote workers and manages well over 100 job sites. We believe that David is more than qualified to share his thoughts and that his insights are valuable to all small business owners. It has been said that many receive advice, but few profit by it. We hope to reverse that trend in this case.

Chronotek: David, we’ve heard that profit margins in the janitorial industry range from 10-28%. Does this sound right?

David: Profit margins do vary quite a bit depending on the size of the organization. Early on, it’s easier to have a higher profit margin as there is much less infrastructure to support. It’s also typical at a company’s start that larger accounts are out of reach so the focus goes to small and medium sized accounts, which generally will produce a higher profit margin, however, that part is mostly due to labor than infrastructure. We all want the highest margins possible while still remaining competitive. I’ve heard of organizations with a smaller profit margin than the 10% you mentioned but that can’t sustain a business for long.

 

Chronotek: Don’t people vary on how they calculate profit margins?

David: It’s measured differently by organizations. Some will give a number based on how much money the owner has available after paying labor/payroll, bills, taxes and expenses. A truer measure is how much is left after the owner has paid himself/herself. 10% after everything is usually a good target in this industry.

 

Chronotek: How do you maintain your profit margins year in and year out?

David: The profitability battle is won or lost (in my opinion) in three areas. First, labor is the biggest contributor of all, and also is measured differently depending on who you speak with. I like to fully burden my labor to include taxes (Soc. Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Comp Insurance). Since those numbers are percentage of labor based, it’s not complicated to know what your overall labor burden should be. Total labor cost for a healthy organization should not exceed 50% of revenue. You’ll have some above, some below but on average should be at that number. Proper proposal generation/pricing, having a cleaning strategy in each account, monitoring the time and efficiency and a proper time management system are essential to making that happen.

Second, keeping infrastructure realistic can make or break success. It’s easy to get caught in a growth spurt and suddenly add too many people to manage the business at different levels. Too much too quickly and the profits are gone. I’ve also tried to keep myself involved in areas I do best. The things I did to manage the business were necessary but once I could afford to hire staff, it made sense to hire people who were very competent in the areas I was weaker in.

Third, are expenses. Again, this can come with a little success. Once things reach a point where everything is paying for itself (and the business owner), you start thinking that it’s time for a new office, new company vehicle, increased advertising etc. Slow and steady works much better here. The old adage “don’t spend money you don’t have” is appropriate. While debt is necessary at times, the more you can do without it the better. If it is necessary, managed debt must be the way to go as unmanaged debt will sink a business.

 

Chronotek: David, thank you for time and your candid, insightful responses. There are plenty of great take-aways for small business owners across all industries.

David: Might be a little longer of an answer than what you were looking for but thought to share.

 

It’s not often that a successful business owner will share his secrets and strategies with others, so we were blessed that David was so forthcoming. We are still early into 2015 and there’s plenty of time to implement sound business practices that will pay long-term dividends. One great idea is a remote employee timekeeping system. At least David thinks so.

 

Location, Location, Location Confidence

We have mentioned many times that companies lose about 10 minutes a day per hourly employee to time theft. This is most common when employees use handwritten timesheets and exaggerate the numbers.  With automated timekeeping systems employees can call or use the app for precise timekeeping.   No more handwritten timesheets, no more exaggerating, right? Almost. There’s another factor to consider.  Where was the employee when he punched in or out?

We call this location confidence.   If he was at home or in the drive-thru at McDonald’s, then that’s time theft, too.  It’s unearned time that you are paying for (including payroll taxes) that could also be contributing to overtime (or the 30 hour a week average according to the Affordable Care Act).

For small businesses to survive these changes it is vital to protect the bottom line with the use of a remote employee timekeeping system that uses the available GPS technology to give the best estimate of an employee’s location when clocking in and out.

Chronotek timekeeping offers 5 tools to help discern employee location:

  1. Cell phone GPS location tracks. If employees call on cell phones to punch in and out, their cell carrier can provide Chronotek with the GPS tracks of their clock in and out locations (on opted-in phones). Simply compare the clock location to the job address on our Google Map.
  2. App-based GPS location tracks. When employees use our app to clock in and out we stamp their location using the device’s GPS. We have seen this show amazing accuracy. The clock in/out events can be easily reviewed on a map.
  3. Caller ID is captured on all calls. If the employee uses the job site phone to clock in and out, then you know he is on site. View the call log and/or time cards to see what phone numbers employees are using when clocking in and out. The other day we helped a customer confirm that his employee clocked in with the job site phone, but the customer noticed that the employee clocked out with a different phone. It turned out to be the employee’s home phone!
  4. Restrict clock ins/outs from the jobsite landline phones. Using site phones ensures that employees are on site when punching in and out.  Link the jobsite phone to the job, and timecards are automatically associated the correct job.   Also, unauthorize any phone numbers that are not allowed (such as home phone numbers).
  5. Set the acceptable Tracking Accuracy/Verification Threshold on a job site address and if a GPS track is detected outside of this parameter, the Clock Location screen will flag that punch as not at the job. This is just another tool to help alleviate some of the daily stresses of managing remote employees.

Location confidence takes timekeeping to another level. As the saying goes, what matters is location, location, location. It’s a vital piece of the remote employee management puzzle that must be solved to protect your company profits. Our timekeeping solution gives you the accountability tools for confidence in the integrity of the time cards. If your employee is picking up a double cheeseburger and a Dr. Pepper, you’ll know that it’s on his time and not yours.

How To Start off the Year with The Best Timekeeping Solution

As the year closes, be honest, you’re considering a gym membership.  It’s an annual tradition, right?   Let’s pretend that in your community there are 2 fitness franchises, Gym A and Gym Y, and they are across the road from one another.  Both are similar in price, size and quality and variety of equipment. The one difference is hours of operation available to its members.  Gym Y has 5am to 9pm hours while Gym A across the street is open 24/7/365 to its members via an electric key fob.  With everything else being equal, why wouldn’t you drive across the road and choose Gym A?  Sure, you may never go between 9pm and 5am at night, but you CAN.  What should you look at when making choices?

When small business owners with remote, hourly workers search for an online telephone timekeeping system they can find a plethora of options. Many have the same features at similar prices: telephone and app-based clock-in methods, GPS location reporting, scheduling, etc., so it’s important to dig to find the discriminating differences.

Let’s look deeper at 3 key factors to consider when choosing the right timekeeping system.

  1. How long has the company been in business?   Choose a company with a long, proven track record.  These companies have  figured out how to be successful in a competitive market, which is indicative of the quality of the product and service.  It’s also a sign  that the company will be around to serve you as long as you need them.   Chronotek started 20 years ago with a mission to change the lives of small  business owners by offering a proven way to control labor costs and  increase customer satisfaction.  That is still our goal today and will be  for years to come.
  2. How do you like the customer support?  Most timekeeping companies will offer a free trial.   Use this time to not only learn the system, but to also test the responsiveness and  helpfulness of the support team.  Keep in mind that you are forming a  long-term relationship with a service provider that can be integral in      saving your company thousands of dollars in payroll.  Be certain that you have the ability to access the pleasant expertise you need from a team that is genuinely pulling for your success.  We outline our customer support philosophy in our blog post, Not Your Vendor.  You can also check out what a few of our customers have said about us.
  3. What does the company website look like?   Does it appear that the company invests in keeping the site up to date and fresh?  Or is it analogous to a 1980’s big hairdo and hasn’t seen an upgrade since the mullet?   This could indicate that the company is struggling and can’t afford to make capital improvements to its online storefront, the face of the company to all prospective customers.  Chances are that a company that can’t keep its front-end relevant may falter maintaining its backend, the part that is most important to customers who rely on the service and protection of its data. It’s not perfect, but we are proud of our site. It has changed a few times in 20 years.

We do hope that you join the gym as it’s a great idea, but to preserve the good health of your small business, we really encourage you to start off the year with a proven timekeeping solution. We would love to be that choice.

 

Friendly People Make for a User-Friendly System

Every software designer strives to make his user interface user-friendly. It’s doubtful that anyone starts out with the goal in mind, “Let’s make this as hard as possible!” But as we know, the world is full of systems that fall short of friendly.

To facilitate the learning process, there may be guides or help menus available to explain the product and its features.  And these guides can also be easy or difficult to understand. The testing with a new service may be time consuming and end in frustration, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  What makes the difference?

A good company will have one more resource that the consumer can tap into: real people.  Real people who want to help via phone, email, webinars or live chat.  When we have an opportunity to interact and train with a new customer, she often remarks how easy the system is.  The difference is considerate human interaction.

We work very hard to make our system very easy.  We constantly scrutinize our interface and listen to customer feedback on how it can be simplified. We also have instruction guides; we email out helpful hints and we offer free training webinars.  The difference is our stateside, knowledgeable, friendly support team is passionate about changing the lives of small business owners by solving their timekeeping problems.  This interactive personal care is the secret to shortening the learning curve and it’s why we give you 30 days free to learn it on our dime.  We believe so much that our remote employee telephone timekeeping system will change your life that we are willing to provide you free customer support and helpful materials while absorbing the expense of the trial period.

User-friendly is quite simple with the help of a friendly support team.  Don’t give up before giving us a call.  Allow us to help you get set up on a cost-saving service that will actually change your life!

 

Happy Thanksgiving

We want to wish our Chronotek customers a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving season. We know that you work hard every day to keep your small business dreams alive and we hope that you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor for a day or two.

To help with that, we have a holiday tip for you. If your staff is off for Thanksgiving Day, turn off late alerts companywide with one click of the mouse. Go to your company setup screen and uncheck the “Enable Alerts” box.  Just don’t forget to turn them back on again after the holidays.

For 20 years it has been our mission to change the lives of small business owners with a simple, yet effective timekeeping solution and it’s our privilege that you trust us with this assignment.  As we move forward, we will continue to work hard to maintain your trust and to provide you with the easiest and most comprehensive accountability system available.

Thank you for allowing us on this journey towards your dream.  We are grateful to be a part of it. Enjoy your day!

The Chronotek Mobile App Is Here!

If you haven’t tried Mobile Chronotek, it’s time to put your best employee management device in your pocket.  Step away from your office, take a walk, but stay connected to your small business.  Supervisors use Chronotek Mobile to see who’s clocked in, who’s late, who’s a no-show in the past 12 hours, who’s approaching 40 hours for the week and more.   And now the free Mobile app is available.  Search for Chronotek Mobile.   Our Mobile website users now have options!

The app is also a dynamic tool for your employees. They can use it to easily clock in, check their live schedules and view their time cards.    Read more  about the freedom that the app (or mobile site) can provide.  Mobile Chronotek has something for everyone; and it will just get better!

Enhance your remote employee management experience with our web and telephone timekeeping solution.  Go to your App Store and download Mobile Chronotek today. Then enjoy a walk. You deserve it!

 

Fall Into Better Business Practices

Fall is here and with it comes a refreshing sense of relief and revival. The summer heat has passed, the busyness of vacations is over, and the kids are back in school. It is a time when many business owners consider better business practices to carry into the new year.

A new approach to tracking remote workers with a web-based and telephone timekeeping system can save companies both time and money.  Here are  “Fall Four-Ward Strategies” for companies with remote employees.

  1. Chronotek Mobile – now an App.  Our app has been released on the Google Play Store and the App Store. It’s a great tool for your employees to use to check their schedules and view their time cards. No more printing and emailing schedules or requests by employees for their hours. Give them the power to access this secure information and recapture your valuable time needed to prospect for new business. Chronotek Mobile is also a great management tool for supervisors.
  2.  QuickBooks Integration.   Are you still manually entering time into QuickBooks for payroll?  Save time and use our QuickBooks Interface (API) to seamlessly export time card data from our system to the employee timesheet section of QuickBooks. Implement this one change in your business practices and you’ll have more time to enjoy the seasons change.
  3.  Budget Planning Tool.  Get started on the right foot with new projects and clients by using our dynamic new Budget Planning Tool. Create a budget of hours for the season or term and see employee hours calculated against the budget with live, color-coded charts that display the status. Know easily and quickly when budgets go off course and make quick scheduling corrections with the fully integrated Schedule Manager. This tool can keep your budgets on track to preserve your profitability and also help you discern overtime. Chances are budgets gone awry indicate employee overtime.
  4.  Over 40 Check Report.  With the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  looming in 2015, businesses with fifty full-time equivalent employees will have to provide health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. It is imperative to closely monitoring employee hours to keep them under 30 hours per week. Check employee weekly hours (ranging from the most to the least) with the Over 40 Check Report. It is impossible to monitor this with handwritten timesheets.  According to a national study, employers lose 10 minutes a day due to employee theft.  That’s almost an hour a week, which could be the difference between 29 and the statutory 30-hour full-time status.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”    The man knew a thing or two about building a business (wink).   Start on a fresh new path this fall by trying these 4 great business practices and see how they can transform your business.

Timekeeping Technology’s “High 5” Ways

Google’s automated car has been receiving a lot of attention in the news lately. It’s a car that can drive itself and could be a major breakthrough for certain segments of our population, such as the disabled and the elderly. However, the automated car may be a setback for some professions like taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Mercedes and other car makers also plan to roll out automated big rig trucks by 2025.  The introduction of new technology is a constant, driving force in our world and small business owners need to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.  This means that they have to learn how to change their business practices to integrate technology into their corporate strategy.

Many small business owners with off-site employees, in industries such as janitorial, building maintenance, security guard, construction, greenhouse, pool maintenance and lifeguards, painting and landscaping, have discovered that using telephone and online timekeeping technology to replace handwritten timecards is a necessity to business survival. Chronotek’s timekeeping system provides a proven and efficient method to save money on payroll by capturing accurate punch times.  In addition, the innovative management tools set small business owners in the direction they need to go to make the best business decisions.

Here are the super “High 5” ways that timekeeping technology helps small businesses with remote employees maintain their competitive edge going forward.

  1. Automated timecards are stamped and created  by a phone when the employee calls or logs in. Since the employee initiates the action, he can’t debate his time or “fudge” it.  This simple 11 second act alone can save small business owners 2-6% on payroll.
  2. Job schedules with no-show alerts protect the customer base. A supervisor can act on an alert she receives by text or email when a job isn’t covered, instead of a call from an angry customer.
  3. Linked job site phones and unauthorized cell phones ensure that remote workers are on the jobsite when clocking in. Stop paying for unworked, unearned time. This is vital to cutting back on overtime and keeping employees under 29 hours.
  4. Job budgets keep your monthly and annual contracts on track and highlight the jobs that are going over or under budget and need attention. Budgets are the best way to monitor and protect the bottom line.
  5. GPS tracking for employees who must use cell phones gives the small business owner confidence that the punches are from the jobsite. And because the employees know that they are tracked, it’s a great accountability tool.

Until technology eliminates the need for off-site workers, small business owners should educate themselves on the innovative timekeeping technology tools that will take them into the future. The management of labor hours and job site administration are too important to trust to handwritten timecards and the honor system. This is especially true in today’s tough economic climate; although we have seen our customers grow and prosper using these advances in telephone timekeeping.

Businesses that fail to transition to technology will find themselves broken down on the side of the road, while wiser business owners who grip technology will continue to pick up speed, driving straight down the highway into a bright future.

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Chronotek Timekeeping Midyear Review

It has been a busy year for us in the world of telephone timekeeping. As Ferris said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

We want to pause for a moment at the midyear point and look back at what we have been doing at Chronotek this year. This is more for the benefit of our customers who are so busy that they may have missed a few things.

  1. Budget Planning. We unveiled a new budget planning tool to help keep your job contracts on track. It is powerful. It is simple. It’s unbreakable, so give it a shot. We wrote several blog articles about it. Take a look at our Budget Series.
  2. Calendar based Job Scheduler. We released a new calendar based job scheduling module. With Schedule Manager, you can create schedules with many recurrence options and receive late/no-show alerts.  It also shows you an employee’s weekly hours across all jobs so that you don’t schedule her for overtime. You can view and schedule by employee or job. Read about Smart Scheduling.
  3. Prohibit Unauthorized Phones. We made it possible for you to mark phones as unauthorized which will prohibit your remote employees from using them to clock in or out. The call attempt is logged for you to see. Unauthorized News.
  4. Employee Notes. We added an employee Notes tab. Make customized labels and track notes on employee call-outs, raises, bonuses, termination reasons, etc.
  5. Job Notes. We added a Job Notes tab. Supervisors can log notes about work performed, facility size and details, issues incurred, alarm codes, etc. Managers can leave notes for supervisors to review.
  6. Enhanced location features. We are licensed with Google Maps to offer enhanced location features. When adding job sites enter the address and see the location populate on the map. We are in the early stages of these exciting new capabilities, particularly with a new travel/mileage feature that will be released soon, so stay tuned.
  7. Smartphone App. We are in the final stages of developing our smartphone app for iPhone and Android and registering with the app stores. The App version will be very similar to our existing mobile site which we hope that you are utilizing. Read 8 reasons why you should be using it to monitor your off-site workers.

It has been said that 7 is the number of completion, but we promise you that we are not finished. Simplifying the lives of our customers is our highest priority and as long as we continue to discover ways to make this happen, our hands and minds will be busy.

Don’t miss anything. Be sure to stop and look around once in a while.

An Inspection System For Remote Employees

To remain profitable, small business owners must be able to trust their off-site, remote workers. This trust begins by hiring the highest quality people and training them to do the highest quality work. The emphasis on quality, and not costs, will create a solid workforce and result in building long-term customer relationships.

William Edwards Deming was an American business consultant and statistician who was awarded National Medal of Technology in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. One of his proven theories is illustrated below.

Quality =Results over Costs

(a) When people and organizations focus primarily on quality, quality tends to increase and costs fall over time.

(b) However, when people and organizations focus primarily on costs, costs tend to rise and quality declines over time.

