There’s no shortage of freelance time tracking apps on the market today, and for good reason: time is money. And if you’re not tracking your time as a freelancer you’re probably leaving some of that money on the table.
But with so many apps to choose from where do you start? You’ve come to the right place!
All of the freelance time tracking apps I’ve listed below are top notch. But which one you pick will depend on your distinct workflow, preferences, budget, and unique needs.
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That’s why for each app I’ve not only provided a quick summary, but also some thoughts covering:
- What makes the app unique?
- What’s my personal favorite feature?
- How much does the app cost?
Hopefully this will save you some time narrowing down which apps are worth test driving for you specifically.
And if you’re not convinced you need to be tracking your time, the list of benefits at the end of this article might change your mind.
Without further ado allow me to introduce the best freelance time tracking apps on the market today!
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The 10 Best Freelance Time Tracking Apps on the Market Today
On the surface Harpoon is extremely simple: start a timer, record your hours, and bill your clients. But in the background Harpoon is automagically forecasting your revenue, keeping your projects on budget, and helping you plan & predict a profitable future for your freelancing business.
What makes Harpoon unique: Every feature in Harpoon is ultimately designed to help you set, track, and hit a yearly financial goal for your freelancing business. You set the goal, and Harpoon works backwards from that goal, helping you schedule, budget, and forecast your client projects throughout the year.
My favorite feature: Harpoon shows you the exact value, cost and potential profit of every hour you record. For example, want to instantly see how much money you’re going to make on all the hours you spent on design tasks across three specific projects over the last two weeks? No problem!
Pricing: Harpoon offers a 14-day free trial, and plans start at $19/month for unlimited features, including time tracking, invoicing, expense tracking & budgeting, forecasting, scheduling, project budgeting, mileage tracking, analytics & reports…the works. Team plans are also available.
While Harvest puts a big focus on time tracking for teams, it works great for freelancers, too. With Harvest you can record your hours using timers, or enter your hours manually, and then easily invoice your clients for those hours.
What makes Harvest unique: Harvest has gained a following by offering integrations with some of the most popular project management apps (e.g. Basecamp, Trello, etc.), making it easy to track your time directly in those tools.
My favorite feature: If you happen to be working with a team, Harvest offers a separate product called Forecast that helps you manage your team’s schedule. It’s tightly integrated with the time tracking features of Harvest.
While some of the apps in this list include additional tools like invoicing and expense tracking, Toggl focuses strictly on time tracking, and does it very well, with a long list of capabilities (depending on how much you opt to pay).
What makes Toggl unique: Keeping a narrow feature focus has kept Toggl’s interface streamlined and optimized for time tracking, which makes it easy to get in and get out. So if you don’t require additional features like invoicing or expense tracking, Toggl is hard to beat.
My favorite feature: If you forget to use a timer (or just dislike using timers in general) Toggl provides an easy way to retroactively enter start and stop times for the hours you meant to record.
Pricing: Toggl offers a 30-day free trial, with their Starter plan billed at $10/month. They also offer a limited free plan which could work just fine depending on your feature needs.
Unlike every other product in this list, Timeular goes beyond software by offering a physical object to help you track time. Say what?! It also provides an app to help you track and organize your recorded time, including timesheets and handy analytics.
What makes Timeular unique: At the core of Timeular is their Tracker, an 8-sided, Bluetooth dice that sits on your desk. Each side of the dice represents a task category. Simply flip the dice to start tracking your time and the result is recorded in Timeular’s software.
My favorite feature: Using a marker you can customize each side of the Tracker dice with your own categories, illustrations, words, etc., making the dice truly your own.
Pricing: Timeular offers a few different pricing options, including the purchase of the Tracker dice with a Basic version of the software for a flat $89. Upgrade options exist if you’re interested in the Pro version.
PomoDoneApp combines time tracking, the Pomodoro technique, and your favorite task management app (e.g. Asana, Todoist, etc.). For example, create a to-do in Asana, and start tracking time for that to-do using PomoDoneApp.
What makes PomoDoneApp unique: PomoDoneApp is built around the popular Pomodoro technique, automatically breaking up your work into 25 minute sprints, with 5 minute breaks in between (these default intervals can also be customized).
My favorite feature: PomoDoneApp has tight integration with the most popular task management apps. This means you won’t need to recreate your task list in two separate products in order to accurately track time for your todos.
Pricing: PomoDoneApp offers a 7-day free trial, with their Lite plan starting at $3.44/month. A free plan is also available if you don’t need all of their features.
RescueTime automatically tracks the time you spend on websites, apps, documents, etc., while providing detailed reports and analytics on exactly where your time goes throughout each day.
What makes RescueTime unique: Instead of manually operating timers to record your hours, RescueTime essentially “watches” your activity, and automatically tracks how you’re spending your time. As a result you’ll not only see what you’ve been working on, but also what might be distracting you.
My favorite feature: You can easily set “FocusTimes” which will block you from accessing distracting websites, apps, etc. Super handy for productivity sprints.
Pricing: RescueTime offers a 14-day free trial, with their monthly plan billed at $18/month. A free Lite plan is also available with limited features.
If you live in the Apple ecosystem and prefer a native app experience then give Tyme a good look. It’s a full-featured app with a beautiful interface and a simple approach to tracking your time.
