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Oct 30, 2015
Story updated July 2019
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 sends scheduling or location-based alerts directly to employees’ phones, which they can use to clock in or out. Employees can clock in individually, or crew leaders can clock in their entire crew at once. For companies that are required to collect safety sign-off data, a daily safety sign-off feature accompanies the clock out alert, allowing for 100% safety sign-off collection.
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 a 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.’”
With a powerful free version, and a pro version starting at only $9.99/month per employee with an annual purchase, the cost of the app is far outweighed by the potential savings. And the flexible fee structure means that employers only pay for the app in months when the employee for which they are paying uses it.
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 Oil and Gas in particular, Busybusy’s robust equipment features provide plenty of added value. These features include the ability to track time to equipment, as well as report fuel and hours from telematics offered by CAT through their Visionlink connection.
For Busybusy, the future of remote employee management is here, but that doesn’t mean they plan to stop innovating any time soon. The app’s recent upgrades bear this out.
One such upgrade is the increased support for cost codes. “We’ve added the ability to scope cost codes to projects,” says Busybusy’sTeam Lead Engineer, Charles Hart. “This combined with the real time ‘activity reports’ available to employees and supervisors give great insight into the current cost structure of a project.”
Activity reports allow users to see hours and costs broken down by any combination of employees, project, equipment, cost codes and date.
Another of the app’s major upgrades is the expansion of its GPS features. “We no longer just offer GPS when you clock in and clock out,” says Hart, “But we also report GPS breadcrumbs throughout the day while an employee is working.” In order to ensure transparency for employees using the app, a map is available to employees of where they can be seen, and they have access to all of the GPS data that is reported for their time entries.
All of these upgrades have borne fruit: Busybusy has a growing customer base and a rating of 4.3 on the app store – and they plan to continue to build on that success.
Says Hart, “We’re constantly listening and improving our product based on the feedback we get from our customers.”
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