See more on Deming

If you agree with Deming’s theory then your focus should turn to quality. You can interview and hire the best candidates, but as Deming said, “You can expect what you inspect.” This means that you need a system in place that helps you monitor and manage your remote, mobile workforce; a system that will aid in sifting the high quality employees from the ones that will dilute your staffing pool. An “inspection” system if you will. This constant sifting will ultimately build the finest workforce.

Here are 3 ways our innovative phone and web timekeeping system can help your small business build the highest quality labor force.

  1. Location, location, location. We give you 2 methods to oversee the location of your employees’ punches.  The first is our GPS tracking feature on cell call clockins. This is a great accountability tool as your employees know they are being monitored. We track the  location at clock in and out. If your employees complain about being tracked…well, to paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘he who protests too much…’ Secondly, our Linked Phone feature will highlight those employees using unauthorized phones to clock in/out. You want your employees to use your customer site phones if possible. This ensures that they are on-site.  Go one step further and mark the phone as Unauthorized.  When an employee tries to clock into a job with an unauthorized phone, the call log will show the unsuccessful attempt and the phone number used.
  2. Keep tabs on employees who are consistently late. The Late Report will list employees who are late to scheduled jobs and the number of minutes late. Also review our Daily Schedule screen for no-shows to scheduled jobs.
  3. Catch employees who buddy punch for each other with our Random Voice Verification. Use this feature in conjunction with check-in alerts to enhance your employee inspection processes. If you have suspicions about a couple of employees who work together off-site, use check-in alerts to monitor them. When you are alerted that they have both checked into a job, call one on his cell and ask him to put the other on the line. You may not catch them this time, but they will know that you have eyes on them.

These are just a few of the ways that we can help you create an employee inspection system to build the best workforce possible. As Deming noted, higher quality leads to lower costs and we think fewer headaches as well.

Prevent Use of Unauthorized Phones

We have been listening to our clients.   There is concern when employees call to clock in using a phone they were not authorized to use.  Maybe it was their even their home phone!   No more.   We have just the tool for your managerial toolbox.  A big concern for companies with remote workers is trusting that their workers are on the job site when punching in.   If your workers are required  to use the job site phone you can now tag other phones as “unauthorized” which will prevent it from being used to clock in/out.

If your worker attempts to clock in/out from an Unauthorized phone, a message plays stating that the phone is unauthorized and the clock in/out is prevented. This message is a signal to your employee of higher accountability measures. We capture the call attempt and it appears on the Chronotek Dashboard and the Call Log – fully noted as unauthorized.  Use this valuable information for performance reviews.

The setup is easy.   Chronotek gathers not only the Caller ID (phone number) but also contracts with a company for the name of the person/company registered to that phone.  Filter on Residential lines to search for home phones, or filter on Mobile phones.  Simply check the Unauthorized CID box to tag the phone as Unauthorized for clocking in and out. It really is that simple.

Use the Unauthorized Phone feature in conjunction with Linked Phones (refer to our online System Guide) to tighten up your management efforts and enjoy greater control of your workforce.

More tools. Less effort. Timekeeping really can be simple.

Budgets 103: Control with Integrated Scheduling

We believe that budgets are the target and that schedules are the plan to hit the target.

An airplane has a landing destination, but there is a control in place, called the pilot, that brings the plane in.  She will make adjustments along the way in speed and altitude to keep the aircraft on course.

Schedules are your control to ensure that your budgets land on target.

In this budget session we want to offer 3 reasons why integrated scheduling  gives you the edge in budget planning.

  1. Life happens. You started with a budget plan, but then employees started working the plan. Things got a little off course.  Chronotek plots each budget progress on the Budget Dashboard. The cautionary yellow and red colors on our charts advise you when actual hours are coming in too low or high suggesting scheduling changes.   Control the destiny by changing the schedule.  Use the integrated Scheduler button on the budget screen to access Schedule Manager and quickly make these changes. This will protect your budgets throughout the intervals.
  2. 1000 foot view.  Chronotek gives you the airplane window shot of each job incorporating the actuals, and schedules with the budget.  As employee actual hours compile against the budget, and the future schedules get calculated in, Chronotek predicts where the budget will land at each interval along the way through to the end of the term.  See where adjustments need to be made and quickly make them with the Integrated Schedule option.
  3. Empower your supervisors. They may not have access to the budget screens but they can see the budget numbers and interval variances for each job on the Schedule Manager screen. This equips them to make necessary scheduling changes along the way.

Your profitability on each job is too important to leave to chance. Seize the power of predictive technology by creating a budget plan with integrated schedules and control every budget.

Pilot your budget to a smooth landing.

Budgets 102: Budget Term vs. Budget Interval

Now that you have decided to “Just Do It” and use our Budget Planning tool, let’s get started on the right foot.  It begins with the basics of setting up a budget and understanding the concepts Budget Term and Budget Interval.

Budget Term is the full length of the contract, the start and end date. It may be seasonal, annual, or even shorter if it’s a one-time project. Let’s say you have an annual budget. For the start and end dates, enter January 1 to December 31. Then enter the total budgeted hours for the year. For example, if your budget is to clean a building 10 hours a month, budgeted hours for the year are 120. If you are jumping in midseason, but have timecards in our system since the first of the year, go ahead and still create the annual budget with the total hours for the year. We will apply all of the actual hours year-to-date against the live budget. New customers can define the Budget Term for the balance of the year and enter the budgeted hours remaining.  As a general rule, use the contract end date so the system can predict where the budget is headed.

Budget Interval, on the other hand, equates to how you choose to monitor the budget. This can be a weekly, monthly, quarterly  or custom interval. The main idea of Budget Planning is to help you make better decisions. How often do you need to break out status updates on the health of a budget in order to make the best decisions?  The system automatically flags each interval in red, yellow or green based on the variances between the interval budget and the actuals. In the example of a yearly budget with 120 hours, you may choose a monthly interval. Set up the Budget Intervals for a monthly distribution.   Our system can evenly distribute the 120 hours across 12 months. Or you can choose to have the system weight the distribution by days in the interval (February only has 28 days, and would be allocated less hours). Tighter budgets may require more diligent screening with a weekly interval. We also give you the option to customize the intervals by manually entering the numbers. For example, you may create a budget with weekly intervals that are evenly disbursed, but then you can customize the weeks if holiday weekends need more or less hours.

It is easy to get started. Create your budget and input the total number of hours for the budget term and then track by your chosen interval, weekly, monthly, quarterly or custom. Once you have created the budget Chronotek does the hard part.

Enjoy the power of predictive technology and future vision.

Budgets 101: Just Do It!

You’ve been reading our blog entries about our new Budget Planner tool and you are excited. It’s the live, real-time and interactive budget data that you know is needed to effectively track labor hours and stay on target with your contracts. Predictive technology to systematically suggest schedule changes has been beyond your wildest dreams.

But you have not started to use it – yet.

Although you admit that your spreadsheets are highly inefficient and time-consuming, it’s what you know.  You might think you do not have time to try something new.  Can we simply shout from the mountaintops, “Just do it!” ?

The beauty of our Budget Planning tool is that it is very simple to use.  Once set up the system calculates every variance number for you in real-time.    Even better news… you can’t break it, and you can’t mess up anything.  The budget tool does not affect the operation of timekeeping, so you can try this new feature with confidence.  Made a budget and need to change it? No problem. Need to delete it and start over? Again, no problem.

Even if you are midseason in a budget year, it’s not too late. Create a budget for the hours and interval you have remaining. Or create a budget from the beginning of the season with the total budgeted hours and see how the actual hours to date compare against the budget hours. If you choose one way and change your mind, no problem. Just delete and start over. Our Budget Planner tool is as indestructible as a Stretch Armstrong action figure.  And  even more powerful for your business!

Read more about how to get started in the Budget Planner guide under the References menu item on your web-based account. It won’t be long before you are ready to destroy your spreadsheets and harness the power of real-time budget planning.

Just do it.

Automated Budgets Ensure Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men…

The budgets you made looked great on paper. All of your remote, hourly workers were under 40 hours and your jobs were scheduled according to the budget. Then something happened.   Your paper plans were put into practice and you are stunned as you look back over the handwritten timesheets a week later.   How many times have best laid plans gone astray?

Budgets are off, schedules were not followed. Some employees exaggerated the hours they worked, and a couple of jobs took longer than expected.   The life of a small business is too fluid and unpredictable to rely on the static nature of paper budgets, schedules, and hand-written time sheets.  And your time as a small business owner is too precious to waste on a method that’s highly imperfect and a source of constant frustration.  But the automation of Chronotek can simplify your life and keep your best laid plans on track.

Now Chronotek Budget Manager allows you to create and monitor budget information on your web-based timekeeping account.   Everything is real-time so you know exactly when a budget is not being met.  The Budget Dashboard is a console with easy-to-view graphs, charts, and grids that show which jobs are on the path of going over or under budget.  The real power is released when Chronotek’s new calendar-based Schedule Manager uses Budgets to assist with keeping up necessary schedule changes.

Preserve your plan!  For the first time, supervisors have ready access to live budgets in order to plan the schedules.

Protect your profits!  Budgets become alive when we join actual hours and future schedules at every interval, ensuring control of the end result.

Predict your future! Predictive Technology takes this one step further by automatically and systematically suggesting schedule changes, empowering supervisors to make the right decisions.

Don’t leave your business plans to chance by struggling to manage remote employees using static spreadsheets for budgets.  Seize the power of predictive technology and the value that real-time budgets have when they are integrated with live timecards and schedules.

Give your best laid plans the advantage of budget automation.

NEW** Stay on Budget Using Predictive Technology

We have all come to the end of the month with a sick realization that there’s more month left than money.

If you bid on jobs based on annual or seasonal labor hours, your small business might have a similar situation.  If each month there is more calendar left than budget hours, you can find yourself over budget, compounding your losses each month.  If too many of the hours on the job were overtime, the issue is exacerbated as your labor dollars explode by 50%.  Or for businesses that get paid based on weekly  budgeted hours, and employees work less than the budget, not only are you  leaving money on the table, the quality of the work could be subpar.   Either situation could leave your business struggling to survive.

Some well-intentioned business owners may use elaborate spreadsheets to track labor hours, but that is a tedious, time consuming and highly imperfect method.  Spreadsheet data is not real-time, interactive nor predictive.  Have you been looking for help?

This is where a telephone timekeeping system does more than capture accurate time for payroll. Our new Budget Planning tool and Schedule Manager analyze actual hours along with future schedules to help monitor your budgets in real-time.  Through interactive charts and easy-to-follow color-coded graphs, you will know each day if your budget is on track or not.

Make better decisions when the Predictive Budget tool systematically and automatically suggests schedule changes to correct your course.  The scheduling data becomes even more dynamic.  As you schedule employees, their actual and scheduled hours for the week are in plain view so that you don’t schedule them for overtime.

Budget monitoring.  Suggestive scheduling.  Overtime management.

It is Predictive Technology that gives you the power to control your own future, not be stunned by it.

This is truly life changing.  It’s dream saving.  And it’s simple.

Budget Planning coming May 1.

*Coming Soon* Chronotek Gives You Power to Predict the Future

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

― Søren Kierkegaard

The survival of your small business depends upon you understanding and using the past to help predict and control the future. It’s the power of predictive technology and it’s now at your fingertips.

Our telephone timekeeping system for your remote employees has been enhanced with two integrated innovative tools, Schedule Manager and Budget Planning.  Easily create a job budget for any interval of time based on last year’s actual hours or the contracted hours, and then simply schedule out the hours. As your employees punch in and out of these jobs, we crunch the numbers to advise you if the budget is on target or systematically suggest scheduling changes to correct your course. This automatic calculation of actual hours and future schedules against the budget gives you “future vision” to see where actual hours could trend if not managed.

It’s the power to protect your profits.

The Budget Planning tool can also be utilized without making schedules. Create a budget for any interval of time and the system will mark actual hours in real time against the budget to track any variance. Manage with confidence.

It’s the power of simple.

The future is here…coming May 1st.

Take the Time to Do It Right

paperboxThis picture says more than a 1000 words about small business practices. Don’t worry. We will keep it shorter than that in this post.

But notice where the newspaper is…2 and 1/2 feet below the paper box. On the ground. In fact, every house in this neighborhood has a paper box, yet every newspaper was delivered to the ground. The paperboy was more concerned with being expedient rather than excellent.

Expediency in business is not always a good thing. In the matter of the newspaper, several problems could have resulted. A dog could take off with the papers chewing a mess in his wake. Or rain could ruin the paper. Would advertisers in the paper be happy to know that their ads are in danger of never being seen? Or minimally, an entire neighborhood street littered with papers is not attractive and not necessary.

Take the time to do it right. That’s what the poor example of the paperboy teaches us.

We appreciate feedback from our customers about our telephone timekeeping system. We know that as users they have insight that we may not have, especially industry specific needs. Many of the ideas get passed along to our brilliant software development team to ponder the possibilities. We often move forward, but we take our time.

Then before we release a feature or enhancement across the board, we will beta test with a small sample size to tweak and work out the bugs. We can’t get in a hurry. Integrity of our system is of the highest importance because our customers depend on us. The last thing our customers need is a new shiny feature that’s riddled with bugs and complicates, not simplifies their lives.

In the past few years we have released major new enhancements or features, but only after much work and testing. Our QuickBooks Interface is a remarkably powerful tool that saves valuable time processing payroll. Our improved mobile site now allows employees to view their schedules and time cards as well as clock in and out via the web. GPS technology can track the location of employee’s punches. The roll out of these features was slow and methodical. We worked very hard to break them ourselves before releasing them to our customers.

We are about to roll out an improved version of our scheduling tool.  It will replace the current Shift Schedule ‘Beta feature’ that just a few clients have been testing for us.  We have heard from the users of our new Job Scheduling tool that it is just what they wanted.  We know the multi-job schedule view is also very valuable and it can still be seen as such from the Daily Schedule screen; and of course Schedule Viewer is for that 1000 foot view.  We are always working to get it right!

We want to improve the lives of small business owners by offering them a proven way to control labor costs and increase customer satisfaction. Every new feature is produced with that one goal in mind. We will never race to release something new just to keep up with the competition if in the end it may cause more problems than it solves. We choose excellence over expediency.

Now, this is a much better example to follow.

Smart Scheduling Working For You ** New

If you are a current Chronotek user, you’re going to greatly appreciate our new calendar-based Smart Scheduling by the job. It’s the coolest thing since, you know, “sliced bread.”  If you’re still on the fence and haven’t made the wise decision to use technology to capture accurate time for payroll then this might be just the right time.  This new Smart Scheduling tool is one more way we can save you money and simplify your life.

 We provide the advantage with real-time integration.  With calendar-based Job Scheduling, you can view job schedules by day, week, bi-weekly, and monthly.  The powerful advantage is that we house the employee’s LIVE time cards.  As you add an employee to a schedule, you can see that employee’s scheduled and accrued hours in real time so that you don’t inadvertently schedule her for overtime.

We do the math.  At the top of each view (daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly) you can see how many total hours have been scheduled and actual hours accrued for your job, across all employees.  One quick look lets you know if the scheduled vs. actual is off-kilter. Time is money!  Your profits can be wasted if your employees are spending too much time at each site.  And on the flip side, too little time spent at each site can lead to poor quality, resulting in unhappy customers- a deadly poison to your profits.

 We broadcast the changes LIVE.  All new schedules or revisions are LIVE and are pushed out to our mobile site for supervisors and employees to view.  Read more about the power of our newly enhanced mobile site in our Great 8 blog post.

We provide flexibility.  As before, you can create late alerts to notify you by email or text of no-shows.  Various recurrent patterns (i.e. every other week) can be scheduled for jobs that repeat intermittently.

Why is it smart?  This first iteration of ‘smart’ takes scheduling to a new level when the integrated powerful Budget Planning tool (coming soon)  is also used.  This dynamic tool allows you to create budgets with calendar-based intervals.  The three elements of time (actual, scheduled, and budgeted) exponentiates the management information available, putting power in the hands of many management levels.  Budget Planning will let you know if you are on or off target for your seasonal, monthly, annual or “you decide the term” budget.

But more on that later.  First enjoy Smart Scheduling and see how it will change your life. We know it will.

 

The 7 Secrets of How Simple Happens

Telephone timekeeping. Simplified.

That’s our slogan; however, being simple is anything but simple.

Yet it’s not something our customers would ever know. They want accurate time cards for their remote, hourly employees and they count on us to provide them – we provide timecards, but with ‘ease’ in mind.  Their employees use a landline or cell phone to dial our toll free number and 11 seconds later they are punched into our timekeeping system. And it happens that easily almost 100% of the time.

But so much goes on behind the scenes to produce simple. Here’s a list of 7 things we do to deliver a timekeeping system that is simple to use.

  1. Simple happens because we stay ahead of the need- always maintaining more phone lines than we require. If an employee gets a busy signal, it’s not on our end.
  2. Simple happens because we utilize fail-over technology meaning that if one set of phone lines goes down, all calls transfer to another network.
  3. Simple happens because our servers are retired with plenty of capacity for existing company growth.  Scalability is key for any business with their eye on the future.
  4. Simple happens because of server redundancy and scheduled backups, which means no customer data has ever been lost.
  5. Simple happens because we partner with the best teammates (not vendors) to      provide the best network infrastructure of technology available.
  6. Simple happens because we have a fully staffed IT development team that always has their pulse on our system’s health and are ever moving forward to maintain our innovative industry leadership.
  7.  Simple happens because we have an exceptional customer support team focused on training/assisting our customers.  Our personal touch goes into creating helpful documents such as the online System Guide and instructional videos.

Simple happens, but it doesn’t just happen. Poet Dejan Stojanović said, “The most complicated skill is to be simple.”

 It is not easy being simple.

