Business owners often turn to time-card apps to solve the operational nightmare that can be tracking hours for their employees, while simultaneously making sure they punch in and out of work when and where they’re supposed to.
Our tracking tool, Buddy Punch, helps with this issue by leveraging your employees’ mobile devices so you can always know when and where they clock in/out of work, or limit the coordinates from which they can do so if needed. The former we call GPS Tracking, and the latter, Geofencing.
In this article, we’ll detail how Buddy Punch’s various employee productivity and monitoring features work, along with our other key time entry features, and customer reviews.
And because Buddy Punch may not necessarily fit your specific business needs, we’ll also list 6 other apps to track employee real-time locations.
Table of Contents
Employees often fail to punch in their assigned location on time, especially in the field service industry, or do so from the parking lot on site and then leave. This is not only extremely frustrating and disheartening but invariably leads to wasted time and money unless you use a management tool to stop it.
We learned this ourselves during our previous business endeavors, where we struggled to track time for over 20 team members while keeping them accountable, across 3 different business locations.
This frustration is what gave birth to Buddy Punch and why, when we set out to build it, we made sure to include two tools that would help with this very issue: GPS Tracking features and Geofencing.
Both these features leverage GPS technology to keep your team accountable, but each is best suited for different accountability needs.
A GPS Tracker, on the one hand, can be particularly helpful for businesses with employees who travel from location to location. This includes, for example, salespeople who visit different houses throughout any given day, and who finish the workday with 10+ punches across 10+ different locations.
Geofencing, on the other hand, is best suited for business with employees who typically visit the same worksites day in and day out, as is the case with construction crews. For these, Geofences are a great accountability solution — you can set up multiple Geofences, each tied to a specific worksite so that your employees can only punch in/out when within that predetermined radius.
Below, we’ll detail how these two features work further.
How GPS Tracking Works
With GPS Tracking, you can capture your teams’ GPS coordinates whenever they clock in/out of work. Our mobile app then sends that data to your administrator dashboard and the particular employees’ timecard and timesheet, which you can use to analyze whether it was them who did the punching, or if they had someone else do it in their stead.
In our opinion, the best employee GPS Tracking doesn’t have to be active at all times, or for all employees. That could be unnecessary and possibly overwhelming with the amount of information. Per the below screenshot, you can turn GPS Tracking on or off on a per-employee basis:
Common Use Cases
As mentioned above, this feature is particularly helpful for businesses with employees who hop around from location to location in any given day or week, such as landscaping, door-to-door salespeople, etc.
How to Set Up GPS Tracking with Buddy Punch
To activate GPS Tracking, simply:
- Visit the Buddy Punch website and sign up for a free trial.
- Add your employees to Buddy Punch.
- From our administrator dashboard, turn on ‘GPS Tracking’ on all your employees, or on a per-employee basis.
Once done, make sure your employees start punching in/out of work using the Buddy Punch app (iOS, Android). Use that location data to verify accountability by accessing the Buddy Punch administrator dashboard.
How Geofencing Works
With Geofencing, you can create a specified radius around a location from which employees have to punch in/out. Our app detects (in real-time) whenever a member of your staff punches in within your specified Geofence, and then records that information in the administrator dashboard for you to review and keep track of.
If your employees attempt to punch when outside the Geofence, our app will show them an error message and ask them to try again. What’s more, the Buddy Punch app will show your employees a map of their current location, and how it compares to where the Geofence is.
You can set up multiple geofences, and assign job codes for each to keep track of the different job sites your employees work in.
Common Use Cases
As mentioned above, Geofencing works great for small businesses with employees who visit the same location(s) on any given week or months, as is the case with construction crews. Geofencing also works great for businesses where employees might work one job site in the morning, and another in the afternoon.
How to Set Up Geofencing with Buddy Punch
To activate Geofencing and start limiting the locations from which your employees can punch in/out of work, simply:
- Visit the Buddy Punch website and sign up for a free trial.
- Add your employees to Buddy Punch.
- Navigate to the administrator dashboard and create a radius around a specific location on a map.
- Assign employees to that geofence (all, or on a per-employee basis).
Now, whenever an employee punches in/out of work, Buddy Punch will verify whether they are doing so from the location they’re supposed to. Again, if they’re within the Geofence, Buddy Punch will validate their punches and record that information. If they are elsewhere, our app will show them an error message and ask them to try again.
