11 problems solved with geofences
11 Mobile Workforce Problems Solved with Geofencing Technology
Businesses that are always on the move have unique challenges. Experts in construction, cleaning, home health services, field sales, delivery, landscaping, and many more know the situation well — the core of your service offering is your ability to seemingly be everywhere at once.
You need to streamline and manage your fleet so that you know when teams are on site, where they are, and how long they worked. It needs to be automatic, customizable, and efficient so you’re left to focus on the big strategic problems of running your business, not worrying about whether people are making it to work on time.
While literally being everywhere and seeing everything is impossible, we’ve got the next best thing: geofenced job sites in Hubstaff.
Paired with dozens of other business-efficient integrations within our platform, geofence technology is the modern, one-stop solution your on-the-go team needs.
Implementing geofences is a small change that makes a huge difference for your business if you’re currently dealing with:
Employees constantly moving between multiple work sites
Messy manual timesheets
Buddy punching and employee time theft
Untracked invoices from a variety of clients and employees
Relying on the word of your employees to know when and where they worked
Problems measuring profitability
A lack of insight into how much time you’re spending with your customers
How geofencing technology works
Let's start with some definitions.
A geofence is a virtual border you can easily place around a physical job site or location. Just like a real world fence, it can be built to define any geographic area from 150 to 5000 meters.
You can track multiple employees entering a large area, like a construction zone, or narrow it down to a single professional, like a nurse, on a round of home visits to clients.
Whenever your assigned employee crosses the geofence, you can set it to automatically track the time they started working and when they leave, down to the second. You can also choose to just send a reminder to clock in and out on their own, based on how you want to manage your team.
A job site is any physical location where you want to track how employees enter and leave, as well as how long they were there. You can also use Hubstaff time tracking to stay on top of travel time and the routes taken to and from physical job sites.
Geofences work with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) right from your team's mobile devices. Just like a rideshare app or food delivery tracker, GPS gives us incredibly accurate info on when your team members are on the job (and when they’re not) by tracking precisely when they enter or leave a job site through the geofence you’ve set up.
It’s like knowing when they walk through an invisible digital door, only you can control the door from your phone and can see who’s passed through it anytime, from anywhere.
Because geofence capability is built right into our premium plan, you don’t pay extra to use it.
11 problems solved with geofences
Not having a time tracking system
Solution: Implement an automatic digital time tracking system with geofences
If you’re still tracking time on paper, or can’t get your team to track their time accurately and consistently, you’re not alone. Smaller companies have a common challenge of overcoming manual tracking, which is often based on an honor system that doesn’t give you control or any real insight into how your company’s working hours are being spent.
That’s where automatic time tracking and GPS come in very handy.
Hubstaff’s geofencing feature is a complete, automatic time tracking solution. All your employees have to do is download the app to automatically track work time. At the end of the day, you get a detailed, customizable time report for each employee.
As your team members are out on the job, you can also check their locations any time you want on a live map. Everyone using the mobile app has their route and location data recorded.
Download any employee’s timesheet so that your admin staff or accountant can easily pay your team members for their hard work. Hubstaff will even calculate pay amounts automatically based on pay rates you set. That saves you hours of time and headaches.
Tracking is all done automatically. Depending on how your business is structured, any manager, owner, or admin can set up job sites easily in Hubstaff.
With geofences, you’re in complete control.
Set up job sites with specific rules so that the timer will start or send a reminder for certain people as they enter and leave a specific geofenced location.
Define the location, set the rules for that location, and get automatic reporting, simple invoicing, and built-in payment calculations.
Forget about needing to travel from job site to job site to check on your teams. Geofenced time tracking lets you quickly see where everyone’s time is being spent, all just by logging into your computer or mobile app.
Buddy punching and time theft
Solution: Hubstaff makes sure that each team member’s mobile device is at the job site in order to track time
Buddy punching is when one employee clocks another into work by sharing usernames and passwords. If you use an older paper timesheet system, it’s even easier for employees to do this.
Buddy punching and time theft are a real thing, and employers lose hundreds of millions of dollars to this problem every year.
Companies often rely on team leads to monitor buddy punching, but that means you’d need an eagle-eyed team lead physically present at every job site, ready to catch every buddy punch.
What if your team lead has five places to be on a particular morning?
Geofences are an automatic solution to buddy punching and time theft, without adding extra hoops for you to jump through or over-relying on specific employees.
To automatically clock in at a job site using Hubstaff’s geofences, each employee’s phone must be inside the geofence’s GPS range to start tracking time.
Unless your employees are handing off their phones to other people to clock them in (which likely wouldn’t happen), 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 own phone, it would sign them out and, as a result, wouldn’t track time for themselves. Only one team member can be signed into their app at a time.
Messy, untimely, and inaccurate invoices
Solution: Generate a variety of digital invoices — from contractors to business owners, and from business owners to clients — based on accurate employee time tracking, job notes, and pay rates
Busy field teams have a lot to focus on to get jobs done well and on-time. Creating nicely designed, trackable invoices isn’t usually high up on their list, and for good reason.
