In This Article
Today I’m going to shortlist the top 5 construction time clock apps for contractors and home services businesses.
Before that, I’ll outline the absolute must haves that I’ve learnt are critical after working with 1000’s of businesses over the past 5 years.
Let’s dive right in.
Part 1: The Must Haves
A smart construction time clock app that’s easy for workers
Let’s face it, one of the biggest challenges of deploying a construction time clock app is getting your crew on board with using an app to track their hours worked.
It has to be dead simple, and the good news is if designed the right way, a smart time clock can make this very easy.
It should be so easy that a worker just needs to make a couple of taps a day to record their hours.
Secondly, it has to be designed to deal with the following scenarios that I guarantee you will happen:
- Workers starting on time, but forgetting to clock-in – Your construction time clock app should be smart enough to remind workers to clock-in. Workers should be able to easily correct their start time with one tap. For transparency, supervisors should be able to see they clocked-in late and manually changed their start time.
- Workers forgetting to take or record breaks – For many reasons you may want to ensure your workers take a break after a set amount of hours worked. A good time clock app can help you remind your workforce to take breaks.
- Workers finishing work, but forgetting to clock-out – Again in this scenario, workers should be able to easily select their correct end time with one tap. GPS location tracking should show you the actual time they left the last job site (more on that later).
A simple setup process
I get it, you’ve got projects to run.
The last thing you want is to spend hours trying to figure out how to set up a construction time clock app and frustrating your team with the whole process.
Whatever app you choose, you should be able to get going in 5 minutes without having to call the support desk.
The good news is most providers offer a free trial without having to put down your credit card.
Aim to sign up, invite some of your people and test it out on one of your projects.
You’ll get an immediate sense of how easy or hard it will be to use!
Built-in break and overtime calculations
This one is straight forward but surprisingly many apps don’t do this well.
To calculate your weekly hours accurately, a construction time clock app needs to:
- Support setting a pay period – To get the overtime and weekly hours calculations right the pay period in your time tracking system should be the same as what’s in your payroll system.
- Automatically calculate overtime – As soon as a time card is completed, overtime should be calculated based on your state’s rules.
- Clearly display overtime – Overtime should be visible every time card, many apps make you do the calculations or don’t give you the numbers until you run an end-of-week report.
- Support meal breaks – You should be able to set whether you pay for meal breaks or not. If workers are taking unpaid meal breaks, this should be automatically deducted from their total hours for the day.
Flexible time entry options
You’ll need the ability for your supervisors and office to enter/edit time on behalf of others.
There are many situations where this is important.
Make sure you can do the following operations with your construction time clock app:
- Enter a time card from scratch on behalf of a team member.
- Edit a time after it has been submitted.
- Do all this on your iPhone, Android, Ipad or Computer.
2nd-gen GPS tracking
Many construction time clock apps offer GPS tracking, but most just show you a bunch of dots or lines on a map.
Although this is better than nothing, this isn’t really that useful.
What’s more useful is the ability to see the following information at a glance:
- A list of the sites visited
- Entry time, time spent on the site and exit time.
- Driving trips in between and miles travelled.
- Current live location
2nd-gen GPS trackers take the raw signal and transform into a much more useful itinerary.
Here’s a visual of the difference:
Additional GPS tracking considerations:
- Privacy – If you’re looking to use GPS location tracking, make sure the construction time clock app you use only tracks location while people are clocked in. Once people clock out the app should stop tracking location.
- Battery Consumption – The better GPS trackers in the market will be smart enough to conserve battery by going to sleep when an employee is not significantly on the move. Expect only 5-15% of additional battery consumption after a full days work.
Even with mobile internet coverage getting better every year, let’s face it, not all areas of your job sites are going to have internet coverage.
A construction time clock app designed for the field needs to continue to work offline when there is no coverage.
When back online, time and GPS data should be uploaded seamlessly without any data loss.
One way to test this is turn off your internet coverage while testing an app and see what happens!
Approval and audit trail
Once time cards are submitted by your crew, you’ll probably want a supervisor to review the time card.
It’s important for this process to be easy for them, and for there to be a clear audit trail of every edit made.
Ideally if a workers time is changed, a reason should be provided and communicated back to the worker.
This is important because it helps you avoid any disputes regarding hours down the line which are becoming increasingly common.
Also if there ever is a claim made against you, you have a clear record trail of exactly what happened including detailed GPS logs.
Built-in job costing
Labor costs are a huge component of your overall project costs.
Most contractors struggle to accurately track and understand the exact costs of each of their jobs, I don’t blame them…
If you are trying to do this with paper or spreadsheets it’s very difficult!
A construction time clock app can make understanding your labor costs for each of your jobs a breeze.
Here’s what to look for:
- While clocked-in, your crew should be able to easily tag their hours to projects and cost codes.
- A dashboard that shows your up-to-the minute labor costs by client, job and cost code.
- The ability for your office to add/edit job cost allocations.
- The ability to export your job cost information to a spreadsheet or to your accounting system of choice.
Accounting & payroll feeds
Firstly, you want to be able to click a button and send your weekly hours to your payroll system.
Many providers support this for Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop, ADP, Gusto & more.
Secondly, if you care about job costing then you’ll want to be able to easily sync the clients, jobs and cost codes in your accounting system to your time tracking app.
