Category: Job Budgets
Managing Offsite Employees Can Be Full of Surprises

Last weekend my family took me out for my birthday. It was a nice restaurant by the water with live music. Perfect spot for me. Everyone ordered ice water and since they were paying, I didn’t order water. I also selected one of the more expensive entrees on the menu. Hey, it’s your birthday only once a year.  It was a delicious meal and a nice evening. Then it happened. The waitress walked over with the bill and my family pointed to me. Surprise! Happy birthday to me.

As a small business owner with offsite employees, you want to avoid most surprises. The biggest surprise you want is to walk into your company break room and discover that your favorite coffee flavor pod is out of stock. Even that can be traumatic on a Monday morning. You definitely don’t want a phone call from a great client saying his building wasn’t cleaned the night before. Or get to the end of the month to discover that you lost money on a job. How about a friendly audit by the labor board that learns you’re not paying required travel time? Here’s something that happened to one of our clients. He got his renewal for worker’s comp and it increased by 25%. Fortunately, the historical data from our online timekeeping system gave him ammunition to fight back. This isn’t so easy to do with handwritten timesheets.

Don’t be blindsided by unexpected problems that often arise with offsite employees. Our mobile timekeeping and employee management system is your secret weapon that keeps you in front of all potential issues and gives you the information to make the best decisions.

What are you doing over the next 30 days? Why not get a jump on your competition and try us for free?

We think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Is Your Small Business Tracking Work Hours With the Latest Technology?

Tracking Work Hours With the Latest TechnologyIt was eye-opening. Alarming is probably a better word for it. One of our clients had not been tracking work hours against contracted hours. She recently started using our Budget Manager tool and made a startling discovery. For over a year they have been losing 10 hours a week on a building they clean. Budget Manager broke down on a weekly basis how many actual hours were spent cleaning compared to what was contracted. That’s over 500 hours a year! Armed with this information she approached the building management and negotiated a new contract for more money. Of course, it was easier to make her case because her company has a history of great work.

Yes, we believe that our mobile timekeeping system will save your small business money. But do you have a innovative analytical tools to identify profit leaks and uncover income opportunities? Are you tracking work hours against contracted hours? Are you capturing accurate travel time for remote employees? Are you paying off-site employees when they aren’t really working?

There’s no need to be startled by any aspect of your business. And you should assume that your competition is using the latest technologies to help run their businesses. Don’t get behind the curve. Sign up today for a free 30 day trial.

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We Wish All Administrative Professionals a Fantastic Day!

controlling laborWhat in the world would we do without Administrative Professionals? While small businesses are the backbone of the United States economy, Administrative Professionals are the rock stars who keep these small businesses, large corporations and government entities moving along. We at Chronotek thank every one of you for helping America keep businesses going.

With 154 million workers, full and part time, to hire, manage, process payroll and handle HR issues for, the daily tasks of Administrative Professionals are monumentally important. We are glad we can help Administrative Professionals with tools to capture and create automated time cards; easily report overtime; monitor job budgets; track GPS locations of remote employees; alert supervisors of no-show employees and so much more. The gift  of ‘ease’ in controlling labor is something that your admins will enjoy every day.  We would be honored to help your admins get started with our online, remote employee management system with mobile timekeeping system. 

Have a great day, Admins!

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#5 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Losing Money on Jobs

track employee hoursLiving paycheck to paycheck isn’t living the dream. Have you swiped your debit card at the grocery store and said a prayer at the same time? This happens when you don’t have a personal budget and you’re not watching your money come and go. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Mind your pennies and the dollars will watch themselves.” This same truth applies to small business owners, especially those with remote, hourly employees. In our fifth installment of Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed in Your Business we want to discuss how important it is to track employee hours by job to make sure that you aren’t losing money on jobs.

When you track employee hours by job it’s like putting your company on a budget. When you bid on a new client you factor in all of the services and variables to determine the number of hours it will take each month to serve that prospect. Then you back into a quote. But what do you do next? (Hopefully, you get the contract!) You don’t want to get to the end of the month and realize then you lost money on your accounts. You need an easy way to capture and track employee hours by each job, in real time. Our clock in, clock out employee management system is the answer.

