We interviewed five agency owners in the areas of digital marketing, SEO, web design and development that use our software. We asked them to explain exactly how they use it, and how it significantly improved their profit margins.
Here is a summary of some of the quotes from digital agency owners, and links to the article section:
“After implementing the software, we found that staff were more accountable with their time.” – Noam Judah, TopRankings
“Since we started using Time Doctor 3 years ago, we have increased revenue 1000% as a business.” – Luke Sartain, LSG Creative
“Without tools like Slack and Time Doctor, managing remote teams can get very messy.” – Andrew Ruditser, Maxburst
“We can see if they are putting in the hours that they said they would do.” – Garry Kanfer, Big Drop Inc
Ok let’s dive into the interviews with our Digital Agency Owners:
“If clients dispute the work, Time Doctor enables me to prove the work was done.”
Adrian Barber’s company, Aleph IT provides SEO, web development, and mobile app and software development services. He has seven offshore staff in the Philippines.
Initially, everyone in the Philippines were remote workers, which is why we implemented Time Doctor for time tracking and monitoring to ensure work was being done. Now we have an office, but we kept the software because I’m not always in the office, and the software is a fair way of saying what work has been done and what hasn’t been done. So, it’s a win-win situation. The people who don’t want to use the software usually have a hidden reason, such as that they have a side job and they don’t want to be caught working on that instead of our projects. Using Time Doctor gives us a safety net and provides trust and honesty.
“The best part is being able to track the exact time that was spent and relaying costs back to the customer.”
We use the feature in Time Doctor of the screenshots of work done. It also simplifies payroll, as we export their time worked to make payment into PayPal and Transferwise.
Time Doctor enables me to tell clients that dispute the work to show all the work that was done. We can export screenshots to prove that the work was done. The best part is being able to track the exact time that was spent, and to relay the costs back to the customer.
Going offshore was initially a recommendation from a friend who is also in the same line of business. It was for cost and productivity reasons. Offshore staffing has reduced our overhead costs by over 50%, which allowed us to reduce prices, and helped us to be more competitive in the market as well as provide a better service.
“After implementing the software, we found that staff were more accountable for their time.”
Historically, like most other web design and online marketing agencies, we had a considerably greater number of local staff in our own office which provided us a greater level of control and visibility of our operations. However, the writing was on the wall. For most Australian businesses, across several industries not just our own, if we were to remain competitive and profitable, we had to quickly adapt to more offshore staff as there was the imminent business risk of being outpriced by our competitors.
“Our greatest challenge with offshore staffing was accountability.”
Our greatest challenge with offshore staffing was accountability, productivity, visibility and full transparency of our offshore staff’s use of time. How was any business capable of measuring staff’s time when they are located half a world away?
Time Doctor was recommended to us by a business associate who had used it successfully for a considerable number of years to oversee his staff in a similar industry. Our initial concern was the first leap to make Time Doctor a part of the operation of any staff member’s day to day. Being new to this prospect we were apprehensive at first, as such a solution felt like it might be accompanied by the notion of ‘big brother’ ‘distrust’ and ‘micro managing’.
When evaluating Time Doctor, I reflected on my call center representative days where calls were monitored by Team Leaders for average handling time and call quality. Then it just made sense. I was, as a sales and service representative, accountable for my time. The Team Leader was accountable for her team’s productivity and quality. She had to answer to her superiors and the accountability rested on her to maintain profitability for shareholders while retaining the reputation for customer service excellence. So why should my business today fail to aspire to the same balance of quality, productivity, and profitability?
“Implementing Time Doctor provided management with instant and greater visibility than it ever had before.”
Shortly after implementing the software, management was able to quickly identify gaps and immediate opportunities for improvement. Some staff was immediately coached around productivity while others coached around prioritizing certain tasks over others. For example, we discovered one staff member was working with two browser windows open, one work-related while the other was different content that wasn’t directly work-related. They were coached to eliminate their distractions to improve their productivity. Since then, their productivity has increased significantly.
Management receives daily and weekly reports via email that provide a very useful summary of hours worked, tasks worked on, etc. This glance based summary provides peace of mind that all staff are performing optimally and consistently on a day by day and week by week basis.
“It doesn’t require too much time to see if everyone is on track and working.”
Time Doctor provides a screenshot for every staff member’s time. While management does not often dive in to view these screens on a daily basis, it has the ability to do so at any moment. What is highly useful is that the preview page of the screenshot can allow us to quickly evaluate if the screens are all work-related and not showing non-work related time being spent on social media websites for example.
Summary of why we use Time Doctor
Time Doctor validated that work ethic was actually stronger among offshore staff. In running our business for over a decade now, the use of Time Doctor and offshore staff has translated to productivity gains, improved management capabilities of remote teams, and finally greater profitability in what continues to be a shifting international business trend. SEO and web design are very competitive areas, and if competitors are going offshore and you are not, they can win proposals with lower bids.