Lastly, once hours have been tagged to projects and codes, you’ll want to sync the allocations back to your accounting system.
This is where most providers fall short because they are not focused on Construction & Home Services businesses.
Avoid apps that make you re-enter all this information, it will become very hard to keep up-to-date.
Part 2: The 5 Best Apps
Workyard is razor focused on providing a leading workforce software to construction & home services companies.
It’s easy-to-use construction time tracking works really well for small to medium sized businesses with anywhere from 1 to 200 employees, larger teams are also supported.
Workyard is a company that is focused on making technology easy for your workers.
It’s smart construction time clock app was developed by working closely with 1000’s of construction workers in its staffing business line over the past 5 years.
Some of Workyard’s key features include:
- Smart mobile time clock – Your workers will love how easy and forgiving it is to use.
- 2nd-gen GPS tracker – See GPS map, site entry, duration and exits, and driving trips including time and miles travelled.
- Built-In compliance – Automatic overtime calculations. Support for breaks reminders and unpaid breaks. Full-audit trail of every time card change and GPS log of site entry and exit times.
- Comprehensive job costing – Import clients, jobs and cost codes from your accounting in one click. Workers easily tag hours to projects and cost codes. See live job actuals in a powerful dashboard. One-click export allocations to your accounting system.
- Seamless accounting & payroll feeds – Quickbooks Online, Quickbook Desktop, ADP, Gusto & more.
Here’s a quick video overview:
Tsheets is provided by Intuit, a longstanding leader in providing small business accounting and tax software such as Quickbooks and TurboTax. Tsheets is designed for a broad range of industries including healthcare, legal services, IT, government and construction.
Up until now, it has been the default option for construction businesses running on Quickbooks given its Intuit affiliation.
Some of Tsheets features include:
- Construction Time Clock App: Option to punch in and out from desktop, mobile phone, or kiosk. Ability to select jobs and tasks.
- Basic GPS Location Tracking: See a GPS line trace of employees locations throughout the day
- Approvals: Once employees have tracked time, managers and admins can set reminders to approve timesheets before running payroll.
- Scheduling: Create and modify schedules with drag and drop shifts
ClockShark is a time tracking app for construction and field service companies who want to replace their paper timesheets with digital ones. Moreover, residential, commercial, and subcontracting construction companies often need to send their crew to different locations.
ClockShark’s GPS time tracking system and custom geofencing capabilities make the time monitoring process hassle-free for you as well as your employees.
Some of ClockShark’s features include:
- Construction Time Clock App: Option to punch in and out from desktop, mobile phone, or kiosk. Ability to select jobs and tasks.
- Simple scheduling: User-Friendly design. Drag and drop by task or worker directly into the calendar.
- Location matters: With the app, you can set geofences to a construction site, see who’s working in real-time, & replay their routes.
- Mobile apps: ClockShark’s intuitive design deems it suitable for construction workers and business owners.
- Quick Reporting: With ClockShark, you can easily access detailed reports and overviews. You can also export your reports to various formats, or integrate it with your payroll and accounting systems.
ExakTime’s app is adaptable to teams of all sizes. It’s especially suitable for you if you have a large crew, and you don’t have time to monitor each of your employees individually. ExakTime is streamlined for tracking across multiple teams and locations, and the solution offers actionable reporting on project costs and compliance.
Here are some of the app’s features:
- Photo ID verification: Are you worried about buddy-punching? ExakTime snaps a photo of the worker with their front camera when they punch in or out, and link it to the worker’s records for proof.
- GPS tracking: ExakTime lets you pinpoint your worker’s location when they are on the job site. Like most time clock apps, you can set virtual geofences around your construction sites. You can also measure the speed and location of mobile workers with their Geotracker feature.
- Extensive set of integrations: ExakTime can integrate with over 90 accounting payroll and software products, as well as seamlessly communicate with them. This makes payroll processing much easier, as you don’t need to manually reenter the data.
- Compliance sign-off: ExakTime collects important compliance information from workers every time they clock-out and saves their responses for easy review.
eSubTime is designed to help your office collaborate with your construction site. eSub Time lets you achieve higher accuracy in your time tracking process, while you go paperless. If your workers don’t own a smartphone, it’s not a problem: because this app gives you multiple ways to track your crew’s time while they are on the construction site: they can either clock in or out through their foreman, via their personal smartphone, or through a centralized kiosk.
Some notable features of the app include:
- Flexible Time Entry: Record time from your workers’ personal cellphone or set up a table in a “kiosk mode.” It also makes it easy to switch between projects and keep track of lunch breaks.
- Clock Out Reminders: Workers get a reminder if they have not clocked out after a number of continuous hours.
- Ability to edit timesheets: Sometimes, workers forget to clock in or out. But eSub Time lets you modify timesheets to fix such errors.
- Works Offline: Not all areas of a job site have internet coverage. But your crew can still record their activity in the app. They can clock in or out even if they are offline, and the data would sync whenever their device goes online again.
There are plenty of construction time clock apps on the market to help you tackle your time and job cost tracking in 2021. If you’re a construction company owner looking for a solution like I’ve outlined above, take advantage of the free 14 day trial we have at Workyard.