Price Your Services to Stay in Business

Did you fall in love with the new corner coffee shop because it was so cozy and the prices were half of Starbucks?  Weren’t you equally or more disappointed when it went out of business 9 months later?  Starbucks hasn’t weathered the economic storms by selling cheap coffee.

A small business that sells goods or services must make wise decisions in regards to pricing to have staying power in the business world.  We are passionate about helping small businesses succeed and we know that the odds are against them.  90% of new startup businesses will fail, and between 70-80% of all small businesses will fail within 10 years.  We may not understand the intricate details of your small business or the coffee business, but we have survived a very competitive marketplace in the telephone time-keeping industry for almost 20 years, so we have learned a few things that may benefit you.

We want to help you beat the odds by providing a few pointers on pricing.

Pricing Pointer #1

Don’t try to be the cheapest game in town.  You might actually win.   Your customers want high value at a fair price. Give them high value in the quality of service or products that you provide. If you can provide better quality than your competition, don’t offer bargain basement prices. A business can’t deliver steady, long term high quality at cheap prices. (Heard of ‘bottom out’?)  Long term customers don’t make decisions on cheap. They decide based on value and value comes from the effort you exhort after pricing is determined.

Pricing Pointer #2

Think long term. This means that you will need to reinvest in your business to hire the best employees; be in the most strategic location; marketing smart; use the finest materials and most durable equipment. Then maintain a capital reserve for unforeseen circumstances. Again, all of this is required to consistently deliver high quality. A business can’t do these things without PROFIT. How can a coffee shop stay in business very long selling great tasting cups of coffee served by friendly, competent staff if they are half the price of the competition?  Quality must suffer when the lowest  price is the primary driving force. Do a huge favor for the customers who love you. Position your prices to make a profit that allows you to stay around to serve them. They will be happy to pay to keep you.

Pricing Pointer #3

Keep it simple. Doesn’t it get on your nerves to get suckered in on a low price and then realize you didn’t read the fine print? Yes, the cup of coffee is 25 cents, but add a $1 for sugar + $1 for cream + $1 for a stirring straw and $3 to have it hot. A long lasting relationship is built on openness and trust. Instead put a sign in the window that says, “Only $6.25 for the most delicious, aromatic cup of coffee made from the highest quality beans and served by the brightest and friendliest baristas in town.” In other words, consider everything that goes into calculating a fair price and put it out there. Then be the best coffee shop in town.

Pricing Pointer #4

Be prepared to defend your pricing. Occasionally someone will inquire why your coffee costs more than what they can buy in the drive-thru at the local fast food chain. You’re thinking, “If they have to ask, why would I want them as a customer?”  But clearly understanding your position in the market and being able to confidently communicate it when necessary demonstrates that your decision was carefully considered and calculated for the all of the reasons above. To stumble with your response is a vote of no-confidence and isn’t reassuring to potential customers.

We want you to beat the odds and build a great business that stands the test of time. This requires a big picture, long range perspective and a calculated understanding the importance of pricing.   We also agree with Henry Ford  who said that a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. Your business will have to make money so that you can survive to make something much more important…a positive difference in the lives of the people you serve…

For those of you whose morning comes too quickly – it is that great cup of coffee before reviewing the Chronotek Dashboard to see who is clocked in.

Small Business Owners Must Act Differently To Get Different Results

A local restaurant owner recently invested a substantial sum of money in remodeling and renovating.  The key part of the project was the installation of a massive bar.  He also slightly altered the name of his establishment.  It appears to be an attempt at rebranding.

The attempt may not be working.  On two recent Friday night visits no one was at the bar.  There wasn’t even a bartender.  But a glance across the room revealed that the owner is still getting what he’s gotten for 20 years…an elderly crowd that orders the daily special, but no drinks.

Why haven’t the upgrades been successful?  An educated guess would be that nothing else has changed.  The hours are still 7am to 9pm.  The bar crowd is just getting started when the restaurant is closing.  A hard decision has to be made.  Change to lunch and dinner hours.  This decision may alienate the current elderly patrons who love the tasty, inexpensive breakfast, but vodka and tonics are more profitable than eggs and bacon.  A business can’t be all things to all people.

We have many small business owners who sign up for a free trial on our telephone timekeeping system with great hopes in mind.  They are finally going to put in place better practices that will save them payroll dollars, protect their jobs and help manage their employees.  We work with them to set up the account and are excited to see them start using it.

Chronotek’s management tools offer so much help that it completely changes business owners’ lives – and they continue with the service, not knowing how they got along without it.  But there are those few – the lost sheep.  The few that can’t seem to get the change to take.   A week or two down the road the employee stop calling and we stop hearing from the business owner.   We just can’t let these go….  A follow up call by our support team unearths a common finding.  The small business owner gave up because he couldn’t get his remote workers to clock in and out of our system.  The employees will give a variety of excuses, “I forgot” or “the system was down”(it wasn’t), etc and the owner will give up in exasperation.

Again, a hard decision must be made and successful small businesses will make it.  The employees must follow protocol or be terminated. They won’t be happy, but the very reasons they don’t want to comply is the reason that the business owner needs our system.  The employees have developed their own systems grounded in a poor work ethic and quite possibly, time theft.  Our system clashes with theirs.

Honest employees should have no problem with their clock in and out times being captured accurately with technology or their location tracked by GPS or late alerts sent to their supervisor.  In fact, they welcome the ease over tracking it themselves.

Making the decision to enhance your management strategies with telephone timekeeping should be a very easy one when you understand that it will help you distinguish good employees from bad ones.  You don’t want the bad employees.  They poison the well.  But making the move does necessitate a change. You are different now.

You must act differently to get different results.

Mobile Site Great 8’s Right on Your Phone

 

The smartphone has solved a lot of problems in the world today. Well, if we don’t want to classify them as problems, we can at least agree that smartphones have simplified life.

Hanging a picture and need to know if it’s straight? Grab your level. Oh, can’t find it? No “problem”. Just download a level app from the App Store.

Need to deposit a check and the bank is closed? No problem. With your bank’s mobile app, you can take a picture of the check and deposit it just before putting on your pajamas to go to bed.

Forget to record the season opener of Justified and you’re 42 miles away from home? Again, not a problem. Your smartphone can handle that issue as well.

Do you have remote employees to manage?  Don’t have the ability to supervise each site?  We have your back with some major enhancements to our mobile site that can be utilized on your smartphone or tablet. This is also a great tool for your supervisors who have limited access to manage the employees and jobs in which they are responsible.

Here’s a quick run-down of the “Great 8” ways that our mobile site can improve your life.

  1. If you have an employee call in sick one morning while you are at a breakfast meeting, simply pull up the mobile site on your phone and check for other employees not scheduled to serve as a replacement.  See all of your employees’ weekly schedules with a quick view of their total scheduled hours and actual worked hours week to date. Then click on an employee to see his day to day.
  2. A supervisor can use the web clock method to clock in his entire crew at one time. This saves time and ensures that each employee’s time card gets started and is correct.
  3. Easily see no-shows over the last 12 hours. The direct supervisor may already be aware if she received the late alerts, but the owner or higher level supervisor can keep track of the business with this mobile report without dealing with alerts.
  4. At a glance, see which employees are late to scheduled jobs. Detail includes the job, the scheduled time and the actual clock in time along with the differential.
  5. Review who is currently on the clock. Is there any employee still clocked in who should have clocked out 2 hours ago?  A supervisor might need to check it out.  Did she run into a problem or just forget to clock out?
  6. Need to know every employee who clocked in or out over the past 24 hours?  It’s there.
  7. Make sure that employees aren’t clocking in/out from the bar down the street by viewing the location of their punches (if applicable).
  8. Monitor weekly hours to stop overtime before it happens. Mobile Chronotek reports each employee’s hours, accumulated week to date in descending order.

Our goal is to simplify your life so that you can spend time pursuing the things that bring you joy. Maybe that’s hanging pictures or catching up on good TV shows…

 

Small Businesses can Leverage Training like Olympic Athletes

The Olympics have been a thrill to watch, but have you ever considered the magnitude of the events for the athletes? They train for years to compete in one event that may last 40 seconds. All of their hard work comes down to a minutiae of time compared to the years of preparation. One small misstep and it’s over. They don’t have another inning, period or quarter to come back to redeem themselves. There’s not another game next week or even next season. Four years. The athletes must wait another 4 years. Back to training to prove themselves best in the world.

One future Olympic hopeful is Hannah Miller, a 16 year old luger who spends up to 10 months a year living away from home and family at the training center. She practices 6-8 hours a day and misses birthdays, Christmases and other holidays with family. She trains this intensely even though she knows the difference between making the team or not can come down to 3/1,000ths of a second and if she does make the team, her dreams can be dashed just as quick. Yet she still trains.

What can small business owners learn from Olympic athletes? One thing is that their business is in a competition. There are other janitorial, security, construction, greenhouse and pool companies in the marketplace with a limited number of medals (or customers) to go around.

Likewise, a successful small business owner must constantly be learning and training to stay competitive in her industry. She must seek out and find the best practice tools to maintain her edge. Many small business owners with remote employees have found a valuable tool in our telephone timekeeping system. They are saving precious time and money by using technology to capture accurate shift times for their off-site workers.

We would like to offer 5 helpful training tips (one for each Olympic ring) to these small business warriors who are using our system so that they can maximize their management efforts.

Training tip #1

The cornerstone of our business is accurate time that’s captured by 2 simple phone calls in and out. But occasionally employees will forget to clock out resulting in an open, incomplete time card. However, this can be easily monitored daily. Each morning review the edit time card screen or the daily time card report to look for red flags.  Use the integrated voice mail system to let John know he needs to call when he clocks in the next morning to report his departure time from the day before. Or if you choose to give employees access to view their timecards online they can quickly see the forgotten punch and inform their supervisor of the correct out time.

Training tip #2

Enter employee hourly pay rates to utilize our Job Summary report. This is a great job costing report to keep up with labor costs at each site for any time period you want to review. Counting the costs is important to make sure your client monthly contracts are fair, yet profitable.

Training tip #3

Use our powerful Payroll Snapshot report to accurately calculate expanded overtime hours like used in California. It automatically calculates over 40 hours in a week; over 8 in a day; over 12 in a day and 7 days in one work week for any pay period setting. Easily track vendors who are OT exempt. It also seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks to export each time card to QuickBooks timesheets. This one feature alone will free up several hours of time each pay period that can be spent on acquiring new customers and optimally serving the existing ones.

Training tip #4

Link job site phones to ensure that employees are on-site when clocking in. Nothing kills your ability to compete like over-inflated, unearned hours. John may finish up early and decide to finish his shift at the local bar by clocking out on his cell phone. By linking phones, this can be avoided and you have peace of mind. Now that’s worth its weight in a gold medal.

Training tip #5

To gain full command of the management tools available be sure to refer to the on-line System Guide.  This valuable reference can guide you through the system at your own pace.  Be sure to review the table of contents often for features that you might not be utilizing to the fullest.  Refer to it often.

Hannah Miller won’t make the Olympic Games in 2018 by just wanting it. She will have to work very hard every day doing the right things to improve her skills knowing that she has one shot to succeed. Unlike Olympic athletes, a small business owner who fails may not have another shot in 4 years.

As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”  We are your competitive edge. Maximize us. Go for the gold!

Not Your Vendor

Vendor.  We’ve had them and we bet you have too.  A few of the definitions available for vendor are:

  1. Someone who promotes or exchanges goods or services for money.
  2. One who disposes of a thing in consideration of money.
  3. A person or agency that sells.

We don’t like any one of these definitions.  And we don’t want to be your vendor. It doesn’t convey our heartbeat as a company.  Vendor simply implies an exchange for money.

We have other words that we prefer that really get down between the bone and marrow of why we started this company 20 years ago. 

Teammate…  Partner…  Associate…  Collaborator… Comrade… Helpmate

Now these words imply a symbiotic relationship in which all parties are working toward a common goal and helping each other succeed. That’s our heart – relating to our clients.  So what does this look like in business?  How can you tell if the company you are researching for a needed service will be your vendor or your teammate?

Our experience has uncovered 3 more words to consider when making a decision about partnering for a service.

Identify  –       Listen    –     Responsive 

The right choice should identify with who and what your company is and not attempt to force you into something you are not.  No one understands your business like you do.  You need a service to give you something you don’t know how to do or have time to do yourself.  A great prospect will bring a plethora of fantastic ideas based on a solid understanding who you are and not run you through a cookie cutter process they apply to all of their customers.

A partner will listen intently to learn who you are and to discern your unique needs. Their listening skills should be so in tune to what you are saying that they can hear what you need even though you don’t know you need it. A janitorial customer of ours recently commented that one of her cleaners always forgets to reset the alarm at a job site.  Because we were listening, we discerned that our new Custom Prompts would solve this problem perfectly.  Any extra charge for that, she asked?  Of course not.

A teammate will be responsive to your requests and evolving needs. If they can deliver, they will and keep you updated along the way.

However, a responsibility comes with this responsiveness.  A good teammate will be honest.  If you are asking for something that really isn’t in your best interest, you deserve to be advised, even if it means the loss of a sale.  A good partner wants to build a long term relationship and isn’t short sighted.

As for us, we want to improve your life as a small business owner by offering you a proven way to control labor costs and increase customer satisfaction.  We do want and need to make money, but that’s only a part of the equation. We have a telephone timekeeping system that has been tested, tried and proven for 20 years to help companies in many industries who have remote workers.  Industries such as janitorial, security, construction, painting, landscaping, snowplowing, greenhouses, transportation and many more have simplified their business processes with our system.

Don’t settle for just a vendor.  We don’t.  Strive for a relationship.

Handwritten Timecards Are a Money Trap

It’s easy to fall into a money trap. Maybe you drink a Red Bull once a week for an extra kick start on Monday mornings. Who could blame you? Mondays are Mondays. It’s a great $2.50 a week investment. But then you’re strolling through Costco and you see a case of Red Bulls for $32.50. That’s 24 cans at $1.35 each; about half the cost of your convenience store. “What a deal!” you exclaim and run over a little old lady in your excitement to load the case on your flatbed shopping cart. Now what was just a Monday treat is also your “get me through hump day” Wednesday habit and a TGIF fix. The $2.50 a week pleasure has escalated into an indulgence more than double the cost and blew your budget (we won’t mention the health issues).  Likewise, in running a small business, you have to count every cost and if you don’t, the costs will run away from you and torpedo your budget as well.

A study of small businesses revealed that employees steal an average of 10 minutes a day from their employers. This is more apt to happen when remote workers use the honor system to fill out handwritten timesheets. You may be aware that this practice occurs in your company, but don’t know how to stop it or maybe you haven’t considered it to be a big deal. It is.

Let’s illustrate…and we will assume that your employees are twice as honest and accurate as the average employee, and you only lose 5 minutes a day amongst each of your 15 employees.  At $8 an hour that’s 13.3 cents a minute x 5 minutes a
day =66.5 cents a day per employee.  Doing the math…. all 15 employees are taking 75 minutes a day equating to $10 a day, $50 a week, and $2600 a year in overpaid, unearned, non-productive wages. Ouch!

Realizing all the costs can be even more painful!

  •  A mere 5 minutes a day in timecard inaccuracy results in $2600 a year in overpaid, unearned, non-productive wages.
  • Then you must consider the payroll expenses such as workers compensation and payroll taxes associated with these extra unearned wages.
  • If the average pay rate is more than $8 an hour, your losses are even greater. You are getting nothing in return for these dollars.
  • What’s worse is that you may be cultivating a climate that tolerates dishonesty.

What would you get by utilizing a telephone timekeeping solution that captures accurate time and eliminates the 75 minutes a day waste? Let’s review the savings. In our recent blog article, Control Overtime With Accurate Timekeeping, we calculated that if your 15 employees punch into 2 jobs a day 5 days a week, the monthly cost for accurate timekeeping  would be $175 a month or $2100 a year.  That 75 minute a  day, $2600 a year, payroll loss replaced by the $2100 solution nets at least a $500 savings a year (and possibly upwards of $1000 counting workers compensation and payroll taxes) by capturing accurate time with simple toll-free telephone calls. These savings are probably understated as outlined in a blog article entitled, Would You Trade a Quarter if I Gave You a Dollar?

Then consider other tangibles such as no-show alerts that help to not lose jobs and the seamless QuickBooks Interface that drastically cuts processing payroll time (and makes your bookkeeper happy). Make your life simpler at no net cost to your business. In fact, you make money with an accurate telephone timekeeping service.

Don’t allow inaccurate timekeeping methods to be a money trap for your small business. The costs are real, must be counted and can be avoided. Sidestep into simple with real savings.

Smartphone Web-Enhanced Timekeeping

If you are a small business owner with off-site employees, there’s about a 56% chance that these employees own smartphones. And if you are still using handwritten timesheets to track their time, there’s a 100% chance that your payroll is higher than it should be. Technology can be a powerful force for positive change in your business and it’s readily accessible at your fingertips…or your employees’ fingertips.

We wrote a couple of blog posts last year about a tool that almost everyone over the age of 14 possesses in his or her pocket…the phone. It can be used for more than updating Facebook status, sending tweets and uploading pictures to Instagram. A phone can capture accurate time of your employees, facilitate management efforts and save your business money. When used with the Chronotek Telephone Timekeeping System, it’s the only hardware you need and you don’t need to buy it.

Since we posted these 2 blogs last year, technology has only gotten better and your opportunity to harness it greater. We have introduced a new method to capture remote employees’ time punches…Web Clock Ins via their smartphone browsers. Instead of calling to clock in, employees can have access to our mobile website to punch in. It is quick, easy and provides a very accurate GPS track of their location.

In addition, access can be given on the mobile site for your employees to view their hours worked and any job schedules you have created for them. Doesn’t this sound like less management on your end? No more calls from employees wanting to know when they work next and how many hours they have accumulated. Give them access to our mobile site and put the responsibility on them to keep up with this information.

