Construction businesses have a unique set of challenges. And tracking their employees’ time? Well, that’s a big one. When you run a construction business and are shopping around for a time clock to track your employees’ time, you can’t use any old time clock. You need a construction time clock.
What do we mean by a construction time clock? We mean one that has capabilities that will directly improve your construction business’ bottom line. Grab a cup of coffee and read about the unique struggles construction businesses face, the benefits of using a time clock built with your business in mind, and why Homebase is the answer to your time clock woes.
What are some of the industry challenges in construction?
Before we start talking about construction time clocks, let’s talk about the struggles the construction industry faces.
Running a construction company is a massive undertaking. Multiple projects, various crews to manage on those projects, ever-changing job sites, labor and supply costs, deadlines and budgets––it becomes a can of worms pretty quickly.
Whether you’re in commercial, residential, large or small construction, the challenges are pretty universal, and can easily suck up your time and budget.
Staying up-to-date on regulations
Every state and local government has a different set of constantly-changing regulations for construction. It’s nearly a full-time job just trying to keep up with the regulations in their various states. Not building according to code and state regulations can be a disaster for any construction company.
Project managers, crew leaders, admin employees… plus various part-time and full-time contractors… There are a lot of people to keep in the loop about project updates, budget fluctuations, and changes. And as you well know, in construction, things change fast. It’s really easy to begin playing broken telephone as communication gets passed from person to person. Miscommunications can become costly.
Sticking to a schedule
It’s nearly impossible to predict how long working on a project will take. You can absolutely take best guesses based on past projects, but once you start building, you can never know what’s going to go sideways.
Issues with cash flow
Material costs and labor costs are extremely expensive. It’s rare that clients pay all fees upfront so it’s common for construction businesses to have cash flow issues. ConstructConnect says, “In a recent survey of construction firms, 84% reported that they had problems with cash flow. Almost 19% stated that they dealt with cash flow issues on a constant basis.” That is an alarming number, and one you don’t want to contribute to.
Tracking employees and their time
There are 100 different jobs to be done on a construction site. This means there are 100 different employees to keep track of. Where are they? Are they clocked in? Are they on break? Are they traveling to another site? This is the industry challenge we’re going to be focusing on for this article as we dive into construction time clocks.
What is an employee time clock?
An employee time clock is a device that records when an employee clocks in at work and when they clock out at work. It monitors attendance, hours worked, and helps with payroll.
There are so many different types of time clocks, that it can get overwhelming to choose the right one. We’ll talk about the benefits of using a time clock and the features you should look out for specifically when you run a construction company. Hopefully, we can ease some of that overwhelm.
What are the benefits of using a construction time clock?
When you think of construction time clocks, you might think of Fred Flintstone punching out at the end of the day. But just like the prehistoric period, times have changed. We don’t have a need for caveman time clocks anymore (but we wouldn’t mind the dinosaur garbage disposal to be honest).
Time clocks have evolved into fully mobile experiences. This is a bonus for construction companies because this means that employees can clock in from any job site without having to buy an expensive piece of equipment for every ever-changing site.
So, what are the benefits of using a mobile time clock for construction?
1. Easily track employee hours to stay on––or even under––budget
Instead of needing a kiosk at every location, if your employees have access to a smart device, they can clock in on a mobile time clock the exact moment they arrive on site. This can save you a lot when it comes to creeping time theft or time wasted going back to edit employees’ hours. Making employee hours easy to track can help you better manage your time and budget. Labor is a huge budget line on construction projects and it’s all too easy for that line to get bigger and bigger if hours aren’t accurately tracked.
2. Stay on top of overtime hours
It happens all of the time. Something goes wrong on site and your team stays late to solve the problem. If this happens 4 days in a row––pretty common on construction sites––you can find yourself going into overtime without even knowing it.
You’ve got to know when you head into overtime for many reasons: budgets, laws, and burnout are three obvious ones. Overtime means higher pay for those overtime hours, and the Fair Standard Labor Act doesn’t play when it comes to paying your team for time worked. That can bust a budget really quickly. Burnout can also have an impact on projects, since you don’t want to burn through your team of workers before the project ends.
If you’re using a mobile time clock, you can keep an eye on where everyone is in terms of hours for the week and make decisions on how to distribute your team moving forward. Can pen and paper do that?
3. Keep track of where your employees are
When you’re managing several sites and various teams who are moving between those sites, how on earth do you keep track of everybody? With a mobile time clock, that’s how. There are some key features mobile time clocks can have for construction businesses––more on that next––that can benefit any of your projects. Keeping track of where your employees are and when they’re on site is a huge benefit of using a construction time clock.
4. Help with payroll management
When you’ve got as many balls up in the air as you do, you need help wherever you can get it. If you’ve got an amazing time clock that tracks your employee hours, turns them into timesheets, and then processes payroll all in one place, you’ve got a best friend in that time clock. In short, get you a time clock that helps you with some of the most time consuming admin tasks.
