After 40+ years in business, great new returns from ExakTime
At approximately 200 employees, Pilot Painting isn’t your average residential painting company.
With workers spread out across Southern California—and anywhere from 30 to 50 job sites going at a time—Pilot Painting’s need for better internal organization only grew after they were founded in 1974.
The company’s main scope of work is repainting and reconstruction, and they most frequently contract with homeowners associations and multi-family apartment complexes. Despite having handled operations one way for over 40 years, Pilot Painting wasn’t afraid to adapt to the changing demands of a spread-out workforce, and to consider new technologies.
This started by getting rid of the costly system of tracking time with paper.
Managing a growing field of workers
Managing people, projects and safety at various locations “is challenging when you have over 100 people in the field,” said General Manager Jake Patton. “Our superintendents can’t be at all jobs at all times every day. That’s why ExakTime has been a huge help.”
Prior to ExakTime, Pilot Painting relied on the ‘honor system’ to track their employees. Time was manually put in via paper timesheets every Wednesday. “I would enter their times into a spreadsheet and then from there into the payroll program on our computer,” Office Manager Joe Estrada explained.
“Everybody always ‘worked’ 40 hours,” Patton commented. “Oftentimes you would visit a job site and couldn’t find your workers. Then you look at their timesheets at the end of the week and they imply they were there, but you know they were not.”
“Our superintendents can’t be at all jobs at all times every day. That’s why ExakTime has been a huge help.”
– Jake Patton, Pilot Painting
In addition to being inaccurate, Pilot Painting’s old time tracking methods afforded them no real security when it came to recordkeeping, record storage, or employee approval of time cards prior to payroll. The company was always at risk of withstanding a damaging compliance audit or lawsuit.
Pilot Painting realized they had had enough of knowing employee hours were off and decided to stop pouring time and money into this unreliable system.
Creating accountability and building trust
Pilot Painting purchased ExakTime almost two years ago.They said they were struck by ExakTime’s ease-of-use and dependability as soon as they made the switch.
“You guys told us we wouldn’t have any problems, and honestly that’s been right on,” Estrada said. “I can go on ExakTime and look at what everybody did yesterday, see who clocked in and clocked out inside [the job site’s] geofence. The accountability is amazing.”
Digital time tracking allows Pilot Painting to keep payroll accurate and reporting airtight—in addition to maintaining a positive and trusting relationship with their employees.
“Every employee understands that we have a fully accountable system here, and that everybody has that level of trust,” Patton said. “We’re paying them on time, we’re paying them overtime if that’s the case—and we’re expecting them to be honest with us.”
The numbers don’t lie
Both Estrada and Patton said Pilot Painting feels like a different company with the power of ExakTime.
“It’s been a game changer for sure,” Patton said. “We have a better handle on what our true expenses are and what our profits should be on jobs.”
Even with 30 or 40 jobs going at one time, the system has improved operations for Pilot Painting, enabling the business to fire on all cylinders and move into the future with confidence.
According to Patton, the change is most evident in their improved job profitability. “I was expecting to see a small profit improvement on our jobs, and it was much better than what I expected,” he said. Patton added, “It far exceeded all my expectations.”
What would Patton say to a company of their size that was considering ExakTime? “The cost of ExakTime is a drop in the bucket compared to the improvement in profit you’ll experience,” he said.
That’s good news for both owners and workers.