Sign up for a free trial on our telephone and now smartphone web-enhanced timekeeping system. Use the prevalence of smartphone technology to give your small business some horsepower this year.

Best Business Practices

A sirloin steak may be good, but we all know that a filet mignon is best. Business practices can also be categorized as good and best.

We often hear that small businesses with remote hourly workers pay a set number of hours for a job instead of actual time. If the owner of a janitorial company knows that a building takes 3 hours a night to clean, he’s only paying 3 hours. It’s a strategy to limit payroll expenses. It may not be a bad practice, but is it the best? It may be costing more than it’s saving.

An employee doesn’t have the incentive to stay on the job more than 3 hours even though circumstances may require it. As the 3 hour mark approaches he is motivated to rush and cut corners leaving the quality subpar. Once a week or so the window blinds need to be thoroughly cleaned, but this may not happen if the worker is pushed for time. Will cleaners making minimum wage or just above it spend extra time on a job when they aren’t getting paid for it? This is a threat to the owner. To maintain quality control and keep his customers happy he will need to spend time doing frequent spot inspections on the work.

On the flip side, a job may only take 2 hours 51 minutes to thoroughly do. The owner is paying 9 minutes extra each night. That’s 45 minutes a week on an everyday contract. That’s 45 minutes closer to 40 hours that’s unearned. Or maybe you are feeling the effects of Obamacare and 29 hours is the number you are fighting. Either way, that’s 39 hours a year. A full week or more of unearned pay. And this math is assuming 1 job for each employee. Double it if an employee cleans 2 sites a night.

But what happens to work quality if you utilize telephone timekeeping to capture accurate time and that’s what you pay? The employee isn’t motivated to rush his work. He will spend time making sure that it’s done right. If you find that the job is routinely taking more than 3 hours, but the quality is top notch, then you may need to reassess the contract. Have another one of your best workers clean that site for a week. Evaluate her time on the job relative to performance against the first employee.

If the job is taking less than 3 hours but the workmanship quality is excellent, then you are making more money on the contract and you don’t have to spend as much time doing spot inspections.  Give your employee a bonus.

So, on one hand you keep things simple and try to limit payroll by paying a fixed amount of hours per job, yet you have to strictly monitor those sites for quality control. Your employees aren’t incentivized to do thorough work and this leads to increased management efforts. On the other hand, you pay actual time captured by a technologically advanced timekeeping system and your workers don’t cut corners. The result should be higher quality workmanship and less oversight needed by management. Management time is valued higher than employee time.

One method may be good, but one is definitely best.

Test Drive Different Telephone Timekeeping Systems

It’s the start of a new year and you are reviewing and rethinking some of your small business practices. If you were hoping that 2014 would be easier, you may be disappointed. A couple of the larger concerns are the possibility of an increase in the minimum wage and the impending January 2015 deadline for companies with more than 50 employees to comply with Obamacare.

If your small business has remote workers and you’re still relying on handwritten timesheets to gather their time, 2014 is the year to stop the insanity!  As minimum wage increases so will the losses with timecard theft.   The snowball effect happens when you end up paying additional payroll taxes on hours that are not actually worked.  You are losing money to inaccurate timesheets and wasting time (which is money) on collecting and manually processing them for payroll. Read our post, Minding Your Minutes, to see the numbers. You need a technologically advanced timekeeping system to capture accurate hours for your off-site employees.

It is time to cut the losses before they get even larger in 2014.  Not quite ready to choose an on-line timekeeping system?  We understand that you want to choose the right system.  Search Google and many choices come up. They all say that they are the best, but which one really is? No, you don’t want to waste a lot of time and effort only to realize that the system you tried isn’t good for you. And yes, there is a way to mitigate your fears.

Instead of going all-in by signing up for a free trial on a telephone timekeeping system and putting all of your employees on it for 30 days, why not sign up with 3 companies and test 3-4 different employees on each?   Sign up for a Chronotek account.  Do side by side by side comparisons of all the features, simplicity, pricing and customer support. We can’t overstate the importance of calling and emailing the customer support departments of each company during your trial. You need to know that your timekeeping company has staff that is easy to work with, responsive and helpful.

It may seem odd that one timekeeping company is recommending that you test drive other systems, but we are passionate about small businesses succeeding and we want what’s best for you.   Our 20 year proven track record gives us pronounced confidence that we are the right choice for most small businesses with remote employees, but we want you to be comfortable with your choice. Most of all, we want you to make the switch to a telephone or web-based timekeeping system. It’s the best resolution you can make to help your small business fight off the challenges that the government keeps tossing your way.

Small Business New Year’s Resolutions

Lose 10 pounds. √ Check.
Quit smoking. √ Check.
Spend more quality time with my family. √ Check.

The same resolutions that you made last year. They are all worthy goals, but do you have any for your small business in 2014?
• Do you want to cut payroll without layoffs?
• Provide better service to your customers?
• Reduce the time and hassle for processing payroll?
• Manage remote off-site workers more efficiently?
• Eliminate or control over-time?

The Chronotek Telephone Timekeeping System is your simple solution to helping your small business meet its goals for the New Year. We wrote several blog entries this past year that explain why telephone timekeeping for your remote, hourly employees is a fantastic idea. In this post we will guide you through some of our greatest hits of the past year.

The reasons that telephones should be utilized as a tool to track and manage your remote employees are outlined in two blog articles, The Universal Appliance and What’s In Your Pocket? Such a simple, pervasive and inexpensive device can be a powerful instrument in your small business success.

So, how can you cut payroll without pink slips? No spoiler alerts here, but two words…accurate time. Time really is money. $7.50 an hour is 12.5 cents a minute. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you are losing several minutes a day per employee to inaccurate timekeeping methods such as handwritten timecards, those minutes add up. We illustrate this point in Minding Your Minutes and Would You Trade A Quarter If I Gave You A Dollar?

Providing better service to your customers is always near the top of your list and one way to do it is to insure that their work gets done and on time. When you have remote employees it can be hard to manage this aspect. You don’t have eyes in the field at 2am when your work is being done or at least scheduled to be done. We can help. Our blog post, Risk and Reward…It’s About Time explains why the effort to set up a timekeeping system is worth it.

Technology is a great investment to save time on many mundane business tasks such as processing payroll. In our post, Solid Investment Strategies Necessary for Business, we outline why telephone timekeeping is money in the bank.

It’s hard to manage employees that you don’t see. The best thing you can do to manage your employees more effectively is to hire the right people to start with and have a way to monitor them. Our post, The Right People, explains how our timekeeping system can help you filter out the wrong employees and recognize the good ones.

Finally, overtime is a profit killer. It can bust out the bottom of your bottom line. If you like to see how numbers can paint a picture, see our blog post, Control Overtime With Accurate Timekeeping. Be warned. The numbers may frighten you.

So, there you have it. Simple solutions to help you succeed with your small business’ New Year’s resolutions. And by the way, when our system saves you time and money, you’ll have more of both to spend with your family.

Control Overtime With Accurate Timekeeping

Employee overtime is sometimes unavoidable. Big projects come up and the work has to get done and the overtime must be paid. But it should never become a routine part of a small business plan. A company that pays overtime every week can save 1/3rd by hiring a part-time employee. Another proven method to cutting down or eliminating overtime is utilizing technology for accurate timekeeping.

We would like to toss a few numbers at you to illustrate why overtime is toxic for your small business…and how we can help. Who likes people who only highlight problems without offering solutions anyway?

As an example, let’s say that your small business has 15 full-time hourly employees. On average their hourly pay rate is $9. Your weekly payroll is $5400 or $280,800 annually. But what happens if each employee works just one hour of overtime each week? That’s 15 hours x $13.50 an hour=$202.50 a week and $10,530 a year. That figure comes straight off your bottom line. Factor in payroll taxes and the numbers are even more painful to your profit margins.

You could hire a part-time worker to cover those 15 extra hours a week at $9 an hour for $7020 a year. That’s a $3500 annual savings and sounds like a grand idea, right? We have an even better one.

In our blog article, Minding Your Minutes, we referred to an article that stated companies lose on average 10 minutes a day to employee time theft because they use outdated methods to track time. This article also referred to a study that showed that using technology such as ours can decrease overtime costs by 59% (as a percentage of payroll). Our system captures indisputable accurate time for timecards because it simply captures the punch-ins and punch-outs based on phone calls made by your employees. It’s that easy. Your employees call a toll free number, put in a code and we capture their time.

Back to our example. Let’s assume that our system works effectively and eliminates all of your overtime and saves you the $10,530 a year plus payroll taxes. What will that cost you? If your 15 employees work 2 jobs a day 5 days a week, your monthly cost would be $175 a month or $2097 a year. That represents a savings of overt $8400 versus paying the overtime.

Implement our system instead of hiring a part-timer to eliminate overtime and we will save you over $5000 a year (and we are much easier to manage). And oh yes, those pesky payroll taxes must be factored in, also.

How does that sound for a solution to your overtime problem? It’s more than shallow talk. We’ve seen it work for our customers for almost 20 years.

The Right People

We’ve all seen it…an ongoing parade of restaurants open and fail from the same location. Every time a new one opens we feel sorry for the brave soul who dared to venture yet once again. But occasionally one makes it to thrive. Same spot, same target market, similar prices, quality and menu items. What is the difference?

Ask any patron and the answer is easy. The culture and climate changed because of the people. Either the owner, manager, hostess or cashier, but the right people breathed fresh air into the business. As a small business owner, it’s extremely important that you also have the right people on staff.

How do you go about ensuring that your staff is your strongest asset?

We can help, especially if you have remote employees.  A small business owner must have the highest level of trust in off-site workers.  Managers can easily keep track of office and warehouse employees, but off-site workers have no eyes on them.  Our telephone timekeeping system with its many employee management tools can be your eyes in the field and your filter to sift out the bad employees from the good employees.

  • Discover which of your workers are consistently late to jobs. With handwritten timecards, all of your workers are ‘seemingly’ always on time to all of their jobs.  With accurate time captured by a simple call to clock into our system, you can see live data as to which employees really are on time and the ones who are late. You can also get text or email alerts for the late employees.
  • Know which employees aren’t on the job site when they clock in or out with our GPS location tracking feature.
  • Distinguish between employees who work diligently and those who don’t.  You probably have a good estimation as to how long it should take to complete the scope of work at each location. Use our job schedules to compare actual times versus scheduled times at each job site.
  • Learn the character of your employees. You may notice that 98% of your staff can clock in and out of our system all the time, but the same 2% frequently complain of call-in issues. This is valuable information about the character of the 2%  if they are using the same phones or have the same cell providers as the 98%.       What’s the real reason they didn’t clock in or out?
  • Catch employees clocking in and out for each other with our Random Voice Verification system. The employee repeats their name saved in a voice message for their assigned supervisor.

By using each of these tools a small business can quickly discern the right employees and the wrong ones for their business.  Perhaps you can create a scoring system for your employees. This continuous filtering will insure that you build a solid, honest and reliable workforce, which as you know, is your best chance for success.

Let us breathe some fresh air into your business!

Small Businesses Live Between a Rock and a Hard Place

What do you call that tiny sliver of real estate between a rock and a hard place? Small businesses owners are starting to call it home. Beginning in 2014, the government (rock) will require them to provide affordable health insurance for their employees while pushing for a higher minimum wage. Pushing in on the other side are the worker’s compensation carriers (hard place) who are raising its rates on many small businesses. How can a small business find any breathing room?

One of our long-time customers had an idea. He came to us. Kevin, the owner of a janitorial company in New Hampshire, called and said that his workers comp provider is trying to raise his rates by 25% percent. Kevin performs a litany of services for his clients and he uses our telephone time keeping system to track the time his hourly employees spend on each. One of his services offered is window cleaning. His workers comp provider noticed an increase in this “hazardous” activity over the past year and is trying to reward Kevin’s entrepreneurial zeal with a nice little rate bump.

Kevin wanted to know if he could pull a job report from our system that showed how much time his employees spent on window cleaning all of last year. You bet. Our report indicated that his total window cleaning hours last year accounted for 2% of his total labor hours. 2012 represented a 14.5% increase in window cleaning over 2011. Does either of these stats justify a 25% increase in his rate that means thousands of extra dollars out of his pocket? Armed with empirical data from our system, he is anxious to find out and so are we.

We have mentioned before that telephone timekeeping system can save a small business 2-6% in payroll by capturing accurate time. Now we are seeing that maintaining accurate and thorough records may save a small business thousands of dollars and protect the patch of ground it calls home.

ObamaCare Postponed. Prepare Now.

In a previous post, New Numbers For Small Business, we outlined the implications of the new Obamacare law to small businesses.  This law will require businesses with at least 50 employees to provide healthcare coverage to employees who work on average 30 hours a week. The mandate was to be effective January 2014.  As an update to that post, the Obama administration has postponed the start date of this mandate until January 2015. This one-year delay gives small business owners extra time to prepare. For the same reasons outlined in our earlier post, businesses should take advantage of this reprieve.

An article in USA Today indicates that the economy felt the impact of the anticipated 2014 change. While there was job growth, much of the increase has been with part time jobs. This makes sense as employers want to avoid paying for health insurance.

Since March, 791,000 part-time jobs have been added, while the increase in full-time jobs has been only 187,000.

The majority of the new jobs in July came from 4 low wage industries: retail, restaurants, home healthcare and staffing firms. These sectors accounted for 60% of the growth.

We expect that the trend towards more part-time workers will continue as small businesses adapt to pending changes in the healthcare law. Small businesses will need to be diligent in tracking hours worked by their part-time employees, especially their remote workers in order to keep their hours under 30 a week. Since handwritten time cards can be easily fudged, it’s imperative now more than ever that small businesses transition to technology for their time keeping methods.

Obamacare is coming. The effect on your small business can be mitigated if you make the most of its postponement.

We can help. It’s about time. Let’s get started.

Not Wasting Your Time

You bring home the new windshield wipers that you just purchased; the 19-inch wipers that the salesman insisted were right even though you suspected they were too short.  You install them and… you were right.  Ughhh…

Option 1:  keep them and live with the inconvenience.  Option 2:  return them.  That’s a pain.  Or Option 3:  put the old one’s back on.  But that doesn’t make sense.  They needed to be replaced.  Any way you slice it, the time you really didn’t have to begin with has been wasted…or at the very least, not optimized.

If you own a cleaning company, a security guard company, a construction company or any service-oriented company with remote employees and you sign up for a free 30 day trial on our telephone timekeeping system, we don’t want you to experience this same annoyed feeling.

We realize that a free trial isn’t totally free.  Time is invested inputting the employees and jobs and learning the system.  Then this new time and attendance tracking method must be rolled out to your employees.  Your time is not free.  We know.  Time is our business.

We also know our system will give you peace of mind and a better life.  We believe that so much that we will invest our time in your business.

Let us help you use your time wisely.  Simply sign up for a free trial and give us 15 minutes on the phone.

  1. We will enter your employees (up to 20 for the trial).
  2. We will enter your jobs.
  3. We will set up your alert destinations to receive check in and out alerts.

(Employees can start clocking in right away!)

Try Chronotek Free

 

 

Then we will continue to help you by providing free ongoing customer support over the phone, by email, chat or webinar – as much time as you need.  We will be your partner.

You will also discover that our employee management system gives you back time, which you can waste any way you choose.  With peace of mind, more control, and higher profits you can afford to waste a little time.

Timekeeping 101: Minutes and Decimal Hours

Many people hate math and all of its evil cousins, such as algebra, calculus and decimals.  While one may argue that the real life practical use of the first two is non-existent, it’s hard to be a small business owner and not come across decimals on a frequent basis.  This is especially true for the wise service-oriented small business owners who use a telephone timekeeping system to capture accurate time for their remote hourly employees.  On most timesheet reports, the minutes will be reflected in a decimal form.  But don’t fearour timecard reports give you the decimal format (used in payroll) and the equivalent time in hours and minutes (numbers we are used to seeing).

For example, 4.35 hours in NOT 4 hours and 35 minutes.  Because time is a number system with 60 as its base (not 100 based) the math is not that easy.     In reality 4.35 hours is actually 4 hours and 21 minutes.  The calculation is .35 x 60=21 minutes or 21÷60=.35.

It helps to think of the basic time conversions we know (see the last row in the chart):

• 15 minutes is a quarter of an hour, .25

• 30 minutes is a half of an hour, .50

• 45 minutes is three quarters of an hour, .75

• 60 minutes is one hour, 1.00

But who has time for all of that? We are all for keeping it simple. Below is a handy conversion chart.  Feel free to print it off and refer to it when faced with a challenge in which the conversion wasn’t done for you.

converions hours to minutes

Risk and Reward… It’s about Time.

You’ve done your homework and know that telephone timekeeping for your remote hourly employees is a fantastic idea. You know that it can save you 2-6% on payroll and countless hours of processing it. You know these things to be true, but you still haven’t done it. Why?

Because you also know that implementing any new system can be hard, even harder if you have to train and integrate other people into it. You may be completely sunny about the idea, but some of the old dogs may bite.

Yet, the idea won’t go away. It haunts you as each day passes and you haven’t taken action. You would love to have an extra set of eyes in the field and you know that a good telephone timekeeping system is the answer.  Alerts when your employees are late to scheduled jobs; location tracking when your employees clock in and out; help to prevent buddy punching are a few of the features that you’ve read about and would help alleviate some of the daily stress of running your small business. Life could be so much easier. Still you procrastinate.

Greater than the desire to take this bold and wise step is a fear. Yes, a risk that you can put forth all of the effort and time into learning the system and training your employees only to get to the end of your 30 day trial period and discover that the telephone timekeeping company you tried is a dud. You do not need to waste your time.

A famous man once said (or almost said), “Better to have tested and lost than never to have tested at all.” Well, maybe not. Your time is too valuable to test and fail. You need simple.

