Looking for a small change that can make a big difference in your business? You should look at geofencing.
Geofencing uses simple GPS technology to draw a virtual barrier around a location. Your employee downloads the app, and when their phone enters the geofenced location, it triggers an action.
For construction, that means that you can handle timesheets based on when your employees arrive or leave job sites.
Geofencing has been a game changer in the construction sector where time tracking can be challenging. It addresses a lot of the headaches that growing construction teams struggle with.
We know what you’re thinking: it sounds great, but how much does geofencing cost?
Because it’s a relatively new technology, a lot of construction managers are cautious about embracing geofencing for mobile workforces. Most people don’t realize how affordable it can be.
So, we’re here to offer some clarity on the matter.
Geofencing is a powerful tool for the construction industry
Think about all the headaches that timesheets cause.
You have to chase people to fill them out. You may or may not be confident that they’re accurate. If you suspect that someone isn’t showing up and leaving on time, you have to physically be on site to catch them at it.
In fact, 56% of construction company owners and managers spend an average of 11 hours every week traveling to check on their crews.
Using a geofenced time clock means you don’t have to deal with any of that stuff anymore.
There are many benefits to using geofences in the construction industry, too.
If your crew uses paper timesheets and processes payroll manually, you’re wasting too much time. Only 70% of managers tracking time on paper are confident that they’re tracking correctly all the time. Nobody would accept a 30% loss in profit or efficiency, would they?
When you use geofencing software, there’s no need to chase timesheets, calculate hours, and manually process payroll. As soon as your crew gets on site, they start work. When they’re done, they clean up and leave.
Not only do you get more accurate billing — you also save money because all of your team’s billable hours go towards actual work time. Your employees don’t even have to think about keeping track of their hours because the software does it for them.
Administrative work is streamlined with geofencing, too. Handling payroll only takes a few minutes because the technology has already done most of the work for you.
Since time tracking no longer relies on your employees self-reporting their hours, your automated timesheets are far more accurate.
Your employees will find it easier to trust that they’ll get paid for any extra time they work, too. If they come a little early or stay late to finish up, they know their time is being recorded correctly and they won’t have to justify their timesheets.
If there is a dispute, any discrepancies will be quickly resolved by looking at the in-app log.
Geofencing is good for establishing trust between you and your employees, too. Using GPS to clock in and out helps prevent time theft issues like buddy punching — your crew has to show up to get paid, and they know they’ll get paid for the hours they put in.
In construction, being in the wrong place can be dangerous. Employee GPS data can alert you when people are somewhere they’re not supposed to be so that you can address dangerous situations immediately.
Automatic alerts tell you when crew members arrive late, are missing, or have clocked out early.
All of those things tell you that you need to do an immediate check-in to make sure that person is okay. In high-risk environments like job sites, reacting quickly to a potential problem can make a huge difference.
Let’s assume a client texts you wondering why you haven’t started for the day, and you know that your crew member was supposed to be there an hour ago. You need to find that person quickly.
Open your geofencing dashboard to see live GPS locations for your crew. When you know exactly where your missing crew member is, you can decide how to respond.
All of this contributes to the most important benefit of geofencing: more profit.
We already talked about spending less time on administrative work and saving money by safeguarding against time and equipment theft. That’s a huge savings, and it’s not the only way that geofencing pads your bottom line.
You can analyze location and time data to see how long tasks are taking, how much time is spent on non-billable work, and how much profit is made per job or client. Having that kind of detailed view allows you to find cost saving opportunities in your operations.
Your historical data helps you estimate construction costs for future projects more accurately, too.
These benefits barely scratch the surface of how geofencing can be used, and we invite you to think of ways it can grow your construction business.
But the bigger question is whether the benefits of geofencing technology outweigh the costs.
So, let’s take a look at the actual cost of geofencing for construction.
How much does geofencing cost
Building a geofencing solution
When it comes to choosing a geofencing solution, you have two broad options:
You can build your own custom geofencing app, or you can buy a software subscription.
