June 2015: Business Building

Words: George Hedley

Does Your Timecard Work for You?

By George Hedley

George-HedleyThe main purpose of construction field crew timecards is to keep track of employee hours, so you can pay them properly for the hours they work, right? Not entirely. If you also want to track accurate job costs, your timecard can become an important business tool to make you more money. To make this happen, you need to design your timecard to reflect how you do business and match what you want to track. Designed properly, your timecard can become an invaluable tool to track labor production; field quantities installed; company and rental equipment usage; and materials consumed on the job. After gathering the information available from daily and weekly timecards, you can create a production tracking system to give your field foremen and superintendents updated job cost data, so they will know how well they’re doing every week on their projects. To design an integrated timecard to work for you, get your estimator, project manager, and foreman together to determine which work task cost codes you want to track. When you bid a job, the estimator calculates exact quantities of work for each part of your scope of work. Your timecard cost code categories, therefore, must match how you estimate and bid, in order to keep track and know actual hours required for different parts of the job. By having the codes match the timecard, he can calculate the number of hours required to perform each task after project completion. He can see if his production rates are accurate and match how he prices future projects. Before the job starts, the estimator should get together with the project manager and foreman to review the bid and quantities allocated to perform the entire job. The foreman then will have a budget in mind. To track how well the crew is doing versus the job estimate and budget, make sure your foreman records the quantities installed every week as noted on the timecard. This way, the foreman and project manager can review the progress weekly to see if they are staying on budget. Estimators also calculate the number of equipment hours required to build projects. The timecard can be used efficiently to track company equipment and rental equipment usage. Set up your timecard to include a listing of all of your equipment. Have the foreman record which equipment is used on the daily timecard. Your accounting manager can then job charge your equipment weekly to the correct jobs, based on where it was used. At the end of the job, you can then review the estimate of equipment versus the actual hours spent on the projects. Your foreman and project manager can monitor the budget versus actual for equipment, if given an update every week of these numbers. You also can design your timecard to track the materials used weekly on the jobsite. Have the foreman record what materials were installed or delivered to the job. At the end of each weekly pay period, add the number of hours spent in each cost code work item, and compare it to the job budget. Review these numbers with your field foreman Monday morning to make sure he knows where they are and what they have to do to keep the job on budget. Your estimator is the best person to prepare this weekly recap as he clearly understands the cost codes and job budgets. Plus, he will be the first to discover if his estimate is correct or there are job cost overruns. Knowing where you are is easy, if you setup your timecard properly. Have your foreman turn in every field employee’s timecard daily to maintain accuracy. Keep your costs updated every week and make sure your foreman knows if his job is on budget or not. This will help you make more money. To get a working copy of the Weekly Field Progress Tracking Report, email gh@hardhatpresentations.com.
George Hedley works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. He is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Business to Work!” available online at www.HardhatPresentations.com. To sign up for his free e-newsletter, join his next webinar, be part of a BIZCOACH program, or get a $100 discount coupon for online classes at www.HardhatBizSchool.com, email GH@HardhatPresentations.com. George Hedley, HARDHAT Presentations, 800-851-8553 
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