In the summer months, AC might be the MVP. But when it comes to boosting your bottom line, nothing beats a good HVAC business software. And the feature that will make the biggest impact? Time tracking.
Running an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) business comes with many ups and downs—and we’re not talking about the temperature. From managing field teams to navigating unpredictable schedules, there’s a lot you need to get right to deliver a stellar customer experience and grow your business.
Keep reading as we break down how you can use time tracking and HVAC business software to take your business to the next level.
What is time tracking?
Time tracking is the process of recording employee working hours and tasks to optimize labor costs and manage payroll.
Tracking employee time helps you stay up to date on the hours your team spends working on different projects and tasks. This is particularly important for businesses with hourly employees since it directly impacts much you’re spending on labor costs.
If you’ve never tracked time before, it can sound a bit tedious. Your mind might be envisioning the chaos of 100 spreadsheets. But you won’t need those, because with the right HVAC business software, time tracking can seamlessly fit into your day-to-day.
|Tick-tock time clock: No, we’re not talking about the social media app. Whether they’re part of an HVAC business software or a standalone app, time clocks are meant to help you and your team track time. With a time clock, employees clock in when they start their shifts and clock out at the end so you know exactly how many hours were worked.|
The benefits of using HVAC business software for time tracking
The advantages of time tracking for any business are crystal clear. But an HVAC business isn’t just any business. Between managing a wide range of services, products, and employee work locations, running an HVAC business can get a little… complicated.
So what makes time tracking and HVAC business software so valuable for your HVAC business? Let us tell you.
1. Time-tracking software makes it easy for you to stay on top of labor costs
When you’re trying to grow your business, every dollar counts. Labor can account for up to 70% of your total business expenses, so you definitely don’t want to play guessing games with your employee working hours. If you’re not time tracking, you could find yourself short-changing yourself or your employees—and nobody wants that.
An HVAC business software with time-tracking tools makes it easy for employees to clock in and out. You’ll be able to track the right number of hours worked down to the minute. This way, you’ll have an accurate record of labor costs for future forecasting. No time-tracking spreadsheets needed.
And of course, when payday rolls around, you can run payroll with confidence knowing everyone is getting paid the right amount.
Don’t take the heat for overtime: HVAC systems don’t break on schedule, which means some weeks might be busier than others. Those emergency repair calls might accidentally push your employees into overtime. Time tracking means you’ll always know when an employee is about to hit overtime, so you can either switch up the schedule or adjust payroll accordingly.
2. HVAC business software makes scheduling a breeze
Managing an HVAC business schedule is a bit of a juggling act. You’ve got to factor in client appointments, employee schedules, and employee availability. And on top of all that, you need to consider all the travel to different locations.
Using HVAC business software helps put scheduling stress in the rearview mirror. It collects your team’s availability, labor forecasts, and sales targets all in one place, so you can create a seamless schedule that meets all your business needs.
Once your schedule is perfected, you’ll easily be able to compare your tracked time and scheduled hours side by side. So you know that your team is clocking in and out right on schedule.
3. A time clock app helps you grow your HVAC business
Save yourself the battle over the thermostat—or rather, the time clock.
With an old-school punch clock, employees have to physically come to a central location to clock in and out of their shifts. While this might work for some businesses, most HVAC technicians spend their day on the road going from customer to customer.
When you use a time clock app, employees can clock in and out remotely right from their phones, a laptop, or other systems. This way, instead of paying your team to travel to your office to clock in and out, you can send them directly home to save on labor costs (and gas). Or, you can even re-allocate that time to squeeze in a few extra customers each day.
If a digital time clock app has you worried about time theft, we’ve got you covered too. Because…
4. HVAC business software reduces time theft with GPS and geofencing capabilities
Your employees spend most of their day in the field with customers. So it’s almost impossible to stay on top of your team’s comings and goings. Unfortunately, that means that there’s a chance you’ll experience time theft.
Time theft is when employees are paid for hours that they aren’t actually working. In your HVAC business, time theft might look like:
- An employee going for an (unauthorized) coffee break between appointments.
- An employee showing up late for a customer service appointment, but clocking in before they arrive so it doesn’t look like they were late.
Time theft isn’t always intentional. But even those small 10-15 minute increments of lost time can cost you a pretty penny.
The solution to reducing time theft? GPS time clocks.
GPS time clocks use location-based data on your team’s mobile device to help you get a better sense of where they are when they clock in and out.
For example, GPS snapshots capture your employee’s location when they clock in. And geofencing helps you set up authorized workplaces, meaning employees can only clock in when they’re on site. It’s the perfect solution for your remote and field HVAC team.
5. HVAC business apps keep you up to date with team communication tools
Any HVAC business has a lot of moving parts. Appointment schedules are constantly changing, there are parts that need to be ordered, and you’ve got employees running all over town.
To keep things running smoothly, your team needs to be able to stay in touch. But if you rely on texting or phone calls, your team will probably spend more time on the phone than actually installing HVAC systems. Plus, it’s probably best your field techs aren’t answering their phones while on a ladder anyways.
