Hidden Costs of Paper Timesheets: Why Your Timesheets Are Bleeding Money

Category: Crew | By Max Watt | 3 minute read | Updated Jan 16, 2024
Hidden Costs of Paper Timesheets: Why Your Timesheets Are Bleeding Money

Paper timesheets and punch cards are still kicking in the U.S., with 38% of workers still relying on them. 

But guess what? Even today, many businesses in the construction trade still rely on this outdated method. And everyone hates the paperwork!

So why stick with something everyone dreads? Time-tracking software offers a modern solution that makes everyone's lives easier. We'll explore why ditching paper isn't just a convenience, but a wise investment for your construction business. 

The cost of paper timesheets

Construction businesses often rely on paper timesheets for time tracking. While this method may seem familiar and cost-effective, it can lead to hidden inefficiencies and hidden costs.

1. Inaccurate time recording

Relying on paper timesheets can be a shaky foundation for tracking your crew hours. 


Manual processes are error-prone. Mistakes happen, and paperwork can easily get lost, misplaced, or even destroyed. This leads to incomplete records you can't trust and often means extensive hours spent on payroll processing.

Human error

Whether it’s typos, miscalculations, or accidental rounding up, the manual entry process is fraught with the potential for human error. While many of the issues can be resolved when caught, they often aren’t. And small errors can become significant (and expensive) ones over time.

Time theft

Relying on paper for clocking in and out opens the door to time theft. This can lead to administrative headaches and overpayments, with crew members clocking extra hours they didn't work. 

Additionally, paper timesheets make it easier for "buddy punching," where one worker clocks in or out for another crew member, so they can sneak extra hours and pad their paycheck. This practice can lead to budget overruns and unfair pay discrepancies. 

Ultimately, paper systems create unnecessary risks and inefficiencies that can be easily avoided with digital solutions.


In the construction world, trust is key.

We rely on our teams to be honest and hardworking. However, when it comes to paper timesheets, that trust can be easily abused. 

Unlike digital systems that track every punch in and out, paper offers opportunities for manipulation. A few extra hours here, a blurred lunch break there, and suddenly an employee's pay packet starts to bulge with unearned wages. 

This vulnerability can breed distrust, making it harder to maintain that positive team spirit. So, while we may want to believe the best in our people, paper timesheets leave the door open for manipulation, a risk we can't simply ignore.

2. Administrative burden

Paper timesheets add a hefty layer of administrative burden. They slow down the whole process, from collecting sheets scattered across sites to manually entering data, risking typos and delays. 

Manual data entry

Workers manually fill out timesheets, susceptible to human error like illegible handwriting or forgotten entries. Then, someone on your team has to manually key in all this data, a tedious and time-consuming task.

Automate it, and you remove this process, clearing their schedules for better, more important tasks. Payroll is mandatory, but the fact is that it can be easily automated with online timesheets.

Delayed approvals and payments

Paper timesheets or timesheet templates slow down payroll with lengthy approvals and processing. This can hurt team morale and even lead to lower productivity. Plus, rounding-up errors cause workers to be underpaid or overpaid.

Lost data

Paperwork is messy. It gets lost, damaged, or misplaced. 

Then, it creates a chain reaction: searching, re-entering data, or maybe even losing it all. That's not just a headache, it could even break industry rules. Missing information means extra work chasing accuracy and compliance.

3. Lack of real-time data

Like with newspapers, information put on timesheets is out of date the moment it is printed, leading to limited visibility, inefficient placement of resources, and missed billing opportunities.

Limited visibility

Paper relies on manual data entry, creating a delay between actual work and recorded time.  This lack of clarity makes tracking individual project progress a guessing game. Pinpointing who worked on what, and for how long, becomes a tedious chore.

Managing labor costs also gets bogged down. Paperwork piles up, delaying updates on how much each project is costing. Without a clear picture of where the hours go, it's like throwing money into a bottomless pit.

Inefficient resource allocation

Lacking accurate and real-time data about workers' whereabouts can hinder the efficiency of your projects. You base decisions on flawed data, potentially overworking one team while underutilizing another. This can lead to burnout and decreased overall efficiency.

Missed billing opportunities

Relying on paper timesheets for hourly billing can be a double-edged sword. While it might seem like a straightforward option, it often leads to less accurate and efficient billing. The issue lies in the limitations of the paper itself. 

Paper timesheets offer fewer ways to categorize projects, making it harder to track the specific work done for each client. This lack of detail can easily lead to miscategorized hours, potentially undercharging or overcharging clients. Furthermore, paper timesheets are prone to human error. 

Missing entries, illegible handwriting, and incomplete information can plague the billing process, introducing inaccuracies and delays. In essence, while paper timesheets may seem simple, they can ultimately hinder transparency and accuracy in your hourly billing system.


ClockShark’s features that address paper timesheet shortcomings

Ditch the mountain of paper timesheets and manual calculations for good! ClockShark is a time-tracking app built for busy tradespeople like you. Your crew can clock in and out with a tap on their phones, capturing real-time data that flows straight into your payroll system. No more messy spreadsheets or wondering who worked what hours.

ClockShark gives you superpowers to see inside your business: track labor costs, spot overtime issues before they blow up your budget, and watch your projects progress like a well-oiled machine. You'll finally have the insights you need to make smart decisions and keep your business booming.

Say goodbye to payroll errors and hello to accurate paychecks for your team. ClockShark makes sure every hour worked gets reflected in the right place, keeping everyone happy and focused on what matters most – building your business, not managing paperwork. Stop the paper madness and take control of your time with ClockShark.

Why ClockShark?

No more mistakes: Clock in and out with your phone, track location, and automatically enforce overtime rules. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to accurate paychecks!

Know where your team is: See where your crew is working in real-time, making payroll processing a breeze. No more arguments about travel time, just fair pay for everyone.

Get the bigger picture: See exactly how much each project costs and who's working on what. Make smart decisions about your resources and avoid costly surprises.

Stay on top of projects: Track progress, spot delays early, and adjust plans as needed. Keep your projects on track and avoid budget blowouts.

Schedule like a pro: Drag and drop to assign the right people to the right jobs, making sure you have the skills and expertise needed for every project.

ClockShark takes the hassle out of time tracking, so you can focus on what matters most.

Verdict: Future-proofing your business by ditching paperwork

Forget paper trails and punch cards, embracing technology is the way to a future-proof business.  

Start by streamlining the daily grind. Clocking in and out, managing projects, and staying connected—all can be a breeze with the right tools. No more mountains of timesheets or endless email threads. Just one simple app that fits in your pocket.

ClockShark isn't just a clock-in and clock-out app, it's a game-changer. Its mobile apps, desktop tools, and kiosk options are all designed for effortless time tracking. The accuracy eliminates typos and miscalculations, ensuring flawless payroll. The real-time insights let you monitor progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions instantly. And it's compliance confidence, knowing your timesheets are airtight and audit-proof.

Stop throwing money away on paper cuts and payroll errors. Stop letting data bury your potential.

Ready to make the leap?  Try ClockShark for FREE and see how easy time-tracking can be!

9,500+ companies use ClockShark to track employees and save time every month.

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