Construction projects involve complex scheduling and tracking of employees’ time and tasks. Paper-based timesheets can be cumbersome, prone to errors, and make analyzing project costs and productivity difficult. By implementing a digital construction timesheet app, contractors can streamline time tracking, simplify payroll, and gain real-time visibility into project performance.

The Problems with Paper Timesheets

For decades, the standard practice on construction job sites has been to use paper timesheets. Workers fill out forms with their hours worked, task details, and job and cost codes. At the end of each day or week, they turn in their timesheets to the foreman or supervisor, who then enters the data into Excel or accounting software.

This manual process is time-consuming and introduces numerous opportunities for errors, such as:

  • Illegible handwriting leads to incorrect data entry. Supervisors waste time deciphering and verifying handwritten timesheet details.
  • Workers round hours worked, forget breaks taken, or make mistakes allocating time to tasks and codes. This distorts actual time spent on projects.
  • Lost, damaged, or late timesheets delay payroll processing and project cost analysis. Workers get paid late and managers lack timely data.
  • Data entry mistakes lead to incorrect job costing and payroll errors that must be corrected later.
  • Supervisors must chase down missing or incomplete timesheets, which is labor-intensive and delays invoicing and payments.

These common issues with paper timesheets have long been a hindrance to construction companies and workers. Fortunately, the development of construction time tracking software has led to more reliable and timely reporting and payroll.

How Construction Timesheet Apps Streamline Operations

Construction timesheet apps are effectively digital forms for workers to track time from smartphones or tablets. Time tracking software integrates with payroll, accounting, scheduling, and other construction management software. Replacing paper timesheets with an automated process has many advantages for businesses and employees.

Accurate Real-Time Data

With a construction time card app, field employees track their hours as they work. Supervisors can review timesheets and job details in real time. There are no more illegible handwritten forms, and supervisors no longer need to rely on workers to remember hours accurately. Real-time data provides better visibility into how time and budgets are being spent.

Streamlined Payroll Processing

Construction time clock apps can integrate seamlessly with your current accounting and payroll software, allowing digital timesheet data to be uploaded to your system instantly. There is no need for manual data entry that could result in errors. Payroll can then be processed faster with less labor. Workers also get paid faster when timesheet details don’t get delayed or lost.

Simplified Regulatory Compliance

Construction timesheet software provides an accurate audit trail for demonstrating compliance with prevailing wage and other labor regulations. The timestamped records include verified hours worked, meal breaks taken, job details, and employee and supervisor approvals. Digital timesheets also allow for automated flagging of potential compliance issues, such as excessive overtime hours. Detailed recordkeeping further strengthens compliance audits by making it easy to pull comprehensive reports on worker hours across specific date ranges or jobs.

Optimized Job Costing and Billing

With better timesheet accuracy and job cost code assignments, managers get a precise picture of costs to date on each project and task. This allows more accurate project cost forecasts and billing and fewer discrepancies that delay client invoicing and contractor payments. Digital timesheets also make it faster to pull detailed cost reports by job, phase, or activity to inform upcoming estimates and bids. Transparency into real project costs helps improve the bidding process.

Enhanced Payroll Audits and Labor Tracking

With an electronic audit trail of verified hours worked and jobs completed, payroll audits and labor tracking are simplified. This improves compliance and helps identify opportunities for workforce optimization. Digital timesheets allow easy filtering of data to generate reports by worker, job, date range, pay code, cost code, etc. for streamlined payroll auditing. The detailed records also simplify tracking labor utilization across projects to identify overstaffing or understaffing issues more quickly.

Key Features to Look for in Timesheet Apps

Today’s construction timesheet apps provide much more robust functionality than simple digital forms. Prioritizing key areas will help contractors identify timesheet software that can truly streamline processes, increase adoption, and deliver a strong ROI. The top solutions offer construction-tailored tools that go far beyond basic digital data entry to generate meaningful insights and efficiency gains. When researching solutions, look for these critical features:

Offline Accessibility

With spotty internet connectivity on many construction sites, timesheet apps must provide offline accessibility. Workers should be able to enter hours and job details offline, and the app should sync the data when connection is restored. Apps that require constant connectivity will not work reliably in the field.

Photo ID/Multimedia Capture

Photo ID verification requires workers to take a picture of themselves with their mobile device when they clock in. The photos are stored in the cloud, where supervisors or office staff can view them at any time. This ensures that the correct person is clocking in, eliminating the issue of buddy punching.

Workers should also be able to take photos and videos to upload with field notes right from the timesheet app. Multimedia field notes provide visual documentation for progress, work completed, and problems at the construction site. The ability to annotate images further enhances communication by allowing workers to highlight areas of concern or note details. Photos validate work performance and provide liability protection.

GPS Tracking

Automatic GPS tracking adds another layer of verification by logging real-time locations when employees clock in and out. This prevents workers from entering inaccurate location data and confirms they’re at the job site when they say they are. With the functionality to track them on the go, you can monitor employees as they travel between job sites while they’re on the clock.

This is also an effective method for measuring how long it takes to get to other job sites, eliminating the guesswork of time management. GPS location tracking provides visibility into worker movements and can help identify unnecessary delays or detours. It also gives management data to optimize schedules, materials delivery routes, and job sequencing based on actual travel times.

Digital Forms and Signatures

Look for quick-to-complete digital timesheets with dropdown menus to select jobs, cost codes, tasks, etc. Digital signatures for workers and supervisors help prevent falsified timesheet approvals, and they should include an audit trail showing the time and IP address of signers. Customizable fields enable the capturing of job or task-specific data. 

