Electrical, Pro Features, Business Tips, Guides

Electrician Time Tracking App: An All-in-One Solution

February 21st, 2024
7 Min Read

For electrical businesses aiming to address the problems associated with paper time cards, adopting time tracking software is a worthwhile investment. This technology addresses several common problems, such as:

  • Technicians neglecting to fill out their time cards.

  • A tendency for team members to record their time entries inaccurately.

  • Technicians need to physically drop off time cards at the office, incurring additional costs for the business.

  • Office staff must ensure technicians complete and hand in their timesheets in time for payroll.

  • Office staff need to enter timesheet data into spreadsheets, payroll, and/or accounting systems manually.

These issues, spanning from slight hassles to substantial operational problems that decrease profitability, can be largely solved with timesheet software. There are two main types of software.

  1. Timesheet apps (also called time clock or time tracking software): Software made primarily for employee time tracking. These software solutions generally include mobile apps for technicians to clock in and clock out, and the ability to fill out timesheets. In some cases, these tools also offer scheduling and GPS tracking features.

  2. Electrical contractor software with time tracking: Holistic business software that includes time tracking and timesheets alongside the other apps electrical businesses use to run day-to-day operations. For example, CRM, scheduling, work orders, project management, technician mobile apps, invoicing, payroll, and more.

While option #1 (timesheet-only apps) can improve technician time tracking for residential and commercial electrical businesses, they have some distinct disadvantages compared to option #2 (electrical contractor software with built-in time tracking). 

So, in this article, we’ll cover those disadvantages, and then walk through ServiceTitan’s time tracking solution to show you how it works and the value it can provide to your business. 

Want to see how ServiceTitan works to streamline your electrical business operations? Schedule a call for a free, live, one-on-one walk-through of our platform.

The Disadvantages of Basic Time Tracking Apps vs. Electrical Contractor Software with Time Tracking

1. Disjointed Workflows from Constantly Switching Between Apps

From the standpoint of streamlining workflows, the use of a timesheet-only app forces employees to constantly switch between various apps during their workday.

Take, for instance, technicians in the field who predominantly use a field service app. They must remember to switch to the timesheet app for clocking in and out. This can be as easily overlooked as with paper time cards, often leading technicians to complete their timesheets retroactively, which undermines the very problem the app aims to fix.

In the office, where office staff may be spending most of their day in your CRM and dispatching platforms, whoever is in charge of processing timesheets needs to jump into your timesheet app, and then your payroll and accounting software to complete this task. 

In contrast, ServiceTitan electrical software solves both of these problems. For technicians, the process of logging time is seamlessly automated within our mobile app, tracking their progress through each phase of a job, including dispatch, travel, job site arrival, closeout, etc. This eliminates the need to switch between multiple apps for time tracking, thereby simplifying and automating the process.

On the administrative side, technician timesheets are automatically generated from the daily logged time and are readily accessible within ServiceTitan. Office staff can process these timesheets where they already work, using ServiceTitan’s integrated payroll and accounting tools and features.

2. Challenges in Gleaning Valuable Insights from Timesheet Data (to Safeguard and Increase Your Profit Margins)

Within an electrical business’s timesheet data, there are often valuable insights that, if discovered, can make a huge difference in your profitability. 

For example, if your timesheet software can decipher between drive time and wrench time, you might be able to spot and solve technician routing inefficiencies that lead to more time spent on billable work. Or, if you can easily see how excess work hours are eating into profitability on certain types of jobs, you can adjust your pricing to account for that

These types of insights can make the difference between making and losing money. And yet, these insights are often more difficult to come by when using timesheet-only apps because: 

  1. While timesheet apps are often flexible enough to track time in nuanced ways such as wrench time versus drive time, they typically do not offer this “out of the box.” It requires extra work to set up, and extra steps on behalf of technicians to indicate how they’re spending their time. Naturally, busy contractors often never set this up, and therefore don’t get access to this valuable data.

  2. While it’s possible to do some digging for insights once your timesheet data is entered into your payroll and accounting systems, this too requires more work on behalf of your staff to get the insights you need to manage labor costs and optimize for profitability. 

In contrast, ServiceTitan timesheets are: 

  • Set up to automatically track and decipher how electrician time is spent (e.g. drive time, wrench time, training, drive home, etc.). 

  • Seamlessly linked to ServiceTitan job costing and reporting features that provide useful insights and context that help solve problems and make better decisions.

  • Accessed and managed from the same platform where staff are spending the rest of their workday.

For all of these reasons, many electrical service businesses can benefit more from holistic business management software than timesheet-only apps. In the rest of this post, we’ll provide an overview of how ServiceTitan’s cloud-based timesheets work from the field and office, and how they tie into job costing and surrounding workflows.

