HVAC Company Ditches Trusty Notebook, Increases Billable Time With Automated Time Tracking

The secret to their simple productivity boost

Jeff Rainbolt, a foreman at Tower Air, Inc. in Goleta, California, struggled with accurate time tracking. He and Tower Air’s owner, Bob Freeman, both knew their paper system was inefficient, but it was also losing them money.

“I used a notebook,” Jeff said of the company’s time tracking system. “I carried it with me everywhere, and I would write down what jobs I was doing for which customer. If I lost that notebook, I was done for. And it happened once or twice!”

Unfortunately, losing that notebook also meant losing all the work Jeff had done that day or week. With no notebook to go on, he would have to think back through the day and estimate how much time he spent with each customer. It wasn't an accurate or reliable system for Jeff or Tower Air’s clients.

But not losing the notebook wasn't much better. With no automated time tracking software in place, Jeff was already estimating how much time he spent at each job. And according to the American Payroll Association, people will almost always underestimate their time. Not only that, but a recent survey suggests that people who write their hours down on paper are 60 percent more likely to make mistakes, and when they do, they underestimate their time by up to 30 minutes each time — meaning Jeff was underestimating his pay.

You're 60% more likely to make a mistake tracking time on paper.

On top of all that, Jeff's notebook was costing him his most valuable resource: time. In order to run payroll or create invoices, Tower Air’s accountant would have to first decipher the handwriting in his trusty notebook, manually enter that information into their payroll or billing and invoicing system, and double-check those numbers to make sure everything added up correctly.

In the end, Jeff's “trusty” notebook wasn't so reliable after all.

So after years of wasting time and money collecting and deciphering paper timesheets, and manually entering notebook data for payroll and invoicing, Tower Air made the switch to TSheets. As soon as Bob implemented automated, mobile timesheets, efficiency improved for the Tower Air team. And they discovered just how much of their time was “unbillable” — about 26 percent! “I wish I would have had TSheets when I had my own business,” Jeff said. “It would have been a lot easier!”

Tired of trying to decipher handwriting in paper timesheets?

New Company, Same System

When Jeff started with Tower Air, he was looking forward to ditching his not-so-trusty notebook. After all, paper timesheets can be an inaccurate and unreliable system for even the most static of companies. But they became downright destructive for dynamic service-based companies like Tower Air.

“We switch jobs a lot throughout the day,” Jeff said. “I'll be working on one job and run into another maintenance guy who needs help with something else. At the end of the day, if that paper timesheet wasn't in your pocket, or you forgot to fill it out completely, the whole system broke down.”

When that happened, Jeff and his coworkers would be forced to spend the remainder of their day going through their phones and emails, trying to estimate how much time they spent at each job based on their call logs. Jobs were missed or forgotten, time was estimated incorrectly, and Jeff was starting to miss his handy notebook. But TSheets changed everything.

No more manual data entry. Start your TSheets 14-day trial now!

TSheets is available on mobile phones, tablets or desktop and laptop computers through a web browser.

TSheets Increases Billing Accuracy by 20%

Not only does it track accurate-to-the-second time, no matter what, but TSheets makes it easy for Jeff and his co-workers to quickly and effortlessly switch jobs and keep important notes throughout the day.

“All I have to do is pull out my phone and hit ‘switch,'” said Jeff — and the TSheets mobile time clock takes it from there. Jobs are tracked more accurately, workers are paid correctly, and clients are billed for every second worked. In fact, businesses that use TSheets can bill as much as 20 percent more, just by tracking time accurately.

“I also love that everything is stored in the cloud,” Jeff continued. “If for some reason we lose our phones, all the information we need is still right there in TSheets. It's impossible for our notes to get lost or misfiled in a filing cabinet somewhere, and we never have to wonder, ‘Okay, what happened?’ If I forget to do my write-up for invoicing at the end of the day, I just pull up TSheets and it's all right there.”

I’m able to see where the crews are at, at any moment, in real time – Bob Freeman

And that's not all Tower Air loves. Bob was impressed by TSheets' seamless integration with QuickBooks Online — claiming it saved him “a hell of a lot of time on payroll and invoicing” — as well as the GPS employee tracking functionality.

“I’m able to see where the crew’s at, at any moment, in real time,” Bob said. “This enables me to respond to customers’ needs because I can look at the Who?s Working window and decide whether it’s cost-effective to dispatch a guy from this job or that job, or whether it would be more cost-effective to dispatch someone tomorrow.”

As for Jeff, more than anything, he was amazed by how easy it was to track accurate time with TSheets.

“At first I thought, ‘Oh boy, here we go,'” he said. “I'll admit, I was the biggest naysayer. But it was pretty simple to learn the basics. It even works on my old Android phone!”

Now, Jeff and the team at Tower Air can't imagine life without TSheets. “It's a really, really great tool for small businesses — especially those in the construction or service industries,” he said. “It's really streamlined things for us.”

Just say no to keeping your timesheets in a notebook.

Just say no to paper timesheets. Start your 14-day trial now!

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