In This Article
Time tracking apps can be critical to, well – keeping your team on track. They help accurately track each worker’s time and can help uncover areas to improve efficiencies and profits. The best time tracking apps can also help you improve profits. They help do that by dialing in a number of things with your accounting, like payroll, expense tracking, and client invoices.
Below, we’ll outline the key features to look for in different types of time tracking apps. We’ll also provide a roundup of our favorite apps by industry.
Skip to these sections:
- Best time tracking apps by industry summary matrix
- Best time tracking app for construction
- Best time tracking app for freelancers
- Best time tracking app for creative teams
- Best time tracking app for software teams
- Best time tracking app for knowledge workers & professionals
- Best time tracking app for small businesses
Choosing The Right Time Tracking App
The best time tracking apps come in a couple of key types: standalone apps and platform solutions.
Standalone apps are great for companies who want to remove the administrative hassle that comes with manually collecting employee hours. Standalone apps help you create more accurate time cards. Many of these apps can even export data to help streamline payroll and accounting processes.
Platform solutions go beyond time tracking to drive productivity and profitability. Amongst other things, you can schedule employee tasks and turn collected data into actionable reporting. This includes access to data and metrics like job costs, project timelines, and so on.
Time tracking platforms also offer integrations into popular account and payroll programs.
What To Look For In A Standalone Time Tracking App
Standalone apps are designed to do one job—in this case, tracking time. Unlike platform solutions, these apps do not come bundled with software to handle a variety of other tasks like job costing and scheduling.
Good time trackers have all the tools most small to medium businesses will need to effectively track time and transfer it accurately to payroll. We’ll cover some must have features below.
Time Clock App Capabilities
Time tracking apps can offer a lot of different time tracking tools.
Automatic time trackers can be set up to track the time workers spend using computers and phones.
They can even track specific events like, how much time is spent away from the keyboard or how often certain software is used. They can even provide reporting to show how much time is spent working on specific jobs and projects.
Typically, employees can log work hours manually via time entries or automatically through a clock in/clock out system.
Reminders are also a useful feature to notify employees of start and stop times. They can even be configured to help with compliance by reminding employees to take breaks. Some even have built in timers that automatically clock employees back in once their preset break time is up.
The best apps are really easy to use. Employees should be able to clock in and out with just a few clicks a day. Anything more and you’ll end up with frustrated employees and threats that they won’t use the tool.
One of the main reasons for using a time tracking app is to eliminate wasted payroll spend by creating more accurate timesheets. At the very least, your time tracking app should compile all employee work time into digital timesheets. That data should be easy to share with your payroll system.
More robust timesheet apps can track a variety of things to help you streamline even more workflows. For example, timesheets can be set up to track breaks, vacation time, and time spent not only working, but working on specific projects.
Next- Generation GPS Tracker
For companies with field or service workers, real-time location information is crucial.
This helps you monitor where employees are throughout the day and gives you the audit trail you need to know time cards are accurate.
Features should include the ability to see entry and exit times, location addresses, and mileage traveled from site to site.
It’s a good idea to trial a few different apps to see the differences in accuracy of the GPS information.
Ability to Track Expenses
Just as location tracking is essential for traveling employees, so is mileage and expense tracking.
If these are features you need, then choose an app that makes it easy for you to track employee mileage. Some tools offer you the ability to export that data as a PDF for payroll and accounting purposes.
Apps should also include features that allow employees to attach photos of receipts directly to time cards.
It’s a great way to eliminate even more of the paper trail.
What To Look For In A Platform Solution
Platform solutions are designed for companies looking to get even more out of their time tracking.
By turning their hours worked data into actionable intelligence companies can improve profitability.
There are certain things you’ll want to look for in a platform solution that we’ll cover below.
Job Cost Reporting
Job cost reporting is a great feature to help you better understand how your project costs compare to your budget.
You should be able to enable your employees to tag their hours to projects and unique cost codes.
This type of reporting can be incredibly helpful in improving client billing and getting better at future bids.