Say goodbye to phone calls and use a team communication app instead.
Send messages to individual employees, share team-wide updates, or get updates from employees on their service calls—all from your phone.
Last minute HVAC appointment? Fill urgent repair requests in a snap with Homebase’s built-in free team communication app. Just add an open shift and employees can pick up and trade shifts in just a few clicks.
6. Time tracking software improves employee accountability
In a business where your employees are always on the go, you can’t always be there to supervise and make sure they’re getting the job done. Employees need to be able to self-manage and motivate themselves to be productive.
When you first introduce time tracking, it can feel a bit like you’re micromanaging your team. But it can actually empower them to be more accountable for their work and make them happier on the job.
Time tracking not only helps improve employee productivity by tracking their tasks and service calls. (There’s a reason time tracking is gaining popularity even for non-hourly workers!) It can also help foster trust and transparency by keeping a clear record of their work hours, so they know they’re being paid correctly.
7. Time tracking helps you stay compliant
When it comes to shift work, it pays to follow the rules. Or rather, it helps you save on unnecessary fines.
While time tracking offers major business benefits, one of the biggest is helping you stay compliant with local labor laws. For example:
- Overtime laws. Eligible employees are required to be paid 1.5x their usual hourly rate any time they work over 40 hours in a single work week. Time tracking tells you exactly when employees go into overtime.
- FLSA record-keeping requirements. Employers are generally required to keep clear records of wages earned and hours worked for up to three years. Time-tracking software can help you keep these records organized and secure.
- Paid time off accruals. Some states require employers to provide paid time off. Time tracking can help you and your employees accurately calculate accruals.
The last thing you want is to find the Department of Labor knocking on your door for labor law violations.
8. HVAC business software can help you automate tasks
Let’s face it, you’re passionate about HVAC; not admin. Instead of spending time on tedious and repetitive tasks, why not automate them with your HVAC business software?
For example, your software can automatically
- Turn time tracking into timesheets to make payroll prep easier
- Track breaks, calculate overtime, and manage PTO accruals
- Schedule shifts based on forecasts and employee availability
All that time saved can be better used to help continue growing your business.
The best HVAC business software: Homebase
You spend your days helping customers get top-of-the-line tools to heat and cool their homes, you deserve the same for your business. Homebase’s all-in-one business software makes managing your employees feel like a breath of fresh air.
Time clocking on the go
You bring your HVAC expertise to your clients and your tools should come with you. Compatible with most iOS, Android, or POS devices, Homebase’s time clock for HVAC businesses makes it easy for employees to clock in wherever they are.
Create the perfect schedule for your team using Homebase’s templates or auto-scheduling tool. Keep your team on track by color-coding and assigning different roles, so everyone knows what they’re scheduled to do.
The best part? When things change, you can edit your schedule right from your phone.
As a small business with mobile employees, you might not be offering cold brew on tap anytime soon. But you can still offer your team some pretty rad perks that they actually want.
Homebase makes employee happiness a priority with features like Cash Out pay advances and easy PTO management, right within the app.
HR without the hassle
Compliance can be tough, but Homebase makes managing a team of employees easier than ever before. From employee information tracking and custom PTO policies to tools that help you stay on top of federal, state, and local rules, Homebase makes staying compliant easier than deciding to turn on the AC on a hot summer day.
Hiring without the hassle
As your HVAC company scales, you’ll need to hire more employees to serve your growing customer base. Homebase makes it easy to find and onboard new hires all in one place. From creating and promoting your job posting to scheduling calls with candidates, you’ll be able to find the perfect candidate faster.
Is your HVAC business ready to start time tracking?
Homebase’s time clock is the breeziest in the biz. From time tracking to employee scheduling, your HVAC business will be heating up in no time. Did we mention it’s free? Get started today.
HVAC business software FAQS
What is time tracking?
Time tracking is the process of recording employee working hours and tasks. Businesses, like HVAC companies, often use time tracking to stay on top of how many hours employees are working and what tasks are getting completed. This information is then used to help determine employee payroll, manage labor costs, and even client billing.
Why should my HVAC business use software?
Your HVAC business should use software to streamline your workflows. For example:
- Time tracking helps you optimize your labor costs and keeps track of employee hours for payroll
- Payroll software helps make the process of paying your employees faster and simpler
- Time clocks with GPS features can help reduce employee time theft
- Automated employee scheduling software makes it easier to create an optimized schedule
How does HVAC business software help me grow my HVAC business?
An HVAC business software can help you grow your HVAC business by streamlining your workflows and processes so you can take on more clients. By using time-tracking features within your software, you can also stay on top of labor costs. This will help you improve your profit margins or even give you a competitive advantage in the HVAC market.
What features should I look for in HVAC business software?
Your HVAC business software should offer features that help you work smarter and better, including:
- Time clocks to help you keep track of employee hours
- Payroll software that makes prepping for payroll simpler
- HR and compliance tools to help you stay on top of labor costs
- Team communication features to help you and your team keep in touch while on the job