South Florida Excavation has been moving earth, paving and landscaping on private and public properties primarily in Lee and Collier counties since 1992. Based in Naples, Florida, the company employs over 80 workers at 15 to 25 job sites a day.
For nearly two decades, South Florida used paper time sheets to track their employees, even on large neighborhood job sites covering several work areas. Founder and owner Russell Anderson knew there had to be a more efficient way.
Anderson discovered ExakTime at a CONEXPO-CONAGG trade show in Las Vegas in 2008 and was impressed by the sales presentation. Soon after, his company purchased an ExakTime system, which took all the guesswork out of their time-tracking and cut their payroll processing time in half.
The pitfalls of handwritten paper time sheets.
South Florida Excavation saw their workload fluctuate during the economic downturn, but they continued working hard through the last decade, including the completion of a large-scale landscaping and paving job for Lely, a new resort development that encompassed multiple subdivisions and took over 10 years.
As business regained momentum, South Florida had to rebuild their workforce from 40 to 80 employees—all of whom now put in 49 to 55 hours a week (over 40 hours qualifies as overtime).
Prior to ExakTime, these complex job sites and plentiful overtime hours were all being tracked manually. Finance Director Karen Anderson explained that supervisors wrote down everyone’s hours on a sheet, a system that invited error.
“They would forget that a particular person was off for the day, that someone else didn’t show up—or maybe somebody was on vacation and hadn’t told the office,” Anderson said. She added, “Supervisors have their favorites, too—so although one guy may have left at four he’d get paid until five. It’s all open to human error when you do it manually.”
Two-person payroll is now done by one, and faster.When South Florida was still tracking time manually, they needed to keep a second, part-time payroll administrator on staff to assist Anderson in collecting and troubleshooting errors on the time sheets filled out by supervisors.
“Just gathering the information from all of our supervisors and emailing it to me took her a day or day and a half. And we outsourced payroll then, so I would have to put everything on a spreadsheet to send to the payroll company, which took me almost a full day,” said Anderson.
South Florida purchased several of ExakTime’s original JobClocks. While they helped a great deal with cost coding and accuracy, they still required the infrared technology of a smartphone or FastTrakker Pro for data collection—which meant Anderson still needed help with payroll, especially on complicated projects like the Lely resort community.
“Our payroll assistant was at that job site, manually collecting the cost codes and time records for different areas of the project,” Anderson said.
When the JobClock Hornet was released in 2012, South Florida Excavation was eager to try a clock that tracked cost codes and sent records back to the office wirelessly, every hour. They immediately traded in several of their JobClocks for Hornets. They now have 22.
Now Anderson can complete payroll by herself in a day and a half—and sometimes just one day. Without a second part-time payroll staffer, the man-hours South Florida spends on payroll have been cut in half.
Anderson said she didn’t know what she would do without the Hornet. “It’s so much simpler with this remote system now that they all come straight to my desktop,” she said. “I don’t have to keep calling the supers to nag them to go collect the JobClocks. Having it right then and there is so much easier.”
Running a tight ship—under tight deadlines.
Minor disagreements and disputes surrounding hours are easily solved these days, according to Anderson.
“If I can show guys on the computer where and when they actually clocked out, and how their time stamp would look different if I had changed it, that helps a lot,” said Anderson. “Now, when someone says I still owe them three hours for a certain day, and I’m sure that I don’t, I can just show them a printed report.”
With business booming again, it’s more important than ever that South Florida’s labor tracking—including hundreds of overtime hours every week—be friction-free. In fact, ExakTime has been essential in helping them handle some of their most challenging projects yet.
Recently, South Florida Excavation laid the ground and oversaw the turf installation for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins’ spring training stadiums. “We half-expected the GC to go around with a ruler, making sure the blades of grass were all the same length—things had to be perfect,” recalled Anderson. “Also, spring training was scheduled to start on the first of March, so everything had to be ready by the first of March. We couldn’t say ‘We’re not ready, so it’s going to start on the second.’ But that’s what we got paid to do, and it got done.”
An unexpected perk.
Anderson said that when South Florida bought an ExakTime system, they were looking for a better way to do payroll and job-costing—both of which they found. There have been unexpected benefits, as well.
“The ability for me to be able to pull up a certified payroll job I’ve placed one of the Hornets at and know exactly who was there, and which equipment they were on, and how long they were working on those machines, and send it off rather than having to do a spreadsheet on Excel and get it out to the general contractors on those jobs—that used to take me forever,” Anderson commented. “I used to hate doing it. But now I can just press a button and it’s all printed. I love it.”