The construction industry is one in which delays are almost always to be expected. In addition to the inherent complexity of projects, poor weather conditions, equipment failure, labor shortages, missing project data, labor allocation conflicts, and poor time management for construction firms can all lead to delays in one way or another. While some of these factors are certainly beyond the control of any project manager, there are others that can easily be avoided with the right practices and tools.
The Importance of Proper Time Management and Billing for Construction Projects
For construction companies, effective time management does more than just create a proactive working environment with achievable goals and timelines. It also helps bring down overall expenditures and ensures that projects fulfill the project baselines and budget targets. Proper time management for construction projects also reduces delays and cost overruns while driving accurate billing.
Additionally, the nature of the contracts used in construction projects makes it critical to ensure timely deliveries of milestones. Failure to meet the terms of the contract can result in a partial or even a complete loss of payment, which is certainly a situation that any firm wants to avoid.
While proper time management for construction firms can lead to improved billing, they must also be aware of their billing processes. Effective billing management ensures that the firm is paid for its services on time, thereby ensuring a steady cash flow for the business. A lack of visibility around time can invariably lead to delays in project progress which, in turn, affects the cash flow resulting in issues such as an unhappy workforce, who are typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, and a shortage of money to purchase materials.
It is no wonder that fewer than 1 in 3 firms say they are able to finish within the given time and budget, as per a survey by Levelset and Fieldwire.
To bring about proper time and billing management, construction firms may employ a range of strategies and tools. These strategies should cover essential activities such as allocation, supervision, scheduling, prioritization, and more.
Effective Strategies for Time Management and Billing for Construction Firms
Effective management of time and billing is vital for construction firms to successfully fulfill their allocated timeframes, budgets, and other project objectives. To do so, here are some strategies that the firms can leverage.
Develop an Efficient Time Schedule
The schedule plays a pivotal role in construction projects as it details every task, their time-frames, their deadlines, the resources needed, and the people responsible for them. Any changes to one task in the schedule will invariably have a ripple effect on the other items. Considering that many construction projects can last for years, the schedule is critical to keeping everything on track.
Firms need to closely monitor the schedule and ensure that it manages time efficiently. Workers must be assigned reasonable goals and time-frames to ensure successful completion of the tasks within designated billable hours.
A robust tool for time management for construction projects can be enormously useful here. It can be leveraged to determine billable hours and calculate resulting costs to help managers schedule properly to keep overall costs low.
Organize Data For Visibility
The data generated by time tracking is immensely valuable. However, if the data is spread across multiple systems and paper spreadsheets, using the data to drive the decision-making process will be an enormous challenge. Firms need to bring together all data around time under a single dashboard for easy visualization of the project progress and other metrics. This will also make it easier to use the data in billing. To make it easier, firms can choose an integrated platform for time management for construction that captures the time data and readies it for use in accounting and other systems they are using.
Ensure Accuracy of Time Data
For construction companies, it is not enough to simply have the data from time tracking but also ensure its authenticity. Time theft, especially in the form of buddy punching, is a serious problem in the construction industry. Therefore, it is imperative for firms to take steps to minimize and stop this practice.
A robust time management solution for construction can help here by validating all time entries for their authenticity. For example, the system can ask an on-site manager or a crew manager to approve the entries before it pushes the data for processing in billing.
Follow a Billing Schedule
While fieldwork is the prime focus for any construction firm, the project billing process is ultimately what supports the cash flow necessary for the projects. Firms need to develop a good billing schedule to keep that money flowing. This involves establishing dates for all expenses to be submitted, documentation to be prepared, and invoices to be calculated. Enough time must also be given to ensure the accounting team can verify all items and invoices before they are sent out.
Investing in an integrated time and billing system can go a long way in simplifying this schedule. The software can take on the heavy lifting needed to process time data and raise the requisite invoices. This can prevent some of the common billing issues seen in this industry such as late payments, lost funds, and overextended budgets.
How Replicon Supports Billing And Time Management For Construction Firms
Time and billing software for construction firms is the key to developing a better and more effective time and billing management process to eliminate the issues those firms face today. Replicon’s Time Intelligence® platform supports a construction firm’s ability to address those issues by automating critical processes and delivering accurate time and expense data to drive billing and offer a comprehensive view of the business. Here are some of the different ways our cloud-based platform can help a construction firm.
Intuitive Time Capture: Replicon allows you to configure the timesheets to capture the exact data needed by construction firms and track live project time to drive billing.
Track Billable/Non-billable Hours: Easily track both billable and non-billable hours against all projects to drive decision making while also supporting accurate billing needs.
GPS Capabilities: Replicon comes with real-time GPS tracking capabilities with geofencing options to make it easier to manage construction crews and reduce time theft.
Digital Receipts: Workers and managers can easily upload and attach digital receipts against expenses to prevent information loss while also helping maintain the documentation necessary for billing and compliance.
Enhanced Validations: Replicon’s timesheets come with advanced validation rules to ensure that the time data meet the unique business needs of the company.
Intelligent Approvals: You can establish multi-level approval workflows to increase the accuracy of time submissions while keeping all stakeholders informed.
Live Project Tracking: Gain instant visibility of your projects in real-time with access to all metrics at a granular level to support proactive decision-making.
Budgets vs Actuals Tracking: Set budgets for time and costs and track them live against actuals and have oversight on progress to make the right decisions.
Project Documentation Support: Replicon allows you to include supporting documentation in expenses, timesheets, and projects to provide details as might be required by contracts and regulatory compliance.
Flexible Billing Options: Replicon gives you flexibility in setting up the billing parameters exactly as your business requires such as fixed-bid or time and materials.
Robust Invoicing: Leverage Replicon to generate invoices from data captured and verified by the system with support for billing reminders and contract periods.
Cash Flow Management: Leverage a centralized view of all project statuses, works in progress and other metrics to manage cash flow efficiently.
With Replicon, you can eliminate many of the issues that plague the construction industry and streamline time and billing processes. Replicon makes it easy to modernize your organization while reducing inefficiencies and roadblocks to success.