Chronoblog
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5 Ideas To Help Manage Your Remote, Hourly Employees

5-ideas-to-help-manage-your-remote-hourly-employeesThe buzz of the New Year has come and gone and the melody of Auld Lang Syne is a faint whisper in our memories.  Before we get too far into the year, and maybe while you still have your resolutions posted on the mirror, we wanted to recommend 5 ChronoTips to make your life simpler.  These are ideas that will give your business a head start and a dynamic edge going into the New Year.

  1. Time cards always have the right job, and you know employees are on site when they clock-in from a Linked phone from the jobsite.  It’s quick and easy to associate the site phone to the job.  This is an absolute must-do if your employees are using site landline phones.
  2. Make employees think twice about buddy punching and enable Random Voice Verification.
  3. Use our new mobile app to clock in and out.  If employees use cell phones to clock-in and they have smartphones, our mobile app is a better solution. GPS tracks, messaging, time cards and schedules give you and your employees increased communication abilities and access to personal schedules and worked hours.
  4. Empower your supervisors with the new mobile app. Smartphones are really smart. Our app can show your supervisor who is clocked in, where, what time, if employees clocked in/out at the job or not, no-shows and late employees.  Supervisors can also message employees and add employees and jobs from the field.
  5. Stop no-shows, keep your customers happy, and get a good night’s sleep by using our scheduling and late alert tools. Get notified by text or email when you’re employees don’t clock into scheduled jobs.

Our telephony and app-based timekeeping system is a comprehensive employee management tool that can do more than just capture accurate time of your employees. Be sure to fully maximize its functionality to minimize the struggles that come with managing remote, hourly employees.  Please let us know if we can help you implement these suggestions.

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

Know Your Labor Cost

blog-remote-employeesWell-known financial advisor and motivational speaker, Suze Orman asked her audience how many had personal debt, of any kind.  Almost 100% of the people in the audience raised their hands. To paraphrase her response she said, “So you all have debt, and you come here asking me to show you how to manage money you don’t have?” Such a poignant question. Just like families who discover that they don’t have enough money to pay their bills each month, many small businesses with remote, hourly workers struggle to make payroll, and pay their vendors and other overhead expenses.

It is hard for small businesses that aren’t efficiently tracking their largest monthly expense: time worked by hourly employees.  Our clients have the advantage when they use the new Weekly Labor Cost Report. This report quickly calculates true labor costs (pay rate + payroll taxes) compared to the job’s labor budgets.

In an interview we did last year with David, the owner of a successful janitorial company, he stated that a service business can pay up to 50% of their gross revenues in payroll, but it should not exceed that number.   However, we have talked to several small business owners who estimate that they pay up to 70%, and they struggle for a 10-15% profit margin.   Profit margins and hourly payroll expenses are tied together in a constant, unequal tug of war.  This results in cash flow problems at the very least.

While Suze tries to help her crowd manage money they don’t have, we want to help small businesses reclaim the money that is rightfully theirs. Run the new Weekly Labor Cost Report  to stay on track. It’s an easy step towards getting your dream back as well.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

The ‘Magnificent 7’ of 2016

happy-new-yearWe want to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and thank you for making 2016 another blessed year for Chronotek. Many great small businesses across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico helped us celebrate our 20th year as their chosen timekeeping and remote employee management system. As we look forward to 2017, we wanted to reflect on 2016 and scour our blog posts for the 7 best and most helpful articles of the year.

As you enjoy some downtime this coming holiday weekend, use the ideas presented in the posts to plan and set your company goals for 2017. Some of the selections are part of a series. We encourage you to read the entire series if you have time between naps and football games.

