For 15+ years, Almendariz Consulting, Inc. has brought safety to streets throughout California with expert traffic control services. At the local, state, and federal levels, their team is equipped to handle everything from work zone traffic control to complex high-traffic emergency response.
We met with Lisa Ridgley, Controller at Almendariz, who handles the company’s payroll, bookkeeping, and more. She told us the story of how Miter’s payroll automation and self-serve worker onboarding have made her work life way simpler — even giving her back time to enjoy her personal life.
The Almendariz team is made up of anywhere from 70 to 100 employees, depending on the season, and most team members are in the field. So, before Miter, each worker had to fill out their time cards and drive to the office to drop off their weekly paperwork. From there, Lisa and her office staff hand-entered everything into their system.
Here’s a look at how their typical pre-Miter payroll system flowed:
- Sundays — About 30 field employees drop off their paperwork. Almendariz also has to comp them for the fuel and the drive time.
- Mondays — The office team spends 8+ hours sifting through the paperwork.
- Tuesdays — Judith, their office manager, spends 10 hours “just locked in her office, trying to get payroll done.” Her Tuesdays are completely consumed by auditing overtime reporting, double shifts, wage codes, and more.
- Wednesdays — Lisa hand-types all of this info into QuickBooks. “It was extremely awful and extremely painful.”
“For a small organization like us, our office staff was tapped out and couldn’t handle anything more. I was literally keying in $200,000 worth of payroll every week. It took three full workdays, if not more, just to enter payroll into the system.”
Even with all of the time they invested, this amount of manual input and maintenance meant, in Lisa’s words, there was “tons and tons” of room for error.
The cost of switching your payroll software is typically far more trouble than it’s worth. At the end of the day, it felt like whatever platform Lisa tried would not be able to simplify certified payroll, union overtime, and so on.
“People called for years to sell payroll software, and my answer was always ‘no.’ At the end of the day, I still had to figure out all these union idiosyncrasies and pore over time sheets. No new software seemed to be able to solve that problem.”
That is — until the Miter team called.
When Miter phoned the Almendariz team, Lisa was surprised by and completely hooked on what our team proposed. She remembers two platform features sounded like “game-changers”:
- Exporting certified payroll reports directly from Miter’s system
- Built-in automation of nuanced overtime rules, union regulations, etc.
After a seamless onboarding and integration process, Lisa and her team found out for themselves: Miter lives up to its promises. Our software has made payroll “immensely better” for the company.
“Changing payroll is a colossal problem with a huge switching cost. But when Miter fell in our lap, we looked at nobody else and did no additional research. We were just blown away by their team and software from the get-go. We just went for it.”
The Results: 1,400+ hours saved annually
Overall, Lisa is thrilled to report three major benefits of Miter for the Almendariz team.
Key outcome #1: Automation cuts payroll workload by over 90%.
Miter’s built-in payroll automation has basically eliminated Lisa’s manual workload. Payroll now takes roughly 2 hours per week instead of 30 hours. That’s over 1,400 hours saved annually. This enables Almendariz employees to get paid faster as well.
Key outcome #2: Less manual entry means greater accuracy.
Lisa estimates that payroll goes 3x faster while onboarding goes 10x faster. What’s impressive is that the accuracy of payments is also up because Miter automatically and intelligently accounts for notoriously complex union and overtime rules. No more manual calculations and double- or triple-checking for Lisa’s team.
Key outcome #3: Miter reduces back-office labor costs.
Miter costs about $2,200 per month for Almendariz. In comparison, Lisa reports our platform saves them anywhere from 20 to 30+ hours of weekly work. Miter has saved them from hiring a part-time office employee and delivered the same impact at a fraction of the cost.
“99% of the manual calculations we had to do before are now automated by Miter. That is a game-changer for a company like us that always has to push paper.”
Lisa emphasizes that the flexibility provided by Miter is invaluable. Since data gathering, entry, and auditing no longer take several days, she can execute payroll anytime from Monday to Wednesday. Miter even offers 24-hour payroll. If Lisa ever gets sick, she can rest easy knowing that running payroll on Thursday will still get everyone paid on Friday.