Platform solutions offering this feature should make it incredibly easy for you to generate job cost reports using your time card data.
Sharing Time Card Data with Your Payroll System
There are a couple of ways that platforms can share your time card data with your payroll platform. At the very least, the software should be able to export the data as a CSV file so you can do a simple upload.
You can also look for platform solutions that offer direct integration with populate payroll or accounting software like QuickBooks, Gusto, and ADP.
Creating a Schedule for Your Team
Creating a schedule for your team can mean more than simply scheduling work hours and overall project deadlines.
The best time tracking apps can also help you create tasks to assign to team members. They can also provide timeline views to see how your project is progressing.
Fully featured time tracking software will allow you to track time in a variety of different ways.
Basic time tracking will help you monitor employee time by letting them clock in and clock out with just a couple of clicks. Some of these apps will also include built-in break timers to help with compliance.
Some include time management tools to help improve productivity.
For example, some apps track working time and idle time using details like keyboard and mouse movements or screenshots of the employee’s computer.
Another feature that some platforms offer is invoicing.
Rather than exporting time data and expenses to input into separate invoicing software, some software can help you create invoices within the platform.
The platform should be capable of tracking work hours by project, task and employee so that you know what to charge for labor hours.
It should also allow you to input expense costs including supplies, materials, and receipts from travel. This allows you to create more accurate invoices without inadvertently under charging.
Some of the best time tracking apps include project management features.
The most popular features that companies ask for are scheduling and basic task management. Those tools make it easy for you to plan and schedule activities down to the hour.
Other project management features can include:
- Note taking so employees can add notes directly to time cards updating their progress.
- Photo sharing to document progress visually and even move expense reimbursement off of paper.
- Document sharing to keep communication on the same platform.
Cross Platform Device Support
Cross-platform support is a must.
Your employees will be working on a variety of devices from Windows and Mac desktops to iOS and Android mobile devices.
The desktop app is usually web-based or a simple Chrome extension. For mobile apps look for those that provide an easy-to-use interface.
Support From Humans
You’re going to have questions so the level of support you’ll get with your time tracking app matters.
The best time tracking apps offer you the ability to connect with real people who can help you get answers to your questions quickly.
You’ll also want to look for online resources and real-time chat.
Some solutions may appear inexpensive at first glance, but they generally don’t offer any human support.
The downtime and hassles caused by those products may end up costing you more than you accounted for.
The Best Time Tracking Apps Broken Down by Industry
A Summary of Our Picks
Best Time Tracking Apps
What We Like
Purpose built for construction with next-gen GPS tracking and real-time job costing.
Free 14 day trial. Plans start at $6 per user per month.
All-in-one product that’s great for freelancers.
Free for 2 months. Plans start at $19 per month. Additional users can be added for $9 per user per month.
100% free time tracking and invoicing tool for freelancers.
Built for project managers looking to improve productivity of designers and marketers.
Free for up to 3 users and projects. $5 per user per month for more features and unlimited projects.
We love Toggl for software companies thanks to its ability to break down projects into subtasks.
Free for up to 5 users. Plans start at $10 per user per month.
Trello has built a tribe of startup loyalists who love the product for its flexibility and extensive list of integrations.
Free up to 10 boards. Pricing starts at $10 per user per month for unlimited boards and customization.
We love Time Doctor’s daily metric targets that help keep teams productive.
Free 14 day trial. Paid plans start at $7 per user per month.
Harvest offers browser extensions to make time tracking and productivity management easy for IT and engineering pros.
Free for 1 user and 2 projects. Paid plans start at $12 per user per month.
Asana has specialized getting started guides for sales, marketing, and product teams.
Free for up to 15 users. Paid plans unlock more features starting at $10.99 per user per month.
Hubstaff packs a lot of features into one offering making it great for small businesses.
Free for 1 user. Paid plans start at $7 per user per month.
TimeCamp automatically scans for app usage making it a great solution for small businesses to track time and productivity.
Free plan offering limited features. Paid plans start at $5.25 per user per month.