The Magnificent 7 list is in chronological order:

  1. In the Building A Business series we shared our experiences in building a successful, long term company and how our lessons learned can help you. The post, Focus On Service Done Well, is well, self-explanatory.
  2. You should probably just read the entire series, because we think another article from Building A Business makes the magnificent 7 list. The Golden Rule details how the most valuable asset of a service-based business is its employees and suggests ways that a company can reward and keep its best workers.
  3. All small businesses love a tax deduction. In Tax Deduction or Tax Expense we illustrate how our automated timekeeping system is an investment that pays for itself.
  4. We released a new mobile app this year and yes, we wrote a series about it. If you only read one post in the series, make it this one on how your Employees Love It!
  5. But we can’t omit your supervisors and how the new mobile app is Making SUPERvisors!
  6. GPS technology is a great tool if you have off-site hourly employees. But it’s just one piece of a puzzle. In GPS Technology Is More Than A Game we explain how to best use our GPS tools for your remote staff.
  7. Our new Weekly Labor Cost Report was released to help you identify and Plug Your Labor Leaks. Labor is the most expensive capital layout for a service business and your business will drown if these costs aren’t monitored.

We pray that your 2017 is great and we are blessed to be a part of it. Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

Merry Christmas

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of Holidays! We consider the opportunity to serve our timekeeping customers a gift, and we overflow with gratitude that you have chosen us as your remote employee timekeeping system. Our prayer is that your holiday season is filled with peace, joy and good times with family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

Plug Your Labor Leaks

plug-your-labor-leaksTo identify a slow leak in an automobile tire you can spread liquid dish detergent on the tire and then pour water over it. The air escaping from the leak will create bubbles in the soapy water. But if you own a small business with remote employees in the service industry, how do you pinpoint the slow leaks to your profit margins?  A huge labor leak could be catastrophic.

You may bid on new jobs using bidding software, time and motion software or just plain ol’ experience. Then you win the contract and the rubber meets the road. You have to monitor and measure your labor costs against the contracted amount.  Multiple employees who make different hourly rates may work that account, so how are you tracking the hours and costs?  In addition to the employee hourly rate are payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, etc.

Customers of our online and automated timekeeping solution can now use our new Weekly Labor Cost Report.  This report will accurately determine your labor costs for each location by factoring in overtime hours (up to 40 hrs/work week) and “fully loaded” pay rates.  This fully loaded rate comes from a Labor Rate Multiplier percentage that is applied to all hourly pay rates.  Real labor costs at each job site are compared to your budgeted costs showing the difference.  The report does all the calculating.

Let’s say for example that you have contracted to clean a building for $1000 a month.  Ideally, you want to keep your labor costs at 50% of revenue ($500 a month or $115 a week). What happens if your labor costs jump to $140 a week (less than 3 hours a week)?  Do you want to wait until the end of the month to realize the labor spike or catch it right away?  With every account you have to manage it could be easy to overlook 36 minutes a day.  If you didn’t monitor, your labor cost could be $609 which is a 22% increase.  And if you’re struggling to make a 20% profit ($200) after all other expenses, now your down to $91, a startling 54.5% dip in profits.  This struggle is real and can be avoided.

Our new Weekly Labor Cost Report helps to identify this leak quickly to help you keep your profits intact and your business running smoothly. Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

Grow My Cleaning Company Podcast: You Can Do It!

Last week we posted about the privilege we had to be on the Grow My Cleaning Company podcast.  Mike, from Grow My Cleaning Company and Cheryl, from our team, had such a rich discussion that the conversation was divided into 2 podcasts.

In Part 1 they discussed how janitorial businesses with remote employees can use automated timekeeping software to capture accurate time, save money and get their dream back.  In Part 2, Mike and Cheryl encouraged these small business owners saying ‘YOU CAN DO IT!’  They reviewed how to implement our employee time-tracking system and how to integrate with QuickBooks.

Please check it out. It’s entitled, Janitorial Software Integration Made Simple : Episode 159 Chronotek.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

Grow My Cleaning Company Podcast – Get Your Dream Back

We recently had the privilege to meet a company that shares our heartbeat to help small businesses grow.  In particular, Grow My Cleaning Company consults and coaches janitorial owners to help them grow their businesses.  Through their Facebook group, Mike Campion, owner of Grow My Cleaning Company, heard how our online timekeeping system has helped many of his customers solve the number one problem for companies with remote employees: capturing accurate labor time.

