Advantage Flooring of Hanover, MD, has the kind of storybook beginning that makes you smile.
When Billy Saul’s father came to him and said he was tired after years of working for flooring companies, Billy said, “Dad, let’s open our own company, me and you.” This was 1993, and Billy was 18.
Soon, he, his dad, and his younger sister were running a commercial flooring business out of the spare bedroom in their home. Within a few years, they were renting a warehouse.
A Capital Location
The company grew gradually bigger and bigger, and today they have their own warehouse for the materials and equipment of the 10 to 15 commercial flooring jobs they usually have going at once, with up to 15 employees on each.
The warehouse is located in the Greater Baltimore area only 30 miles away from the nation’s capital, which is convenient, since a large number of their jobs are in one of these two municipalities.
Advantage Flooring is often hired to level and polish concrete floors, an option that has become popular in refurbished warehouses that are now condos, restaurants, shops and even offices, according to Laurie Saul Inglis, the younger sister who is now second in command to her brother Billy Saul, company president and CEO.
Trust & Paper
What did Advantage Flooring use to track time for their first 23 years in business? “Trust and paper,” Inglis said. “It was awful.”
“I had about 20 guys turning in timesheets at different times, and most would turn them in late,” she told us. “Those on the same jobs copied off of each other, but I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Sometimes the workers didn’t specify on timesheets which job they had been working on—so she would have to go back to the scheduler and try to sort it out for accounting purposes.
All of this led to headache-filled days of payroll processing, including printing and signing paper checks. And sometimes disagreements about hours worked led to screaming matches.
The last straw was one of Advantage Flooring’s biggest jobs recently: preparing the concrete floors of a new middle school in eastern Maryland. Their team worked together all day and left as a group for their hotel at night, but when they turned in their paper timesheets, their hours didn’t line up. “There was a lot of back and forth,” Inglis said.
A More Polished System
In early 2016 Saul stumbled on ExakTime at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas and decided that a time tracking system that allowed workers to punch in and out on their smartphones, with GPS tracking, might be the way to simplify payroll and get everyone’s hours accurately recorded.
ExakTime turned out to be just what Inglis needed to streamline her job. “It’s been a huge time-saver for me. Payroll takes me three or four hours, whereas before it would take days,” she said. “All the data goes from [ExakTime’s] web-based software straight to QuickBooks. It automatically tells me when they made overtime. It takes the guesswork out.”
She said that in the first twelve months of use, ExakTime had saved Advantage Flooring about $75,000 in time card fraud.
Today, all of Advantage Flooring’s employees receive their pay by direct deposit, payroll is done through ExakTime—and Inglis is free from the paper shackles that used to bind her.