Well-designed forms simplify data entry with autofill and smart logic that updates fields based on other selections, optimizing the speed and accuracy of timesheet completion. Required sign-off by cost code managers also strengthens the validation process.

Data Integration

Choose a solution that offers integration with your existing construction management platforms like payroll, ERP, accounting, and other software systems. Avoid apps that only offer data exports. API integration allows the timesheet data to flow between systems, updating records automatically without manual duplication of effort. This provides a single source of truth across platforms.

Custom Reporting

Robust reporting functionality allows supervisors to extract and analyze timesheet data in custom formats to gain operational insights. More detailed reports improve job costing, scheduling, payroll, and labor analytics. The ability to filter reports by user, role, date, job, phase, cost codes, customizable fields, and other parameters provides the flexibility to extract any required detail or cross-section of data. Access to raw data for additional analysis optimizes strategic decision-making. Customizable reports should allow exporting to PDF, CSV, and Excel formats for further data manipulation and sharing.

User Access Controls

You should be able to control who views and approves timesheets through role-based permissions. Supervisors should only see direct reports, while executives gain company wide visibility. User access controls maintain privacy while providing transparency. Enable granular settings to control data visibility and edit abilities by role, location, business unit, or custom groups.

Implement access expiration and automatic deactivation for terminated employees to further protect data security. Maintaining least privilege access and need-to-know data policies through advanced user controls improves compliance and reduces risk.

Implementation and Support

A vendor that provides onboarding assistance, training, and ongoing support will facilitate a smooth rollout. Look for apps with resources to help your teams fully adopt and get the most from the software. Successful implementation requires planning, user training, configuration, testing, and change management. Vendors should offer implementation consultants to guide the process and best practices.

User training should include onboarding courses plus continuous learning resources. Support options like knowledge bases, email, phone, and chat assist troubleshooting will prove valuable. Ongoing support and account management can optimize utilization and identify additional training needs. Prioritize vendors invested in your long-term success rather than just the initial sale.

Driving Adoption Across the Company

The key challenge with implementing any new construction technology is getting user adoption. Construction workers often prefer traditional methods they are comfortable with. For a timesheet app to deliver ROI, the entire company must embrace the new processes. Tips for driving adoption include:

  • Involve field teams in selecting the app to gain buy-in. Gather their feedback on desired features.
  • Start with smaller pilot projects to test the app before rolling out company wide. Work out any kinks on a smaller scale first.
  • Train everyone on why the app is beneficial and how to use it correctly. Provide ongoing user support.
  • Set expectations for app usage as a company policy. Timesheet completion should be mandatory, not optional.
  • Share results from pilot projects highlighting benefits like faster payroll and improved project visibility. Quantify benefits to showcase value.
  • Recognize teams and individuals demonstrating success using the app to encourage engagement. Gamification helps drive adoption.
  • Be patient as adoption increases. Not everyone will be comfortable at first. Provide encouragement and support to build proficiency.

Achieving Construction Success with Timesheet Apps

Paper timesheets in construction lead to wasted time tracking down data, payroll delays, inaccurate job costing, compliance issues, and reduced operational visibility. By taking advantage of construction timesheet apps, contractors can solve these problems and streamline processes through:

  • Improved accuracy: Electronic collection and verification of timesheet data removes human errors.
  • Real-time visibility: Management gains immediate insights into hours and budgets.
  • Faster payroll: Direct integration with payroll systems speeds up paycheck processing.
  • Enhanced compliance: Digital audit trails help demonstrate adherence to regulations.
  • Optimized scheduling: Accurate hour tracking improves schedule forecasting.
  • Streamlined billing: Correct job costing allows faster client invoicing.
  • Decreased timesheet fraud: automated time-tracking solutions are helping employers combat timesheet fraud and its associated costs and compliance risks.

Construction companies that implement a modern timesheet app solution can expect to save substantial time and costs while improving project outcomes. Eliminating paper processes and leveraging real-time field data is key to being competitive and successful in today’s construction industry.

Simplify Processes With ExakTime’s Construction Time Tracking Solution

Managing time tracking and payroll efficiently is crucial for construction firms looking to streamline operations and enable growth. ExakTime’s timekeeping solutions simplify these processes for contractors through:

  • Intuitive Mobile Apps: ExakTime’s user-friendly mobile app allows workers to conveniently log hours, tasks, locations, and job details on smartphones or tablets, even when they’re offline. The apps streamline the capture of timesheets, photos, signatures, and other verification data from the field in real time.
  • Seamless Software Integrations: ExakTime integrates directly with many popular platforms, including accounting, payroll, ERP, HR,, and other construction management software. This allows seamless data transfer without time-consuming manual entry.
  • Powerful Reporting and Insights: With ExakTime, managers gain access to custom reports on payroll, cost coding, schedules, productivity tracking, and more. Business intelligence promotes data-driven decisions.
  • Simplified Compliance: Digital timesheets mean no more paper forms lost on the job site or at the office. A detailed audit trail with verification photos and signatures simplifies regulatory compliance.
  • Expert Onboarding and Support: ExakTime’s seasoned customer success team provides training and onboarding assistance to ensure rapid user adoption. Their ongoing support helps construction firms get the most value.

By streamlining cumbersome construction time tracking processes, ExakTime empowers companies to boost productivity, improve reporting, ensure compliance, and reduce payroll complexities. With ExakTime, construction firms gain insights and efficiency to scale operations.

Contact us to learn how ExakTime’s time clock software and workforce management solutions can help optimize your business processes.

Get an ExakTime Demo