Best for Construction
Who It’s Good For
Workyard is made specifically with the needs of construction firms in mind.
It starts with the unique time tracking needs of distributed project teams.
Next-gen GPS technology and construction time tracking help accurately track when and where each employee is. By recording actual site entry and exit times Workyard gives owners the transparency they need to know their payroll is accurate.
Workyard is more than just time tracking.
By allowing employees to tag their hours to projects and costs codes Workyard automatically generates job costs reports that you can view in real-time.
The benefit is getting the information you need to improve profitability through more accurate client invoices and better future bids.
Workyard offers a free 14 day trial with no credit card required.
The Time tracking plan starts at $6 per month per user. To unlock job costing, plans start at $13 per month per user.
Both plans also have a $50 base fee per month per company that covers unlimited data storage and live support.
Best for Freelancers
Who It’s Good For
Hello Bonsai is a great choice for freelancers who charge hourly rates and need to create invoices. This app allows you to track working hours, then bill according to per-hour or per-project rates.
It also supports collaborators if you’re working as part of a freelance team.
Hello Bonsai offers cross platform support, too, with iOS, Android, Mac and Chrome extension support.
It’s free to try this app for two months. After that, the Workflow plan starts at $19 per month including time tracking, invoicing and other features. The Workflow Plus plan is $29 per month with a few added features like client forms and questionnaires.
Adding additional full access users is $9 per month for each user.
Who It’s Good For
TopTracker comes from the TopTal platform, one of the top freelancing platforms out there. This is a tool that allows you to track time, screenshots showing activity, and webcam footage to prove that you’re staying on task.
Not only can you use information collected by TopTracker for client billing, but you can also create productivity reports. These reports allow you to track specific activities so that you can examine the way you work to see where improvements can be made.
It also allows you to create invoices, and TopTracker partners with Payoneer, which allows for international payments.
One of the biggest benefits to TopTracker? It’s completely free to use. No strings attached.
Best for Creative Teams
Who It’s Good For
TrackingTime is best for graphic design, marketing, and architecture teams.
It’s built around the needs of project managers looking to monitor a team’s workload.
There is a simple dashboard that gives you an overview of worked hours plus all tasks currently in progress. It’s easy to assign tasks or communicate with team members within the software.
It offers great cross platforms support with Chrome and Firefox extensions and syncing with native Android and iOS apps.
Additional features include the ability to monitor breaks, time off, overtime, and produce final timesheets.
TrackingTime offers a free plan limited to three users and three projects.
The premium plan offers unlimited collaboration, scheduling, and advanced reporting for $5 per user per month.
Best for Software Companies
Who It’s Good For
Toggl was designed with both freelancers and teams in mind. Toggl is a popular choice for software companies, the hospitality industry, and legal service companies.
This is a feature-rich app that not only allows you to track hours worked, but helps you see what was worked on. Toggl helps break the workday or the project down into specific subtasks so that you can track time spent on each.
From there, you can generate reports to gain insights into time spent on various tasks throughout the week or month.
Toggl allows you to manage time across your entire team—and will even generate invoices based on collected time data.
We really like Toggl for software companies because they integrate with more than 100 services from Slack to GitLab.
Toggl offers a free version for up to five users. Paid plans start at $10 per user per month and go all the way up to custom pricing for enterprise customers.
Who It’s Good For
Trello is one of the leaders in time tracking and project management. That’s because this is an app that offers a ton of tools.
We know lots of software companies and professional service organizations that are diehard Trello loyalists.
Trello uses cards to track projects, allowing you to break everything down into individual tasks to be assigned out to different team members. It’s easy to track due dates, keep activity logs, and more.
One thing we love about Trello is that it’s highly customizable which means it will likely adapt to your preferred workflows.
It’s been around for a while, so they’ve had the time to build integrations with most major players in productivity software. Microsoft and Google and just two examples.
Upgraded versions of Trello come with even more features, like calendar, timeline and team views so that you can gain insights on project progress.
Trello is available on both mobile and desktop platforms. There is a free version that gives you access to up to 10 boards.