Additional Buddy Punch Features
Buddy Punch’s features are not just limited to GPS Location Tracking and Geofencing. We wanted to create an all-in-one tool that would cover everything workforce management. Buddy Punch’s main function is to streamline and optimize a normally-intensive process (employee management) that can hurt your overall profitability. Often, businesses struggle to keep their employees accountable not when out in the field, but inside their own offices, as is the case when employees clock in from the parking lot and then leave, or when they have a co-worker punch in their stead (i. e. Buddy Punching).
To solve your non-location-dependent accountability needs, we’ve built three additional features:
- IP Address Locking: Buddy Punch ties your employees’ ability to punch to a specific IP Address, such as your office’s Wi-Fi network.
- Webcam Photos on Punch: Our app asks your employees to take a photo of themselves before they can punch in/out of work, for you to review later and check for accountability.
- Facial Recognition: Your employees will need to validate it’s actually them through a biometric scan of their faces before they can clock in or clock out of work.
Once you’ve leveraged our accountability features to avoid unnoticed absences and make sure you always know when and where your employees punch in/out of work, we recommend you also use our (1) Payroll and (2) Scheduling features.
In the case of our Payroll features, instead of a manual process involving paper time cards, these allow you to save countless hours and headaches. Our Payroll features include:
- Payroll Integrations: Buddy Punch integrates with most top payroll providers to automate your payroll processing, including QuickBooks, Paychex, Workforce, and more.
- Payroll Reports on Demand: Buddy Punch calculates everything needed to run payroll automatically and lets you export it in the form of an Excel or CSV file with just a few clicks.
- Time Off Tracking: Your employees can request time off (paid or unpaid) via our app, subject to your approval.
- Track Employee Work Hours by Jobs, Projects, or Locations: Generate “Hours Reports”, segmented by ‘Location’, ‘Position’ or ‘Department’.
- Accruals: Handle all employee accrual needs in one place by setting up accrual rules (based on a specific pay period, or on the number of work hours.)
In the case of our Employee Scheduling features, you can use these to juggle your employees’ ever-changing shift needs without stress, speeding up the schedule-crafting process. These features include:
- Drag & Drop Scheduling: Decide first on what shift will best fit each specific employee, and then re-arrange (click, drag, and drop) shifts visually until you’ve created the perfect schedule for your team.
- Repeating/Recurring Shifts: Have Buddy Punch automatically repeat schedules to avoid recreating them from scratch every time a new work period comes around. Schedules can recur over specified regular periods, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
- Employee Availability: Have your employees tell you when and where they’d like to work, subject to your approval within the app.
- Punch Limiting: Tie your employees’ ability to punch to their schedule, or set up rules to limit their punches to 15 minutes before or after a shift, for example.
- Notify Employees When You Publish Their Shift: Use our app to notify your employees when their schedules are published through email or mobile push notification (or both).
We’re proud to say that, at the time of writing, Buddy Punch has 788 reviews on the popular software review site Capterra, scoring 4.8 out of 5 stars overall, and in both Ease of Use and Customer Service categories.
Here are a few reviews that highlight what our users love most about Buddy Punch:
Interested in Learning More?
If you’d like to learn more about Buddy Punch’s features, including what Geofencing and GPS Tracking look like in practice, watch our recorded demo:
You can also request a personalized 1-on-1 by clicking here — a person from our customer support team will show you the ins and outs of the platform, and answer all questions that might arise along the way. Alternatively, get started today by signing up for a free Buddy Punch trial here.
At the time of writing, Connecteam has 124 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Here are a few relevant reviews that highlight their GPS functionality:
At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time has 5509 reviews on Capterra, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars. Here are a few relevant reviews that highlight their GPS functionality:
4. Time Tracker by eBillity
At the time of writing, eBillity’s time tracking app has 2409 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars. This is one of the few time tracking apps that has built-in offline tracking in the basic plan. Here are a few relevant reviews that highlight their GPS time tracking functionality:
At the time of writing, Clockify has 1580 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Here are a few reviews:
At the time of writing, Hubstaff’s employee time tracking software has 1172 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Here are a few reviews about their time clock functionalities:
At the time of writing, Homebase has 789 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The free plan is a little different than normal software, allowing unlimited users but limiting you to 1 location. Here are a few relevant reviews that highlight their location tracking functionality:
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