How Digital Agency JaxX Made Their Projects 30% More Profitable By Tracking Time More Efficiently
Location: Eindhoven, NL
Using Rodeo: since September 2019
Clients: HS Fashion, Blue Road Seafood, Dynamo Jeugdwerk, De Rooi-Pannen School, SPECSTACULR, Bido care
Axell Avalon van Staveren (center) with her team at Digital Agency JaxX
Gaining an online presence and breaking through the noise is a big challenge modern businesses face. That’s why companies count on Digital Agency JaxX, a one-stop-shop online marketing agency committed to developing branding and IT solutions.
Armed with custom-developed strategies, their team of specialists knows how to find the best solutions when it comes to marketing, branding, social media, IT, SEM, and video/photography.
Each assignment is different, requiring them to track a lot of data and work hours per project. We had a chat with Axell Avalon-van Staveren, Brand Director of Digital Agency JaxX, to find out more about how Rodeo helped her gain more insight into project data.
Digital Agency JaxX had no process for measuring whether their estimations matched the number of hours going into their projects
Digital Agency JaxX develops custom marketing packages for their clients. Some of them need help launching their brand website or webshop, while others want to grow their social media presence or increase brand awareness through creative marketing strategies.
Because every package includes a different set of services, the team needs to estimate upfront how much time and effort each project will take. For a long time, they were not using a project management tool or similar application for this. They were going old school by using a number of spreadsheets and documents that were all over the place.
Eventually, they started wondering if their estimations accurately matched the number of hours that went into their projects. A ‘gut feeling’ told them they were probably not charging their clients enough for the work delivered. However, they didn’t have a system in place to help them find out.
You can imagine how challenging it might be to get a team of creatives to track the exact time spent on each task or activity. This urged them to look for a time tracking tool.
How Digital Agency JaxX increased project profitability by 30% by using Rodeo’s time tracker
According to Axell, implementing Rodeo has made a significant and positive difference for Digital Agency JaxX. One of her main goals was to discover whether or not their invoices matched the amount of time spent on projects.
Rodeo helped them to set up a process that showed exactly where there were discrepancies. Axell: “Using Rodeo has made our projects about 30% more profitable.”
“Once we started using the time tracker, we had an accurate overview of how much time team members really needed to complete their projects. For the first time, we were able to pinpoint discrepancies exactly in comparison with our estimates."
Now how exactly were they able to make their projects more profitable by using Rodeo?
Step 1: All team members started using the timer to track their hours
Rodeo was implemented at Digital Agency JaxX, and all team members were asked to use the timer to track all the hours they spent on their tasks and activities per project.
A common phenomenon at creative agencies is that managers have a hard time getting team members to keep track of their time in the first place. Axell: “Getting a team of creatives to track exactly how much time they spend on each task used to be a big challenge. But Rodeo’s timer is so easy to use, that they rarely forget.”
Step 2: Logged hours were compared against budget hours
When Digital Agency JaxX started using Rodeo, it wasn’t long before the tool collected enough data to give insight into its business processes.
Through Rodeo’s closed projects feature, for example, project managers can compare logged hours against budget hours.
Axell: “Once we started using the time tracker, we had an accurate overview of how much time team members really needed to complete their projects. For the first time, we were able to pinpoint discrepancies exactly in comparison with our estimates.
Step 3: Discrepancies were identified in real-time
Because tracked hours in Rodeo can be logged to specific project budgets, the real-time reports continuously show actual status updates.
Axell: “Sometimes variances already appeared while projects at Digital Agency JaxX were still running. Clearly, we hadn’t been invoicing enough hours.”
Step 4: New estimations were calculated based on tracked hours per activity
Rodeo closed projects report is a powerful tool to measure project profitability and margins. For some of the agencies’ projects, the discrepancy in hours wasn’t that significant.
However, they were able to identify the projects where the differences were so disastrous that they were hardly profitable at all. Including some of the projects still in progress.
“Unfortunately, you can’t suddenly renegotiate the price of a project once it’s already moving,” added Axell. “You can’t just say, yes we agreed to this price, but it’s incorrect, now it’s this price. But for new projects, we were able to calculate accurate estimates. Now we know exactly what to charge our clients while maintaining a good profit margin too”
Now, the team calculates their estimations based on logged hours for similar tasks and activities. They are able to send more accurate quotes to their clients, which has resulted in their projects being 30% more profitable.
Rodeo has replaced all the other tools Digital Agency JaxX used.
In the process of setting up Rodeo, Axell was in contact with sales expert Steffan who provided a demo. During this session, she learned that Rodeo could be used to support many other business processes besides just time tracking.
“At first hand, I didn’t know that Rodeo was also great for project planning. Once we realized we needed a time tracking tool, we also recognized how handy a project planning tool would be. Our search mission had already started, and I had already had several meetings and signed contracts with some parties.”
Most of these other tools Axell and her team tested turned out to be very complex in use: “We all agreed Rodeo was much easier to use, but it took a while before we could get out of all those contracts. Once we finally switched to Rodeo, we got rid of all the other tools and systems we were using. Nobody uses multiple sheets or programs now, it’s no longer necessary.”
Getting stuck with a contract is not a unique occurrence. A lot of project management tools require a contract, even for short trial periods.
At Rodeo, we do things differently. A demonstration from our experts and/or trial period is truly free. Meaning no contract or credit card information is needed at all. Once you become a customer, you can opt for an annual contract or pay month-to-month.
Since switching to Rodeo, Digital Agency JaxX has been able to:
- Increase project profitability as they now can accurately estimate project budgets.
- Streamline their processes and get rid of unnecessary tools. Now Rodeo is the central system for all project administration.
- Easily onboard team members with the user-friendliness of the system, whereas other alternatives were very complex in use.
- Log hours with Rodeo's time tracking feature—with the rare occurrence that someone forgets—clearly showing how much time is spent on projects.
Would you like to find out whether the hours spent on your projects match the invoices sent to your clients? Test Rodeo’s time tracker for yourself to find out if your projects are profitable.
Set up a free demo with one of our experts who will show you how to use the timer for your business processes, and start a free 14-day trial. No credit card details are needed.