Established in 1972 in Lubbock, Texas, BTAC Inc. is one of the leading HVAC servicers and installers in the South Plains of Texas. The company has grown from one employee to over 100, and expanded its offerings to include plumbing, commercial refrigeration and kitchen repair. BTAC now serves about 17 jobs a year and jobs can take as long as one year to complete.
After decades of growth, with more employees and less ability to track them accurately, BTAC founder Bruce Thornton had had enough of paper time cards and started researching alternatives.
Thornton purchased an ExakTime system in 2012. With the time tracking accuracy and added security ExakTime has provided, BTAC has never looked back.
How paper time cards fell short
With around 120 workers at more than a dozen job sites at a time, the task of tracking their workers with slips of paper at the end of the week was becoming tougher and tougher.
“It was time consuming,” said HR Manager Zelda Montgomery, an employee with BTAC for 14 years. “Workers didn’t come into the office but were at remote job sites, so foremen had to stop working and drive around gathering time cards and bringing them into the office. It was a lot of downtime for them.”
Montgomery, who handles BTAC’s accounting, recalled spending a lot of time pouring over time cards to complete payroll—sometimes staying at work until midnight. “There were a lot of errors,” she said.
With ExakTime, Montgomery said payroll has gotten a whole lot easier. “Now I just download all the time records, upload them as a text file, and flow it into my Jonas program. It takes me maybe a day to get everything processed whereas before it took three days. It’s awesome.”
Workers are paid what they really earn
BTAC frequently handles prevailing wage jobs work for area school systems. Montgomery noted that an HVAC plumber might have been tempted in the past to stretch the hours he worked at a prevailing wage job, since it paid more than his other jobs. “Now he has to clock in and out of the right job, so I always know exactly where he was.”
Even when employees are being honest, they often have trouble remembering what they did five or ten days ago. “One of the things we’ve really gotten from [ExakTime] is accuracy,” commented Montgomery. “Our team is working at different job sites. They don’t remember when they were at different sites or how many hours they worked at each. Now we have accurate cost coding from different job sites.”
Montgomery noted that using ExakTime has also ensured they are paying their hardest and most valuable workers what they deserve.
“I hate shorting people as much as overpaying them. You have a good employee who has been writing eight to five when he’s really working eight to five-thirty and maybe didn’t want to make us mad by going into overtime. We tell our guys, we’ll pay you for what you’re working. Now their pay is accurate and reflects exactly what they did—so our good employees really like it as well.”
Montgomery said it would be hard to estimate how much savings ExakTime has made for their company. “We probably saved a ton of money. I don’t even know if I could put dollar amount on it.”
Increased safety and flexibility
BTAC works on a wide variety of sites, including new high-rise builds where workers are often scattered around on different floors. “Those jobs with multiple floors and restricted areas can be dangerous,” Montgomery noted. “The foreman can’t just walk from job-site to job-site, but they have to keep track of their employees.”
Before ExakTime, a foreman couldn’t be sure who was on site at a given time or who had left for the day. Time tracking was difficult; keeping tabs on workers in case of emergency was even harder.
“From a safety standpoint, the ExakTime system is great,” Montgomery said. “You always know who is clocked in and who is there on site in case of an emergency.”
BTAC works from the ground up, from dirt lots to high-rises. They currently have 14 Hornets and 17 ExakTime mobile licenses, which are used by both administrative staff and job foremen. “On some of our jobs when we start with just a dirt lot, there’s no place to put the Hornet. So ExakTime Mobile is great for those situations.”
Helping with complicated job sites
One of the company’s more challenging jobs took place at University Medical Center in Lubbock. BTAC’s workers were working above a surgical area on the fourth floor.
“We had to work around the surgery schedules,” Montgomery explained. Workers’ schedules changed from day to day and week to week, she said, sometimes starting at midnight and sometimes in the morning.
The ExakTime system saved BTAC about 8 to 12 labor hours a week at the hospital job, according to Montgomery. A trailer was set up outside the hospital where BTAC employees could clock in and out on the Hornet, or with the mobile app. “The foreman didn’t have to go around finding his guys to fill out time cards, and our guys could no longer leave work early without us knowing, and then say they were there on their time cards.”