Mike invited our own Cheryl Nedrow to be a guest on his podcast.  Their insightful conversation is broadcasted in 2 episodes. We invite you to listen to part 1 entitled, Janitorial Business Timekeeping, GPS Tracking and Making More Money : Episode 158 Chronotek – and begin discovering how you can get your dream back.  Also check out the other great content at www.Growmycleaningcompany.com.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

Surprise Announcement About New FLSA Rule

Surprise-Announcement-FLSA-Overtime-Ruling-DelayedJune of this year we posted about the new overtime rule in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that was scheduled to take effect on December 1. The new rule would have impacted more than 4.2 million Americans by raising the exempt salary threshold to $47,476.  In a surprise announcement last Tuesday, November 22, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Amos L. Mazzant granted an order temporarily barring the rule from going into effect on December 1.  He found that the 21 plaintiff States (and an additional 50 small business groups ) established standing to have their case heard.

The crux of the rule doubles the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 to determine which salaried workers are eligible for overtime. Employees with salaries less than the new rate of $47,476 (or $913 a week) must be paid time-and-a-half overtime for every hour over 40.

The plaintiffs stated that the new OT rule would cause monetary damage by forcing them to substantially increase labor costs.  This could affect state services due to budget cuts and layoffs.  The States also argued that a plain reading of the FLSA shows that Congress intended the new rule for white collar workers such as, professionals, administrators, outside salespeople and executives.   And they claim the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by applying the rule to all classifications of workers based on salary alone.

The judge also struck down the provision that would automatically raise the exemption level every 3 years.

The Department of Labor can appeal the injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals, or can litigate the issue on its merits. The incoming new administration can also make changes. For now, small businesses and state governments can hold tight, and insure that they are in compliance with the existing FLSA requirements. It may also be a good time to evaluate current pay standards in an effort to keep your best employees.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook. We will provide updates as they come.

Time to Give Thanks

happy-thanksgivingWe have so many reasons to give thanks. We live and operate in a great country. We have remarkable customers and most importantly, these awesome customers have blessed us with the privilege to be their remote employee timekeeping solution for 20 years now. We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and pray that your holiday is filled with joy and good times with family and friends.  And get some rest. You work hard.

 

One way to assist with your rest is to disable all Chronotek 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.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chronotek!

Gobble Up the Points

gobble-up-the-pointsTo kick off the holiday fun, we want to host a Thanksgiving quiz called Gobble Up the Points. Go to our  Facebook page and respond  to the questions below to receive 1 point for each correct answer. The person with the most points will win a $25 Starbucks gift card (in the event of a tie, the tie-breaker goes to the first entry). That’s enough for you to take a friend. Is there a better way to warm up than with hot coffee or chocolate and time spent with a good friend?  It’s also our way of saying thank you.

#1  What year was the first Thanksgiving celebrated in America?

#2  What is 1 of the 2 NFL teams that always plays on Thanksgiving Day?

a. Seattle Seahawks

b. New York Mets

c. Dallas Cowboys

d.  Tennessee Titans

 

#3 What year did Thanksgiving become an official national holiday?

 

#4 True or False: The first Swanson TV dinner was created because the company cooked too many turkeys (260 tons too much) and needed an outlet for the extra.

 

#5 True or False: The turkey was almost our national bird and not the eagle.

 

#6 What other NFL team always plays on Thanksgiving Day?

a. Arizona Cardinals

b. Philadelphia Eagles

c. Detroit Lions

d. I’m always asleep by then and can’t remember

 

#7 According to the US Census Bureau, the following State produces the most turkey annually:

a. Minnesota

b. California

c. North Carolina

d. Texas

 

#8 True or False: Female turkeys don’t gobble.

 

#9 According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest pumpkin pie ever made was:

a. 12 feet long

b. Filled up an Olympic size swimming pool

c. Made by the first Pilgrims

d. 48 tons in weight

 

#10 The company with the best customers in the world is:

a. Chronotek

b. Chronotek

c. Chronotek

d. Chronotek

 

Submit your answers by December 1 for a chance to win and please have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

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

 

Problem Solving: Shift Lock

established-1856-shift-lockHalloween just passed, but the bewitching hour of midnight may still be haunting you. Your small business has remote employees who work shifts starting at midnight, yet they continue to clock in early even though they understand that midnight is the start time.  It’s great to have diligent employees who aren’t late, but the early clock-ins create a time card headache for you on payroll day. The 11:59pm (or earlier) clock-ins produce time cards that start on the wrong day.  This throws off daily totals, which in turn affects daily and weekly overtime.  Your solution to this problem has been to manually correct every time card, for every employee, for every day this happens.  Just reading this is probably causing cold chills.  Well, relax!  We have a solution!

