13 Essential Tools for Freelancers to Track Time

February 15, 2010 · 52 comments

by Lars

Getting started as a freelancer or a startup company with only a few employees selling design or development services requires efficiency, organization and ability to keep costs at a minimum and that hours delivered are all turned into cash. Getting started opens a world of business opportunities, interesting challenges and pit falls. Being able to decide for yourself on what assignments to take and having the freedom to manage your own working time is absolutely great but also requires a great deal of discipline. As the business gets startes managing finances, tracking down payments, kkeping track of contacts, customers etc. will become just as important as selling and delivering the interesting assignments on time. Being alone or just a few colleges means that you have to develop multiple talents and play different roles every day besides taking care of customer deliveries. This is probably the hardest part and having good tooling support is a must and definitely will make it easier to keep up with the administrative tasks. This post lists most of the decent and worth investigating tools available for managing time tracking and hopefully will help you choose the right tools for your freelance career or startup company. More posts will follow dedicated to tools supporting other important aspects of working as a freelancer

Other Freelancer tool collections you may find useful: Business Tools for Improving Freelancer Efficiency, collecting money and project management and collaboration



Time Tracking

MyClientSpot.com – Is a all in one product with great features for keeping track of your billable hours, staying organized, tracking leads, sharing files and calendars etc.


Tickspot.com – Allows you to keep track of your time spent on a project and to keep track on how close you are to using up your client’s allotted budget.  There is a free iPhone application as well to track hours on the move.


KeepTempo.com – Track budgeted hours, projects, and people. Generate invoices to Blinksale and Quickbooks. Report on projects, people, dates and tags with detailed charts to visualize time and uncover trends. On the web and in your pocket! Bookmarklet, Widget, Twitter, iPhone, SMS, Email & Mobile browser. Pricing starts at $5 / month! Limited free plans available.


Time59.com – Quick and easy entry of time and expenses. Instantly review your activity sorted and grouped the way you need to see it. Time and expenses flow through to appear on invoices without re-typing. Just enter your activity, Time59 will keep it perfectly organized. Automatic invoice creation based on the time and expenses you’ve already entered. Generate invoices as PDF documents and email them to your clients directly from Time59. Time59 makes it easy to record and track payments from clients. Time59 has true accounts receivable allowing you to easily track client balances.


TimeIQ.com – Keep track of your billable hours. Allows for exporting of data, generating reports at your own specified intervals, and several more features.


GetHarvest.com – Harvest lets you and your staff track time, log expenses, and create invoices in one simple, integrated workflow. Set yourself or your team up on Harvest in just a few minutes, and instantly start tracking time and expenses. Harvest offers an array of platform integrations such as iPhone, Basecamp, Beanstalk , a WordPress plugin and more.


14dayz.com –  Simple web based time tracking tool for groups of loosely connected individuals that collaborate on a professional basis. 14Dayz is great for teams that are geographically distributed and still need a central place for logging their hours. Offers a limited free version.


PunchyTime – A simple time tracking tool on the surface but yet powerful if needed. Designed to help you track hours as you work.


TimePost – Desktop time tracker with simple interface and features like idle detection. This tools post time to activeCollab, Basecamp, Blinksale, Cashboard, Fogbugz, FreeAgent, Freshbooks, Harvest, or Tick.


FunctionFox –Simple time and project tracking for small creative companies. With over 20,000 users in 94 countries, TimeFox is the proven time and project tracking system for creative professionals. There is a TimeFox iPhone App.


LiveTimer.comLiveTimer is a flexible and easy to use online time tracking service. It can be used by anyone on the Internet to track time for billing purposes or to improve accountability and productivity. Timer that tracks start & end times, Ledger for daily time entry & review, Multiple report styles, intelligent report filters, iPhone / iPod Touch optimized etc.


Toggl.com – Toogl allows you to manually keep track of your time or use their timer.  They also offer both an online version or a Windows-based download that you can use on your desktop. Toggl suits both individuals and teams. Integrates with tools like BaseCamp. It is used by anyone selling hours: freelancers, design agencies, law offices, developers. There are both free and paid plans.


1timetracking.com – 1time is a web-based time and expense tracking application that allows you to easily keep track of the real cost of a project for cost analysis on fix cost or billing after. Automated e-mail reminders to employees who have not entered their timesheets. Users can now update and view their timesheets while out of the office via their mobile phone or cell phone. The 1time mobile version will work on almost all mobile phones including Blackberry, Nokia, iPhone and many more. Give your client access to this view so they can see how much time you have put into the project in real time or send it at the end of the project with an invoice. Etc.


SimplyBill.com – Easily create attractive invoices. Send invoices to clients by email. Save your invoices as PDFs, create quotes for work that you can later convert to invoices, get alerted when an invoice is overdue and numerous other features.

“Simplybill brings simple invoice management to all. Instead of wrestling with overly complex accounting software or trying to mash-up a spreadsheet into some sort of design, begin sending attractive invoices in minutes.”


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  • 85+ Tools & Resources for Freelancers and Web Workers

    March 3rd, 2009 | by Sean P. Aune

    77 Comments and 602 Reactions

    web-workerDeciding to become a freelance worker can be a scary proposition. Sure there is an allure to picking what projects you work on, but it can also be stressful not knowing where your next paycheck will come from. Luckily there are numerous resources out there that not only help you find more work, but also loads of tools to help you do your job more efficiently with a professional edge.

