[Small business mini-case study written for Replicon blog]
As a consulting civil engineer who started his own business ten years ago, Norman Saldanha knows exactly how valuable his time is. A small business in the UK, Saldanha Design & Management Ltd (SDML) fields about 40 clients at any given time — some that offer fairly steady project opportunities, and others that come and go more sporadically.
Like most small business owners, Saldanha remains extremely budget-conscious, but his decision to invest in an automated time tracking and project management system is not one he regrets. On the contrary, he asserts that the Replicon system has paid for itself many times over in the time it’s saved him on administrative tasks — time that can now be spent on actual project work.
Saldanha typically charges clients based on hours worked, sending out monthly invoices. But before switching over to Replicon, the SDML method was to record time manually, which sometimes meant that hours were jotted down either on the fly, or estimated after the fact (after trawling through emails and notes to form an educated guess). Because of this, the monthly manual invoicing process would take at least 30 minutes to an hour per client — a time commitment that can quickly become overwhelming when you’re dealing with 40 or so clients at a time.
“Being a small business, I was initially concerned about the potential costs of implementing a more formal system,” says Saldanha, “But Replicon was very cognizant of this, and offered a solution that wasn’t overly complex or costly for a company the size of ours.”
Within two weeks, SDML was up and running with Replicon, empowering Saldanha to streamline his entire invoicing process. Within a month, the solution had paid for itself entirely by significantly diminishing overhead burdens, and ultimately reducing the time it takes to complete monthly invoices by 75 percent.
Now, Saldanha reports that inputting information is much easier, client-facing reports are clean, professional, accurate, and quickly-collated, and remote access allows information to be input anytime, anywhere. Additionally, access to historical data has enabled Saldanha to more accurately charge for the few fixed-bid projects he encounters — something he believes he may have undercharged for in the past.
Ultimately for SDML, the switch to Replicon ensured that their time was being used as efficiently as possibly, and recorded as accurately as possible — a change that not only prevented potential revenue leakage from underreported hours, but also enabled better work-life balance for Saldanha himself, who affirms that he has more time on weekends to spend with his family now that he no longer has to manually piece together different hours for invoices.
“This solution is what we call a no-brainer,” says Saldanha, “I can trust Replicon to give me the quick, accurate information I need, and my job is that much easier because of it.”