5 Tips for Simplifying Construction Payroll

As our team at busybusy has talked with countless construction business owners about the frustrations they experience while running their companies, it has become clear that managing payroll is among the biggest headaches that construction companies face.

This really isn’t surprising. Good employees provide great value, but managing payroll for a team can get complicated. Most office managers dread taking care of withholding taxes and gathering W-2 paperwork, as well as handling insurance, payroll and all the other necessary tasks that come with managing a business. 

Construction payroll comes with its own special challenges when employees are often spread across different job sites with different schedules. 

Our mission at busybusy is to help make managing your construction company as efficient and productive as possible. We can’t guarantee that payroll will ever be a fun activity you look forward to, but here are 5 tips for making it more manageable.

  1. Go Paperless
  2. Make Payroll Collaborative
  3. Use Zen Payroll
  4. Classify Construction Workers Correctly
  5. Save Money with Fringe Benefits

Construction Payroll Checklist
Benefits of Efficient Payroll

hands at a laptop computer as someone works on payroll

Go Paperless with Mobile Time Tracking

When payroll takes three hours every Friday, you’re doing something wrong. There are so many tools at your disposal to make life and business simpler. A mobile time tracking app is one of them.

With automated time tracking, there’s no need for tedious data input. That’s reason enough to ditch paper time cards!

Automatic collection of time cards can be a great advantage to your business. Three main advantages are:

Easier Time Tracking:The biggest pain with payroll is dealing with the paper time cards. It becomes a hassle to collect them, employees expect to be paid on time but don’t want to turn in their time sheets on time. Paper time cards are hard to read and most often done at the last minute. Work hours automatically collected make it so the time sheets are turned in on time every pay period.


  • Deciphering Handwriting: Data entry can be hard a very time-consuming. After spending too much time collecting the time cards, you know have to try and read through them. Handwriting that is very sloppy can make it hard to decipher how many hours they worked. You are left guessing or hunting employees down (AGAIN) to see what they were trying to write. Mobile time cards allow them to clock in, take a break and clock out. Thus producing a record of how many hours they worked, so you no longer have to try and read each time card.


  • NO More Data Entry: Once paper time cards are deciphered, data entry begins. The long and agonizing data entry consumes the rest of your week. Punching each employees time for every day they worked becomes monotonous! Mobile time cards provide a pdf of how many hours each guy worked and what job they were working on. On the web, you can export the pdf in a CSV file to import it into your payroll software.


  • Accurate Data: With mobile time cards there is no wondering whether the information you are receiving is accurate. From job costing to time cards, you know that the information is correct. Each time an employee clocks in, out or takes a break their GPS location is stamped on their time card. You know exactly what job they are on when they clock in and out. This will ensure that your job costing is accurate and that bids on future jobs will be correct.


Use a Time Card Calculator

While not as useful as the busybusy all-in-one mobile tool, an online time card calculator can still be helpful in quickly calculating time for your construction crew. If you’re not yet a busybusy customer, you can still use our free time card calculator to make payroll quick and easy.

two construction workers talking together while looking at a chart

Make Payroll Collaborative

Whether it’s a small business or a large company, the people who process payroll are everyone’s friends — until there’s a mistake on a paycheck. That’s when the grumbling starts and patience wears thin.

When employees forget to clock in or out, are too busy to enter details like breaks or mileage, or are often in transit from one jobsite to another where the pay may be different, the responsibility to correct their errors falls on unsuspecting office managers. If not caught in time, one small error can be a big headache when payday arrives and the deposit or check is wrong.

Whether it’s a forgotten entry or a hastily scribbled timecard, the little things that contribute to errors can be eliminated by empowering employees. Accurate and reliable payroll records begin at the source: with each individual worker.

Eliminating errors and improving areas of cost accounting and labor tracking are possible when every employee in the company is part of the process. In addition to giving employees responsibility for their own pay, company-wide contribution and data generation leads to increased performance, stronger operational budgeting, and across the board benefits.

Converting payroll from solely an office manager’s job to a company-wide effort eases the stress and burdens of weekly payroll processing. It gives every employee and manager a renewed appreciation for the collaborative effort that builds businesses and leads to success.

Use Zen Payroll

Zen Payroll is a tool that works well for construction businesses and pairs with the busybusy construction management app.

With Zen Payroll, payroll managers can have employees set up their own accounts, access a complete benefits management system, and easily manage team members.

