Time Clocks - SMS Texting

Last Updated 05/22/2012


You can now have employees capture time through the SMS texting function of (i.e. texting with a cell phone). Assigning a cell phone number to each employee allows that employee to clock in using four (4) simple commands. That data is sent to the servers and uploaded in about 70 seconds, providing real-time data for managers of a mobile and out-of-office work force. You work force can also track jobs through the same procedure.

Note that there are some inherent limitations to SMS technology.  First, the quality of the carrier's network can affect when a text message is actually received by our servers and thus the employees resulting time entry may not be 100 percent accurate.  Second, SMS text messages carry very little "envelope information" meaning that HourDoc cannot see when the text message was actually created.  This means that when our server receives the message is when the time entry will be created.

With that said, many HourDoc clients find this feature to be a great benefit to their organization and have very few, if any issues.  Below is the process required to get the SMS feature up and running for your company.

Step 1: Create SMS Gateway

Under preferences, select the time clock function, you will see a list of any time clocks that you have setup in the past.



If there is not one, select the red button, “create new entry”.



Fill out the fields, similar to the picture below. The location drop down menu defaults to the locations that you setup when the account was created. If you wish to add an additional location, create it under the preferences tab and locations. The Name and ID Number can be anything that you like. Make sure and hit submit form. You have now created the SMS gateway and the system is now ready to accept text punches.



Step 2: Enter Cell Phone Numbers

Once you have created the SMS Gateway, you have two methods to add cell phone numbers.
One is to go to the employee preferences, found under the preferences tab, or select the button “current personnel” next to the SMS Gateway time clock. In the current personnel box, you will have a list of all employees that have been associated to that time clock’s location. If you do not see a particular employee, it is because they are assigned to another location and need to be associated to that SMS Gateway location. If there is not a cell phone number, the system will display that and you can select, add cell no. Once you have added the cell number here, associate the personnel to that clock.



Step 3: Text Number and Commands

Congratulations, your system is now ready to receive text commands for capturing employees data.
To clock in and out, text the commands listed to the phone number below.

Text Number: 801-769-0094

Clock in = IN

Clock out = OUT

Begin Break = BIN

End Break = BOUT

Job Tracking

The texting system also allows for job tracking via the text messaging system. To track a job, a job ID must already exist in HourDoc or the system will automatically create one. To text a job, the user simply types the command, i.e. IN, then places a space and types in a NUMERIC value only (i.e. job IDs must be numeric when setup in HourDoc).

For example: "IN 1042" would clock the user IN to job 1042.

To process an out punch, the user does not need to type in a job code. The OUT command will clock the user out of the job automatically.

Note: The system is not case-sensitive, so the commands do not need to be in all caps. If any command but those listed above is sent to the system, you will receive a text back saying, “Sorry, no data for that request.”

IMPORTANT: does not charge for this service, but any and all cell phone charges from your provider (standard text messaging rates) apply.  We recommend that you check with your provider to make sure that appropriate texting plans are in place for your cell phone users so that you do not incur additional/overage charges. If you have any questions as to how the SMS clock in feature works, please email

Review Punches in HourDoc

When your punches come into the system, you will see them as below, with an orange highlight and the phone number associated to the employee.


Job Costing with SMS

In order to turn on job costing, you first need to create the ability for the employee to have the job functionality. This is done in employee preferences, and selecting the check-box to require a user to select a job when tracking time. Once this is done, the employee can now clock in to any jobs that you desire. The system will track an unlimited number of jobs.



A very powerful feature is the ability of your employees to clock in to they system and associate a job with their time entry. These jobs can be created on the fly. For example, if you have a plumbing company, and you would like all of your technicians to clock in with the work order assigned to the home they are going to, they simply place that work order number after the “in” text function.

Example: Work Order = 145679
Employee would text = "IN 145679", making sure that there is a space after the “IN”


The system now receives a message clocking the employee in and assigning them to the 145679 work order number. From the tab TimeTracker, the entry is now displayed as below.




Clocking Into Another Job

The employee has now clocked into the job. To clock out and then into the next job, they simply text “out” then “in xxxxx” where xxxxx = the new job number, and they will be assigned to the new job number. Again, if there is a job that has not been entered into the system, will automatically create that job. To see a list of all jobs that have been assigned to the employee, go to preferences, employee/personnel and select the box “jobs/phases” to view all.


After the job has been created, you can now run a report under the Reports tab called Job/Phase Report. This will allow you to see all of the times that have been associated to the employees in regards to the jobs that they tracked. If a particular wage needs to be associated to that job, you can select that by going into the employee preferences and selecting jobs and then entering a wage. Now, when you run a payroll report, the jobs will show and you can export a complete payroll.



If you have additional questions, please contact

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