Busybusy Review: A Timesheet App Developed By Contractors, For Contractors

Is tracking employee hours at the job site weighing you down? Does payroll management have you pulling out your hair? You may not be surprised to hear that there’s an app for that.

Created and developed by a contractor who was tired of doing business as usual, BusyBusy is changing the way contractors are managing their job site and field employees; and saving them thousands of dollars.

Like other timesheet apps, Busybusy allows employees and supervisors to clock in and out from the job site and upload hours, in real time, to payroll software. But it’s Busybusy’s other features that set it apart.

“The beauty of this app, compared to a lot of the timekeeping apps out there, is that we are contractors; we look at things differently,” explains Israel Barlow, COO and VP Sales for Busybusy. On top of tracking employee hours remotely in a cloud-based system, Busybusy also uses geofences to send reminders to employees entering or leaving a worksite to clock in or out. Employees can clock in individually, or crew leaders can clock in their entire crew at once.

Busybusy also allows employees to upload site photos immediately to the project manager. “It actually time, date and GPS stamps the photo as well,” explains Barlow, “So you have proof for that customer that you were on that job site, at that exact time, and for whatever you just completed.”

A feature that Barlow is particularly keen about is Busybusy’s ability to switch between projects. “Let’s say a guy finishes laying water line that day, and then switches over and starts the sewer main,” Barlow hypothesizes. “Instead of just allocating the full 8 hours to one project, he can now switch between those or jump between machines.” Being able to track exactly how much time you’re spending with each machine is a feature that is particularly useful for electrical and mining contractors. The app also has an offline mode, which can be used in remote field situations where data or wifi aren’t available.

Hedgehog Electric, a Utah-based electrical contracting company with 40 employees, has been using Busybusy for nearly two years, and they aren’t looking back.

“It literally took us 3 days to do payroll,” explains Hedgehog’s office manager, Jerold Hammon, of the way things were before Busybusy. “We gathered time cards weekly, and they were all paper, so we’d have to get a form printed from a printing company, and then we’d give all of our employees basically a clipboard of all the time cards, and they’d fill them out daily, which never did get done daily.”

Now? “It’s much quicker, and much less room for error.”

Employees at Hedgehog were resistant to using Busybusy at first, but they’ve changed their minds. “They know exactly what they’re going to get paid for,” says Hammon, explaining that employees have access to the app and can see their timesheets for every pay period.

Seeing logged hours in real time has been very valuable for Hammon, who no longer has to wait for timesheets to trickle in to know how big the payroll will be. Having such an accurate record is also helping with bidding on new projects. “It just helps us fine tune the estimated hours that it would take to do jobs.”

Hammon doesn’t have an exact figure for just how much Hedgehog has saved using Busybusy. But Barlow says his clients are seeing significant savings. He recalls a recent conversation with an electrical contractor with about 120 employees: “He was like, ‘You know what? You guys changed our bottom line this last year by $200,000.’”

Starting at $39 USD/month for a company with 2 employees and going up from there, the cost of the app is a fraction of the potential savings. The cost per employee decreases as more employees are added, and the number of employees can be changed weekly or monthly, to accommodate contractors whose work tends to be seasonal.

While Busybusy was conceived by and for contractors in the construction industry, many other companies are using it too. “We probably have customers from any industry that has mobile employees, explains Barlow.” “We’ve got health care on there, catering companies, we’ve got some oil and gas on there.”

For Busybusy, the future of remote employee management is here, but they’re not stopping now. “We’ve got some great new features that will help oil and gas that will come out this next year,” hints Barlow, who can’t yet provide further details. “Probably mid-year: June, July. There’s some fun stuff that’s coming.”

Our Top 5 Mobile App Picks for Canadian Electricians

Smartphones and tablets aren’t just for fun anymore — large corporations and independent contractors alike can now leverage the power of mobile devices to streamline business operations. Canadian electricians have a host of choices when it comes to estimating, reference and calculation apps, but here’s the thing: Many are just useless little things wrapped up in great marketing, meaning you’re out $10, $25 or even $100 for something you’ll never use on the job. That’s where we come in: We jumped headlong into electrical forums and review sites to give you an unbiased look at some of the best apps available for your business. Here’s our top five.

C22.1-15 Canadian Electrical Code Interactive Standard

This is the big one, the basic, and essential to have on hand. Many contractors still carry this around in hard copy or as a PDF file, but the CSA Group now offers it as an interactive app for Android and iOS devices. It’s not cheap — you’re looking at $259 for the year, but it’s indispensable. A thread on the Electrician Talk form describes the app as “epic” on the iPad, and it’s not hard to see why: It scales to any mobile device, provides access to rules, explanations and rationale along with a search function that supports rule, topic or keyword. You can also eMarkup the CEC document however you want and set bookmarks for future reference. All in all it’s a superstar and well worth the cost for any Canadian electrical contractor.

Electrical Calc Canada

This one costs $10 at the Google Play store but according to reviews is well worth the cost. The app lets you calculate any transformer size to get KVA, FLA, pipe, fuse and breaker size and calculate the allowable ampacity of any wire type. You can also calculate any box fill in any situation along with easily completing voltage drop calculations. Reviews are largely four and five-star, with users praising the app’s simplicity, ease of use and wide range of features. Occasional issues do crop up, however, with some electricians reporting that wire sizes aren’t updating from older versions in transformer calculations. The general consensus, however, is that customer service is on the high end with fixes and updates coming often.

Feet Inch Calculator Free

Apps don’t always have to be complicated — or costly — to be useful. That’s the case with Feet Inch Calculator Free, which does exactly what you’d think: Lets you quickly convert from feet to inches and from metric to Imperial, along with giving you tools to calculate area and volume. Why is this one a must-have? It’s easy; metric is the de facto standard here in Canada, but that doesn’t stop most construction measurements from showing up in Imperial. No one uses the metric conversion for a two-by-four, meaning electricians are often stuck with multiple sets of measurements just to get a simply job done. Grab the Feet Inch Calculator and you’ve got the answer in your pocket.

Dual Level Pro

Continuing the trend of “not so costly” apps is the Dual Level Pro, which comes in at just $1.99. Again, the function here is simple: Make sure things like conduits are level before you call a task complete. Reviews call out the app’s focus on function over form — in addition to standard horizontal and vertical levels, you can also rotate the center vial in five degree increments allowing you to easily compare multiple angles.

Contractor Success Systems

The original version of this app — ES2 Flat Rate — always comes up in forum threads about sales and estimating software. Just last month the developer released a new version, CS2 Flat Rate, which is available for both iOS and Android operating systems. It’s worth noting that this app is optimized for tablets, not smartphones, but is already drawing big praise on the forums thanks to its comprehensive flat rate database and the ability to build out unlimited options for clients.

That’s our top five, culled from hundreds of apps out there thanks to reviews from Canadian electricians in the field. Got a favorite app of your own that didn’t make the list?