In this last post of our Problem Solving series, we want to introduce to you a new time-saving and life-changing feature we created called Shift Lock.

To quote directly from our online Help site:

“The Shift Lock feature was created for businesses that do not allow employees to clock-in early (or clock-out late) to a scheduled shift.  Enabling this feature will allow time cards to be adjusted (locked) to the shift’s scheduled time. This can be especially helpful if employees consistently clock-in early to a midnight start time schedule which will throw the total hours of the time card to the prior day.

When Shift Lock is applied to a time card, employees are informed of the time card adjustment when they clock-in/out of the system.”

To learn more, launch our online Help site by clicking on the orange question mark and in the search box type “Shift Lock”.

Now imagine payroll day with your automated time cards accurate and ready to go. What once haunted you, now gets a big hallelujah!

Thanks for reading our Problem Solving series. We hope that our solutions have changed your life.  Stay tuned and stay in touch by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Fall Back this Sunday

fall-back-dstPlease remember that Daylight Savings Time occurs this Sunday, November 6 at 2am.  Enjoy an extra hour of sleep and don’t worry about your time cards in our telephone and app-based timekeeping solution.

Chronotek will correctly reflect the duration of time cards for employees who are on the clock at the time of the Daylight Savings Time change. There’s no need to make edits or adjustments to these time cards.

Now you may need to set back the clock on your microwave.

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

 

Problem Solving: Payroll Time Conversions

established-1856-payroll-time-conversions

Each week on payroll day do you convert Bob’s 28 hours and 12 minutes worked to a decimal value so that you know how much to pay him? And then do the same for 15 other employees? Your head probably hurts just thinking about it.

In our new series, Problem Solving, we are addressing common issues that companies face when managing remote, hourly workers.  We will continue our series today with this nagging issue of manually calculating payroll.

Three years ago we posted a blog called Timekeeping 101: Minutes and Decimal Hours in which we  provided a chart that converted minutes to decimals – because who wants to do that manually?   We had no idea how popular that post would become.  Is it because your small business uses handwritten time cards to track time for hourly workers, and  payroll companies require the time to be in decimal format?  Or maybe you do your own payroll and need to make the correct calculation.  It’s easy to multiply 28.20 x $9.25, but 28 hours and 12 minutes x $9.25, not so much.

If you are one of these companies, then maybe it’s about time to ‘convert’ to an automated timekeeping system that will do this work for you.  Our reports show time in both hours:minutes and decimal format – great for your employees, and perfect for your payroll calculations.  As an added bonus, literally, your company can save 2-6% on payroll by capturing accurate time of your employees’ work shifts.

And you can hopefully enjoy a headache-free payroll day.

Stay tuned in to our Problem Solving series by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Problem Solving: Accurate Time Tracking

blog-accurate-timekeepingWhat time today did your remote, off-site hourly employees arrive at work?  If you use handwritten timesheets, that question uncovers a problem, because you don’t truly know the answer.  We strive to be a small business resource to help solve employee management problems. In this new series, Problem Solving, we will address common issues that companies face when managing remote, hourly workers.

Our first post today will deal with the most basic, fundamental problem that small businesses encounter when they hire hourly, remote employees – and that’s accurate time tracking. Workers out in the field, with little or no supervision can be problematic. What time did they arrive to the job site? What time did they leave? How long did it take them to get to the next location? If using handwritten timesheets, you are putting 100% trust in your employees to accurately record their time and we’ve written before that you could be 30% off in your judgment. This is a potentially huge payroll problem.

An easy and efficient way to solve this problem is with an automated timekeeping system.  Employees simply use a smartphone app, or make a quick toll-free call to clock in and out, and our system records the times…accurately!  Time cards are created on-line and are accessible with a click.  No more driving around to collect handwritten timesheets or waiting on employees to fax or email them in.  Process the hours for an accurate payroll in minutes.

With this one essential problem solved, you will have more time and more money to leverage into greater opportunities for your business. Or take a vacation.

Stay tuned in to our Problem Solving series by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

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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