Okay, so there is always some new technology that comes along and promises to make your business more efficient, more profitable, better connected, and better looking.
But, the reality is, while some may help with some of the issues you may be having, they don’t always solve all your problems and can even create more issues you now need a solution for.
So, what happens when you’re looking to streamline and manage your fleet?
You’ve got employees at a headquarters location and others on the road or with jobs all over the place. You’ve got to deal with messy timesheets, he-said-she-said, invoices from all over the place, and rely on the word of your employees.
What if I said geofences was your solution to any problem you could be currently experiencing? Here, let me explain.
Before I get started, there are a few things to note.
Firstly, what is a geofence? It’s a virtual barrier that you can use to define a job site or location. Essentially, it allows you to set a certain area — like a construction zone your company is working in or a nursing company that visits clients around the city — and whenever your assigned employee arrives or leaves that location, you can set your geofence to automatically clock them in or out.
Secondly, how does this technology work? Easily — with GPS. Hubstaff utilizes your phone’s GPS capabilities and gives you an accurate picture of when your team members are on the job and when they’re not. And, because Hubstaff has geofences built into our premium program, it doesn’t cost any extra to use the feature.
If you want some more background on how this all works, check out this video:
Now, let’s take a look at some of the problems you could be facing and how geofences could be your company’s solution.
I remember working at a smaller company where we were responsible for entering in our own hours and submitting them. It was all based on an honor system and it would have been really easy to say you worked 40 hours that week even if you’d only worked 30.
Not a great system, but one that many companies still use.
It’s not always easy to get your employees to enter their time either. Even if you have a system in place, your people may not use it.
That’s where automatic time tracking and GPS come in handy.
That’s right — Hubstaff geofencing is an automatic time tracking solution. All your team has to do to automatically track time is download the app and have it running, that’s it. At the end of the day you’ll get a detailed report for each employee that looks like this:
For each team member you have working, you’ll also be able to see their locations on a live map. For anyone using the mobile app, the data is populated automatically based on the locations that your team travels to. Pretty neat, right?
Here’s how it looks:
You can also download anyone’s timesheets so that your admin or accountant can easily invoice against this data and pay your team members for their work. (Hubstaff will even calculate those amounts for you). That saves hours of time, headaches, and heartaches.
The tracking is all done automatically. The manager, owner, or the admin of the company can set up these jobs sites easily from Hubstaff.
The beautiful part of geofences is you make the rules. You can set up a job site with specific rules so that the timer will start for certain people upon entering and leaving a specific location. You define the rules for that location, and you get automatic reporting, simple invoicing, automatic payment calculations — what’s not to love.
This allows you to see where everyone’s time is being spent, by whom, all simply by logging into your computer. Forget needing to travel from job site to job site to check on your teams.
Buddy punching and time theft are a real thing, and employers lose hundreds of millions to this problem every year. What’s buddy punching? It’s when one employee clocks another employee into work by sharing usernames and passwords (if you use an old paper timesheet system it’s even easier to do this).
Companies rely on team leads to stop this from happening. But, that requires your team lead being present on one particular job site and that they are not in on the scam. What if your team lead has five places to be on a particular morning?
The good news is that buddy punching can be solved.
For someone to automatically clock in at a job site using Hubstaff’s geofencing solution, each employee’s phone must be within the set geofence’s GPS range to start tracking time. So, unless your employees are handing off their phones to other people to clock them in (which likely wouldn’t happen), then there’s no way for anyone to buddy punch their co-workers in. Even if they tried to sign into their co-worker’s account on their phone, it would sign them out and, as a result, wouldn’t track time for themselves.
So, if your employees like shooting themselves in the foot, that could work. Otherwise, Hubstaff completely removes the whole problem of buddy punching without adding more hurdles for you to jump through.
I recently hired a general contractor to build a house for me. The fees I paid him were based on the cost plus the model of the home versus paying for the entire home based on an agreed amount. The reason we did it that way was it allowed me to see the invoices that were being sent from the various sub contractors to the general contractor. I was always in the know and never surprised at any point.
Have you ever received an invoice that looked like this?
Or even this?
This is not 1965… A business owner should not have to hire an admin to obtain these invoices, try to decipher them, input them into the books, and then invoice the client (by delivering them a piece of paper to their home by hand).
This causes confusion on the business and client side — something no one wants. Was the subcontractor even at my home from 9/1 - 9/3? The general contractor doesn’t know. I don’t know.
Thankfully, it’s not 1965 and now there are practices and tools that exist to make this process a lot easier.
Firstly, the business owner should require digital invoices from their subcontractors so that there is a record of everything being done outside of a hand-written copy. This saves everyone time and gives your team a line-of-site to what goes into these projects.
Secondly, when that invoice is generated, it should have details of what exactly was done and by whom, so that there can be some simple reconciliation process.
So, how can Hubstaff help with this? Well, our software provides four very important things regarding the invoicing process for your business.
