Scott Johnson started his Southern California pool building company, Concrete Creations, in 1995. A full landscape developer, Concrete Creations handles backyard redesigns in their entirety—from drawing plans in AutoCAD for pools, fire pits and fountains to reshaping the yard, building the structures, and completing the surrounding landscaping.
Since the company’s inception, San Diego County has seen Johnson’s team of around 15 employees bring more than 1,700 projects from design to completion.
For his first 7 years in business, Johnson tracked his team of craftsmen with paper time cards. “Workers are no good at remembering their time, or understanding that I only have a limited amount of it,” Johnson said. “They would write down their hours on a piece of paper and they would give it to me the day of payroll,” he recalled.
“They would say ‘Oh yeah, we were there’—and then I would find out that they took the day off and just forgot.” -Scott Johnson, Concrete Creations
Johnson saw the inaccuracy and inefficiency first-hand, since he processes his own payroll (he sends bookkeeping duties elsewhere).
“My guys would turn in time cards saying, ‘We worked 8 hours’ or ‘We worked 8.5’. Or they would say ‘Oh yeah, we were there’—and then I would find out that they took the day off and just forgot.”
An easier, faster way to track workers
After he’d had his business a few years and enough time to take a breath, Johnson realized this was a less-than-ideal system—and decided to find a better way. “That’s just the way I am.” In 2002, he found an ad for ExakTime in White Cap Magazine and took the leap, and he hasn’t looked back.
It turned out ExakTime was the solution he needed to make his life easier, and to save money on labor costs.
“ExakTime simplifies things because it allows me to control time tracking through the worker,” he noted. “It makes it easy for a worker to keep their time by just punching in, and they leave it up to us to tell them how many hours they have.”
Johnson estimates that he has saved “hundreds of thousands of dollars” over the years from using ExakTime.
“My favorite part is the reports”
Johnson said he has surely saved “hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years from using ExakTime.”
What he likes most is being able to pull up a report in seconds to see the total labor hours spent at a work site once the job is done.
“The reports are probably my favorite part of the system. They’re very valuable to us in understanding if we made any money or not, and if we need to up our prices or if we can be more open to negotiation.”
Johnson noted that his full-service niche is small enough that he has no shortage of work, but it is still important to know how long things took and where he can trim prices if budgets are tight.
Without ExakTime? “I’d be screwed. I’d be outta luck.”
“I know we can charge $14,000 for a patio cover, but this way I know we can also bring it down to $10,000 if costs are really tight and still make a profit.”
A reputation to uphold
Johnson said that “99 percent of our clients are word of mouth”, so he has a reputation to uphold. ExakTime helps him do that by keeping his price point on target and his time freed up from the hassles of paper time cards, so he can manage better.
What would he say if his ExakTime system was suddenly taken away from him? “I’d be screwed. I’d be outta luck.”
Amy Bourne is the marketing copywriter for ExakTime. She enjoys learning about the real challenges faced in the construction-related field, and providing content that helps business owners work smarter.