As an MSP owner, you want to be able to track billable time to the minute.
Which is perfectly understandable because if you have 5 employees working for you and if each misses tracking 30 minutes of their billable time every day, you’ll lose as many as 150 minutes of billable time each working day — that’s about 12,5 hours every week (if you’ve a 5-day work-week). And if your hourly rate is, say, $100, that’s a loss of a whopping $1,250 per week.
But tracking time — more so, tracking time accurately for MSP employees — is easier said than done.
Well, because you don’t have an out-of-the-box time tracking solution that’s built exclusively around the needs of an MSP business.
But there’s a workaround:
All you need to do is pick a bunch of time-tracking tools and then patch up all the time entries via a powerful Business Automation.
Let’s now look at how you can automate time tracking for your MSP employees and capture every single billable minute.
Tracking time spent on (alert) tickets
The bulk of your employees’ billable labor time is spent on end user tickets and alert tickets from your RMM platform . Which means accuracy in tracking this “ticket time” is your first priority.
Now, when it comes to tracking time spent on tickets, an MSP business has two options:
1) Using an MSP ticketing system with an easy time entry feature
Most of the popular MSP RMM, ticketing systems or help desk tools like SolarWinds N-central, Kaseya, Zendesk and others let technicians add start and stop time entries for the tickets they touch upon.
These tools use these time entries to populate their timesheets, which are later used for billing/payroll purposes.
Obviously, to make this option work, your employees need to religiously make the time entries.
You can, however, automate time-logging for some ticketing tasks via a service like Zapier. For example, you can integrate your ticketing system with your time tracking app via Zapier so that every time you add a new account, a new time entry gets logged. Or each time, you add a new ticket or a new configuration task to an existing ticket, a new time entry is fired.
2) Using a Business Automation with an in-built ticketing system and time tracking
The second (and a much better option) for tracking the time spent on tickets is to use a Business Automation that comes with features for ticketing and time tracking.
For instance, with Computicate (our Business Automation solution), you can easily log your ticket time with time entries. In fact, we take ticket time tracking to a whole new level with our automated time registration feature.
The added advantage of using a Business Automation solution’s ticketing and time tracking features is that it is fully integrated in your day-to-day operations. You can easily identify the time spent per client — which can help you identify your clients who give you the maximum billable time (and the resulting revenue). Also, with a Business Automation, all your ticket time entries are immediately ready to process for invoicing/billing with the Business Automation solution’s billing feature, without any manual work.
Besides, there are many reasons an MSP business must use a Business Automation solution.
Tracking travel time
Billing for travel time is always debatable.
Some MSPs view it as the most natural thing to do.
Whereas, other MSPs feel they should cover the travel time (at least the return trip) and that it shouldn’t be counted toward billable time.
So, if you’re from the former group, you now have a bunch of mobile apps that can automate tracking the travel time for your technicians.
Here are a few apps that use the GSP system of your employees’ cell phones to automatically track their travel time:
While these apps do add a little overhead, they can make you more money depending on how much time your technicians spend in transit.
Tracking ad hoc stuff like “quick calls”
So … not all your billable time is spent on tickets or travel.
Sometimes, your engineers offer quick 5-10 minute consultations over their mobiles.
An automatic time tracking app like Toggl comes in handy for logging these otherwise-very-easy-to-miss billable work.
Toggl, however, is a very general time tracking solution and can be only be used to track ad hoc time slots like calls.
Wrapping it up …
Once you have all the time entries from your RMM or ticketing solution and any other time tracking solutions you use, use a Business Automation to automatically capture all the billable time from them and bill them according to the SLA you have with your customers. A Business Automation solution like Computicate integrates with most of the MSP RMM tools like Continuum, Solarwinds RMM, Ninja RMM, Datto RMM and also with a host of other solutions.
Realistically, about 65-70% of your technicians’ time should be billable by the least. If that’s not happening at your MSP (money on the table!) or if you want to maximize billability, work on your employees’ time tracking habits. To start with, give them the right time-tracking tools. And then explore how a Business Automation solution can help you effortlessly capture more billable time.
Download you cheat sheet here: Automatic Time Tracking for MSPs (a Cheat Sheet for Maximizing Billable Time & Profits)