You’ll always know who needs to be paid and how much based on who’s tracked hours and their pre-set pay rates — this is first and foremost. The amounts can be calculated automatically for these invoices from the contractor to you.
Using geofencing, you will see proof that the subcontractor was at the job site. They will be automatically clocked in and out when they start and stop work.
Any subcontractor can leave notes for you, making it easier to pass along information to your clients via invoices. Plus, your admin can easily read the notes and understand exactly what was worked on and when, who was working, and what everyone owes and why.
All the invoices within Hubstaff are downloadable, meaning everything is digital and nothing gets lost. No more paper timesheets or invoices necessary. Welcome to the 21st century.
If you own a company or manage a team (especially a team that is on-the-go like landscaping or contracting), you know how hard it is to keep track of all your people. The choices are:
1. Hop in your truck and go check on everyone
2. Call them and hope they answer
Both of these options add additional stress and overhead to your job, as well as take up your valuable time.
There is a simpler option. If your team is using Hubstaff with geofencing technology, you can simply login to your computer and view where everyone on your team is on one singular map. It doesn’t matter if you need to look after 1 or 100 people. Everyone is displayed in the application and you can see what project they are working on.
You can see that Jim is working on framing, Mike is working on cleaning up, and Bruce is on a run to the hardware store. (Good work everyone).
This can be used in several ways. Below are just 2:
You have a liquor distribution company. You pay your reps $25 an hour to give samples at various liquor stores across the city. You want to make sure that the reps are visiting different stores during their shifts, but you don’t really want to call around or drive to confirm when they are entering and leaving the stores when they’re supposed to. Hubstaff geofencing can do this for you automatically, and it will calculate the exact amounts that you owe your team members without you needing to do any extra work.
Let’s say you have an employee that you pay on a salary basis. You have three job sites that he needs to travel between for your residential landscaping company. You set up the three job sites with geofences for the homes he is working on.
You remember your son has a soccer tournament that you’d really need to be at. Without something like Hubstaff in place, you may not have the option to go. You can go watch him score the winning goal in the first game knowing you’ll be able to see the exact time your team members are working once you get back home.
In this case, you pay for 8 hours, you see that he was in the geofences for 6 hours and 45 minutes, and that 1 hour and 15 minutes were spent driving from location to location, which is expected and acceptable. You received notes about the jobs as they were being done — you know that you can now invoice the three clients for three successfuly completed jobs. You go to bed and sleep easy knowing that you were able to enjoy time with your family instead of driving around checking on job sites.
There’s no debating it. Having to take out your phone each time you start a job or change the task you’re tracking towards on your computer each time you move to a new job is going to be a drag after a while.
There are going to be errors and people are likely to stop doing it after a while.
This is one of the reasons geofencing technology is so powerful. Your team members simply have to start the app once when they start their day and stop the app when their day is ended. The rest occurs automatically as team members enter and exit job sites.
At the end of each day, you can see a map of everywhere that team member went during their shift. You’ll also see a clean,digital timesheet of the exact projects they were working on and when.
Be honest, you hate timesheets. We all do — employees and business owners alike. And when it comes to payroll, having to track down all those time cards and records to figure out who gets what is a nightmare. And, when you finish calculating everything (which takes quite a while), you might find that someone on your team didn’t enter their hours correctly, and now you have to be a detective and figure out what went wrong.
But, times have changed and work doesn’t have to be this way anymore.
Hubstaff provides a time tracking system where your employees can easily track time from their computer or mobile phone to a specific project or task. They can even enter time manually if they forget to start the timer while they were on the job. And, using geofencing technology, your team can automatically track their time based on their location, meaning they don’t even have to start a timer.
These time “durations”, as they are referred to in Hubstaff, are basically stop / start times attributed to projects, tasks, job sites, clients, and more.
When you set a pay rate for an employee or contractor, Hubstaff uses that pay rate in conjunction with the amount of time worked on different projects and tasks to calculate the total amount owed for that employee or contractor.
If you have different rates for employees for different projects, it’s no problem. You simply enter the amount that a person needs to be paid for specific projects and those amounts over-ride their default rate.
You can also set billable rates for specific projects, so you can easily see how much to bill for when the project is completed.
At any period of time, you can run reports in Hubstaff for what people are owed for that period of time based on their pay rates multiplied by the number of hours worked. If you’re using timesheet approvals this data can all be seen on their timesheets. The approvals process gives employees the ability to look over their timesheets, make sure they are correct, and submit them to management.
The process of running a report only takes a few seconds and it’ll quickly calculate and let you know the amount owed to each person on your team. You can view, export, and import reports and simply enter the amounts into your current payroll tool. Even better, pay people automatically right through Hubstaff with one of our many payment and accounting integrations.
You can mark a timespan as paid, and Hubstaff will record the time and date for you so that you have this for your records at the end of the year.
You can also easily send invoices using the bill rate selection in the project details.
