Working efficiently and keeping your projects on schedule helps you maximize your profits. But how do you know if you’re falling behind or getting ahead of schedule? Time tracking on individual projects can help you manage your progress and gain useful insights for future work, which improves your company’s bottom line.
When you run a small business with limited staff, productivity is a big deal. You need all hands on deck to finish a project efficiently and to maximize your profits. Working slowly can make the project fall behind schedule, and it costs more because you’re paying employees for more hours of work. Using time-tracking software lets you see exactly where each employee spends their time. You may spot projects, tasks, or individual employees who fall below productivity expectations, which shows where you need to investigate.
You might notice certain areas seem to take longer than expected. What seems like employees slacking off is often really just a lack of direction and focus. Consider meeting with the employees involved to ensure they have the tools and direction necessary to complete their tasks efficiently. Time tracking may also show that certain processes need an update. If your order pulling and shipping process eats up a lot of time, it may be time to invest in inventory management software. Consider using time-tracking software such as Output Time, which works in an office setting, on the work floor, or at a job site. That way, individual employees and teams can input the time they spend to reach different milestones or complete portions of a total project.
Using time tracking also opens the door for boosting morale by offering incentives when employees finish projects efficiently. Those incentives may help employees challenge themselves and their teammates to work efficiently. The key is to use time tracking to engage your employees and keep them involved. This allows them to take ownership of their successes and failures and may motivate them to stay focused. It also enables them to see all required tasks clearly, helping them to finish their assigned jobs and immediately move on to the next task without unnecessary, costly delays.
Bill and Quote Clients Accurately
Not all jobs or projects are exactly the same, but you probably have similar jobs or projects that require similar tasks and hours to complete. Knowing how long different projects and jobs take helps you accurately provide quotes and estimates to clients. Using time tracking software lets you easily look back at past projects to estimate how long a new project should take. From there, you can put together a quote for the client based on your rate and the estimated time.
Knowing how long projects usually take also helps with scheduling. You can take a look at the projects you have coming up and the number of working hours available for your employees. This lets you know how many more projects you can take on and realistic finish dates. Giving clients accurate timelines for projects can help you provide the best possible service. If you try to put too many projects on the schedule or don’t have a realistic understanding of how much time it takes, you may miss the deadline and potentially lose customers.
If you bill clients on an hourly basis, time tracking software ensures you bill accurately. That record of the time spent on the project can come in handy if the client questions the time you bill for. If you charge a flat rate for a project, you can use past project times to come up with an accurate rate. If you know a project should take you 20 hours of work and you want to average $40 per hour for the work, you can set the flat rate at $800 or higher to ensure you make what you want. Without previous time tracking on similar projects, you might underestimate how long it takes. Say you estimate it only takes 10 hours, so you only charge $400. You end up making less per hour because you don’t have an accurate estimate to set your flat rate.
Foresee and Avoid Delays
The reality is that no matter how efficient you and your team are, sometimes job completion delays happen. For example, if you’re waiting on a shipment from a supplier to complete a job, you budget in the normal wait time to your total work time. But sometimes shipments arrive late. You can’t control the supply delay, but you can allow extra shipping time when figuring your project completion time.
You can more effectively foresee and manage delays that may happen in-house with time tracking software. Keeping track of the time it takes employees to accomplish goals and complete tasks helps you identify weak spots in your operating process where problems frequently occur. Having a log of time delays on past projects helps you make the necessary adjustments to prevent future holdups.
Think about implementing the use of time tracking software into your company to keep your operation running smoothly and efficiently. Performing more efficiently inevitably brings in more customers and increases your profitability. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app.