But any old time clock won’t do when it comes to your construction business. You need one that improves on the specific challenges your construction business faces: so let’s find you one.
Main features you should look for in a construction time clock to improve your construction business
When you’re looking at time clocks for your construction business, you want to make sure they’re going to make your life easier and improve your systems, processes, and budgets. Here are some key features you should look for in your construction time clock.
Geofencing capabilities that can save you from time theft
A geofencing time clock is a system that sets up a virtual perimeter around a workplace––a geofence. If a team uses a geofencing time clock app, the moment an employee crosses into that perimeter, they can clock in and clock out. Not a minute before.
If you’re running multiple construction sites, you can’t be everywhere at once. This can make it easy for employees to clock in and out of work early and commit time theft. Buddy punching is also a real problem if you aren’t there to monitor clock ins. This problem is automatically solved with geofencing because everyone has their own PIN to enter when they arrive at work. With some geofencing time clocks, it also takes a picture of the employee on site. Not only does this save you money, it saves you peace of mind.
GPS location capabilities as an added bonus that construction businesses can’t go without
An added benefit of geofencing time clocks is that they have GPS capabilities. When an employee clocks in, it can take a GPS timestamp to show that they’re on location when they start their work day.
GPS time clocks also help improve your construction business if you’ve got employees moving between sites, you can know exactly where they are. Not only is this a wonderful safety benefit, but it allows you to communicate with each site when help is on its way.
You can also monitor mileage on company vehicles between construction sites with GPS capabilities. It keeps track of mileage for you, whether that means repaying your team for miles logged or needing accurate records for tax time.
Tools that are all connected to your time clock to save on admin errors
A connected system improves systems. What we mean is, if you have several steps you need to take, but you’re using many different systems––like paper and pen for scheduling, a manual time clock, and a software program for payroll––that leaves way too much room for error. After all, you’re only human.
When you’ve got one system that does all of those things in one place, you transform that large margin of error into a much smaller version. With a mobile time clock app for construction businesses, you can integrate scheduling, clocking in and out, time sheets, and payroll all in one place. Easy peasy. Save yourself the time, money, and stress by managing your team in one place.
A communication tool to keep everything in one place and keep you updated all day long
We could have mentioned this one above, but communication is such an important part of running a business that we want to give it its fair due.
A construction time clock with a communication tool can keep you in sync with yourr team at all times. Get notifications when and where someone clocks in, when an employee is late, when someone no-shows, and when a team member goes into OT––all things that are super important to keep track of, but impossible to keep at the top of your mind when you’ve got a job to do.
Another great communication feature that construction businesses shouldn’t go without is a team messaging option. With teams scattered around, they’re going to need an easy and clear way to communicate with you and each other. And all of the logs of these conversations can be kept in one central place so people aren’t communicating across different platforms where things can get missed. Your time clock should have this feature to improve team communication.
Why Homebase is the answer to improving your construction business
We’re here to toot our own horns a little bit. We feel confident that the features the Homebase time clock offers––along with the rest of the suite of tools––can improve your construction business.
Our time clock features were made for you
- GPS time clock tracking so you know exactly where employees are when they sign in
- Geofencing capabilities to restrict clock in areas
- Minimizing time theft and buddy punching with pictures and PINs as a form of identification when clocking in
- Track hours, breaks, and overtime
- Get notifications when an employee no shows or clocks in/out late
Integrate our time clock with scheduling and payroll to minimize errors
- Start with our scheduling tool to build, edit, and share schedules with your team
- Send upcoming shift alerts to reduce missed shifts and late arrivals
- Turn those hours, breaks, and overtime into timesheets at the end of each week
- Use our payroll to auto-convert those timesheets into wages
Keep your team in touch with our team communication tool
- Send messages with our team communication tool to individuals, a team on location, or your entire crew
- Add new team members automatically so they can get in contact with their team immediately
- Send regulation updates to your team and know when they’ve seen them and signed their acknowledgement of reading the new regulations
- Ask for feedback and an update on the day’s work
- Share and receive information about supplies needed on site
Whatever time clock you use, just make sure you’re clear on what you want it to do to help you make things easier in your business.
Want to improve your construction business and your bottom line?
Get Homebase time clock and make it easier to manage your team’s schedule, track their hours, reduce time theft, and improve team communication — all in one app. Start time clocking today.
Construction time clock FAQs
What is a time clock?
An employee time clock is a device––whether mechanical or digital––that records when an employee clocks in and out at work. These clock-ins and clock outs tell you the hours your employees worked, whether they came to work that day, and how much to pay them.
What does a ‘construction time clock’ mean?
A construction time clock is one that takes into consideration the specific needs of a construction business. Having a team all over the place on different schedules at different sites can be a time tracking nightmare. Any time clock that’s going to make that easier on you is what we consider a construction time clock.
What features should a construction time clock have?
At a minimum, a time clock for a construction business should be mobile and have GPS capabilities for on-site notifications and geofencing. We believe these are non-negotiables to make things easier for you to track your employees’ time and improve your bottom line.