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

by

Greg Dooley
VP of Customer Success
October 22, 2019
/
2
minutes to read

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.

Why Accurate Timekeeping Is Critical, Pt. 1: OT Disputes

What if a former tech files a lawsuit alleging that you owe him overtime? Learn how accurate recordkeeping — and the right software — is critical for your defense.

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.

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. When you’re using a field service management software like Pointman with advanced timecard management and time-tracking capabilities, it’s easy — every employee gets into the routine of setting their status (dispatched, starting a job, meal break, etc.) whenever it changes throughout the day. As long as you enforce using it consistently, your techs will know they’re always accountable for their activities and whereabouts.

Why Accurate Timekeeping Is Critical, Pt. 2: Labor Audits and Family Leave

What if you’re the lucky winner of your state’s next labor audit? Learn how accurate recordkeeping — and the right software — is critical for your business.

Analyzing data is a key element of Pointman; part of our job 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 Pointman and our PACT model can help you run your business more successfully


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