Finding the right prevailing wage software is critical for anyone who wants to scale their business in the prevailing wage space. Certified payroll is referred to as the ‘mother of all payrolls’ because it requires a constant, focused eye when it comes to time and attendance, payroll, and reporting. A lot of companies get lost because they tack on certified reporting into a platform that wasn’t really built to do it, and struggle as their prevailing wage work grows.  In this article we talk about how to set your company up for success with the right platform. 

Misconceptions On Reports Only

One of the biggest misconceptions that eBacon hears from customers searching for prevailing wage software is, ‘we just need help with reports.’ This common misconception usually masks a much larger problem: an organically grown system of tools that solves issues but was never planned. It is tough to tack on a truly integrated solution into a tangle of various time, accounting, and payroll vendors. Most of the time these one-off prevailing wage software platforms for reporting start at the end of the process, leaving your business trying to still clean up the mess at the start, at time and attendance.

Solid Time and Attendance Is Critical

Numerous prevailing wage software platforms bill themselves as helping you with reports, but eBacon has found repeatedly that the issue is generally at the time and attendance level – the meat of the work – versus the end.

What should you look for in a time and attendance platform that supports prevailing wage?

  • Real Time Attendance – After the fact reporting is not accurate and, in most states, will not comply with prevailing wage laws.You need accurate up to the second time records that you can use to prove to different agencies that you are fairly and accurately paying your employees.
  • Classification Tracking – Employees should be tracking which task that they are performing on the jobsite, at a minimum. If your company only has one classification that they use, then you can get away without needing to track. Prevailing Wage Software, like eBacon, maps tasks to the classifications that are being worked, that way employees do not need to know the exact classification name on the government documents. The name of a classification can change depending on the location you’re working on or the agency you’re working for.
  • Automatic Overtime and Other Law Calculations – Too many time platforms leave overtime and double-time calculations up to the employee. It is critical that employees are not the ones determining which hours they worked were overtime or double-time.  A solid prevailing wage software will calculate this information for you and not put the burden on your plate.
  • Automatic Rates based on Work Performed – Most importantly it is important to make sure that the work that is performed is paid at the correct rates. A lot of prevailing wage platforms require you to type in the rates for each job, because the rates on prevailing wage projects are complicated. Platforms like eBacon are built specifically for tying rates directly to the time worked by an employee.
  • Calculation of Fringe Rates Based on Time Worked – Prevailing wage software must make it easy for you to calculate out which fringes are owed for each hour of work. Government agencies will not accept a response of ‘it is too hard’ from contractors. You need to find a prevailing wage software that calculates fringe benefit rates based on the actual time worked on the job site, not based on spreadsheets or after the fact entry into a certified payroll report.

Putting Your Billing and Job Costing First

Most payroll platforms stop at the payroll processing. Some prevailing wage platforms will give you the reports you need, after you manually calculate rates or hand key different items into the forms. It is important to look at a prevailing wage platform as a partner to help you in capturing accurate job cost and billing information. While this seems like a big challenge, a solid time and attendance platform that can give you detailed fringe rates helps immensely when exported into your accounting platform.

Most specific accounting platforms for construction companies on the market can generate prevailing wage reports. However, they are typically inefficient because they lack online interfaces that your employees can use. You’re stuck hand keying in payroll, and hand computing items like overtime and double-time.  Unfortunately, most payroll platforms on the marketplace do not export information into your accounting platform in a way that lets you get around using a 3rd party platform.

When looking for the right prevailing wage software make sure that the platform can export highly detailed information from the payroll platform into the accounting platform. Most prevailing wage platforms cannot do this and require a strategic trade off of what manual work you’ll have to perform.

One Platform Instead of Many

Most platforms advertising themselves as prevailing wage software only do one piece of what you need as a business to succeed.  They provide a solid report output but require a lot of manual entry or double work on behalf of the contractor. When looking for the right prevailing wage software look for a platform that fully integrates time and attendance, payroll, and reporting – at a minimum. Companies tend to struggle with their payroll software, it doesn’t tend to fit into their actual business process.  Payroll platforms should be reviewed periodically to understand what trade-offs your business is making and what could be done to simplify the process.

A single source of truth for your business is imperative as it grows. Most businesses tend to use dozens of platforms to manage their business. As these platforms grow it becomes harder and harder to manage the data and different workflows inside of them. Platforms like eBacon give you the best of all worlds and prevent you from having to integrate numerous solutions through complicated API and data setups.

Prevailing Wage Software Must Be a Strategic Tool, Not a Burden

If your business is turning down government projects because, ‘the reporting is too hard,’ then you’re leaving millions of dollars on the table.  Your prevailing wage software should be an asset that helps your business grow and scale and not a burden on your business. As a partner in your business, you should look at the tools your company uses to understand how they can help the business grow and be successful. One important part of choosing a prevailing wage platform is clearly identifying the opportunity not only for yourself but also for how your business can grow in the long run.

Hiring More People Only Makes the Problem Harder

If your business is considering hiring additional employees just to manage certified reporting to government agencies, then you should consider finding a new prevailing wage platform. Prevailing wages should be fully integrated into your business and be a partner in your business’s growth. When your company gets to a point where it cannot grow because you do not have the right systems in place, then you should start considering finding a new vendor to look for. Companies that have worked with eBacon have found that hiring more employees to solve prevailing wage issues leads to increased communication difficulties and even more mistakes. Having a master system of record that keeps everyone on the same page tends to work better.

eBacon is a platform that was built specifically to help contractors with prevailing wage problems. We’re built from the ground up to support the entire workflow for complex prevailing wage problems.

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Ultimate Certified Payroll & Prevailing Wage FAQ

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.