Since your entire team is now tracking time digitally, the process of running payroll at the end of the month or whatever period you choose, should only take a few minutes versus hours or days.
Understanding profitability levels with Hubstaff is easy. There are two main methods:
Method 1: If your company bills based on the hours spent working, you just need to enter that bill rate into the project.
Hubstaff will take all of the time tracked to these projects and total the hours up, multiply by rates, and you will be able to quickly generate “revenue” for that project. Easy as that.
You just need to have pay rates entered for your employees and Hubstaff will provide the amounts that you owe everyone.
Oh, and the amount in the middle is your profit level.
Method 2: If you are a company that either pays your people a salary, or you bill your clients based on a flat rate, then it’s a little more difficult, but still very doable.
You just need to make sure that time is being tracked accurately to projects by your team. If time is being tracked accurately, then you will always have one of the components (the billing amount or the payable amount) calculated by Hubstaff for that particular project. You’ll come up with accurate profitability levels.
It happens all the time. The employee decides to go to a three hour lunch, sleep on the job, or simply sit around and not do anything day in and day out.
Every once in a while, most employers would say this is not a big deal. It only becomes a big problem when it becomes routine.
Because team members track to projects, it’s very easy to keep employees accountable using Hubstaff. Start by defining an estimate for a project or task. These should be broken up into very specific and finite jobs (this is the key to keeping team members accountable).
For example, if you have a client with the last name “Becker” that you are building a home for, resist the temptations to just name the task “Becker house” — it’s not specific enough. Instead, break projects up into specific buckets, or tasks, like “Becker plumbing” which you would assign to your plumber, and “Becker framing” which you would assign to your framer. You can even set up checklists within tasks that are attributable to the master project. Master bathroom, dining room, and kitchen could all be checklist items under plumbing and framing.
At the end of every day or week, (or whenever you want really), you can check who worked on Project: Becker framing or Task: Kitchen to see how much time was spent on that specific area of the home. If the time spent is going way over the original estimate, then you can come in and make corrections quickly.
The major plus side to this is all of it can be done from your office, your truck, house, or even while on vacation outside the country.
A common problem our customers face is that they need to pay their team members for project related work that they cannot bill for. Some examples could be internal meetings regarding the client, or prep work for client presentations.
Using Hubstaff, you can assign specific projects to be billable and others to be non-billable. As time is tracked, Hubstaff will calculate across any date range that you choose and how much you will need to bill a client based only on billable time tracked.
This allows you to know internally how much time is being spent on non-billable work, which in turn allows you to calculate more accurate profitability levels across clients.
Plus, you can reassure your clients that they won’t have to pay for any non-billable work since you’re using Hubstaff to track time to billable projects only.
Your management team is trying to make sure that your sales reps or others on the team are spending an adequate amount of time with important customers.
Hubstaff makes this easy. By using geofences in Hubstaff, you will be able to run reports that will automatically inform you of how much time was spent at various client sites. You can even dive into these business intelligence analytics by person, project, or department (team).
You can then use this information to model best practices, compare state by state, region by region, or any other breakdown you choose.
When you operate a field services team it’s very hard to keep track of who was where and who did what. It’s even more difficult to maintain a level of communication and transparency with your clients and customers.
There are two very cool things you can do in this regard when your team is using Hubstaff, depending on the level of transparency you want to have with the client.
Option 1: Easily schedule automated job site reports
You can automate daily or weekly job site reports to reach your clients’ inboxes. These will summarize who entered and exited a particular job site, and the total time spent there. Usually, these are best digested first by you or your team and then sent to the clients (maybe as a daily recap).
Option 2: Invite your clients into Hubstaff
In Hubstaff you can invite your clients to specific projects so that they can view the reports. You can invite client “Becker” into Hubstaff and then give them access to all the “Becker” projects. By doing this, they can login directly and see how much time has been tracked to specific projects, what’s being worked on, and by whom.
This allows you to communicate better with your clients and ensure them that you have their best interest in mind, all while showing transparency by implementing this technology.
Let’s get you up and running with geofences and job sites.
It’s a virtual barrier that you can use to define a job site or location for your staff. The area you set — say a construction site for instance — will automatically clock employees in and out when they enter and leave that location.
Enter the address of where you’d like the job site to be.
Define the parameters of the job site.
Decide what happens when your team members enter or leave a job site. Your geofence can be set to:
Send a reminder to start or stop the timer.
Automatically clock-in and clock-out.
Track location only and not use a job site.
Limit time and GPS tracking only to a job site.
Use tracked data to invoice clients and pay team members.
View employee data and see everyone’s routes every day.
View job site data and see who was on the job each day.
See how long it takes your team to get to a job site.
Get alerts if someone is late or leaves the job early.
Download reports in any format you need.
Once work is done and you’re good to bill your clients, all you have to do is export your invoices. You can easily pull your invoices immediately after work has ended for the day, or months later. They’ll be ready to go.