Without an invoicing solution, it’s common to fall back on sloppy, handwritten invoices that are hard for you and your clients to read and impossible to track.
In the modern business world, you shouldn’t have to hire an admin to gather all these invoices, decipher them, enter them into the books, and then invoice the client.
This causes confusion on the business and client side — something no one wants. Plus, without accurate time and location tracking there’s no way of knowing if your team was actually on the job site during the dates and times they list.
Hubstaff makes invoicing a whole lot easier.
Our software collects four very important data points to make sure your invoices are accurate, thorough, and give your clients a sense of confidence in your work and how you run your business.
Always know who needs to be paid what amount based on their tracked hours and their pre-set hourly or fixed pay rates. These amounts can be automatically pulled into detailed invoices that you can generate in seconds.
Proof of work
With geofenced job sites, you’ll see proof that subcontractors and team members were at the job site when they say there were. They’ll be automatically clocked in and out when they start and stop work, or can be sent reminders to start tracking.
In the know
Team members can leave notes, making it easier to pass along information to your clients through invoices.
Plus, your administrative support can easily see all notes and understand exactly what was worked on and when, who was working, what everyone owes, and why they owe it.
Hubstaff timesheets are emailed daily, invoices are downloadable, and payments can be sent through one of our many integrations. Everything is digital, archived, and nothing gets lost. No more paper timesheets or manual invoices.
You don’t know where your people are
Solution: See where your entire team is on a map at any given time
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:
Hop in your truck and go check on everyone
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.
We’ve got a simpler option.
If your team is using Hubstaff with geofencing technology, you can simply log in to your computer and see where everyone on your team is on one singular map. No matter how many employees you’re looking after, everyone is displayed in the app with the project they’re currently working on.
You’ll see that Jim is working on framing, Sanjay is busy cleaning up, and Yvonne is on a run to the hardware store. (Good work, everyone.)
As part of running a liquor distribution company, you pay your reps $25 an hour to give samples at various liquor stores across the city. Making sure that the reps are visiting different stores during their shifts is part of the job, but you don’t really want to call around or drive to confirm that they are entering and leaving the stores when they’re supposed to.
Geofences do this for you automatically, and will calculate the exact amounts that you owe your team members.
A mobile employee of yours gets paid on a salaried basis. You have three job sites that she needs to travel between for your residential landscaping company, so three geofences are set up for the homes she’s working on.
But then you remember your son has a soccer tournament that you don’t want to miss. Without something like Hubstaff in place, you might not be free to take care of the things life can throw at you. Now, go watch him score the winning goal knowing you’ll be able to see the exact time your team members are working once you get back home, or even check from your phone using the mobile app.
In this case, you pay her 8 hours for the day. Geofences show you that she was at the job site for 6 hours and 45 minutes, and that she spent 1 hour and 15 minutes driving from location to location, which you agreed is expected and acceptable.
Along the way, you received notifications about the jobs as they were being done. Now you just have to invoice your clients for three successfully completed jobs, and go to sleep easily knowing that you were able to enjoy time with your family instead of driving around checking on job sites.
Teams won’t track time
Solution: Use automatic time tracking that doesn’t need them to do anything
Employee processes that are easy have the highest chance of success. Asking employees to use a manual tracker each time they start a job or change a task is going to become a drag really quickly. 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 only have to open the app once when they begin work and stop it again when they’re done. Everything else is automatic as team members enter and exit job sites — they’ll either be reminded to start tracking or the timer will start automatically.
At the end of each day, you can see a map of everywhere an individual team member went during their shift. You’ll also get a clean, digital timesheet of the exact projects they were working on sent straight to your inbox.
This means that your team doesn’t have to learn a new process, stay on top of their own tracking, or interact with a manager to track their time — the software does it all for them.
People are chasing down paper timesheets
Solution: Automated digital timesheets with payroll amounts calculated
Most of us hate paper timesheets. Whether we’re an employee or a business owner, we want to know that the amount being paid is accurate. Manual timesheets make this unclear, and tracking down physical time cards to figure out who gets paid what can be a nightmare.
Hubstaff makes timesheets and payroll a dream.
With Hubstaff’s time tracking system, employees can easily track work time from their computer or mobile phone directly to a specific project or task. If someone forgets to start the timer, they can enter it manually for your approval.
Even better, with geofence technology, you automatically track their time based on their location without your employees having to do anything at all.
Set a pay rate for an employee or contractor, and Hubstaff uses that pay rate to calculate the amount owed — down to the second — based on their work duration. These amounts can be fixed or hourly.
Set different pay rates for individual employees, and also set varying billable rates for specific projects so you can easily see how much to bill for when the project is completed.
Run reports at any time to see how much time has been tracked, or set up timesheet approvals so employees can review and then submit them. Our approval process gives employees a chance to look over their timesheets, make sure they’re correct, and agree to them before they’re submitted to management.
Mark a timespan as paid, and Hubstaff will record the time and date for your records at the end of the year.