What makes Tyme unique: While most of the apps in this list are web-based products with companion native apps (nothing wrong with that), Tyme is Apple native only. So if you’re using a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, expect a first-class native experience.
My favorite feature: Tyme taps into Siri Shortcuts, allowing you to start and stop timers, add notes to running timers, and will even let you know how much you’ve worked today.
Pricing: Tyme offers a 14-day free trial, and a subscription costs $4/month for a single user running the app on up to 5 devices. Team subscriptions are also available.
Similar to RescueTime, Timing offers an automatic approach to time tracking, but with a solely native Mac experience. As you work on your Mac, Timing tracks how much time you spend on each website, app, and document.
What makes Timing unique: Timing displays a visual timeline of your day, breaking it into editable blocks of time for each activity, project, and task you worked on.
My favorite feature: Timing lets you set up “rules” which help you automatically categorize blocks of time without needing to perform any manual editing.
Pricing: Timing is offered on a subscription basis starting at $4.50/month for 1 user on up to 2 Macs. You can pay for additional users and Macs as needed.
HourStack takes a proactive approach to time tracking, by allowing you to first schedule where on the calendar you plan to spend a chunk of time, and then compares that plan with the time you actually spent.
What makes HourStack unique: HourStack’s main interface is similar to Google Calendar’s weekly view. You drag and drop to allocate blocks of time for each of your projects over the course of the week. So you know exactly what you plan to work on each hour of each day.
My favorite feature: HourStack’s reports make it easy to compare your allocated vs. actual hours for custom time frames across multiple projects, team members, and categories.
Pricing: HourStack offers a 14-day free trial, with plans starting at $7/month for basic features, or you can upgrade for the entire professional package.
Everhour packs plenty of time tracking features for freelancers, but really shines when you’re collaborating with a team, giving you an in-depth breakdown of each team member’s daily hours across all your projects.
What makes Everhour unique: In addition to the common features you’d expect to find, Everhour provides some unique team dashboard and timesheet views, showing you who worked when, who might be overworked, and provides an overview of past, current, and future time offs.
My favorite feature: A robust task management system is built into Everhour, allowing you to view a project’s tasks as a list or in a Kanban view (think Trello). You can even track budgets on a per task basis.
Pricing: Everhour offers a 14-day free trial, with plans starting at $35/month for teams of 5 or less. They also offer a free plan if you don’t need to integrate Everhour with other apps.
The Benefits of Using a Freelance Time Tracking App
Whether or not you bill your clients by the hour, tracking your time as a freelancer can provide some invaluable benefits, and can help make the difference between just barely scraping by financially vs. running a thriving, successful business.
Accurate Project Billing: This is probably the most obvious and popular reason for tracking your time. Whether or not you’re billing by the hour, knowing how much time you’ve spent on a project will help you accurately calculate the project’s cost. You can then make sure to bill your client for an amount that provides a healthy profit margin.
Estimating Time: When taking on a new project it’s always nice to give the client at least a ballpark estimate on how much time the project will take to complete, whether that’s an estimated number of hours, days, weeks, etc. If you’ve tracked your time for similar projects in the past you’ll have a good idea on how much time to estimate.
Estimating Costs: If you’re giving your client an upfront quote for a project you’ll want some idea of how much the project will cost you to complete. Part of that equation might involve looking at similar projects you’ve completed in the past, seeing what the average time was involved with those projects, and calculating the cost of that time.
Project Profitability: Every hour you and your team members spend on a project has a cost associated with it. If you’re not tracking your time you won’t truly know the resulting profit (or loss) and profit margin of the project, and that’s true whether you’re billing by the hour or by a fixed fee.
Productivity Tracking: Tracking your time can also help you discover productivity weaknesses in your routine. For example, if you plan to put in 6 billable hours each day, but your timesheet shows only 4 billable hours on average, it might be time to restructure your routine to eliminate distractions.
Project Scheduling: With multiple clients and projects coming at you it can be challenging to know when to book those projects on your calendar. Your time tracking history for similar projects can help you block out the right number of days, weeks, etc. with confidence.
Capacity Tracking: You might think tracking weekly hours capacity is only important for managing teams, but it comes in handy as a freelancer, too.
Set the maximum number of weekly hours you’re willing to put into your business and track all your business activity throughout the week. If you find yourself consistently working beyond capacity it might be time to adjust your schedule and habits to avoid burnout.
Non-Billable Costs: How much time are you spending each week on non-billable activities? What are those activities? Are they contributing to the health of your business? Or are they due to a lack of efficiency and causing you to lose money on your projects? If you’re faithfully tracking your time you’ll have the answers to those questions.
Take Control of Your Time and Money
Hopefully this article has not only given you some good reasons to faithfully track your time as a freelancer, but also some great apps to choose from to get the job done.
If you’re new to time tracking my advice is to keep it simple and pick a freelance time tracking app you actually enjoy using out of the gate. The important thing is to develop the habit of tracking your time.
And don’t feel pressured to take advantage of all of an app’s features right away. That can be overwhelming. Thankfully most of these freelance time tracking apps are fairly simple time tracking tools on the surface, but have deeper features to take advantage of only when you’re ready to take the next steps.
Thanks for reading and happy time tracking!
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