A St. Louis remodeler's field crew is turning in hours by Nextel phone, eliminating paper timesheets and adding minutes to the workday that normally might be used to bring timesheets to the office.

The program, AirHours ( www.airhours.com), is available to Nextel Communications subscribers with Internet-ready phones and costs $20 per month per user. It is provided through a license with Airput Inc.

Kevin Franklin of Consolidated Construction Group says the "real savings come from the information being instantly in there once it's entered, and you can manipulate it from then on."

The phones link to a secure Web site customized by Consolidated to allow time to be entered to 26 cost codes. From an office PC, the company bookkeeper accesses the site and downloads reports. She imports information to an Access database used for accounting spreadsheets. The process saves her about five hours every two weeks. The data is exportable to many applications.