Running reports takes just a few seconds and can be set to run for individuals, projects, or entire teams. You can even save filters to easily access the exact reports you want. Schedule recurring reports to be automatically generated and sent to you, streamlining processes even more.
When you’re ready, simply view, export, and import reports, and enter the amounts into your current payroll tool. Then pay people automatically right through Hubstaff with one of our many payment and accounting integrations.
Since your entire team is now tracking time digitally, running payroll at the end of the month (or whenever you choose) should only take a few minutes instead of hours or days.
No insight into how profitable jobs are
Solution: Hubstaff gives clear insight and calculates profitability based on how much time you spend with each client
A key component of business success, and future growth, is knowing what’s working best and where you’re earning the most. Understanding profitability levels with Hubstaff is easy, and we measure it with two main methods:
Method 1: If your company bills based on 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 bill rates, and you’re able to quickly see revenue for that project. Easy as that.
Just have pay rates entered for employees and Hubstaff will provide the amounts owed. The amount in the middle is your profit level. That’s our favorite part.
Method 2: If you either pay your people a salary, or you bill your clients based on a flat rate, then it’s a little more complicated, but we’ve got it all figured out.
If time is being tracked accurately to the projects being worked on, then you will always have one of the components (the billing amount or the payable amount) calculated by Hubstaff for that particular project. With our built-in project cost management tools, you’ll easily be able to come up with accurate profitability levels.
No way to track your mobile teams
Solution: With geofences, get easy-to-read reports showing the amount of time each employee spent at a specific job site
It happens all the time. An employee might decide to go to a three-hour lunch, sleep on the job, or simply sit around and not do anything day in and day out.
No matter how much you trust them, you have no real way of knowing.
Because team members track directly to projects, it’s easy to keep employees accountable using Hubstaff. Start by defining a project or hours budget for a project. These should be broken up into very specific and finite jobs — this is the key to keeping team members accountable.
For example, if you’re building a home for a client whose last name is “Becker,” resist the temptations to just name the task “Becker house” — it’s not specific enough. Instead, break projects up into specific buckets for each task. “Becker plumbing” would get assigned to your plumber, “Becker framing” to your framer, you get the idea.
Set up checklists within tasks that are specific to the project. Master bathroom, dining room, and kitchen could all be checklist items under plumbing and framing.
Easily check who worked on “Project: Becker Framing” or “Task: Kitchen Cabinets” to see how much time was spent on those tasks. If the time spent is going way over the original estimate, then you can come in and make corrections quickly. Or, set a custom budget limit and we’ll notify you when you’re getting close to reaching it.
Do all of this from your office, your truck, house, or even while on vacation outside the country.
Unable to track billable vs. non-billable time
Solution: Use software that easily assigns specific projects as billable
A common problem our mobile workforce customers face is that they need to pay their team members for project-related work that they can’t bill the end client for. Some examples could be internal meetings regarding the client, or prep work for presentations.
With Hubstaff, assign projects to be either billable or non-billable. As your team tracks their time, Hubstaff will automatically calculate client invoices based only on the billable time tracked.
This allows you to know internally how much time is being spent on non-billable work, so you have calculated more accurate profitability levels across clients.
Plus, it’s easy to 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. It’s also an option to use data from reports to create non-billable tracking reports for clients and put them totally at ease.
Time spent on jobs is a mystery
Solution: Create geofences that will allow you to track exactly how much time each team member spends at a client location over any date range
Face-to-face time with clients is a valuable way to build professional trust. For some industries, like sales, it’s absolutely integral to strong relationships. Your management team needs 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.
With geofences, run reports that will automatically list how much time was spent at various client sites. Dive deeper into these business intelligence analytics by person, project, or department.
Use this information to model best practices, compare state by state, region by region, or any other breakdown you choose.
No way to communicate with customers
Solution: Schedule automated job site reports so both you and your clients can see easy recaps of employee check-ins and check-outs
With field services teams, 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.
At the same time, keeping an open dialog and frequently updating your clients and customers can go a long way to ensuring that a project goes well and that you’re meeting the high level of customer service you demand.
Depending on the level of transparency you want to have with your clients, Hubstaff offers two methods to communicate openly with customers and build a natural sense of trust and loyalty with them.
Method 1: Schedule automated job site reports
Automate daily or weekly job site reports to be sent right to your clients’ inboxes, or review them first before sending along as a recap. These summarize who entered and exited a particular job site, and the total time spent there.
Method 2: Invite your clients into Hubstaff
Invite your clients to specific projects so that they can see reports on their own time. Invite client “Becker” to use Hubstaff and then give them access to all the “Becker” projects. They can login directly and see how much time has been tracked to specific projects, what’s being worked on, and by whom.
Communicate more transparently with your clients and give them a real sense that you have their best interests in mind — and aren’t afraid to show them metrics on how you’re managing their project and its costs.
Need help getting started with job sites?
if you’re ready to start using Geofences for your team but not sure where to start, set up a free 1 on 1 demo with our support team. We’ll show you how the feature works and how you can best use it with your specific industry.Book demo
Industries that will benefit from geofencing
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