Chronotek has many tools and reports available to track employee hours by your jobs. If you are a visual person who likes colorful charts and graphs, our Budget Manager tool is for you. It shows you with crystal clarity where you are with each job, and predicts where you’ll be at the end of the month.  It even connects with schedules so you can take corrective action if needed. Easily get back on track before it’s too late.  No more spreadsheets – simply use the  Weekly Labor Cost Report that compares your budgeted hours and dollars per job to your actual times. See by job any overtime worked. Nothing throws a budget off track more than unrecognized overtime labor costs that are 50% more than planned.

Finally, our Job Schedule v. Actual report is great to use when you have job schedules. Create each shift to equal how long the work should take and the report will show variances on a daily and weekly total basis broken out by each account. The no-show alerts are a nifty bonus to make sure you don’t lose the job.

There’s no reason to get to the end of the month and wonder if you’ve lost money on an account. Actually, with our online time clock system, there is no reason to lose money on a job at all. You will know in real time, on a daily basis, where you stand with each job. We want the system to help you even more as we work on new features for 2018 that alert you when employees work over a time you specify. Making employees accountable will help you move your business forward as you mind your pennies.

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#2 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Not Paying Required Travel Time

Travel-Time-GPS-tracking-timesheetsIf your remote, hourly employees travel from job site to job site and you don’t pay travel time, we need to have a talk. You may be unaware that this travel time is required pay by the U.S. Department of Labor.  According to its website, “Time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time.” Travel time is a serious matter and companies are being sued for failure to comply. Today in our new series, Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed In Your Business, we hope to steer your company towards compliance with the travel time laws and away from trouble. It’s a pitfall that can easily be avoided with our time and labor management system  that offers a powerful timekeeping solution, with full travel management as well.

Most service-based businesses have hourly employees who work at multiple sites each day. The easiest way to insure that you are compliant with the travel time laws is to pay your employees from the time they start their days to when they end. But the easiest way is seldom the best practice. Your employees may need to take a lunch or pick up laundry between job sites. You don’t want to pay for this personal time. But don’t you want to know how much time your employees work at each job site? How much time is spent working versus time driving? Wouldn’t it be great to know that your employees actually show up to each job site and on time? These are all important questions to make sure that your customers’ needs are met and to avoid other pitfalls. A break down of employee time on each site compared to time driving between sites could reveal that your employees aren’t spending enough time doing the work. Or maybe too much time. But only tracking a start time and an end time to every employee’s day doesn’t give you this vital information. Perhaps you are super-conscientious like one payroll admin we talked to and you manually calculate the travel time between every job using Google or Map Quest. We applaud your painstakingly diligent and time-consuming efforts, but we are here to your rescue!

An easy solution and the best solution to the travel time issue is to use our online and telephone-based clock in, clock out system. Employees clock in and out at each job location and our system automatically creates travel time records. Pay by the actual time between jobs or use what Google MapsTM says the travel time should be between each site. Our Travel Manager feature with Google MapsTM can also capture mileage. Use our job reports to analyze the time spent on the job against the time driving between jobs. Your concerns about travel time compliance are easily solved by simple clock ins and outs on our mobile app or by calling a toll-free number. And you get critical answers to the questions previously mentioned.

Let us help you avoid this major pitfall with travel time. Insure compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor, get accurate time with great job reporting, save money and stay focused on growing your business. Try us free for 30 days and see if we can change your life.

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Are Your Numbers As Good As You Think?

Job Cost Reports

I beat my son on Wii Golf the other day 40-47 on 9 holes. At first glance, one might think that my son is awful, while I am the next Rory McIlroy. The numbers are convincing. On average I beat him by a stroke on almost every hole. I could market this version of the truth and sell it to a naïve buyer. But let’s dig deeper before we make the purchase. How did we compete on a hole by hole basis? Ah… a different story comes to light. I only beat him on 5 holes. He beat me on 4. It was a tight match until the last hole and he was ahead going into it. The 9th hole was a train wreck for him. As a small business owner, you may ask yourself the question, are your numbers as good as you think? This question may create some uneasiness if you don’t have good job cost reports.

