Whatever you build or repair for your customers, from vehicle servicing to bespoke cranes and hoists, labour costs will be a significant part of your expense. For most businesses, labour accounts for around half the cost on a project, and in some industries it’s the largest expense overall.
Given that, it's not hard to imagine how quickly projects’ profitability can nose dive once staff start working overtime or run into delays. That's all well and good when you can pass on the expense to the customer, but if your staff aren’t updating their timesheets accurately and quickly enough it might not be an option. During consulting, WorkGuru.io’s founders regularly see clients who have lost thousands of dollars because they invoiced a job on Friday, and staff added extra timesheets to it on Monday in time for payroll! The client already has their invoice, and there’s nothing you can do to get that money back.
It might not seem like a big deal, but the costs quickly add up. For example, if you run a team of 5, and miss just 30 minutes of billable time, per team member per day (and let’s face it, it’s probably more), and you bill out your time at $100/hr, you’re losing $750 per week (or nearly $40 000 a year!) That’s money that should have been pure profit, and we see people losing far more than this, on a regular basis.
So, stop losing money, and follow our 3 quick tips to fix it.
Keep real-time records
The best way to get your team to submit their timesheets on-time everytime is to make it a key part of their workflow, rather than a separate task. If you team members have to stop between jobs, or at the end of the day before they go home to think about their time it’s more likely to be forgotten and cost you money.
Finding or building a system that makes it easy for the team to log what they do, when they do it will mean more accurate and up-to-date records. It also means that your business can be a lot more responsive to jobs that are going over the quoted labour time. Real-time tracking lets you have a conversation about additional charges before your team does the extra work, ensuring that you get paid.
With a project management system that tracks time, team members can clock in and out of a project that they are working on so their timesheet is accurate to the minute. This means you can accurately track not only how much time, but whose time was spent working on the project so you can bill your apprentices and senior staff at different rates.
Make it easy
Your team is more likely to keep records up-to-date if you make it easy for them. If you aren’t already, now is the time to think about moving your timesheets from paper to digital. With online timesheets, you and your team never need to double handle your timesheet information. Once a staff member logs their time for the day, it can be pushed straight to the project record and invoicing and can also be used to run payroll.
Not only will it save your front-line staff time, but will also save you money in administration and processing. You’ll no longer need to have someone copy info from written timesheets and cross- checking project times - it's all done for you!
Hydromech manages all their teams timesheets from one workshop laptop. Read their story here.
Check in on your projects
Whether it's you or an assigned project manager, someone should be keeping an eye on active projects to spot any issues early. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a client about adding time to their bill before you have incurred the cost than after.
In WorkGuru, you can track project time easily with dashboards that show how much you have invoiced for, how much you are making, and how many hours your team have worked on that project. With just a quick glance you can see any time that your team has done that is above and beyond what was quoted. This works best when you are using real-time tracking so you have the most up-to-date information.
Checking in before invoice day can help to curve any overtime and also help you identify tasks that always take longer than expected. It can help you to quote more accurately in the future and make the most of your staff’s time.
Want better time tracking?
WorkGuru’s time tracking is linked to projects, making adding time super easy for your team. To get a live demo of how this works, contact our team today.