My main advice for other agencies is to be bold enough to embrace the accountability and transparency that Time Doctor provides for your business. Our decision was heavily influenced by the recommendation of a business associate that had used it successfully. We are glad we acted on the recommendation and decided in favor of Time Doctor, and have never looked back.
“Since we started using Time Doctor 3 years ago, we have increased revenue 1000% as a business.”
Luke Sartain is from LSG Creative, a Digital Marketing Agency in the UK.
We use Time Doctor for transparency. Previously, I had used a company in India who had worked on our more repetitive work and when we didn’t have the people in house to achieve the results. The main reason we used the software was the lack of transparency about what we were getting, and what the client was getting. The idea was to use Time Doctor alongside recruiting my own team in the Philippines, and then we could pass on the benefits and transparency to our customers.
“If a customer asks, we can provide evidence of the work done.”
We have everything synchronized; we track the tasks on Basecamp, and we have supporting screenshots. So, if a customer asks, we can provide evidence of the work done. A lot of SEO work is behind the scenes, and it takes time for the client to see the results. While waiting for the rankings, they can see proof of the hours worked. That makes a huge difference, and has increased our client retention massively.
We like the time tracking and screenshot feature with the ability to sync in Basecamp tasks, and also the ability to sync with our payroll system. Everyone uses the app, including our staff in the UK. This has helped to make us a completely remote company. All of our staff can work from wherever they want as long as they are doing the hours in Time Doctor and getting the work done.
We have 32 staff in the Philippines, and 12 in the UK. We wanted a mix. Most agencies have that mix, but are not forward with it. They don’t tell the customer that a lot of the leg work is done offshore. We wanted to tell our customers that we do use offshore staff.
“Since we started using Time Doctor 3 years ago, we have increased revenue 1000% as a business.”
Because of we use an offshore team and Time Doctor, we are 30-40% more profitable. We offer the most inexpensive services in the UK. We deal at scale, so unlike a normal agency who has 20 customers, we have 300 paying a monthly subscription. Since we started using Time Doctor 3 years ago, we have increased 1000% as a business.
The biggest challenges with offshoring are the quality, and work ethic. You do get some people who lie or exaggerate on their CV. We actually had a lot more problems when we had a team in India, but we have had far fewer problems outsourcing in the Philippines.
“Subscription revenue creates stability, so we are not constantly seeking new customers.”
The transparency is very important. We are advocates of making digital marketing affordable, and for people to know how many hours they are getting. The charge to the client shouldn’t depend on how big the client’s bank balance is. Instead, it should be related to the quality of the work, and the number of hours on the job. Also for us, having a subscription revenue creates stability, so we are not constantly seeking new customers.
“We can see if they are putting in the hours that they said they would do.”
Garry Kanfer is the president of Big Drop Inc, a full service digital agency with offices in New York, LA and Eastern Europe.
I started using Time Doctor for employees not working in our main NYC office. It helped us to know if they were actually working, and what they were working on. I can see if they are putting in the hours that they said they would. I can see what my remote staff is doing, and I can see if they are going in the right direction. If not, we can take a step back and reevaluate the project.
Time Doctor helps companies that have employees who are working from home in other countries. We don’t use Time Doctor in our offices in New York or LA, but we do use it for remote, offshore employees. We have an office in Eastern Europe, and we also have a couple of remote employees in Mexico.
When Big Drop started out, the price for development was very high in New York and, as a new business, we were unable to afford developers in New York. I started with Upwork and worked with design and development freelancers. Then, I set up an offshore office and started using Time Doctor. Using Time Doctor makes it feel like they are in our main office, which is a huge advantage of the product.
One time, I caught someone in our offshore office, working for another company and on our time! We let them know and gave them a warning, and they quit a week later. It’s possible to find this out in other ways, but without Time Doctor it would be much harder and taken longer for us to figure it out. Time Doctor gave us the proof.
“Before Time Doctor, we found it difficult to keep track of exactly what the team was working on.”
Andrew Ruditser is from Maxburst, a Digital Agency focused on Web design, web development, and Internet Marketing.
We have a couple of offices in New York and as we expanded into Eastern Europe, we found it difficult to keep track of exactly what the team was working on, and what issues they were coming across. Now we know what they are working on, we can see screenshots, and the exact time worked. We can even go back and see in which areas they may have spent too much time on a project or task.
We went offshore to have a presence in Europe. We’ve got clients over there, and it’s a great mix of talent between US based and Eastern Europe talent. They bring a different vibe that we don’t have locally. It also helps us to be more competitive as far as pricing goes. The salaries are less in Eastern Europe, but that’s not even the most important factor for us, as going offshore has really allowed us to introduce a lot more talent to the company.
“Without tools like Slack and Time Doctor, managing remote teams can get very messy.”
For other teams using Time Doctor, or with remote and offshore teams, I think you really need to use the right mix of technologies, communication, and tracking technologies. So, you need something like Time Doctor for time tracking and Slack for messaging, so that teams can communicate; especially with a huge time difference. Without these kinds of tools, it gets too messy.
Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve work productivity and help keep track of what your team is working on, even when working remotely.