Improving Workflow Efficiency: How ServiceTitan Streamlines Time Tracking and Timesheets for Electrical Businesses

Automated Time Tracking with ServiceTitan Mobile

As we’ve mentioned above, technician time tracking is automatically logged as they go about their day, updating their statuses from our mobile app (compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices). 

Technician time is automatically categorized into three types of timesheet events:

  1. Job Hours — Work time that accounts for time spent driving to and working on-site at a job.

  2. Non-Job Events — Work time not associated with a job. For example, meal breaks, training sessions, PTO, or company meetings.

  3. Idle Time — Hours between jobs and non-job events. For example, a technician finishes a job and has 25 minutes before he is dispatched to the next job. Those 25 minutes are recorded as idle time. Idle time can be paid, partially paid, or unpaid, based on how you manage your idle time settings. Idle time is included in timesheet reports.

At any given time, technicians have detailed access to their current and past timesheets. They can flag a discrepancy right from within the app if they spot it. 

At the end of each pay period, technicians can digitally sign off on their timesheet to confirm its accuracy (so there’s no need for technicians to drive into the office for payroll). 

Streamlined Processing of Electrical Timesheets from the Office 

All of the timesheet data that’s captured in ServiceTitan feeds into our payroll dashboard, where business owners and managers can filter by specific pay periods and conveniently view the business’s totals for:

  • Regular pay

  • Overtime pay

  • Timesheet pay

  • Salary pay

  • Total pay

In the table below, they can also see these metrics for each technician individually, as well as:

  • View timesheet statuses such as not received, disputed, approved, etc.  

  • Send timesheet approval notifications to technicians 

  • Mark timesheets as approved and ready for payroll submission

When it’s time to submit payroll, users can use our “Master pay file” report to export their timesheet data and import that into their payroll system. Depending on the system, (e.g. QuickBooks Online or Desktop, ADP, etc.), there may be some slight tweaks to the columns of the table to import the file (usually relatively simple). However, if you use Inova, we have a direct integration and export format that makes the data transfer seamless.

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Additional Timesheet and Payroll Features for Electrical Contractors

Beyond the features we’ve covered so far for time tracking, timesheets, and approvals, there’s a suite of in-app tools and settings for customizing how technicians are paid, and how timesheet data flows into your payroll system. 

The following is a brief overview of these features which have been custom-built for the trades. 

Configurable Payroll and Performance Pay

Configurable Payroll gives you flexibility on how you manage performance pay for your diverse team of technicians. It enables you to: 

  • Assign customizable pay profiles based on the ways you award bonuses and commissions. 

  • Set up pay rules where you can apply job filters and pay calculations based on invoice subtotal, business unit, invoice item, and more.

For example, you can set separate commission structures for the different trades you serve. Or you can increase performance bonuses for services that require specialized skills. Configurable Payroll allows you to set sliding bonus scales to incentivize large-ticket invoices.

Office Timesheets

With Office Timesheets, you can include hourly office employees in your payroll workflow. Office employees are prompted to clock in when they sign in and clock out when they sign out. This helps improve timesheet accuracy.

Payroll Adjustments

With Payroll Adjustments, users can make positive and negative corrections to an employee’s payroll, or manually award performance pay. You can add payroll adjustments to an invoice for accurate job costing or add adjustments directly to an individual’s payroll.

Timesheet Codes

Timesheet codes are used to track non-job timesheet events. For example, you can create timesheet codes for parts runs or training sessions. This helps you manage appointment scheduling and gives you an accurate accounting of employee activities. You can also set whether non-job timesheet event hours are paid or not.

Non-job timesheet events can be scheduled and managed from the dispatch board. If you enable technicians to clock in and out on their own, you can require them to clock into non-job timesheet events.

Earnings Codes

When you export your payroll, earnings codes allow you to map ServiceTitan pay types to your payroll processor’s earnings codes. This ensures that regular hourly wages, overtime pay, commission, and bonuses are processed correctly.

Getting the Insights You Need: Job Costing Reports Automatically Include Timesheet Data 

The features we’ve discussed throughout this post have been largely focused on solving disadvantage #1 of timesheet-only apps: disjointed workflows. 

Coupled with our unique trade-specific solutions such as configurable payroll and performance pay, these features offer significant advantages to electrical businesses looking for a timesheet solution. With that said, equally if not more important to the efficiency gains that ServiceTitan provides are our solutions to disadvantage #2: difficulty accessing useful insights from your timesheet data. 

With functionality to track time at a granular level (e.g. drive time vs. idle time vs. wrench time), and the ability to filter and look at that data at the individual job or project level via our real-time job costing reports, ServiceTitan allows business owners and managers to spot and solve operational and pricing problems to protect their bottom line.

The ease with which these insights can be found in ServiceTitan cannot be replicated in a patched-together system of disconnected apps. 

Schedule a call for a free, one-on-one walk-through of our platform to see how ServiceTitan can help you streamline job management and grow your profits.

ServiceTitan Electrical Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive electrical business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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