That’s why we do everything in our power to guarantee your success and we invest our time to make that happen. We have a plan for you to prosper.

  • Free customer support. All of the time.
  • Free weekly webinar training seminars. Attend as many as you want.
  • Free private tutorials at your convenience.
  • Free assistance inputting your employee and job data when setting up your account.
  • And yes, all of the life enhancing features you’ve read about are all free. It’s quite simple. We charge you 2 fees. One for monthly access and the second is the per call charge for employee clock ins and outs. That’s it.
  • Reach us by phone, email, or chat line. We are accessible.

We understand the risks involved. We’ve been helping companies like yours for 18 years and that’s how we know that the rewards are great. Life simplified.

Choose wisely. Choose once. It’s about time.

What’s In Your Pocket?

Everyone should have a Swiss Army knife is his pocket.  With this one tool a person can tighten a screw, open a soda bottle, trim nose hairs, saw a small branch, cure the common cold, and various other useful functions.  Chances are that most people are packing another powerful multipurpose tool in their pockets as well…the phone.

Phones can save small businesses thousands of dollars each year in their largest   expense…payroll.  Employees who work at remote locations generally don’t have actual time clocks to punch, so their employers must rely on the honor system and handwritten timecards.  Utilizing phones as a method for remote employees to punch in and out of jobs through a telephone timekeeping system captures accurate time that could yield a 2-6% payroll savings.  

What more can a phone do for a small business other than save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in payroll?  With a timekeeping system like Chronotek:

  • Alerts can be sent to a supervisor’s cell phone as a text message or email when employees “no-show” to scheduled jobs. This feature alone can save a company a contract by making sure the job is covered.
  • Supervisors with smartphones can use our web-based mobile site to view schedules, no-shows, late employees, employee’s status, the call log and an over 40 hours report.  This is a great tool for busy supervisors on the go.  Catch overtime before it happens!
  • Our new web clock-ins (an enhancement to the mobile site) allows supervisors to use the web to clock-in groups of employees, which saves time and money.
  • The location of clock-ins/outs by a cell phone or smartphone web browser can be tracked by our GPS location tracking feature.

The greatest reason that any small business should consider using the phone as a strategic application is that almost every building has one; and every person has access to one. The phone replaces the expensive hardware that a business would need to purchase to implement traditional timekeeping methods.  Why carry around a set of Ginsu knives when one sharp pocket knife will do?      

The phone may never be able to peel an apple, but it is one tool that every small business with remote employees should have in their pocket.

Would You Trade a Quarter if I Gave You a Dollar?

If someone offered to trade you a dollar for a quarter, would you accept the trade? You would probably back up a truck to haul away your good fortune. For businesses using hand-written time cards to track their employees’ time, Chronotek has such a deal.  Our industry leading telephone timekeeping system, with over 15 years of proven excellence, can save these businesses between 2-6% on their largest capital outlay, payroll (savings averages according to the American Payroll Association).

Times are tight and you may think that you can’t afford to implement a telephone timekeeping system. Our clients have shifted that thinking – and they are getting ahead of their competition!  Our system is not a cost; it is an investment – with benefits.  We don’t pay you to use Chronotek, but it seems that way.  The return on investment is only part of the savings. When you manage your employees more effectively you give better service to your customer.  Chronotek provides a good return on your investment and a comprehensive employee management tool.

The following chart illustrates how Chronotek saves people money by capturing accurate time…  no padding on Chronotek time cards.   We estimated 20 employees working a 6 hour, 5 day work week, with 2 clock in/outs a day.  Employees would make 870 calls a month costing $129, with a possible savings of $707 a month (4% of payroll less cost of system).

Check out the pricing calculator for your estimated savings.

An investment with benefits…  Save time by not having to collect and process manual time cards…  Run payroll reports with accurate time cards…  Receive alerts when employees do not show for jobs…  Prevent buddy punching with Random Voice Verification…  Send voice messages your employees must listen to.

Put another way, approximately every $1.25 invested in Chronotek could yield a return of $7.  Can you afford to wait any longer?   Save money, work smarter and stay ahead of your competition by implementing proven technology.  Get your truck and we will load up your savings!

Automatic Lunch Deductions Can Be Unhealthy

Charles de Montesquieu, a French social commentator and political thinker during the 1700’s said, “Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.”  If small businesses aren’t careful, lunch can kill them as well.

We have received many calls recently asking if our system allows for an automatic lunch deduction. This topic circles around occasionally.  The answer is still no…and while avoiding expensive litigation is a great reason NOT to begin this practice, another should be considered. It is our raison d’etre…capturing accurate time.

A company may offer an automatic 30-minute lunch deduction; however if it required employees to clock-in/out for lunch, it may discover that employees are taking more than 30 minutes a day.  That would accrue several minutes a day for each employee working 5 days a week, 20 + days a month.  An employee who makes $7.50 an hour and is overpaid 5 minutes a day would receive over $160 annually in unearned income.  Make it $200 after payroll taxes and FICA, and then multiply that figure by the number of employees on payroll.

Another consideration is not just the unearned, undeserved money that is paid to employees who abuse lunch, but it’s the unmerited time that accrues towards their weekly timecard. According to the guidelines under the new healthcare law that goes into effect January 2014, an employee who averages 30 hours a week (or 120 hours a month) is fulltime equivalent (FTE). If a company has 50 employees or more then it must provide affordable health insurance for these FTE employees or pay a fine.

Unlike any other period, small businesses must diligently pursue accurate time keeping. Allowing unearned time to accrue on timecards for part-time employees can be an expensive, yet a very avoidable threat to a business. We understand small businesses’ need to comply with the law’s requirements for lunch time and breaks, but a better way exists than doing an automatic lunch deduction. Two calls a day (a call out for lunch and then back in from lunch) is only 25 cents a day (or less) per employee. A quarter is a great investment to ensure legal compliance while also strictly monitoring time.

Enjoy your lunch. Don’t let it kill your business.

Minding Your Minutes

An old adage says, “mind your pennies and your dollars will watch themselves”.  The same is true when you mind your time, especially when time equals money as it does for small businesses.

We had the opportunity recently to speak with a gentleman interested in our services. He ran a pricing estimate on his 14 employees to clock-in/out each day, 5 days a week.  At almost $92 a month for our telephone timekeeping system, he didn’t think that he lost that much time in dollars each month.  It’s a valid concern.  Small businesses must weigh the cost/benefit of every dollar spent.

We felt called to task and decided to quickly run our own estimates.  The assumption behind capturing accurate time with a telephony system is that companies overpay their employees due to the inefficiencies of handwritten timecards.  If a janitorial company pays $7.50 an hour and on average loses 3 minutes a day to each of its 14 employees, that results in $114 in overpaid wages each month. Factor in higher wages such as the proposed hike in the minimum wage  to $9 an hour and more than 3 lost minutes each day, the wasted dollars gush out like a busted dam.

Another interesting article states that companies lose 10 minutes a day to employee theft.  In our example above, that’s $375 a month in overpaid wages that can be prevented by a $92 a month investment.  Most everyone would invest $92 to receive back 4 times that amount.

It is a shock to the system to learn how quickly lost minutes turn into serious dollars.  Wouldn’t it be great to have those dollars back? It would be a beautiful thing.

Cloud Computing. No Spacesuit Required.

Ten years ago “moving to the cloud” would have meant strapping on Mr. Jetson’s spacesuit and attempting to relocate.  But today that phrase is as relevant as “tweet”, “unfriend” and “wi-fi”.  Most people have an abstract idea of what it means. Don’t worry, this post will not dive very deep into the technical aspects of cloud computing, but let’s begin with a basic definition. Wikipedia defines cloud computing as, “the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).  Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.”

With that groundwork laid, what does cloud computing mean to your business?

At a very basic level, the cloud can provide “off-site” file backup and storage. The providers’ off-site servers are backed up, duplicated and replicated for security and redundancy.  With unique log-in credentials, a customer can access his files remotely across the internet by PC or a smartphone app.  The cloud data backup plan is a great idea because PC hard drives fail and external hard drives, flash drives and discs are not 100% reliable.  If your data is important to you, then it is important to use a combination of the above storage methods as a solid, comprehensive plan.

Another advantage that cloud computing can offer businesses relates to software and services or “software as a service”. Traditionally to use a software program such as QuickBooks, a customer would buy the software package on a CD, install it on a PC and only have access to the program at that one computer.  Cloud computing allows a business to use software programs online, without having to install a program on a local computer and access is available from any PC with internet access (or a smartphone app).

Small businesses with remote employees can also take advantage of this “move to the cloud”.  Tracking the employees’ time can be cumbersome, costly, and time consuming, while affecting the biggest line item on a budget…payroll. Small businesses can purchase time tracking software and hardware, but there are many drawbacks to this strategy.  The software is generally expensive, needs regular updates (often at an expense) and is chained to one computer.  The hardware can be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies and will eventually fail or become obsolete.  The process of repairing or replacing the hardware leads to more costs and system downtime, while a reputable cloud, or web-based timekeeping company, maintains full operation 99.99% of the time.

An article in Infoworld.com illustrates why businesses that track employee time with handwritten timecards should consider a cloud or web-based timekeeping system.  The author states, “Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT (Information Technology) always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software…it means no upfront investment in servers or software licensing. These factors are huge along with the benefits of accurate timekeeping and automatically calculated hours!

Is your company ready to move to the cloud?

New Numbers for Small Businesses

The numbers are not lining up in the favor of small businesses. 9, 30, 50, 120 are all digits that may start putting a stranglehold on small business in 2014. We want to review what these numbers mean to your small business and how their death grip can be relaxed.

Times are already hard for small businesses and 2014 looms ahead as getting even tougher. The new healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare, goes into effect and the Democratic Party is now pushing for a mandated increase of the minimum wage.

PPACA requires a company that employs at least 50 people for 120 days or more a year to provide affordable health insurance for those employees who work on average 30 hours a week (or 130 hours per month). “Affordable” is defined as less than 9.5% of the employee’s family income.  Employers “would determine each employee’s full-time status by looking back at a defined period of not less than three but not more than 12 consecutive calendar months, as chosen by the employer (the measurement period), to determine whether during the measurement period the employee averaged at least 30 hours of service per week.” Read more. If an employee qualifies based on this measurement period, then the employer must provide health insurance for this employee for a minimum of 6 months, but no shorter than the look back period. Failure to provide affordable health insurance under these guidelines will result in a $2000 fine per qualified employee (after the first 30). In other words, the first 30 employees in a 50 employee company would be exempt and the fine assessed against 20 (20 employees x $2000 =$40,000 fine). This fine is prorated on an annual basis by each month that the employee is not covered. A great site with Q & A is located here.

What should a small business do now? Keep in mind that this new law goes into effect on January 1, 2014, so the “look-back” period will begin on October 1, 2013. Some companies near the 50 employee threshold are trimming back on staff (which isn’t good for growth). The difference between 49 and 50 employees is more than one paycheck. It’s the cost of health coverage for 50 employees or a $40,000 fine. Many companies are cutting hours, while others are analyzing the costs of paying the fine instead of providing the insurance.

The other emerging strain on small business is the potential increase of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour.  This is a 25% increase that some business owners believe will transcend beyond just their minimum wage employees. Their more experienced hourly employees who are currently paid in the $9.00 an hour range will demand a raise.

What options does a small business have other than laying off employees, cutting hours and choosing to pay a fine? An alternative is to invest in a system that can strictly and diligently monitor the time of variable hour remote employees. By tracking accurate time, companies can cut the waste caused by handwritten timecards and keep weekly hours down.

The result could be enough savings to cover what the government is trying to squeeze out of you.

The Universal Appliance

The human population is approaching 7 billion.  Without conducting any scientific research, we can safely assume that nearly 100% of this population has hearts…literally if not metaphorically.  Another global commonality that is ever increasing is the possession of (or access) to a telephone.  A 2010 report cited that over 1 billion people worldwide have a fixed telephone line.  Another study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) informs that at the end of 2011 there were almost 6 billion cell phone subscriptions.

This vast penetration of phone technology has led some to label telephones the “universal appliance”.  The simplicity in using a phone cuts across cultures, disabilities, race, gender, nationalities, pedigrees and ages.  The human heart doesn’t come with an owner’s manual and most people learned to use a phone without one.  Pick up the phone, dial the number and it just works.

While landline telephone use is expected to remain stable or decrease over the next few years, cell phone subscriptions are expected to reach 8 billion by the end of 2016 according to PortioResearch.  With a technology that is so widely used, why not harness its power for your business?  The rapid emergence of smartphones over the past few years is more great news for any business.  As of the 3rd quarter of 2012, Americans now use smartphones more than basic cell phones.  The percentage of smartphone users rose from 49% to 56% in 2012 per a Nielson’s study.  A key fact relevant to many small businesses is that a big chunk of their workforce owns a smartphone.  A study by Nielson’s revealed that 74% of 25-34 year olds own a smartphone, up from 59% in July 2011.

The question bears repeating…with a technology that is ubiquitous and simple to use in our society, shouldn’t all small businesses find a way to take advantage of it?  For instance, an 11 second call from a landline, basic cell phone or smartphone can save a small business with remote employees 2-6% on payroll. This savings is just the beginning.  Telephones can be a tool within an employee management system that can create the most productive and efficient workforce possible.  In fact, we would argue that no other appliance, especially with the prevalence of smartphones, could rival its uses either.  We will discuss these ideas in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned.

How vital is the phone to people these days?  Chances are if you tried to take someone’s phone away, it would have to be surgically removed.

Solid Investment Strategies Necessary for Business

It’s scientifically proven that if you put $100 in a Mason jar, bury it 2ft deep in your backyard and dig it up a year later, the jar will still have exactly $100.  A bank savings account will yield roughly the same return these days.  The stock market could snatch away the entire Benjamin plus broker fees.  So where does a small business turn to for a solid investment…one that has a proven track record?

Most small business owners are too busy working their business to become experts at different types of investment strategies.  In today’s economy, it’s likely that a small business owner has all her net worth tied to the business operations. If that is the case then it’s critical to know how to minimize costs, maximize savings, and get the most out of every dollar spent.  One way to save is by utilizing all available tax deductions.  This article at MSN.com outlines several often overlooked tax deductions for small businesses.  Another tactic is to strategically invest in marketing, technology, training, quality vendors and other ideas presented in an article by Entrepreneur.com.  These investments can yield higher visibility, more efficient operations, better customer service and increased profits.

For many service-oriented businesses, the single highest capital outlay is spent on payroll, often up to 80% of total operation costs.  Salaries can be negotiated, but they are a constant.  The wages for hourly employees are much harder to predict and control, especially if these are remote employees without direct supervision.  Hours fluctuate and overtime can accrue.  2012 saw a 32% increase over 2008 in employees’ lawsuits alleging that they were owed overtime.  The best way to prevent these claims is to diligently track, manage and control the hours of employees.  The worst way to track employee time is by handwritten timecards (because they are dependent upon the honor system). These handwritten timecards must be collected and manually calculated and processed.

A more efficient method is the use of a system in which remote employees must call to clock in and out of jobs. A telephone timekeeping system captures accurate time and serves as an employee management system.  Timecards are automated and can be exported to payroll services such as QuickBooks, ADP and Paychex. Users will pay a monthly fee for the timekeeping service, but the investment yields a direct return in payroll savings and in time saved processing payroll.  In a study by the American Payroll Association, it was estimated that a telephone timekeeping system can save a small business between 2-6% on payroll expenses. A 4% savings means that for every $1.25 invested in a telephone timekeeping system could yield $7 in return. An illustration of these savings is found here.

Use Mason jars to store canned vegetables, not to bury cash.  Invest in a product in which you are the expert…your own small business and choose your strategy wisely.  For proven results that yield a direct return on your investment, the solution is quite simple; a telephone timekeeping system.

Great Ideas from Our Great Customers

For over 18 years we have listened to our customers and their valuable feedback has led to great innovations in our system. The “out in the field” experience is a prized laboratory for our technical department. Sometimes our customers even tell us of ways they are using our system that causes us to pause and say, “Ahhh, now that is smart!”  We thought we would pass a couple of these ingenious ideas along.

While showing a new customer how to set up job schedules (in order to receive no-show alerts), his interest was triggered with our “Late Check-Out” alerts.

One of his employees was accidentally locked in a bank vault while cleaning one night. The poor guy was MIA until the next morning when the bank manager opened the vault!  If this customer had been using our system, then the late check-out alert would have prompted him to follow up with the employee. He was also excited that this feature could alert him in the event an employee has an accident and can’t clock out. What a great use of the system!

Some companies only want to track employee attendance (and not hours worked).  Chronotek has a feature called “Auto Safeguard for Missed Clock-Outs” whereby a time card is automatically closed after a specific timeframe. This protects (and resets) the employee’s time card in case they forget to clock-out.  This feature can be adapted to meet specific needs, just like the story below.

A customer hosted a special event at a remote location and her primary concern was to know that all her employees showed up. She only needed Chronotek for time and attendance, so she set the Auto Safeguard for Missed Clock-Outs to “0” hours for all of her employees.  When the employees clocked-in, the system automatically closed the time cards (which prevented any time accrual).  She also created job schedules for this event so she would receive an alert if an employee did not arrive.  With these combined features, she was confident that her staff showed up…and received alerts if they didn’t.

There you have it; great ideas straight from the field. If you have any, please let us know. We love to be “wowed”!  Click here if you would like to see how other companies are using our system.

New Web Clock-ins can be used by Hearing Impaired

Chronotek Mobile Clock-inWe now offer web clock-ins via smartphone and computer for your employees! While this feature can be a great asset to any company, it is uniquely beneficial for your hearing impaired employees.

