Time tracking is important for all businesses, especially those in the service industry. When your landscaping crew members clock in and out every day, their hours don’t just impact payroll—they also tell you how much you’re spending on labor for each job.
Timesheets help reduce wastage (by showing where time is spent) and improve accuracy in billing. They can also be used as an evaluation measure, allowing you to recognize your highest performers and identify opportunities for growth in others.
As you probably know, there are a variety of systems available to track hours and manage payroll. Most of us are familiar with paper timesheets, but they’re becoming far less common. Employers today tend to prefer digital systems that reduce errors in reporting (the leading cause of inaccurate timesheets) and make it easier to automatically track and review performance related to individuals or jobs.
If you’re looking for a better way to handle labor hours, there are plenty of options out there. Comprehensive business management software like Aspire allows you to record hours and automatically connect them to job costing data and payroll—all within a single system. If you just need a time tracking solution for now, though, here are some things to consider.
Before doing anything else, make sure the platform you’re investigating works on all the most popular desktop and mobile operating systems—Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Your employees report time every day, so you want to make the system as easy to use as possible. And if it won’t work on their devices, you’ll run into problems.
Similarly, the timesheet aspect of the program should work just as well (if not better) on mobile devices as it does on desktop computers. This lets crew members clock in and out accurately, regardless of their location.
Your system should also support real-time updates, allowing you to see any team member’s current status. Ideally, this includes the specific crew they’re working with and where they’re located.
In addition to helping manage crews, geo-stamp features (like those available in Aspire Landscape) lead to greater transparency and accountability for crew members. They can also provide back-up data for billing purposes, if needed.
When your time tracking information is always up to date, managers are able to view and approve timesheets immediately, speeding up your payroll process and giving you quicker access to job costing data.
Timesheet software that’s built specifically for landscaping companies should connect reported hours to individual jobs so you can track actual numbers against your estimate. When this happens automatically through an integrated business management solution like Aspire Landscape, you’ll save considerable time and concern over your data’s accuracy.
Using time tracking software for job costing as well as payroll management allows you to notice when something goes off track on a project—and to act quickly when change is needed.
Ease of use
Beyond the features it offers, is the program you’re considering easy to use? Has it been well designed to offer a positive user experience?
Software should be simple and intuitive so employees can accurately and consistently report their hours. It should load quickly and have an interface that’s easy to understand visually, without needing to rely on lots of written instructions.
If possible, look for solutions with multiple languages so when it’s necessary to communicate verbally, the information can be displayed in a language the user is most comfortable with.
If you use multiple software solutions to run your landscaping business, it’s a good idea to make sure the time tracking platform you choose integrates well with your other systems. Find out what integrations are offered—and how to set them up.
Sometimes an integration exists, but the actual process for sending data back and forth is clunky or unreliable. Depending on your setup, having certain platforms play well together might be integral to your operations, so look into how those integrations actually work before pulling the trigger.
Finally, the time tracking system you choose should offer reasonable support options. Try to find out how quickly they respond to inquiries, as well as if they have a robust knowledge base or community forums.
You might also want to see if they offer implementation support or if you’ll be responsible for customizing the system on your own.
Even if you feel confident in your ability to handle the software, having support available when you need it can be a lifesaver.
As a landscaping business, labor is one of your biggest costs. A reliable time tracking system can save you money by pointing out inefficiencies—and strengths to capitalize on.
To learn more about how software can benefit your landscaping company’s accounting and payroll processes, check out this article: Simplify landscape construction project accounting with business management software.