Amber: Hi, I’m Amber Ambrose and this is BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today my guest is Joel Slatis, the Founder and CEO of Timesheets.com. Welcome to the show.
Joel: Thank you.
Amber: Thanks for joining us. So, what is Timesheets.com?
Joel: Timesheets.com is web-based time tracking. We needed the solution for ourselves, this is a story that many companies have, I’m sure you’ve heard before, where there’s a need for something and we were looking for projects to sort of dabble in and see where we went with them. And so, we would start a project every six months or something and try something different. Timesheets was like, once we figured out, like we were using it for our hourly people and so we thought, oh, this would be a really great project that’s in our wheelhouse. It’s a website, it uses technology that we already understand and have an appreciation for. We had all of the skills in house necessary to be able to do it.
Amber: What was your first outside customer?
Joel: You know, I don’t know. I don’t remember, but it was an exciting—
Amber: I’m sure it was really exciting.
Joel: What I can tell you is this—
Amber: Well, you were your first customer, right?
Joel: That’s true, I guess it would be us. We had—each customer gets a number, you know, so if you sign up you’re number 35,627. And then the next person to sign up for a trial account is the next sequential number. And so, what’s interesting is from time to time you’ll see an upgrade or something come through the shopping cart and it’s for customer number 17, and you’re going, wow, that guy has been with us now for like 13 years, from the very, very beginning. We have a few of those customers that have really old numbers so it’s fun to see those come through every once in a while.
Amber: We are a business show, so I would love to know, get a little bit more, if there are any people out there listening that are like, huh, I want to know more, just exactly what it is that you offer to other businesses.
Joel: As I mentioned earlier, we do two types of time tracking. The first kind is the one that I talked about earlier, that’s hourly time tracking for the purpose of payroll. Our service, the beating heart of the service is our payroll algorithm, and that’s basically what takes, you know we have employees clocking in, clocking out, or they can enter time manually, they can put in their breaks, they can be restricted by IP address, and at the end of the day they have a time card, or at the end of the week, I guess I should say. They have a time card that has all of their ins and outs throughout the week, and then we take that data and compile a payroll report that says, here’s the regular time, here’s the overtime, and we keep track of sick and vacation time and everything that you would need basically to compile a payroll report. That payroll report can be exported to paychecks, or ADP, or QuickBooks, to many of the services either through direct connection or through a CSV. Believe it or not, CSV is still a pretty popular way to transfer data around even today.
Amber: That makes sense. Well, email addresses from one Gmail account to the next, that’s the easiest way to do it.
Joel: Right, exactly. So, that’s one of the main things that we do, and probably 75% of our business is that.
Amber: And then but you also have—
Joel: Project time tracking.
Joel: Right. Project time tracking is tracking but we don’t care so much on our project time cards about what time you started work and what time you ended. So, the punching element is sort of irrelevant. For that picture, like an engineer or an architect who is hired to do a job for someone, or an accountant (Amber: A service base), that’s another service base where they’re doing billable time, not payroll time. So, in that case, you might log in the time sheets, or on your phone or whatever and say, ok, I did 3 hours and 30 minutes’ worth of work for client A, and then I did 2 hours’ worth of work for client B. We record the client, the project, the task, the billable rate, the cost rate. I mean, it’s optional, you don’t have to do all those things, but we have features for all those things. That’s what the other half of our clients are using.
Joel: So, we have project time tracking and hourly time tracking, and then to go with that we also have some expense tracking, reimbursable expense tracking for employees. So, if you have an employee who is working on one of these projects or customers that you’ve got in the system already and they go out and have travel, or mileage, or buy a meal while they’re on the road, or a hotel, or something you can keep that reimbursable expense in our system as well. You can even take out your phone and take a photo of the receipt and upload that directly, so you have immediate access to that.
Joel: And we have some HR documents. This is intended for our small, most of our business is small business, our customers, and they don’t have big, expensive HRIS products that they can track their employees with, so we’ve thrown in some simple HR documents that they can use to give them this functionality that they might not otherwise have in their business at all. They can do a performance review, a disciplinary action report, an incident report, stuff like that.
Amber: Sort of the last thing that’s unique about what you guys do is you’re not sending it off to other servers, or no one else is hosting it. You host it in house.
Joel: That’s true. Well, that was an early business decision and that kind of sets us apart, not in a competitive way, necessarily, with our competitors but sort of just an interesting aspect of our business. As web developers we went a different route from most developers. We actually, I have an engineering background, we were able to figure out the whole hosting aspect of it. So, one of the things that helped finance Timesheets back in the early days was that when we built a website, we would also host that website and we charged a premium for hosting because we were the developer.
Joel: So, we built a recurring billing model into our original website business and so we had this money coming in every month; whereas, a traditional website developer builds a website, and maybe they have ongoing business with that website, but a lot of times they don’t, and so it’s sort of a one and done prospect for them. For us, we had all the knowledge of setting up the servers and the hosting and everything else, and so we got all of those customers hosted and we kept that revenue coming in. As a result of that, we know the hosting side, and so we translated that into our timesheets business. So, today instead of using a third party for hosting, or a consultant, or whatever, what we’re able to do is do all the hosting ourselves. We have all our own infrastructure. It’s all modern and patched and updated, and we don’t have to pay anybody for that. We just keep it all in house.
Amber: And you have control over it, too, because when somebody else’s servers go down and their customers are calling you, the buck stops there.
Joel: Yeah. That’s a mixed blessing, to be honest with you. There are times when your servers do go down. Although, as we’ve gotten better at it over the years and we’ve built in redundancy to the system and stuff like that we have not had an unplanned server down situation in quite a long time. I would venture to say, knock on wood, maybe a few years now. Not that it couldn’t happen, but there’s pros and cons. Certainly, having it all under one roof, our roof I guess I should say, is something that we’re capable of doing and it’s kept our cost down and allowed us to do what we need to do and grow at exactly the rate we need to grow without having to spend excessive amounts of money and time figuring out how to use AWS. We also get better performance by having certain things on bare metal servers.
Amber: That makes sense. Well, Joel, thank you very much for joining us today and telling us all about Timesheets.com. We appreciate it.
Joel: Thank you.
Amber: Yeah. We’ll be paying attention. Once again, I’m Amber Ambrose, this is BusinessMakers USA. Thanks for watching.
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