We constantly seek to respond to the feedback and needs of our customers and this is one our most exciting enhancements. Web clock-ins can be done by an employee or by a supervisor who can clock-in a list of employees at one time.  As an added benefit, location tracking is recorded from smart phones and Web browsers with location services.

If your company would like to try this new feature, please let us know.   We will add it to your account and send you information on how to get started. (Chronotek pricing may differ if this method is solely used.)

Would You Trade a Quarter if I Gave You a Dollar?

If someone offered to trade you a dollar for a quarter, would you accept the trade? You would probably back up a truck to haul away your good fortune. For businesses using hand-written time cards to track their employees’ time, Chronotek has such a deal.  Our industry leading telephone timekeeping system, with over 15 years of proven excellence, can save these businesses between 2-6% on their largest capital outlay, payroll (savings averages according to the American Payroll Association).

Times are tight and you may think that you can’t afford to implement a telephone timekeeping system. Our clients have shifted that thinking – and they are getting ahead of their competition!  Our system is not a cost; it is an investment – with benefits.  We don’t pay you to use Chronotek, but it seems that way.  The return on investment is only part of the savings. When you manage your employees more effectively you give better service to your customer.  Chronotek provides a good return on your investment and a comprehensive employee management tool.

The following chart illustrates how Chronotek saves people money by capturing accurate time…  no padding on Chronotek time cards.   We estimated 20 employees working a 6 hour, 5 day work week, with 2 clock in/outs a day.  Employees would make 870 calls a month costing $129, with a possible savings of $707 a month (4% of payroll less cost of system).

Check out the pricing calculator for your estimated savings.

An investment with benefits…  Save time by not having to collect and process manual time cards…  Run payroll reports with accurate time cards…  Receive alerts when employees do not show for jobs…  Prevent buddy punching with Random Voice Verification…  Send voice messages your employees must listen to.

Put another way, approximately every $1.25 invested in Chronotek could yield a return of $7.  Can you afford to wait any longer?   Save money, work smarter and stay ahead of your competition by implementing proven technology.  Get your truck and we will load up your savings!

The Chronoblog On The iPad- Powered By Onswipe!

We are excited to announce a fun new feature for our readers- Chronotek Telephone Timekeeping readers can now visit the blog (chronotek.wordpress.com) from their iPads to get a beautiful, magazine-like experience tailored specifically to the iPad (and other touch enabled devices).

We hope this simple change will make the reading experience that much more enjoyable for those of you following our blog from the iPad.

Have any comments or feedback on the new design? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

What Makes Your Employees Tick? More Lessons From “Scratch Beginnings”

Turnover,  late to the job, no-shows… What drives these people?  As employers, it can be difficult to know how to best relate to and understand employees.  Understanding is especially crucial in service  industries because employees are often your company’s greatest asset- your employees do reflect your company!  Having a responsive and motivated workforce can make the difference between a successful company, and one that struggles with high turnover and low quality output.

So what does “Scratch Beginnings” have to say about these issues? As we continue to get great feedback and discussion on the book, we hear how employers like you are enlightened by the author’s depiction of the workplace – about the motivation of employees, their challenges and struggles – especially those working in difficult jobs or situations.  Here are a few of the valuable lessons we have identified so far:

 

The Power Of A Fast Payday.  In the book, Adam talked about how he, along with many of his peers, sought out jobs that paid as soon as possible.  In his case, this meant taking some jobs with a temporary employment agency that paid less than was otherwise available, but came with the promise of cash at the end of each day. For many workers struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, a prompt and reliable payday may be the best motivator. Some Chronotek customers choose to pay on a weekly basis, as a gesture of support for their workers and, ultimately, a way to minimize turnover.

The “Weakest Link” Effect.  Adam experienced firsthand how important it was to maintain a strong team dynamic.  He had a good relationship with strong coworkers like Derrick, who encouraged him to learn and work as fast and effectively as possible.  At the same time, other coworkers had the opposite effect.  Poorly performing team members had a frustrating effect on the rest of the group, and often had a strong negative impact on the company.  As employers, its important to remember that weak employees can actively sabotage your attempts to build a great, efficient team.

Respect Pays.  The hourly workers depicted in Scratch Beginnings were all struggling to keep their lives on track and move up in society.  These employees were used to being treated badly, and had been burned by employers in the past.  The universal lesson for employers looking to attract and retain good workers: respect your employees.  Its a simple rule that often gets overlooked, but simple gestures like a small bonus for a job well done can go far.

What other lessons did you learn from the story of “Scratch Beginnings”?  We’d love to hear about it in the comments.  If you haven’t had the chance to read the story yet, you can request your free copy here.

Tell Us About Your American Dream- Get A Free Copy of “Scratch Beginnings”

One of the best parts of working with business owners and entrepreneurs is hearing their personal story of living the American Dream.  It is always inspiring to hear from Chronotek customers who have built incredible companies from simple beginnings.   In our previous post, we got the chance to interview Adam Shepard, author of the book Scratch Beginnings.  You can check out the whole interview in this Post.  If any of our Chronotek clients would like an opportunity to read Adam’s book, we would like to send you a copy, free of charge. Maybe, in return you could tell us how you think your life is in your own hands. Can attitude and perseverance change any situation? Did you ever get a do-over?  How have you lived the American Dream?

If you would like your free copy please email Chronotek at support@chronotek.net – include your name, your business, and full mailing address.  We’d also love for you to tell us a little about how you have lived the American Dream.  In his book Adam discovered so much about himself- it truly is the journey that makes the masterpiece what it is. What is your story?

Interview With Author Adam Shepard

We recently had the chance to sit down with one of the Chronotek Team’s favorite authors, Adam Shepard.  Adam’s story of his decision to live out the true American Dream is a truly extraordinary journey.  We chatted with him on a few topics ranging from the details of his book, to how he would find “A” players for his own business.

Give us a little background on your project. What made you want to write this book? What exactly were the “rules” and goals of the project?

The summer after my freshman year of college, I read a book called Nickel and Dimed, which is the story of how Barbara Ehrenreich basically went out to show that the American Dream is dead. I resented her attitude (as well-written as her book was) and decided that I wanted to live a social experiment of my own to see if there was any vitality to the American Dream.

I put everything on hold while I finished college and went to play professional basketball overseas. My hoops career in Germany lasted about 30 hours or so—I shot 2-for-29 from the field on the first day of practice—and when they sent me home, I reasoned that the best thing for me to do was live this project I had been delaying. The premise of the project was for me to start in a random city with $25, a sleeping bag, and the clothes on my back (read more in the Introduction), and see if, in one year, I could have $2500, a car, and a furnished apartment. To me, that was the idea of living the American Dream.

What city did you choose?

Charleston, SC

How did you go about selecting Charleston?

I had 12 southeastern cities in a hat (Mobile, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Savannah, Nashville, Columbia, various cities in Virginia, among others), and the idea was that I would pick one out on Monday and hop a train on Tuesday.

What was your initial experience?

I got anxious very quickly. I didn’t have a plan or a route to cover. And I certainly didn’t plan on arriving in the dilapidated neighborhood that I did. It was a very naïve experience, and the first chapter shows how grossly unprepared I was.

What was it like trying to break into the job market from your starting point at the homeless shelter?

Challenging. I had a vision on how I thought this was going to turn out and it didn’t go the way I intended at all.

I’ll tell you what was interesting. After ten days or so, I didn’t have a job, and I was complaining one night about the job market and this and that. There was this one guy at the shelter where I was staying—Phil Coleman—who chimed in and told me what he thought about my little plight.  His pitch to me (and anyone who was listening) was very matter-of-fact: if you want a job, you have to take control and get out there and get after it.  Every time I speak to a high school or college or association or corporation, I always read the excerpt about Phil’s appeal to me.

A lot of people have made a difference in my life. Steve Reibstein, a golfing buddy of a friend of mine, made a connection for me to get published. Phil Coleman, a homeless dude, lit a match under my butt that got me a job. You never know who is going to make a difference in your life.

When you had setbacks, how did you get back on track?

That was the ultimate challenge. I broke my toe. I got sick. I got into a vicious fight, and I don’t think I got in a single blow. But every time I hit a roadblock, I just figured, “Hell, it could be worse,” and that helped me to remember what I was doing in Charleston in the first place, that I had a goal and that nothing was going to get in my way.

What were the most valuable lessons you learned from the other working class individuals around you?

It was fascinating, most of all, for me to see the work ethic represented by my peers at the moving company where I ended up working for the duration of my time in Charleston. Some guys were sluggish and whiny and would come into work a few minutes late with their shirts untucked. Other guys came in with a mission. Derrick, for example, was the hardest working guy I’ve ever met in my life. Think about it: he wasn’t born and held to the moon and determined to one day be a mover in his life, but now, here he is, and he has plotted that he is going to be the best mover on the planet, regardless of his height or strength or athleticism.

Some attitudes differed from others, and that, I discovered, was the dividing factor between someone who was “making it” and someone who wasn’t.

What was your interaction like with the people you worked for? What did you do to find value and fulfillment in such difficult physical work?

The interaction with my coworkers was mixed: some people liked me; some didn’t. Derrick, thankfully, didn’t care that I was goofy with my floppy hair and daisy duke shorts. All he cared about was the fact that I worked hard and kept my mouth shut, and, thankfully, he took me under his wing.

The management of the company was happy to have me on the team because I didn’t create confrontation and I was accountable. They knew that I would be to work on time, that I would work hard, and that I would take responsibility when I rammed a dresser into a wall. Their only concern (sometimes, to their detriment) was the bottom line.

Finding value in physical work has always been easy for me. Growing up, I looked over a freshly-cut lawn, and, regardless of how much I got paid for it, I felt satisfaction in knowing that it looked (and smelled) better as a result of the work I put in. Moving furniture brought the same feeling. Unloading a full truck and placing furniture into an empty house, as grueling as it was, became one of my top three or four most fulfilling, joyous accomplishments. Seriously. When you walk through a freshly furnished house and think, “I did that,” there is a special feeling.

You spent quite a bit of time analyzing how other people around you worked and lived their lives. What did you find to be the most common distinguishing factor between those who succeeded and those who failed?

As I said, attitude was the separation. Good things are going to happen to us; bad things are going to happen to us. The only thing we can control is how we react to both the good and the bad. Are we resilient? Do we capitalize on the good and deal properly with the bad?

Put yourself in the shoes of Curtis at Fast Company, or anyone else making the decision to hire someone like you. What would you do to identify and attract “A” players like you or Derrick (While avoiding potential “problem” hires)?

I just finished reading the book Click. There is a lot to be said about initial, gut feel for a person, whether it is professional, social, romantic, or otherwise. Curtis pulled my application out of 65-80 other applications because he knew that he could count on me just based on what I was telling him. I’m not going to pretend to step into the shoes of an HR manager, but I think it’s not so difficult to acknowledge your visceral feeling, that this person sitting across from you is going to do good things for your company or not.


To learn more about Adam’s story, visit his website.

Changes To The Mobile Site

This first week is a great time to take a fresh look at projects and goals to really get the ball rolling for the New Year. We at Chronotek are no exception as we are excited to announce some valuable changes to the Mobile CHRONOTEK  site accessible on your smart phones.

Administrators can select ‘view options’ for even more precise control over what other users have access to on the mobile site. Users can be allowed to see any combination of: no shows, late employees, employee status, call log, or overtime information. This can ensure that supervisors have access to the specific data they need to do their job from the field.

Mobile CHRONOTEK  is accessed with the same credentials as your ChronotekVersion 2 login. After setting up logins for other users you can simply email the credentials to them from that same setup page.   If you have any questions about how to implement these new options, our support staff is always happy to help!

3 Ways To Save Money Using Chronotek- Enhanced Communication

This is part 3 of our Chronoblog series on saving money with Chronotek.  Part 2 is Saving On Payroll Administration, and Part 1 is saving by Paying Actual Time.

For part 3, we are going to discuss an important, but often overlooked way that companies can save money with Chronotek.  All the different ways that Chronotek enhances company communication can be a “hidden saving” by preventing costly issues before they arise.

Its every business owner’s worst nightmare: an angry customer calls complaining about a job that was done late, or perhaps not at all.  At the very least thats a lost cleaning or job, but often such mistakes lead to the loss of entire accounts.  This is exactly the type of costly mistake that is difficult to fix after the fact, but can be easily prevented by using Chronotek’s no show alert feature.  How does this work?  Supervisors can use Chronotek’s easy setup to create alerts for employees at critical jobsites.  If an employee is running late, the supervisor receives a simple text or email alert informing them that the employee has not shown up to work.  The supervisor is then able to react and respond to the situation before it becomes a problem for the business.

Another similarly valuable feature is the ability to leave voicemails for employees to hear prior to clocking in.  If a customer calls one afternoon with a specific request for that night’s cleaning, a supervisor can leave a concise message for all employees to hear before clocking in.  This enhanced communication allows a higher level of customer service: the key to long term customer retention, and valuable referral business.

You spend enough money, time, and effort winning customers in the first place- improve customer retention and satisfaction with Chronotek’s no-show alerts and voicemail features.  Improved company communication is just one of the ways you can save money using the Chronotek system.

3 Ways To Save Money Using Chronotek- Payroll Administration

This is part two of our Chronoblog series on different ways that Chronotek helps you save money.  Part one of the series, on saving money by paying actual time, can be viewed here.

 

In addition to saving money by paying actual time worked, Chronotek users often experience enormous savings on the other end of payroll processing.  One of the biggest “hidden costs” of using hand written or paper time sheets is in the value of the time it takes to administer them.  Staff can spend hours every week  handing out, collecting, and then painstakingly entering hours into the computer for processing.  If an error is made in entering the data, fixing that can be costly and time consuming, in addition to exposing your company to the threat of costly legal action.

 

Chronotek cures this headache by automating the most difficult parts of these tasks.  Timecard data is automatically collected and can be easily exported with just a couple easy clicks.  Chronotek integrates with ADP, Paychex, and supports standardized FTP exports.  You can rest assured that the data is accurate and verifiable, with no potential for errors from manually entering such critical data.

 

As any business owner knows, time is money.  Saving valuable employee time by automating painstaking payroll processes can be a major step towards running a more efficient business.  Additionally, the headaches and indirect costs can have big effects on company morale- and on the long term bottom line.

3 Ways To Save Money Using Chronotek-Paying Actual Time

We admit it- over at Chronotek we love to save money.  In these tough economic times, who doesn’t?  But most importantly, we love to pass our money saving tips on to our customers.  Now, this doesn’t mean we go around clipping coupons and sending them to all our customers (besides, coupons have expiration dates and Chronotek savings keep on giving.) What it does mean is that we love telling people about how Chronotek can actually save money for your business, every month!  There are many different ways that Chronotek does this, so for part 1 of this series I will focus on just one of them:  Paying “Actual Time” worked.

What many business owners who use hand written timecards or other outdated methods don’t realize is that they are paying much more on their payroll than the actual time their employees are working.  Imagine if every 2 weeks, you paid each employee to sit on the couch and watch an entire football game?  That would be ludicrous (and expensive!) right?

Well that is essentially what happens when employees pad their hand written timecards- just a few minutes tacked onto every shift can add up to big bucks in the long run! Chronotek cures this headache by ensuring that employees can only clock in and out when they are actually on location at the jobsite.

Just how big can the savings be from this simple change?  Our studies indicate that companies can save up to 6% of their total payroll expenses just by using Chronotek.  We even created a handy pricing calculator to help you figure out your savings!  How do we calculate this information?  When you pay an employee just $7.50 an hour it equals 12.5 cents per minute (which is the cost of a clock-in or out using Chronotek).  So when an employee actually clocks in at 8:01 (rather than writing 8:00 on a timecard) you have already paid for Chronotek.  When the big savings come is when they clock in at 8:02, 8:05, or even 8:20!

Paying “Actual Time” is just one of the ways Chronotek is a great money saver for your business.  In that way, I guess we are a little bit like a coupon: A coupon to make your company a lean, mean, payroll saving machine.

KEEP THIS COUPON

Image by striatic via Flickr

Chronotek Featured On GetApp!

We are happy to announce that Chronotek is now a featured app on Getapp.com’s Business Software directory.  GetApp is one of the premier directories of web tools for businesses, and we are proud to be featured in such an excellent resource for businesses.

If you aren’t yet a Chronotek user, you may view our profile here for more information.

Already use Chronotek?  We would love for you to leave a review on our profile!  Either click here to go directly to the profile, or click on the button below to go to the main GetApp site.  From there you can search for “Chronotek” and view our profile!

Business Software

What Is Your Headache?

On the Chronoblog, we spend a lot of time discussing all the technical features of Chronotek that make it so great.  We’ve talked about things like our Industry Leading Support, our Integration With Other Business Tools, and features like our popular Mobile Chronotek system.

But in all these posts we’ve never mentioned one of the things Chronotek does best: cure headaches.  That’s right, Chronotek is the #1 cure for the headaches of companies managing employees at offsite locations.  Now, this may be said a little bit tongue in cheek (if you currently have an actual headache we recommend Tylenol), but there’s a bit of truth to it: Our product addresses some of the most painful issues our customers deal with in their businesses.

Have a problem with “Buddy Punching”? Chronotek cures that headache with Voice Verification.

Need to track the time employees spend at a specific jobsite down to the minute? Chronotek cures that headache with Caller-ID based Location Tracking.

Worried about saving money on payroll in these tough economic times? Chronotek leaves more cash in your pocket at the end of the month- and for businesses, thats the best headache cure there is.

If your headache is dealing with remote employees – Chronotek has the cure for you!

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Welcoming Our Newest Addition- Dennis Brady!

It has been a whirlwind few weeks here at Chronotek, and in the rush we had forgotten to introduce an exciting new addition to our team!  Dennis Brady joined our support team several weeks ago and has already been making his presence felt, jumping right in and getting to work in true Chronotek fashion.