With that saved time and peace of mind, the team at Almendariz can refocus on what matters most to the business. Aside from managing the office, Judith is also the company’s safety officer. “I would argue she’s the most important person at our company,” explains Lisa. Thanks to Miter, Judith’s time is “completely freed up” to focus on trainings and maximizing workplace safety — instead of getting sidelined by a full day of payroll.
As for Lisa, she has worked at Almendariz for over a decade and planned every single break or vacation around her Wednesday payroll workload. Now, with Miter, she has her time back to focus on what’s also valuable in her personal life.
“The flexibility Miter provides has been just huge. For us, it’s all about being able to focus on the work and projects that actually matter to our organization instead of just pushing paper.”
The Miter team delivers white-glove support & responsiveness
The Almendariz team receives our standard hands-on, tailored support from us that is a critical input for our product development process.
For instance, Almendariz uses daily work reports as an incredibly important input to their payroll process. Miter extended the functionality in our workforce management module to capture more information from the job-site on a daily basis. This configurable daily work report functionality is now used across our customers, with custom forms and fields available based on their needs.
“These daily reports really mattered to us,” Lisa recalls, “and the Miter team figured out a process that integrated these forms seamlessly with our payroll.”
Responsive from Day 1 of onboarding to this day
Looking back, Lisa tells us that whenever she had a support request for QuickBooks, she sat on hold for hours — and often never received a solution in the end.
Meanwhile, with Miter, our teams had standing weekly meetings for half a year. Today, Miter and Almendariz meet every other week, and Lisa says our dedication to troubleshooting issues and answering questions ASAP has not wavered.
“Right now, I can count almost 10 people on the Miter team that I could email and get a response from within minutes. Those are incredible levels of responsiveness and user support.”
Miter’s onboarding is “game-changing” for union construction firms
“You would die if you saw the amount of paperwork it takes to onboard one person,” Lisa explains honestly. The drawn-out process includes headaches like:
- A huge paper trail — Onboarding on paper meant printing and delivering packets to the field. If they updated one document, they had to reissue new packets and ask every employee with stacks of packets in their trucks to toss those out.
- More manual errors — The office staff then had to decipher those handwritten onboarding documents to input payroll tax details, direct deposit numbers, etc. Again, this exposes them to a lot of human error.
There are even more tricky nuances when you consider union regulations and processes.
- Let’s say someone joins the Almendariz team for one gig but never comes back. As a result, they have zero paperwork for that person.
- Let’s say they’ve hired a new field worker who was dispatched by the union. However, they don’t even realize this until his time sheet lands on their desk during payroll.
By digitizing onboarding, Miter eliminates these issues
After jumping through all of these hoops, Lisa emphasizes:
“Miter’s onboarding is incredible. For a union construction company, this is a really, really big deal. It’s going to be next-level.”
With the Miter app and our self-service onboarding portal, every step can be done online and in the field. That means less work for the office team and fewer field employees having to visit the office to complete onboarding in person and on paper.
Ultimately, Lisa calls Miter’s onboarding “game-changing” for any construction firms that:
- Have brand-new employees starting almost every day
- Dispatch different employees to multiple different job sites every day
Miter’s all-in-one system means accurate & effortless reports
Without a centralized payroll platform, “the amount of manual data entry that happens in the construction world is mind-blowing,” says Lisa.
She frequently saw this in three ways:
- “Garbage in, garbage out” — Before Miter, employees had to input their information for three separate platforms. If anything was coded or entered incorrectly, it was “garbage in, garbage out” for the resulting reports.
- Extensive union reporting — As a union company, Almendariz has to comply with standard payroll, certified payroll, and additional union reporting. All of these meant, again, pulling reports from QuickBooks and manually keying in numbers.
- No automatic reports — By extension, Lisa tells us, “It always killed me that I had this beautiful payroll system with all of the info I needed, yet I could not export a certified payroll report automatically.”
Now, Miter’s centralized, all-in-one platform means employees enter their information once. From there, Lisa’s team is all set to auto-generate accurate payroll and reports.
“Having all of this in one spot with Miter — it’s a really, really big deal. Really, payroll for our company is a foundation. The more we can automate those basic processes, the better. And I think Miter will allow that to happen for us.”