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Monday, July 19, 2010

Paid by the job?

Different Wages For Different Jobs?

Occasionally we run across stores that have a clear delineation between the job the employee is assigned to and the wage that employee will be paid.   SP-1 has a clear cut method of dealing with this.

Let's set the example up first. . .  Take a typical location that does delivery and dine in orders.  In this scenario you may have employees that work as delivery drivers and are paid a lower wage than a cook because they are being supplemented by the delivery tips (hopefully!).    Now, to further complicate things, on certain days of the week one of these drivers works as a cook at a higher than normal (for him) wage!

With SP-1 you can utilize our Job Class system to accommodate this easily.  The Job Classes are setup in System Setup.  In this section of the program, you assign the three letter id for the job and the more descriptive name on the right hand side.
Once you have setup the Job Class names and descriptions, they can be entered into the employee master file.  You can enter a custom wage and overtime wage for each Job Class you assign to each employee.

Now, when the employee clocks in, they are presented with a choice as to the Job Class they are working under and the wage will be reported correctly on the employee time keeping reports as well.

By the way, you can also run a report based on the total number of hours each class worked and how much that cost you.  This is a great way to distinguish how much you might be spending on cooks, delivery drivers, counter people etc.
Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gift Card Questions and Information

How Are You Handling Gift Cards?

Recently I have had a couple conversations about gift card programs with potential clients.  These are primarily people that do not currently have a POS system.  What is interesting is how often customers are confused by their options when looking at electronic gift card programs.

Usually during these conversations we focus a lot on how stores are currently handling their gift and reward program and how they got there.  Since we have a free gift and reward program we don't have to worry about costs - just the functionality portion of this.

Usually a store does not have a POS system and is looking at adding the ability to sell and redeem electronic gift and reward cards.   Around this time, the credit card processor gets involved and will explain all the benefits of a gift and reward card system. That processor will then either supply a terminal or possibly use or upgrade an existing one for the store.  Some cards will be sold and then the store is off and running with a gift card system.

Sounds simple right?   The problem lies in the costs and, sometimes, in the implementation when using a credit card processor or 3rd party solution for this situation.

This is almost always incredibly expensive to the store owner and usually not the best way to go.  Here at SelbySoft we work hard to make sure store owners understand what kind of fees and troubles they may experience if they are not asking the right questions when talking about gift and reward programs.  

There are a couple of questions that you absolutely must ask when looking at any 3rd party gift card solution.

  1. What are the monthly fees?  Most programs will add anywhere from $0 to $40 a month per location to process the gift cards.
  2. Are there swipe fees? A swipe fee of $.10 to $.25 a swipe is pretty common with 3rd parties.  Additionally most stores are not aware of what constitutes a swipe.  With some of the systems out there there is a swipe for checking the balance, loading a card or using a card. 
  3. How much are the cards and are can they be custom?    Cards are over $1.00 a card for a partially custom card with some processors.  Others won't do a custom card at all.  
  4. Is there a contract for processing gift cards?   This is a big question.  Credit Card processors will sometimes leverage the gift card information and contract to keep you from swapping credit card processing.  Always make sure you know what you are getting into with the contract.
  5. What happens if you decide to switch gift card processing?   In some ways this is a bigger question than all the others.  Make 100% certain that you retain rights to the gift card numbers and the balances.
This last question deserves some more explanation.  Let's say a store has implemented a gift card program through their credit card processor.  Now, a year or two pass and the store has sold about  2,000 cards in total.  The store now adds a POS or even just wants to switch credit card processors. What happens next is very important. 

If this store is locked into a contract with the 3rd party gift card provider they may be stuck.  The provider may tell this store that they have to fulfill the rest of the contract or even pay a cancellation fee to get access ot the gift card information.  If the provider does not allow access to the numbers and gift card balances, then the gift card data may be useless to other companies.  That means that customers have to be re-assigned cards or crew members have to look at a paper list to see what the value is. 

There are plenty of examples of this happening in our experience.  A few years ago we had a chain of stores that had over $40,000 in gift card balances at any given time between the locations.  When they added SP-1 as the POS provider, the credit card processor would not release the gift card numbers or balances because of the contract that had been signed.  They pushed the customer to either pay a whopping fee of $2,000 to get out of the contract or to continue to pay the combined fees of almost $200 a month until the end of the contract.  Six months went by before the store could swap over the gift card processing. 

I know this may sound a little negative but it's important to ask these questions before implementing a 3rd party gift and reward program.   Not all 3rd party, credit card or POS companies operate this way. Some, like Mercury Payment Systems, operate on a month by month contract and handle the gift card system free of charge as a value added solution.

Of course the best way is to buy the POS and implement the free gift card solution - sorry couldn't resist!!

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
 Puyallup Wa 98371

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tracking Your Training

After my last blog on Job Classes, I was thinking about the other use for them.  Tracking how much training you are doing!

As you (hopefully) remember, my last blog was on how Job Classes work.  As a recap: 

Each employee can be assigned up to five (5) Job Classes.  Each of these Job Classes has a description and a separate wage and (if you accomdate it) an overtime wage.   So, once these are assigned to the specific employee, they appear on clock-in.  Your employee then selects what Job Class they are working for that time period.

There is a great secondary use for this feature however - Training. 

We have a number of clients that take the training of their employees pretty seriously and want to make sure that employees are up to speed before they are being paid fully.  It's a pretty common idea in a lot of businesses.   For example, you may require that an employee work a certain number of hours as a barista trainee before getting a raise.  Or, you might require a certain number of hours on the clock after being hired before that employee is past their "probation" timeframe.

We do it here at SelbySoft and it helps us in making sure that the employee and the company are on the same page.  For anyone that is interested in how we do it, we have a three month evaluation and training period before any raises and before the rest of the guys stop referring to them as "that new guy" and actually use their name.

With SP-1 you can create a training Job Class that is used when that employee clocks in each shift.  That will allow you to effectively track how much time was spent on training in that job.  SP-1 will report that on the time keeping and also report the total training time your store utilizes over a set time frame.

This is a really great feature to help track and control your training programs in your location. 

Contact us at:
 SelbySoft Mike Spence
 8326 Woodland Ave.
 Puyallup Wa 98371

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cutting delivery insurance costs!

Recently, I had a conversation with a customer about his delivery drivers.  He explained to me how his insurance company bills him based on the payroll hours of his employees.

The insurance company bills insurance for employees at $2 per $100 in payroll for kitchen prep and servers and then $7 per $100 for delivery drivers.

The issue that he had (last year and this year) is that the $7 figure on drivers is based on the clock in and out time.  Realistically, the higher insurance rate should only be based on the time the drivers are actually on the road and not based on the rest of the time when they are working inside!

So, the question was posed . . .  How could we help?

It turns out, quite a bit!  Utilizing our XML Ticket export in SP-1, we were able to gather some important data for the insurance company as well as some statistics to help understand delivery.  Over the last year they have had:
A total of almost 7,000 deliveries
Total time on the road - 2,830 hours
Average time of 24 minutes per run
The most important figure was the 2830 hours on the road.  This allowed the customer to show the insurance company that the rest of the payroll for these employees was in house and not on the road.

This resulted in a savings of $5 for every $100 in driver payroll.   The grand total in savings?


So, if you deliver and are curious about what you might be able to save, call us!

Contact us at:
SelbySoft , Inc
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371