 

As an entrepreneur himself, Dennis fit right into the “take charge” Chronotek culture.  A dedicated family man, Dennis has been married to his wife Sandra for 19 years, and their 20th anniversary will be this Valentines Day!  Together they have 3 children ages 13 to 4- Keely, Shelby, and Will.  Dennis was born and raised in Wesley Chapel, and continues to reside in the South Charlotte area today.  He maintains an excellent personal blog, which may be found here.

 

Dennis will be working closely with the rest of the support team in bringing a high level of service to our customers.  He will especially be focusing on providing training and extra support for our newest customers, helping to ensure that they get the most benefit out of their use of the Chronotek system.

 

We are happy to welcome yet another “A” Player to our “A” Team- Welcome Dennis!

A Friendly Reminder For Daylight Savings Time

With the Daylight Savings Time switch set to occur early Sunday morning (November 7th, at 2 a.m.), we wanted to remind our customers that DST can have implications for workers who have shifts which carry over the time switch.

The Chronotek system will adjust for the change at the time it occurs, which means that workers clocked in at 2 a.m. will have time cards which reflect one hour less than actual time worked.

We have found that simply adjusting our timekeeping in line with the DST switch is the best way of handling the change.  It allows our customers to decide their own policies for addressing the time switch.  A great article with more information on this issue may be found here.  If you have any questions or comments regarding the Chronotek handling of the DST switch, feel free to leave a comment on this blog post- we will be happy to help!

Getting The “Chronotek Advantage”- With Michal Sikorski Of Fantastic Cleaning

We recently had the chance to catch up with our friend Michal Sikorski of Fantastic Cleaning. Fantastic Cleaning Ltd. is a commercial cleaning company operating out of Victoria, BC, and serving all of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. They came to Chronotek when their business grew rapidly to over 80 employees spread throughout the region. Fantastic Cleaning was finding it difficult to ensure whether employees were coming to work on time (if at all) and if employees were spending the correct amount of time maintaining sites. Chronotek was able to meet this need, and Michal graciously took the time to discuss how his company has fully utilized the Chronotek system.

What are some of the biggest challenges associated with running a business like yours?
Having quite a large number of staff spread throughout multiple cities and towns makes it very difficult to keep track of our staff and ensure our customers are getting the value they expect from our services.

How does Chronotek make managing your business easier?
Chronotek allows us to keep track of all of our staff regardless of the fact that we operate in several different geographic regions. Text alerts provide our supervisors and management staff with an exceptional tool for ensuring our staff show up to work on time and show up at all. Since fully implementing the system, we have not missed a single night of service at any of the job sites for which we provide our services. Payroll costs have also been dramatically decreased as we are now able to easily and quickly complete our payroll cycles in-house with the use of Chronoteks easy to read, ready to go time sheets at the end of each pay period.

Do you have a favorite Chronotek feature?
The text and email alerts for no-shows are by far the most useful feature for our company. Other features such as the automatically calculated and added travel time and job costing are time saving tools loved by our office staff. In addition to this, Chronotek’s incredibly friendly customer support staff are willing to take the time to thoroughly explain any of the workings of the system and even create custom features on Chronotek to adhere to whatever your company needs in order to make running your business easier and more efficient. It is always a pleasure communicating with any Chronotek staff!

Can Chronotek Automatically Deduct Lunch Breaks?

One of the questions we get fairly often is whether or not Chronotek can be set up to automatically deduct hours for employee lunch breaks.  We know that many company policies require employees to take a 30 or 60 minute unpaid lunch break, and that these hours are often subtracted from total time worked on a daily basis.  Although this is a common and entirely acceptable practice, we have decided not to have Chronotek do this deduction automatically in order to protect our clients from potential mistakes and costly litigation.

The reason for this concern? There is some controversy surrounding automatic lunch break deductions.  The most recent example is a $40 Million Lawsuit Settled By Wal-Mart for this very practice.  The lawsuit covered the payment of back wages for employees who had lunch breaks deducted from their hours worked without being notified. In most cases the workers were not even taking a break at all, but regardless it is required that employees be notified anytime their hours are being adjusted.

Chronotek does offer a full set of features for managing hours worked, and exporting data to payroll programs like ADP and Paychex.  We simply avoid allowing automatic lunchtime deductions in order to better protect our clients from litigation like that faced by Wal-Mart.

Questions or comments on this issue? Feel free to ask and discuss in the comments section.

Congratulations To The Middleton Family- OfficePride’s Franchise Of The Year!

Chronotek is proud to congratulate our friends, the Middleton family, on receiving Office Pride’s Franchise of the year award! We had the chance to catch up with Chris on how his company has grown and prospered during such tough times, and on how Chronotek makes his business easier to run.

Tell us about how you got started with commercial cleaning, and Office Pride?

I got started in Office Pride while I was selling health insurance. I ran into a friend I had worked with at Chrysler and he had started a business. I stopped in to see if he needed insurance. We got talking and he had bought an Office Pride franchise. I was very interested because as much as I enjoyed meeting people and selling insurance I would always just have a “job”. I could never systemitize that business to work for me while I lived by my priorities. So I did my reseach on Office Pride, read all the books that the founder Todd Hopkins had written and liked what the company stood for. I bought my own franchise and got started in June 2009 servicing the greater Indianapolis, Hamilton county and Kokomo areas. I was introduced to Chronotek at our  first Office Pride training. As soon as I hired my first people I used Chronotek to keep track of their hours.

What are some of the toughest challenges associated with running a business like yours?

The biggest challenge for most business that are starting up- CASHFLOW! In this business you may serve your customer for 60 days before you see any money. During that time you have bought equipment to use in their facility and possibly hired and paid someone to clean it. That can be thousands of dollars up front before you see any money come in. As is always said the first couple years are the hardest in starting up any business.

Tell us about your personal business philosophy: how do you apply this to your day to day management of your company?

My personal business philosophy is that we do not just own a cleaning business; We have an opportunity here to serve for God’s glory. We have an opportunity to provide an excellent cleaning service to our customers, help them in any ways we can to expand their businesses. We also have an opportunity to impact the people we employ on our team. I offer mentoring, coaching, financial, spiritual, business, or otherwise to all the people on our team. I want to help them achieve their goals not just offer them a job. I treat people the way I want to be treated always, listen to them and offer to help with whatever problems they have. I get involved in their lives on a personal level if they let me.

What steps have you taken to grow and prosper in this challenging economic climate?

As I struggled to get started, I went as low as I possibly could financially. Had nothing left. At that point I got on my knees and acknowledged with God was president and CEO and that I would go and do whatever he wanted. I asked that he bless my family and this business and provide for us. From that day on we grew at an alarming rate, we never missed a house payment and we continued to be able to feed our four boys. God gives and God can take away. It has been the most amazing walk of faith I have every had. I encourage everyone to do the same.

How does Chronotek make managing your business easier?

Chronotek gives me peace of mind. I can go to bed at night knowing that all my accounts have been covered. I check off as people clock in at their jobs so I know before I go to bed if everything has been covered. If someone is later than normal I can call and be sure they are headed in. We have never missed an account cleaning (yet).

Do you have a favorite Chronotek feature?

I like the message system and use it often to leave feedback from building inspections, sometimes I pray for the whole team via message system, or just thank them for the help.

Do you have any additional comments on your experience with Chronotek?

Chronotek has really helped me out by making it so easy to gather my team’s hours and then input that into my payroll company. The support team has always been very nice and easy to get a hold of if I had questions. I’m sure as we grow and add managers we will have questions on how to best break off the team and assign to different people. I use it on a basic level now. It is also very helpful in seeing how many hours I have in certain buildings to be sure we are where we should be profit wise.


Chronotek: Helping Your Business Handle Uncertainty

We are hearing it- the last few years have been some of the most challenging for businesses in recent history.  Companies both large and small have been hit hard by the recession, and looming changes in taxes and regulation.  At Chronotek, we know you have enough on your mind as it is- Thats why we have worked hard to make sure that our service takes all the uncertainty out of managing your timekeeping needs. Here’s a few ways Chronotek can help with an uncertain business climate:

Scalability: One of the strongest elements of the Chronotek system is scalability, or flexibility.  Unlike other systems, with Chronotek you simply pay month to month based on usage.  This greatly benefits seasonal industries (such as pool management companies), but this flexibility has great applications even in industries that work year round.  For example, even industries that work throughout the year may experience busy seasons when employees work extra hours, or when temporary workers are hired.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a timekeeping system that could flexibly integrate those changes, while saving you money when the extra capacity isn’t needed? Thats exactly what Chronotek’s flexibility provides.

No Up-Front Cost: One of the most talked about aspects of this recession has been how difficult it is for businesses to get loans for investing in their company.  Chronotek has no up-front costs,  allowing you to significantly upgrade your business without having to worry about a large upfront cost.  In fact, Chronotek is free for you to Try For 30 Days– So you can test our entire system without worrying about cost.  Once you decide to adopt Chronotek full time, there’s still no up front expenses- just the same low monthly fee and only pennies for every call into the system.

Industry Leading Support: We know how frustrating it can be to deal with unreliable customer service, and at Chronotek we want you to count on us for help that is timely and effective.  We understand that businesses deal with enough uncertainty without having to worry about ineffective support from key services.  We take that uncertainty out of the equation with industry leading 99.99% uptime, and couple it with the best support team in the business.

A Quick Tip On Internet Options

Every so often we notice some minor technical problem that is affecting a small number of our users.  Because of how closely we monitor our own system, we can always immediately see if the problem is with our own servers- but it gets a little more tricky when the problem is with a customer’s computer.  One of the best aspects of Chronotek is that it can be accessed from any web browser, on any operating system.  This means that Chronotek works on almost any kind of computer- PC, Mac, and even on mobile devices through our Mobile Chronotek feature.  While this flexibility is a very positive feature, it also means that our support staff is often confronted with a baffling array of potential issues when troubleshooting problems that prevent users from accessing our system.

Faced with this broad range of potential problems, we always try to root out the most obvious and common ones right away.  With that in mind, we wanted to provide this quick tip on internet options.  One of the minor issues we experience the most is with some parts of the system appearing not to refresh quickly, or at all.  Your dashboard screen may not show all the information you need, or you may not be seeing employee activity that you know is occurring.  These users sometimes think that our system is running a little slow, or behaving sluggishly in showing their information, but the culprit instead is an obscure option within Internet Explorer.

If you think you may be experiencing this issue, don’t worry! There is a simple and fast fix that can have you back up to speed in no time.  From Internet Explorer, find your “Tools” menu, and click on it.  From there, find your “Internet Options”, go to “Browsing History”, then “Settings” and look for “Temporary Internet Files” .  The setting you need is “Check For Newer Versions of Stored Pages”, and it should be set to “Automatically”.   The actual process may vary depending on what version of Internet Explorer you’re using.

This is also a great time to remind users that we always encourage our customers (and friends and family!) to upgrade to the latest version of their Internet Browser.  This is important not only from a Chronotek standpoint, but for the general usability and security of your browsing experience.

What Features Does Chronotek Provide For Large Companies?

Here at the Chronoblog we have spent a lot of time talking about how our system scales perfectly for small businesses.  We always feel that one of the best things our product helps customers accomplish is to keep fixed costs low, by providing a system that grows as your company grows- there are no big leaps in cost or barriers to expansion.

With this focus on our ability to fit the growth needs of our customers, sometimes its easy to miss some of the excellent features we provide for large customers from the moment you register.  In fact, some of our happiest customers are large, multi state companies who first joined Chronotek because of the wide range of customization options we offer.  Lets review a few of these “big picture” features:

Cross-Country Timekeeping Made Easy: Chronotek makes it easy to manage clock-ins across multiple time zones.  The web interface makes it easy to assign different jobs to particular time zones, and our Licensed Caller-ID ensures that employees clock in for those jobs at the correct locations.  It has never been easier to manage your timekeeping needs- from coast to coast.

Easy User/Role Administration: Chronotek provides simple tools to manage access for various users.  Large companies who need to allow various managers to access the Chronotek account can easily do so.  At the same time, it is easy to place limits on what these additional users can view and change.  Many companies use these tools to allow regional managers access and control over their areas, while still maintaining a central monitoring account to easily keep tabs on the entire company.  For more information on setting up these features, our Support team will be happy to assist you.

Integration With Other Business Tools: We recognize that today’s businesses often employ a variety of software tools to automate their payroll processes.  Thats why Chronotek is an industry leader in our ability to integrate with other tools.  We integrate with ADP, Paychex, Compupay, and support automated FTP exports as well. We are always adding support for new products- if your payroll tool isn’t listed, talk to our Support team!

Scalable Pricing Options: Perhaps our most compelling opportunity for larger customers is our excellent scaled pricing system.  Chronotek helps large companies save even more money on their timekeeping expenses by giving lower per-call prices for higher volume accounts.  Our Pricing Calculator makes it easy to see how much you can save.

These are just the beginning of the rich features we offer for our large customers.  As always, our excellent support staff is ready to assist you with any questions you may have- call, email, or simply comment on this post for more information.

“Beyond Price”-How Does Chronotek Deliver the Best Value?

One of the aspects of the Chronotek system that our customers love most is our simple and innovative pricing plan. Figuring out the cost of using Chronotek is as simple as determining how many employees you have on the system, and how many times those employees clock in and out each month. Its so simple and transparent that we provide a pricing calculator right on our website! We have found that the vast majority of our customers save so much money by ditching their old, inefficient timekeeping system that Chronotek quickly pays for itself- and then some. Just take a look at some of our testimonials to see the dramatic savings many clients experience.

Our pricing is so simple that sometimes its easy to lose sight of the tremendous value Chronotek provides, in addition to pure cost. You see, our system includes many features in the base price that other companies either charge extra for, or simply don’t provide. Some examples of this include:

Mobile Chronotek. Our fully functional and easy to use mobile monitoring system sets the industry standard in mobile employee management. You can get alerts, check employee status, and more- all from any web enabled mobile device. Many companies charge for access to similar mobile versions, but Mobile Chronotek is included in your account, free of charge.

-Integrated Voicemail. Chronotek is one of the only timekeeping programs that integrates the ability to communicate with your employees every time they clock in. Again, this is a feature that many companies charge extra for- but here, its part of the total Chronotek experience.

-No Show Alerts. This is one of our most popular features, and a big part of why customers love using Chronotek. Our completely customizable alerts let you decide when and how you receive alerts about late or absent employees. Supervisors can receive text or email alerts with important information about who is late and what job is being left un-covered. These real time alerts allow you to act fast in solving potentially damaging absentee situations. As always, this critical service is one that we provide free of charge.

Simply put, we provide an industry leading system, with a rich and compelling feature set, all with an affordable and easy to understand pricing system- Thats the Chronotek Advantage.

New Chronotek Video Tutorial

Today we are very excited to announce the first installment in our new video tutorial series.  Over the past several months we had made the decision that our customers could benefit from a series of short videos introducing them to the basic (and eventually, more advanced) features of Chronotek.  We hope that this series will work very well in conjunction with our already excellent personal customer service, to provide new users a high level of confidence in the Chronotek System.

This first segment tells you everything you need to know to get started with Chronotek.  From signing up for our free 30-day trial, to having your employees start using the system, all of your most basic info is covered here.  take a look and let us know what you think in the comments.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5ANg1VaRDM]

Also, you can view the video on Youtube here

Can Chronotek Work With Payphones?

Every so often, we get questions about customers using payphones to clock into the Chronotek system.  Some industries only have access to payphones at their jobsites, and ask us about using them with Chronotek.  While we are always looking to help our customers make Chronotek as efficient and convenient to use as possible, unfortunately a relic of telecommunications legislation makes using payphones extremely difficult.

In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act.  Part of this law allowed payphone providers to charge 1-800 numbers a “market rate” for calls made from their payphones.  What this means is that anytime Chronotek received a call from a payphone, the phone company charged us $0.62.  Because we only charge $0.12 a call from our customers, these phone company charges meant that we would lose $0.50 everytime someone calls to clock in using a payphone.

The Telecommunications Act did allow the operators of 1-800 numbers to block all calls from payphones, to protect themselves from these $0.62 charges.  This means that we pay a small monthly fee to prevent all incoming payphone calls.

As you can imagine, this has been the source of some frustration for us.  We have confirmed an alternative method for customers who only have access to payphones at their jobsites.  If you think this might describe your company, please contact us and our Support Team will be happy to assist you with your specific needs.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Chronotek Could Do

In keeping with our “Feature Focus” of the last few posts, today we want to highlight 5 things that many people don’t know Chronotek can do.  These are 5 items that are easy to use in Chronotek, and can save your company time and money.

1. Calculating Overtime: This is one of the best ways that Chronotek can help you save money on your payroll expenses.  Our system allows you to track hours in real time, letting you prevent expensive overtime surprises at the end of a pay period.

2. Track Different Activities: By using different activity and job codes, Chronotek makes it easier to manage employees who may do several different jobs over the course of a pay period.  This makes managing projects and unique jobs more efficient.

3. Voice Verification: By requiring employees to record a message at every clock in, you can verify that the correct employee is clocking in.  This eliminates situations where employees try to clock in for a late coworker.  This feature, when combined with Chronotek’s location based Caller-ID, allows supervisors to ensure that the right employee is at the right jobsite.

4. Record Messages for Employees: This feature allows you to guarantee that employees are receiving important information.  Simply record a voice message by calling into the system, and employees can be required to listen to this message on every clock in or out.  This feature can be customized to streamline your employee communications, allowing you to provide a higher level of service to all your customers.

5. Mobile Chronotek: We are very proud of our industry leading mobile version, which allows supervisors to monitor crucial employee information, from anywhere.  In the field, the office, at home, or even on vacation-Mobile Chronotek keeps you informed of the most important aspects of your business: your employees.

Have another favorite feature of Chronotek that we left off the list?  feel free to tell us about it in the comments!