Busybusy Integration

Busybusy users can export their time card data from the app right into Zen Payroll. For more information on the benefits of using Zen Payroll, check out our guide for bringing construction payroll into the modern age.

Classify Construction Workers Correctly

Correctly classifying your workers is a big one for the construction industry. You will need to decide if your workers are going to be W-2 Employees or Independent 1099 Workers. It’s important to classify your workers correctly, or you may have to pay expensive fines down the road. For example, according to 10 Till 2 ”The Department of Labor ordered three construction companies to pay $491,100 in back wages and damages to 99 employees who were misclassified as independent contractors, in addition to another $108,900 in civil fines.”

If you are unsure how to classify a worker, then use this calculator to help figure it out.

Save Money with Fringe Benefits

Instead of giving your employees a raise on what they are paid consider proving tax-free fringe benefits. With these benefits, you won’t have to pay more payroll taxes and your employees will see more value at their job.

Some of the most attractive fringe benefits are:

Insurance Benefits: This may include dental and health benefits. By providing a group plan for your company, you can give your employees the peace of mind that they’re covered when it comes to their health.

Retirement Plan: Many employers are very generous with their retirement plans and will even match what employees put in. A retirement plan is an excellent option to boost employee loyalty as well.

A meal plan: Often is cheaper to provide lunch for your employees rather than them leaving work for up to an hour.

These are just a few of the many fringe benefits you can offer to your workers. To learn more about fringe benefits visit the IRS’s website.

Your Construction Payroll Checklist

The Benefits of Timely and Efficient Payroll

Every employee wants to get paid on time and when they open their check or online banking they want the net pay to be exactly what they were expecting and they do not want to find any surprises.

There are always high expectations when it comes to getting paid on time and being paid the right amount.  But for some reason it is hard to find very much enthusiasm for filling out a timecard and making sure it gets submitted on time.

There are countless stories of managers and payroll supervisors chasing down employees to collect their information so that payroll can be processed on time.

Imagine a world where at the end of each day all the cumulative hours worked have been automatically turned in, can be viewed and if needed processed for pay.  Mobile phone apps make this possible.  Why?  Employees nearly always have their phones with them.  So why not have a quick, simple and easy to use app that lets them enter hours worked and in the process eliminate all the chasing, reminding and frustrations of collecting time.

Using the right tool makes all the difference.  Employees get to use a device they are familiar with.  Because hours are automatically uploaded they only have to worry about clocking in and out.  Payroll managers are happier because they don’t have to chase down time sheets and have more control over how they spend their day.  Life gets simpler and easier for everyone.

There is a lot of value to timely and accurate payroll.  Employees are happier, which often translates into happy customers and happy customers can mean more profits and new opportunities for business.

Payroll Solutions with busybusy

The solution to outdated and time-consuming manual entry comes from busybusy – an interactive labor-tracking app that every construction employee can use.

The busybusy app captures, organizes, and stores all the data necessary for accurate and reliable employee payroll, job accounting, and budgeting needs. The user-friendly app is available to every employee in the company. With a tap of a button on a smartphone, employees can log in, change worksites, and keep track of their hours.

All of these important things are happening simultaneously, and it allows you to run payroll in under 30 minutes.

Make Payroll PayRule

No more chasing down employees…

Employees track their time with their mobile phone. At the end of the week, they can review and sign their time card inside the app. The data is stored in the cloud, where your payroll team can instantly access it. Forget carrying stacks of time cards to and from job sites!

No more manually inputting timesheet data into accounting software…

When timestamps are digital, it takes just a few clicks to transfer time sheet info to your accounting software. The busybusy™ app integrates with popular accounting software used by construction companies. Rest easy knowing no mistakes were made between reading sloppy handwriting and typing the wrong keys.

No more labor disputes over inaccurate record keeping…

Mobile time tracking makes timesheet info completely transparent. The busybusy™ app gives employees access to their timesheets any time. View current and past info, review edits to entries made by management, and know what sized paycheck is coming your way.

No more storing time cards for tax law compliance…

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) act requires employees to store payroll information for 3 years. You also have to be able to provide this information to the Department of Labor (DOL) within 72 hours, if requested. This leaves a good chunk of your office space dedicated to file cabinets filled with documents you’ll hopefully never need. With busybusy™ you can access every record you’ve created, anywhere you can log onto the internet.

The busybusy app is the perfect solution to every business’s payroll and job cost needs — especially for those companies on the go with frequently changing work locations. Adopting the busybusy™ mobile time tracking app will make a dramatic improvement in your payroll processing.