If you’re a freelancer that bills by the hour, accurately tracking the time you spend on a project is crucial. A good time-tracking system makes invoicing easier, presenting all your tracked hours in an easy-to-understand format that can either be quickly transferred to an invoice or exported into your chosen invoicing software. Here are some of the best time-tracking tools you can use to track the time.
We’ve talked about Toggl before, and its one of our favorite time-tracking tools. It sports an excellently-designed interface that makes using the software intuitive, with almost zero training required to get up and running. Time is easily attached to different projects, and those projects are associated with specific clients. The free version is flexible enough for an individual (or even small teams) to use forever, but the paid version includes some more useful features. With Toggle Premium time can be specifically marked as billable or non-billable, exported time sheet templates can be easily saved, and team collaboration becomes easier. The premium version starts at $18 per user per month, with a company-scale Enterprise version starting at $49 per user per month.
Toggl is a web app, so it’s accessible from anywhere, with mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can also integrate Toggl with more than 85 third-party services like Basecamp and Todoist to better integrate time-tracking into your existing workflow.
Harvest is a time-tracking app that’s integrated with invoicing from the very beginning. It’s designed especially for freelancers and small businesses. Like Toggl, Harvest has a straightforward time tracking interface allowing you to attach time to specific projects, clients and tasks. But unlike Toggl, Harvest includes a built-in invoicing tool that can generate invoices directly from your tracked time. It also integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero to generate invoices in existing financial pipelines. Harvest can integrate with project management tools like Basecamp and Trello. It can also be accessed from a Chrome extension, Mac app or smartphone app. A limited version of Harvest is available for free, and the more fully-featured version starts at $12 per month.
Timely is a tracking tool designed specifically for creative teams, integrating with project management software to help budget resources and track invested man hours. Like other time-tracking apps, it makes entering billable hours simple, but its team-based power is where Timely differentiates itself. Different team members can have different hourly rates. Tasks can be sorted into project phases like Pitching, Design and Coding.
Project managers can check logged time against the available hours for a project. Users can import Google Calendar and Outlook events as billable time. Time sheets can be exported to help clients audit time spent on the project. Gmail integrations help you log emails against projects and preserve detail for reference later. And the Memory feature can automatically log time into Timely based on the documents and applications you’ve worked on. Timely’s apps are available for macOS, Windows, iOS and Android. After the 14-day free trial, Timely is available starting at $15 per user.
Time tracking is an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. If you get some software that’s easy to use and integrates into your existing workflow, it will make your invoicing and billing process more accurate and easier.