Building an app gives you complete control over your geofencing solution. But it comes with a hefty price tag. A ballpark figure to build your own mid-range geofencing app is between $50,000 to $150,000.
Depending on the size of your business and budget, it might be worth the investment. That’s your business decision to make.
Subscribing to a geofencing solution
A more economical solution is to purchase an annual geofencing software subscription.
Different providers offer different pricing structures. Some charge per user, others per clock punch, and some include a base fee on top of the per-user charges. Here are some examples to give you an idea of price range:
- Hubstaff offers geofencing from $10 per month per user as part of the suite of features available in its Premium package.
- ClockShark most basic geofencing services are available in the Standard package, available from $25 per month + $6 per month per user.
- Timesheet Mobile provides geofencing capabilities in its Basic plan, which costs $14.99 per month + $3.49 per employee.
Whether you choose subscribe to a geofencing software or to build your own, you should ensure the solution achieves the following:
- That the software meets your business needs; and
- That the software will generate a return on investment.
6 other factors to consider before buying geofencing software
Cost is an important factor when choosing the right geofencing solution for your business. It’s far from the only thing to think about, though.
Look into location accuracy, your individual company needs, the resources needed to install and run a tool, ease-of-use, and more. These factors can all contribute to the true cost of geofencing, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
1. Your business needs
The geofencing software must meet your specific business needs. Otherwise, you won’t get the results you want.
Consider the number of employees who need to use the system, the number of locations you want to track, and the size of those job sites. Some tools restrict these things, or they charge extra if you need more freedom.
You might also want additional integrated features, such as invoicing, scheduling, reporting, and payments.
When comparing apps side-by-side, make sure you’re looking at the plan that includes all the features you need. Otherwise, you might end up using multiple apps, which costs more in monthly fees and the time and energy it takes to consolidate data from different places.
Some geofencing software has a bad reputation for accurate location tracking.
Look for a tool that tracks location using mobile phone GPS, and that has positive customer feedback on the accuracy of its trigger points. Buying a tool that doesn’t work as advertised defeats the purpose.
Use free trials to put tools through their paces before you commit. If you don’t get the performance you need, try something different.
3. Device usage
As with all mobile tools, whichever app you choose will take up space and use battery life on your employee’s phone.
Some also use mobile data, so you should research how much of an impact the tool will have on these ahead of making your purchase. Your crew might push back if you want them to install an app that eats up the data they’re paying for themselves.
Many geofencing apps allow for settings to be customized, reducing the impact the app has on battery and data. The help documents and their customer support can help you figure out if the app will work correctly for your team.
4. Software and hardware requirements
Good geolocation software should work on the computers and smartphones you’re already using.
There are some geolocation systems that have more complex requirements. Make sure you don’t buy an app that only works if you upgrade your computer system.
5. Multiple location tracking
Can the app track more than one area? If this is important to your needs, double check before you buy.
Even if you only work one job at a time right now, you should think about your plans to grow. As you have crews on site at multiple jobs, you’ll need tracking data for all of them.
6. Ease of use
If a tool isn’t easy for people to use, they won’t use it.
Your geofencing app only works if your team installs and uses it. If they don’t, you’re back where you were at the beginning, except now you’ve wasted money, too.
Look for a geofencing tracker that is user-friendly for even the least tech-savvy member of your crew.
Get buy-in from your top managers and have them test the tools out themselves for usability. The free trial is great for this.
One you’ve selected a tool, give your team some simple training. A short screen recording video should be enough for quick reference.
Financial benefits of geofencing software
Good investments generate a return. Geofencing can be a great investment for your construction business.
There are four main areas where geofencing can generate a noticeable financial return.
1: Time saved
What is your time worth?
Multiply all the time you, your administrative staff, and your construction crews spend completing administrative tasks by the person’s hourly rate.
That’s how much you will save. Instead of spending that time on menial tasks, you and your team use those hours on productive work. You’ll get more work done in less time and generate more profit in the same number of hours.
