Eliminate Doughnut Time: How to Ensure Your Techs Are Managing Their Time Properly


Greg Dooley
January 25, 2019
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Too Much Downtime Can Be a Serious Problem — Work on changing bad behavior patterns that limit the number of jobs each day.
  2. Change the Window for the First Job of the Day — A move to 8-9 a.m. instead of 8-10 a.m. can have a dramatic effect.
  3. Monitor How Time Is Spent Between Jobs — Too much time grabbing food or gas could prove costly.

Every business owner knows that time management on the job is essential to success. After all, customers expect technicians to complete work in a timely fashion. But how about time management before and after the job?

There is no getting around it: too much downtime can be a serious problem. And for business owners, eliminating your technicians’ downtime — or “doughnut time” — is no easy task. Part of accomplishing this is changing patterns of behavior.

For example, a technician might be used to coming into the shop in the morning, grabbing coffee, getting parts, etc. How long these tasks take could mean that a tech will only get to two jobs that day, rather than three.

While 8-10 a.m. is the more common window for the first job of the day, changing it to 8-9 a.m. can have a dramatic effect.

One way to eliminate that doughnut time, and ensure a more productive day, is to change the window for the first job of the day from 8-10 a.m. to 8-9 am. While 8-10 a.m. is more common, removing that second hour can have a dramatic effect.

Why? Many techs will look at an 8-10 a.m. window and think, “Oh, I have to be there before 10 a.m. That’s all that matters.” So that time in the shop could extend far too long. On the other hand, if you make it 8-9 a.m., then you are telling that technician that he or she needs to be out the door by 8-8:30 a.m. in order to make it to the customer’s house before 9 a.m.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s a quick, simple change, but it goes a long way toward eliminating the doughnut time. Quite frankly, a two-hour window in the morning is simply unnecessary.

Behavior between jobs is another matter. It’s not uncommon for a tech to stop and grab food on the way to a job, or maybe get gas. However, business owners need to keep a close eye on how long these stops stretch. Are we talking five minutes, or 30? If you spot your truck idling at a gas station for half an hour, you’re losing money.

If you spot your truck idling at a gas station for half an hour, you’re losing money.

There is a greater issue here, as well. You set expectations with customers that a tech is going to arrive at a certain time. A tech who spends too long eating or pumping gas may also be arriving late to jobs. We all know the importance of customer expectations — as well as the importance of customer reviews …

So make clear to your techs that you are watching. Just as you set expectations with customers, you also must set expectations with your employees.

Analyzing data is a key element of Pointman PACT; part of our job at Pointman is to help our members identify ways to increase efficiency and productivity. We look closely to ensure doughnut time is eliminated, and that techs are not spending too long between jobs. In addition, we offer time-tested ways to set the proper expectations with employees. Learn more about how PACT can help you run your business successfully.

Interested in more content like this? Sign up for our newsletter!