New “Any Employee” Schedule

Today we are thrilled to announce a new feature that has been at the top of our “wish list” for some time now.  Many customers had asked us about how best to handle jobs where they didn’t care what employee clocked in, just as long as somebody did.  For many of our customers who manage many different locations, simply ensuring that at least one employee had arrived at a jobsite was critical information.  One example of this type of job might be a pool management company that needs to be sure someone has shown up to open a neighborhood pool for the day, or a security firm that needs to be sure a specific location is covered by a certain time.

We started rolling this feature out on Tuesday, and already we are thrilled with the response from our customers, and the innovative ways they are planning to use it.  Our programming team put in lots of hard work perfecting how this new type of schedule would work with our alert system, so that supervisors can receive up to the minute information regarding which job sites are covered.  Our team also designed the schedules to interface perfectly with our Mobile Chronotek system, allowing supervisors to view this information from any web enabled mobile device.

All in all we are very proud to be able to offer this new feature to our customers.  Our support staff created an excellent email tutorial on using “Any Employee” schedules, and current Chronotek customers should check their inboxes for this information.  As always, any questions or feedback may be left in the comments section below- we’d love to hear how you plan to use this new feature!

Changes To The “New Features” Section

Just wanted to quickly highlight a few small changes to the blog setup.  We noticed a few days ago that one of the most popular pages within the blog was the “New Features” section.  We saw that our readers were using this section to get additional information about some of the specific features offered by the Chronotek system.

With that in mind, we decided to make some updates and changes to the section.  We added more information about some of our best features, and we will be continually updating the section and rotating new information in and out.

We love that so many of our existing customers, as well as many people that are interested in the Chronotek system are using this blog to get the latest information about Chronotek.  We hope that this can continue to be an excellent resource, and as always feel free to comment on any post with questions or feedback.

The Chronotek Advantage

The other day I stumbled across this little webcomic:

These days we hear so much about “Social Media”- the “Word of Mouth” in the comic.  And while all these things are great, sometimes they aren’t enough to consistently close sales.  Customers in highly competitive industries want tangible evidence that they are choosing the right company or vendor to provide critical services.  All too often it can be difficult to differentiate your company from the competition.

But what if you had just such a tangible asset to use in your pitch to potential customers?  Chronotek can be such an asset, with something we call the “Chronotek Advantage”.  Potential customers want to know that the services they are paying for are being delivered in the most efficient manner possible- and Chronotek allows you to give that assurance.  In service industries where time worked is a huge part of the cost, Chronotek demonstrates that you are dedicated to tracking this expense down to the second.

Having positive word of mouth and “social” marketing is important- But with the “Chronotek Advantage”, you can give those potential customers tangible proof of your commitment to details and quality.

Location Tracking: Chronotek Gives You More than Caller-ID

Chronotek is a licensed provider of Caller-ID, so how does that relate to location tracking on timecards?

First let’s clarify what Caller-ID means.  Caller-ID is simply the phone number from which the call is made.  However, Chronotek goes one step farther and contracts with three companies to get the representative data for that phone- who is registered to the phone number, the address of the phone number, and the longitude and latitude of land line phones.   We have the Google Map feature on Chronotek so that you can see exactly where that land line call originated.  This information is available so that you can link phones to the job- to ensure that your employees call from site phones.

If the call originates from a cell phone we usually get the person registered to that phone, but sometimes get the cell provider (i.e. Verizon Wireless) and an address. Realize that the location of cell phone calls is not determined from Caller-ID. (For more about Chronotek and Cell Phones, take a look at this recent post)

Location tracking through Caller-ID: Thats the Chronotek Advantage.

What About Location Tracking on Cellphones?

Cell phones and mobile devices increasingly utilize GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to track location. With the explosion of “location aware” applications for smartphones, and the rise in the use of GPS devices for navigation, people are growing more and more accustomed to their “smart” devices knowing where they are at all times.

As we are always working to stay on the forefront of development in telephone timekeeping, we wanted to let you know what is on the horizon.  We recently launched  Mobile Chronotek, and were open to considering new mobile location based technologies as well.  With that in mind, we took the time to evaluate the state of location aware mobile technologies, and how they could be applied to the Chronotek system.  This research has led us to two determinations:

First- the current location technologies are limited exclusively to the “smartphone” category, which is still a very small fraction of cell phone users in the United States.  It is important to note that, for the vast majority of cell phone users without data connected smartphones, location aware services simply don’t work.

Second-Reliability.  The Chronotek system is predicated on its ability to be absolutely reliable and accurate.  Some of the location aware systems and applications that we tested had great features and were a lot of fun- but didn’t provide the kind of guaranteed reliability we expect from our own service.

So whats the takeaway from this?  Technology is always changing rapidly, and at Chronotek we are very proud of how we incorporate these advances into our product.  We also remain very committed to maintaining the extraordinarily high standards for reliability and usability that is the hallmark of our system.  With these goals in mind, we will continue to monitor the development of cell phone location tracking, and move to incorporate these features when the time is right.

Highlighting One Of Our Own

Hey Everyone,

For this Monday’s blog post I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some really awesome work that one member of the Chronotek team has been doing.  Our developer/programmer/resident computer wizard Kit Marshall is currently with a church outreach group on an expedition to Alaska’s Kokrine Hills Bible Camp.  The camp is a ministry for Alaskan youth to come together and learn about the Word of God while experiencing all the fun of “summer camp”.  The wonderful volunteers that run the facility felt that they were limited by the fact that the camp buildings were not able to accommodate campers during the harsh Alaskan winter, and put out a request for help renovating the buildings.    Kit is part of a small work group that is going to help renovate and winterize the cabins that campers stay in while at Kokrine Hills, so that the facility may be used year round.

The camp itself is incredibly remote, and can only be accessed by boat or dirt landing strip for small charter planes.  The camp does have limited access to a satellite internet connection, and we are thrilled to be able to keep up with Kit’s group’s progress via their blog.  Anyone interested in more information about the camp can view the Kokrine Hills website and blog as well.  It really is a fantastic organization doing some amazing work in one of the toughest climates and locations in the world!

We are so proud of the work Kit and his group are doing. From all of us here at Chronotek, we wish them safe travels and a successful trip!

Chronotek- Making Holidays Easier for Small Business Owners

As we wrap up Memorial Day Weekend, I am reminded of how amazing our constantly connected and engaged world is.  Even on a day of rest and reflection for most of us, many across the Nation remain hard at work- from the executive checking emails on his Blackberry, to the janitorial staff preparing a building for the coming week.  This modern 24/7/365 work day is most pronounced in one group of people- small business owners.  For these entrepreneurs, a day of complete relaxation is nearly impossible, with so many variables and areas of concern to keep up with.

Thats why one of our primary goals at Chronotek is making life easier for small business owners.  We understand what its like to have a company to worry about 24/7- and why its so important to keep up with all the information that lets you know your business is functioning properly.  With this in mind, we have attempted to stay at the forefront of the “always-on” mode of thinking, without sacrificing the ease of use and simplicity that is the hallmark of our system.  We have accomplished this through features like our text message and email alerts whenever an employee doesn’t show up for work, and with the recently released Mobile Chronotek that allows you to manage the system through an interface optimized for mobile web browsers.

We are confident that our efforts in these areas have had a positive impact on our customers peace of mind, and their ability to stay connected to their businesses even when they aren’t “on the job”.  One of our favorite stories here at Chronotek is when a customer contacted us via email and said that he had just done his scheduling and timekeeping- while walking through Disney World with his children.  We love this story because it validates so much of what we do at Chronotek, and gives us the wonderful satisfaction of knowing that our efforts made that family’s vacation just a little more enjoyable.  For many small business owners, a true “vacation” is only a dream- but with Chronotek’s versatile mobile options, that dream can become reality.

Finally, a word of appreciation for our brave service Men and Women on Memorial Day.  No amount of eloquence could adequately express the incredible debt we owe to you all- those who fought, past and present, to defend this beautiful country and all the freedoms we enjoy.  Without your efforts, we would not be blessed with the freedom to live and worship as we please, or even the freedom to work and prosper as individuals and entrepreneurs.   For your service in the past, present, and future, we thank you.

-The Chronotek Team

Is Your Internet Browser “Spoiled Milk?”

One of our most important goals at Chronotek is ensuring that all users receive an excellent user experience.  This broad goal encompasses providing the greatest ease of use, speed, and functionality all packed into a beautiful and simple package.  Our programming team is constantly analyzing the entire system to make sure these goals are being met.  One component we cannot control is your internet browser.

When Chronotek was first designed, we made the decision to create it as a “Web Based Application”.  What this means is that the entire program is accessed through your web browser, rather than being stored on your personal computer.  This model has a long list of benefits- chiefly lower costs to you, better management of upgrades and maintenance, and better security and backup of your data.

The one limitation of this model is in the web browser itself.  See, internet browsers are just as varied and diverse as the cars you see out on the road.  You have the sleek, shiny and brand new models (like the latest release of Firefox, or even Google’s upstart Chrome), the dependable economy model (the newest release of Internet Explorer, or IE8), and…. the aging and broken down clunker, otherwise known as Internet Explorer 6.  IE 6 was released over 9 years ago, and just like a car, after 9 years it has started to show its age.  The newest and best websites don’t show up correctly in IE6,  and applications like Chronotek don’t work as fast as they can in the newer browsers.

Thats why we were so excited to see this ad over at Microsoft Australia that compared IE 6 to spoiled milk.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out- it does a great job of explaining the shortcomings of such an outdated browser.  Additionally, you may have noticed some major web services such as Youtube completely eliminating support for IE6.  This means that those services will not even work in Internet Explorer 6 very soon.

So why does all this matter to us here at Chronotek? Remember that our goal is to deliver an excellent experience for all of our customers, and that our user’s Internet browser is the one variable that isn’t in our hands- it’s in yours.  That’s why we encourage all our customers still using IE 6 to switch to a newer browser.  It is as simple as clicking on one of the links above (Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Chrome), and following the instructions at those websites.  We are confident that a newer browser will not only improve your Chronotek experience, but make the rest of your internet browsing faster and easier as well.

Changes to the Blog

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to make note of some small changes to the Chronotek Blog.  We are beginning a new emphasis on engagement with our users across all the fantastic resources the internet has to offer- including our  Twitter Account and Facebook Page.  As a company, we have always had a focus on providing an extraordinary level of customer service and engagement, a focus that dates back to our founding in 1995 (long before anyone knew what “Social Media” was!).  As we sat down and reevaluated what this commitment to service meant, we decided that these platforms, as well as this Blog, had great potential to expand this part of our company culture.

So, the end result of all that is the following changes:

-From this point forward, we will be updating the blog more regularly, covering a broad range of topics that we feel are relevant to our users and fans (check back on Monday for a comparison of outdated internet browsers to spoiled milk, and an explanation of why a browser upgrade can improve your Chronotek experience!)

-Additionally, we are opening up comments on the blog, to facilitate a more active conversation surrounding the post topics, or Chronotek itself.  Feel free to ask questions, provide feedback, or just tell us about your great experience with Chronotek!

-Finally, I mentioned the Twitter and Facebook pages- please fan us or follow us if you have accounts on those networks.  We would love to hear from you!

Janitorial Work – Time/Motion measurement

Do you know how long it takes to do your jobs?   As the business owner, your first job is to know how long it takes to do any particular job.  The janitorial industry is a time/motion line of work; meaning the work to be done can be measured in a specific time.  For instance, it takes a specified length of time to vacuum a specified area of carpet.

Some business owners actually do the jobs initially to determine how long it takes.  Of course there are other factors that can make those numbers vary, but for the most part, there are good efficiency numbers that have been derived from studies of labor and materials in the cleaning business. So once you land the job you need a way to make sure the employees you put on that job actually put in the time it takes to do the job right.  A telephone timekeeping system that allows you to track jobs as well as employees can be useful for these job costing numbers.  Your employees clock into a job and you can see the amount of time spent on that job each month.  It is a great way to determine if your job costing numbers were right.

Need to Hire that Next Manager? Maybe Not…

Keep track of employees with fewer managers using the Chronotek Employee Management system. You can grow your business and keep management costs down too.  Features that allow you to do more with less are the no-show alerts sent when employees do not show up to scheduled jobs, integrated voicemail where employees must listen to the message before the next clock in or out, and Mobile Chronotek that allows you to view clock in and out data 24/7 from even a cell phone.

Besides the savings you see for paying for actual time worked, you will see the benefits of overtime control, reduced payroll administration, and management assistance. Look at the testimonials – we have clients who even track students. In these times when salaries are still the largest expense it makes sense to use a timekeeping system that can help you do more.

Alarms Got Set Off – was it your employees?

You get the call the next day from your customer. Their security alarms went off last night. Your customer thinks your employees set it off. Do you have the proof you need when you say your employees were already gone by that time? If not, you may have to pay for the police run that was made to check the alarm status at your customer’s site. Has this happened to you?   This could get costly$$$.  When you use telephone timekeeping you know exactly when your employees clock in and when they clock out.  You have the proof!  (And unless those employees work at a bank and are planning the bank heist, you know they left the premises when they clocked out.  Who sticks around a work site when they are not getting paid?)  This does not have to happen to you again!

Chronotek Launches New Website-April 2010


We welcome you to visit our newly launched website. . .

On Monday, April 5th, Chronotek went live with a new website!  This website is a great resource with a NEW look, a NEW logo, and NEW Blog/Chat features.  We are excited about all the new developments at Chronotek.

Our highest goal is to provide the best possible customer service, and now we have made that service more convenient.  The “ChronoBlog” has announcements on new features, timekeeping news, and testimonials. Also new is  the “Live Chat” feature available during normal business hours.  The pricing calculator makes it easy to estimate what your monthly costs might be and what payroll savings you might reap by switching from hand-written timecards to telephone timekeeping.

We are the industry leader in timekeeping and it is important that our customers know that we are working hard to keep that position after 15 great years!  We have a lot more in store for our website, and for the Chronotek service.  So please check out the website at www.chronotek.net!

Land your next job!

Tell prospective customers that you manage your employees with a  telephone timekeeping system.

Telephone Timekeeping is a tool in your marketing portfolio – is it the Chronotek Advantage.  Customers value a well-managed business.

  • Why is it important to your customers that you have the Chronotek Employee Management System?
  • Vacation Time on the job is one of the largest influences on quality in the service industry. Chronotek helps you know you are delivering the best quality to your customers.
  • Every second  counts

The Chronotek Advantage - Land that job

…Because the Chronotek system shows your employees clocking in and out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;  who is working, where they are working, and when they arrived and left.

So make a marketing portfolio – a folder with your company logo, your mission statement, your bid forms, and….the Chronotek Advantage literature.

Who uses Chronotek telephone timekeeping?

  • Industries who need to track actual time worked. – Telephone timekeeping is highly accurate. No more dispensing, collecting and adding of timecards. No more uncontrolled overtime and time card “padding” from hourly employees that can easily squeeze the profit out of anyone’s budget.
  • Companies who need to track people from remote sites. – Chronotek is a licensed provider of caller id, providing the location from land-line calls. You can know employees are at the jobsite. (Track work time, sales calls, student hours, and more!)
  • Seasonal industries who track employees only part of the time. – Chronotek is a pay-per-use system. You pay only for the months that you use the service. And no start-up fees! No hidden charges.
  • Companies who need to improve supervisor/employee communication. –  Supervisors can leave voice messages for employees with the Chronotek Integrated Voicemail. Employees are required to listen to the message at the next check in or out. At no extra charge!
  • Managers who need to know their jobs are covered. – Also at no extra charge, the Chronotek system can send supervisors text message alerts when employees don’t show up to scheduled jobs, or every time employees clock in or out.

Can Chronotek help your business?  Try it Free for 30-days www.chronotek.net

Chronotek on Cells – Introducing Mobile Chronotek!

We are bringing Chronotek to any web-enabled mobile device!  Your Chronotek Supervisors can log into the mobile version of Chronotek and see employees’ time live.  The best news is… we offer this service at no extra charge.

We hope that Chronotek can put you in front of your competition with all the industry leading features that help make your job easier.  And like all of our features, Mobile Chronotek is very easy to use.  The Chronotek Supervisors simply use the same login credentials for the Chronotek Version 2 (Beta) interface on the Mobile version. This version does not have editing capabilities, so you do not have to worry about your Supervisors changing files.

We hope this feature makes your job easier!

Because Every Second Counts…


We realize that your time is valuable, so our web-based program is designed to minimize the time that you spend doing payroll tasks such as accounting and processing. By using our phone time clock system, you can save time and money in other areas also:

  • accurate time cards – if you currently use manual time cards, they may be costing you thousands of dollars per year in extra labor expenses.  Every second counts, so more accurate time cards means less overall payroll expense.
    ( Many of our customers save enough money in this area to pay for the service.)
  • reduced overtime – since the Chronotek System allows you to see your time as it happens, you are able to adjust your schedule to prevent overtime.  Even if you don’t normally pay overtime, you are able to track labor expenses as they are happening so that you can manage them.
  • easier payroll administration – with the Chronotek System, payroll becomes a snap.  Just print your time cards from the web page when you are ready, 24 hours a day from any web browser.
Chronotek – the industry leading pioneer in telephone timekeeping

ChronoTek specializes in telephone time clock Web-based software for tracking employee time and attendance. Founded in 1995, ChronoTek serves clients nationwide, in Canada and Puerto Rico by providing telephone time clock software for accurately tracking employee time and attendance from any phone that can call a toll free number. ChronoTek is a licensed and legal provider of patented caller ID technology that enables companies to see the phone number from which employees call, and site location if calling from a land line. Call 1-800-586-2945 or visit www.chronotek.net for more information.

Caller-ID Technology Licensed by Sandata Technologies, Inc. under U.S. Patent Nos.
5,646,839; 5,255,183 & 5,963,912

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