Mastering Timesheets: Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid in Construction Management

From project cost control to ensuring accurate payroll, mastering timesheets is a crucial skill for general contractors: precise time tracking will help you improve your profitability. This blog post delves into best practices and common mistakes to help general contractors navigate the intricacies of time tracking with finesse.

Importance of Timesheets

Project Cost Control

Accurate time tracking is the cornerstone of project cost control. By meticulously recording hours spent on each task, contractors gain a granular understanding of project timelines and costs. This transparency enables them to make informed decisions, preventing budget overruns and delays.

Whenever you create a budget, the best practice is to create multiple categories for your quote. Each category should have a dedicated forecasted cost and you will then compare actual costs during the execution of your project. When tracking your actual costs you want to be diligent and associate each cost in the right category so that you can drive the right insights.

For example, let’s take the following example. Imagine you have the following cost structure based on the quotes you sent to your customer:

 Category Forecasted cost Actuals % actuals vs forecast
Mobilization $10,000 $9,589  95.89%
Demolition $22%,000 $19,500   97.50%
Excavation $40,000 $45,000   112.50% 
French drain $10,000 $10,000   100.00%
Electricity $30,000 $25,000 83.33% 
Plumbing $17,000 $18,500 108.82% 
Structural concrete $22%,000 $21,500 107.50% 
Structural wood $30,000 $34%,000 95.00% 
Doors and windows $400,000 $400,000 100.00% 

As a general contractor you want to make sure you’re allocating labour costs right into each of the categories in order for you to assess how efficient your team is for any given project.

Payroll Accuracy

The direct correlation between timesheets and payroll accuracy cannot be overstated. Precise time records ensure that employees are compensated correctly, fostering trust and satisfaction within the workforce. Moreover, accurate payroll contributes to the financial health of the business, reducing compliance risks and potential disputes.

We advise you to use standard payroll providers such as Wagepoint in Canada, Gusto or Rippling in the USA. 

Best Practices for Timesheets

Digital Solutions

Embrace the power of digital tools, such as our construction management software Billdr PRO, to revolutionize time tracking. Digital solutions not only enhance accuracy but also streamline the entire process, saving valuable time and resources.

We have also released for your convenience a simple Excel spreadsheet.

Clock-In/Clock-Out Procedures

Establish clear and consistent clock-in/clock-out procedures. This simple yet effective practice sets the foundation for accurate time recording. Consistency in these processes reduces errors and promotes efficiency across projects.

Billdr PRO offers you a simple application for you & your employees to capture clock-in/clock-out data in a very simple way.

Categorization of Tasks

After each shift, we encourage general contractors to categorize work tasks systematically into precise categories. This practice provides a detailed breakdown of where time is allocated, enabling better resource allocation and improved project planning.

Regular Monitoring

Regularly monitor timesheets to address discrepancies promptly. Timely intervention prevents the compounding of errors, ensuring that projects stay on track and within budget.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Inconsistent Time Recording

Inconsistency in time recording is a recipe for disaster. General contractors must emphasize the importance of consistently tracking hours to maintain project timelines and financial control.

Your workers will often forget to clock-in or clock-out so you want to equip yourself with a tool that provides everyone reminders.

Missing Entries

Missing time entries can wreak havoc on project management. Stress the significance of completeness in timesheets to ensure that all hours worked are accounted for, preventing last-minute surprises.

Lack of Verification

Timesheets are only as reliable as the verification processes in place. Contractors should instill a culture of verification to catch errors early, fostering a culture of accountability.

With Billdr PRO, we built a process where you can review each entry in order to approve / reject or edit them. 

Manual Errors

Over-reliance on manual timesheet processes invites errors. Embrace technology to automate time tracking, reducing the risk of manual mistakes and promoting efficiency.

You can start using our excel spreadsheet to get things started but we suggest you use our construction management software Billdr PRO in order to automate that task.

Integrating Timesheets with Payroll

Streamlining Payroll Processes

Integrating timesheets with payroll systems streamlines the entire payroll process. This integration reduces administrative burden, minimizes errors, and ensures that employees are compensated accurately and on time.

Billdr PRO provides you weekly reports for your timesheet so that you can have accurate data to process payroll and sync all the data with Quickbooks too.

Automation Benefits

Automating the connection between timesheets and payroll brings a myriad of benefits. Efficiency gains, error reduction, and improved compliance are just a few advantages that contribute to the overall success of construction management.

Billdr PRO will look into integrating with a payroll provider in the near future. In the meantime you can download a csv file every week with timesheet data.


In conclusion, mastering timesheets is a fundamental skill for general contractors. By implementing best practices and avoiding common pitfalls, contractors can enhance project control, ensure accurate payroll, and propel their businesses to new heights of success. Embrace digital solutions like our construction management software Billdr PRO, establish clear procedures, and foster a culture of accuracy to unlock the true potential of time tracking in construction management.

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