How To - Setup SMS (text) clock in

Last Updated 05/28/2012


SMS clock in can be used in situations where employees frequently (or exclusively) work off-site.  The advantage of SMS clock in is that an employee can clock in wherever they are working and don't need a mobile internet device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) to clock in.  All the employee needs to do is send one of clock commands to 801-769-0094.  The available commands are:

  • IN = Clock in
  • OUT = Clock out
  • BIN = Begin Break
  • BOUT = End Break

If an employee sends in the wrong command he/she will receive an error message in return.  If clock in is successful, they will not receive a message.

Setup the Employees

The first step to get SMS clock in setup is to enter the employee's cell number in the employee general preferences.  Go to Preferences > Personnel/Employees, and click the name of the employee who will use SMS clock in.  Enter the cell phone number in the "Cell Number" field under "General Settings."


Once the number has been submitted, submit the form.  It is also a good idea at this point to make sure the employee has a Primary Department set.  To do that click "associations" next to the employee's name.  If you see an HourDoc icon next to his/her name, then the primary department has been set.  If not, click "edit association" next to the department that should be primary, check the Primary Department checkbox, and submit the form.

Create the Time Clock

Now we need to create the Time Clock within HourDoc.  Go to Preferences > Time Clocks and click Create New Time Clock.  Select the location, select "SmsGateway" for the type, and enter a name and ID number (can be anything, but is required to continue).  Your form should look like this:


Once you've entered the required information submit the form and you will be returned to the main time clocks screen.

Associate Employees to the Time Clock

The final setup is to associate the employee(s) to the newly created SMS time clock.  At the main time clocks screen (Preferences > Time Clocks), you will see a "current personnel" button next to the SMS time clock.  Click it to go to the associations screen:


In the drop down list, you will find any employees within the selected location (set during clock setup) that have a cell phone number entered, but have not yet been associated to the clock.  Below the drop down list is a list of individuals in the selected location that do not have cell phone numbers entered.  (You can add cell numbers by clicking "add Cell No.")  To associate an employee to the time clock, select him/her from the drop down list and click "Associate Personnel."

Final Notes

Occasionally, a cell phone is not able to establish communication with our SMS server (where the SMS "punches" are sent).  This is seen when an employee sends the IN command and a time record is not seen in TimeTracker.  (Note that if the employee has not sent the IN punch, then no other commands will work.  If punches aren't showing up, please verify the employee has sent an IN command first.)  In this case, send the employees number with a brief description of the problem to  We can then initiate communication with the cell phone by sending a test message to the employee.  Once the employee replies, communication is established between our server and the employee's phone.

For more information about "sms/text clock-in", go to:

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