The business class plan offers unlimited boards and a lot of customization options. You can start with a free trial then it’s $10 per month subscription after that.
At the enterprise level, Trello offers custom pricing based on selected features.
Who It’s Good For
Time Doctor is all about reducing the amount of time wasted on a day-to-day basis—and it’s designed with teams in mind.
This is an app that provides pop-up alerts when you surf into time-wasting websites, and it gives you time tracking tools to monitor productivity.
Daily time reports allow you to set metrics for you and your team, which gives you a target to try to beat each day.
This app offers a 14-day free trial, and after that, it’s $7 to $20 per user per month for different levels of service.
Each level offers more in the way of feature. From unlimited screenshots and more than 60 different integrations at the standard level to video capture and VIP support at the VIP level.
As with many of the larger time tracking suites, Time Doctor also offers an enterprise level. The enterprise tier lets you customize the offering based on the needs of your business or team.
Best for Knowledge Workers & Professionals
Who It’s Good For
Harvest is great for consultants, IT, and engineering teams looking to track attendance and productivity.
Harvest offers options to start and stop timers while working or fill in timesheets at the end of the day. It also works on both desktop and mobile platforms, providing workers with reminders to track their time.
One of the key features that Harvest offers is integrations with popular apps like Google, Google Calendar, Outlook and more.
This includes browser extensions and other flexible ways to integrate. All aimed at making it easy for workers to work their own way—and still keep track of their time.
Harvest also gives you tools to analyze the big picture. You can look at overall project progress, zoom in to look at task details, and keep track of your team’s work capacity.
These reporting tools also provide options for tracking budgets to make sure that you stay on track.
Harvest offers a free plan for a single user and 2 projects. The Pro tier offers unlimited users and projects for $12 per user per month.
Who It’s Good For
Asana is really popular with sales, marketing, operations, and product teams. So much that the company has built out specific onboarding workflows to help each of those teams get the most out of the product.
Asana offers a lot of tools for time tracking and project management.
This includes activity logs, messaging features, and collaborative tools. Asana also offers a project dashboard that lets you create tasks and assign them out to employees as needed.
You can track projects and times through list views, a calendar view, and a board view. All of this is available on desktop and mobile applications.
There are several levels of service to choose from.
The basic plan is free and supports unlimited project and tasks. It also allows up to 15 users. That’s a lot in a free tier!
Premium and business levels add timelines, dashboard, administrative tools, and unlimited free guests. Those plans are $10.99 to $24.99 per user per month respectively.
Asana offers white labeling and customization at the enterprise level, although you have to contact them for pricing.
Best for Small Businesses
Who It’s Good For
We really like Hubstaff for small teams and businesses. It packs a lot of features into one platform. In addition to time tracking, you can use Hubstaff for a variety of administrative tasks.
This includes creating invoices based on your team’s work hours, or generating reports on team activity to make it easier to monitor progress.
Hubstaff offers a free plan for 1 user. They also offer tiers from $7 per month for the basic service, up to $20 for enterprise service.
Who It’s Good For
TimeCamp comes with a lot of features that make it ideal for small businesses.
It starts with automatic time tracking that scans your apps for activity to log hours worked. From there, you can generate reports to gain insights into productivity or profitability.
Spending too much time on meetings or too much money on a particular item? This app allows you to zero in on these things and correct them.
TimeCamp also gives you the ability to track billable work, approve timesheets with one click, and generate client invoices.
On top of that, it also integrates with lots of apps—Google, Outlook, and Asana to name a few.
TimeCamp offers a free tier with limited features. Their basic level starts at $5.25 per user per month, while the pro level is $7.50 per user per month. They also offer enterprise pricing.
Time tracking apps are an invaluable tool whether you’re a freelancer or a construction company with a distributed team.
They can help ensure you’re getting paid from clients promptly or help be confident you’re paying your team accurately. Many go beyond tracking to help you maximize productivity and ultimately improve profitability.
But the answer to which tool is going to be the best time tracking app for your business comes down to one important question. What business are you in?