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HVAC Timesheets: Automate Technician Time Tracking

January 23rd, 2024
7 Min Read

Investing in timesheet software is a no-brainer for HVAC businesses that want to solve the challenges of paper time cards, including:

  • Technicians forgetting to fill out their time cards

  • Technicians filling out their time cards inaccurately 

  • Technicians having to drop their time cards off at the office (time that businesses have to pay for)

  • Office staff needing to hound technicians to fill out their timesheets and submit them in time for payroll

  • Office staff needing to manually enter timesheet data into their payroll and accounting systems

These issues, ranging from mild inconveniences to operational problems that significantly hurt profitability, can mostly be solved with timesheet software. However, if you’re in the market for a timesheet solution, 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.

  2. HVAC contractor software with time tracking: Holistic business software that provides timesheets alongside the other digital tools HVAC businesses use to run day-to-day operations. For example, CRM, scheduling software, work order apps, technician mobile apps, invoicing, payroll, and more.

While option timesheet-only apps can improve technician time tracking for residential and commercial HVAC companies, they have some distinct disadvantages compared to HVAC contractor software with built-in timesheets. 

So, in this article, we’re going to discuss what those disadvantages are, and then walk through ServiceTitan’s timesheet 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 HVAC business operations? Schedule a call for a free, live, one-on-one walk-through of our platform.

The Disadvantages of Basic Timesheet Apps vs. HVAC Software with Timesheets

1. Workflow and Operational Inefficiencies

From a workflow efficiency perspective, using a timesheet-only app requires staff to bounce between different apps throughout the day. 

For example, in the field where technicians may be spending most of their day operating out of a field service app, they need to remember to transfer over to the timesheet app to clock in and out throughout their day. It’s nearly as easy to forget to do this as it is with paper time cards, sometimes leading techs to fill them out retroactively (defeating the purpose of the app).

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 subsequently, your payroll and accounting systems to complete this task. 

In contrast, ServiceTitan HVAC software solves both of these problems. For technicians, tracking time throughout their day is automatic within our mobile app as they progress through each step of a job, from being dispatched, driving to the job, arriving to the job site, closing out, etc. There’s no need to bounce between different apps to track their time, making it easier and more automated.

On the office side, technician timesheets — which are automatically created based on time logged throughout each day — can be accessed and processed right from within ServiceTitan where office staff are already operating, and done so alongside our other payroll and accounting features and integrations.

2. Difficulty Accessing Useful Insights From Your Timesheet Data (That Protect and Grow Your Bottom Line)

Within an HVAC 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 solution can decipher between drive time and wrench time, you might be able to spot and solve technician routing inefficiencies that take away 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 be set up in a way that deciphers between time tracking details 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 spend 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. 

In contrast, ServiceTitan timesheets are: 

  • Set up to automatically track and decipher how HVAC technician 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 time each day

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

Solving Workflow Inefficiencies: How ServiceTitan Streamlines Time Tracking and Timesheets for HVAC Businesses

Timesheets In the Field 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 a job.

  2. Non-Job Events: Work time not associated with a job. For example, meal breaks, training sessions, PTO, or company meetings. Each non-job event type is assigned a timesheet code that determines whether the hours are paid or unpaid. You can edit non-job events from a technician’s non-job timesheet.

  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. If they notice a discrepancy, they can easily flag it within the app. 

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). 

Processing HVAC Timesheets From the Office (Made Easy)

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.)

  • Request timesheet approvals from technicians

  • Mark timesheets as approved and ready for payroll submission

When it’s time to submit payroll, users can leverage our “Master pay file” report to export their timesheet data and import that into their payroll system. Depending on the system they use (e.g. QuickBooks, 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 the HVAC Industry

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 even 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 the disadvantages of timesheet-only apps: workflow inefficiencies. 

Coupled with our unique trade-specific solutions such as configurable payroll and performance pay, these features offer significant advantages to HVAC businesses looking for a timesheet solution. With that said, equally important to the efficiency gains that ServiceTitan provides are our solutions to accessing useful insights from your timesheet data. 

By tracking time at a granular level (e.g. drive time vs. idle time vs. wrench time), and being able 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 simply 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 operations and grow your profits.

ServiceTitan HVAC Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC 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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