This can also help you get projects done faster. It’s frustrating when you’re too busy to get everything done, isn’t it? Automating your busy work means you can finish your other tasks much sooner.
2: Payroll accuracy
With accurate timesheets, you pay exactly what you owe reliably and consistently.
Rounding timesheets is a little thing that costs you a lot of money. Think about this:
Let’s say you have 8 crew members who make $16 per hour. Every day, they arrive about 10 minutes after work is supposed to start and leave about 10 minutes before the day ends, but their timesheets start and end on the hour.
With those 8 people adding an extra 20 minutes to their timesheet every day, you’re paying an extra $213 every week!
Small differences between timesheets and the actual time worked add up to huge losses as your team grows. But by automatically tracking when an employee attends and leaves a site, you know exactly how many hours were worked by that employee and at which location.
This eliminates the possibility of any discrepancies. The hours logged are the hours paid. End of discussion.
Most geofencing programs allow you to configure different pay rates for different projects and locations. This helps to ensure your crew is paid the correct rate for their work and reduces administrative errors that can cost you.
3: Better invoicing
Your geofencing data shows the exact time each crew member spent on their work site. That gives you an accurate record of when and where your employees have worked.
Your GPS timesheet records make it easier to invoice clients, whether you need to bill by the hour or for specific milestones. In case of disputes, your geolocation records prove that your team was where they were supposed to be at all the right times.
Geolocation records also help if you need to explain your fees and costs.
This makes for a more pleasant working relationship with your clients and crew. Plus, your streamlined operations and detailed record-keeping can help land you new jobs.
As you collect more data from completed jobs, you can use that information to accurately calculate how profitable your projects are. It’s easier to spot that you need to raise your prices or adjust your team size when you have the numbers in black and white.
4: Detailed data
Finally, GPS location data can show you where you have an opportunity to reduce costs.
Get the most out of your geofencing software by using the information it collects. You’ll find ways to increase profits and reduce costs that would have been invisible to you otherwise.
For example, by viewing a GPS map of where employees went during their shift, you can figure out which tasks took too much time and which crew members probably need more training.
You can use your GPS data to figure out if you need more or less crew members at a job, spot potential safety problems that need to be fixed, and even to create more efficient workflows.
How does Hubstaff compare with other geofencing solutions?
Hubstaff is a popular solution for construction crews and other field teams. We focus on maximizing productivity by automating all the little tasks that eat away at your work hours.
If you want to try geofencing software for your construction company, here’s what Hubstaff can do for you:
We offer an in-depth construction time tracking system. Hubstaff makes it quick and easy to create invoices, make payments, run reports, and schedule shifts.
It’s super easy to use Hubstaff to manage your construction team. Setup is simple, and once you’re set up, it just works automatically.
Once your team installs the app on their iPhone or Android, our accurate geofencing tool starts and stops recording time automatically. They don’t even need to think about it.
From the back end, you can customize your settings for each job site and employee for the ultimate accuracy. It’s easy to adjust pay rates, add and remove crew members, and create new geofences for new job sites.
You get detailed reports that include time and location data, and your dashboard makes it easy to see where your crew is in real time.
Hubstaff is a powerful geolocation solution that’s cost effective for teams of all sizes.
Hubstaff’s geofencing tool is $10 per user per month. That includes all of our other time and productivity tracking features, too, including budget management and easy invoicing tools.
Start with the 14-day free trial and put it through its paces. There’s no credit card required to start the free trial. Just create your account, download the app, and check out what it can do.
The app works accurately without needing to buy more equipment. Download it on as many devices as you need to. You pay per user, not per device.
We don’t charge any additional base fees or software costs, either. As your team scales up or down, you can add and remove users easily so you only pay for what you need.
Geofencing is a powerful technology for construction teams. It’s also surprisingly accessible, even for startups and small teams.
Geolocation software is easy to set up and far less expensive than you might expect.
What do you think? Is GPS technology the way of the future for the construction industry, or is it just a neat fad until the next thing comes along? Tell us in the comments.