Some small business owners may look at the end of the week numbers and think that life is good. They made payroll, paid all of the bills, and there’s money left over for groceries. Time to uncork the champagne, right? What if you could dive deeper into the numbers? Let’s say that you have 10 customers and you could easily run the numbers for each one. The analysis reveals that you’re losing money on 5 customers, breaking even on 2, and only 3 are profitable. These 3 customers are profitable enough to bring your total bottom line into the black, which disguises your problem with the 7. But in-depth job by job cost reports aren’t easy to get – unless you use our online employee time clock for labor hours.

Our time clock app and employee call in system allows your employees to clock in and out of different jobs. You get accurate hours for payroll, and for job cost reports. The Weekly Labor Cost report is a job cost report that breaks down total weekly hours by job, and then by employee. See how many weekly hours were worked at each of your 10 customers compared to their budgeted hours. The report also shows the labor dollars spent at each job site. Compare the dollars spent against the dollars budgeted for each job. And because this is a WEEKLY job cost report, you catch any issues quickly. The report shows if any employees hit overtime on these jobs. Not just overtime, but on which job and how many overtime hours on each job. This is extremely valuable information. Overtime hours cost you at least 1.5 times more at these jobs. Just shift your employees around to avoid overtime next week.

One final golden nugget is that the Weekly Labor Cost report allows you to enter a labor rate multiplier to get a REAL labor cost for each job. You may pay $9 an hour, but that’s not your total cost. Add in 7.65% for your share of the payroll taxes and maybe 2% for worker’s comp, and that $9 an hour employee is really $9.87 per hour. If you neglect to factor in these numbers, you will be about 10% off across the board.

Our Weekly Labor Cost report eliminates the uneasy feeling that guesswork causes and gives you enlightened, true numbers that help you understand your small business better. This job cost report provides targeted, real data that is broken down and helps you devise a plan of attack for the rest of the month. If you need a clearer grip on the “real” truth about your business that accurate job cost reports can provide, sign up for a free trial with us.

Legendary golfer Ben Hogan said, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” This may be true of your next business decision, also.

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So Close – Real Solutions to Your Business Problems

remote employee time clock Finding real solutions to your business problems can be like raising teenagers.

You walk into the kitchen and on top of the counter sits a stack of used paper towels,  paper plates and food wrappers. Right there just about 12 inches above the waste basket. So close to doing the right thing!

Or you pass by the laundry room and see an assortment of your teenager’s dirty clothes littering the floor at the base of the empty laundry basket. So close to doing the right thing again!

Now that’s our teenage children around the house.  What about you, the small business owner with remote hourly employees?  You found this blog because you did an internet search for a solution to one of your business problems. Maybe you’re sick and tired of employee handwritten timesheets.  You beg employees to turn them in and when they do, they are half-completed or illegible.  And worse yet, you just don’t trust them and the padded hours are a drag on your bottom line.   Or maybe you’ve had jobs missed because of employee no-shows.  Maybe you are here for an easier way to monitor and control overtime. Or you lost money on a couple of customers because the labor hours got off-kilter and you need a live, automated way to track job hours. Is it that your method to handle employee paid travel time and mileage involves late nights, expresso shots, interpreting handwritten scribbles and verifying every travel trip manually with a mapping program?

You are so close to a solution if you are here for any of these reasons. Chronotek has a remote employee time clock that solves all of these problems.  Employees clock in, clock out with a tap of the app or make a phone call.

This simple act of punching in and out of our remote employee time clock (or not punching in) is live, actionable information we can deliver to you when you need it:  no-show text alerts; overtime and weekly labor cost reports; dynamic, up-to-the minute job budget tools; automated travel and mileage reports and most assuredly, accurate employee time cards.

Teenagers may never hit the mark , but you are so close to doing the right thing for your small business.   You are so close to real solutions to your business problems. So why not try our remote employee time clock risk free and cost free for 30 days? Go ahead and click the link. You’ve made it this far!

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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.


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