    We’ve gathered over 85 tools and job sites for a variety of freelancers and web workers. While a lot of these items are focused on web design elements such as photography, programming and writing, we made sure to include something for everyone.

    Have more resources to recommend? Tell us about them in the comments.

    Work Tools

    It’s important for freelance workers to be as organized as possible. After all, it’s up to you to track your time, individual projects, create your own invoices, and more. There are tons of great tools to simplify this for you. For example, GetHarvest.com can help you keep track of your time spent on projects in differing locations, and Zoho Invoices can help you create professional looking invoices to send to clients.

    Adobe AIR Apps

    klokAgileTracker – Allows you to keep track of time spent on projects by client, and if you are using AgileAgenda, you can sync them with each other.

    Google Calendar Invoice Creator – Allows you to use Google Calendar as a way to keep track of your hours and then import that data into this app to automatically generate invoices.

    Klok (Klok) – Klok allows you to easily keep track of your time spent on multiple projects. You can easily start and stop tracking by just clicking a button for each project. You’re able to generate multiple reports based off of this information.

    Ora Time and Expense – Ora allows you to track expenses, keep a list of your tasks, run a timer on your tasks and more.

    Sundial – Keeps track of time spent on multiple projects & clients and allows you to generate reports based on any time period.

    Timeloc – Offers multiple features such as running several clients with different billing rates per account, setting different timing intervals, audible alerts and much more.

    Vertabase Timer – You can track time on projects for various clients and then export that data to other systems so you can generate reports and invoices.


    zoho invoiceBillMyClients.com – Has import & export capabilities, allows you to save invoices locally at any time, HTML customization for better branding, recurring invoicing, PayPal integration and other features.

    Blinksale.com – Create invoices from their templates, or you can use your own CSS to custom design one of your own.  Also allows you to import clients from Basecamp (Basecamp), create tags for better organization, set up recurring invoices and more.

    CannyBill.com – CannyBill can help you accept credit cards, export data to QuickBooks, automate invoicing and late payment notices and a host of other tools.

    CitrusBill.com – You can automate late payment notices as well as customize the look and feel of your invoices while managing all of your payments.

    CurdBee.com – A simple and straightforward invoicing solution that also integrates with PayPal and Google Checkout.

    Endeve.com – Endeve allows you to customize invoices, import clients from Outlook, track which clients owe you money and a whole lot more.

    Fluttervoice.co.uk – A UK-based invoicing service that allows you to generate new invoices and keep track of your payments.  Your clients can also login to see all of their invoices with you at a glance.

    FreeAgentCentral.com – Helps you to invoice your clients, keep track of billing, prepare your taxes, and more.  Focused on freelancers in the UK.

    FreshBooks.com – FreshBooks allows you to automate late payment reminders, track your time and expenses, customize the look of your tools for a full branded experience and more.

    GoToBilling.com – Get paid from an emailed invoice, keep track of your clients, use marketing tools to gain new ones and more.

    InLattice.net – Give your clients web access to their invoices and receive confirmation that your customer has viewed an invoice. InLattice integrates with major online payment systems and other tools.

    InvoiceJournal.com – InvoiceJournal allows you to send invoices for free via email or print them out to be sent by snail mail.  Also allows you to use multiple currencies.

    InvoiceMachine.com – Customize your invoices with logos and colors, use their built-in timer to track your billable hours, create PDFs of your invoices and more.

    InvoicePlace.com – InvoicePlace lets you send invoices, track all payments, generate reports, export to Word & Excel and more.

    Invoicera.com – Invoicera offers you several time saving features such as automatic repeating invoices for frequent clients, integration with multiple payment gateways, printing, management and more.

    invoicesmadeeasyInvoicesMadeEasy.com – This service allows you to email or physically mail invoices yourself, or you can pay as little as a $1.00 each to have them mail invoices for you.  Offers all of the usual features to boot.

    Invotrak.com – Allows you to track your time sheets, generate invoices, see who has paid you, generate various reports to see how you are performing and more.

    LiteAccounting.com – Create invoices you can send via email, save them as PDFs, set up recurring invoices, and more features.

    SimplyBill.com – Save your invoices as PDFs, create quotes for work that you can later convert to invoices, get alerted when an invoice is overdue and numerous other features.

    SimplyInvoices.com – SimplyInvoices integrates with the Basecamp API to give you full integration with your account and allow for easy invoicing based on your Basecamp activities.

    Winkbill.com – Set up recurring billing, export invoices as PDFs, accept payments via PayPal, multiple templates to choose from and more features.

    Zoho Invoices – The popular Zoho (zoho) online office suite has an invoicing feature that can be used for free for a few invoices a month, but you’ll have to pay if you have numerous payment requests to make.  Allows you to import and export data, set up templates, set up recurring billing and more.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

emma September 24, 2013 at 9:30 am

I think the best way to manage your time tracking hassles is to use Replicon timesheet – http://www.replicon.com


Time Sheet October 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Since we are talking about time tracking tools that would help us utilize the time better, I would like to recommend Replicon employee time tracking software.


Marie-Eve March 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Do you know Kiwili ?
It works with all the platforms (Mac, PC, Linux, iOS, Android) and there’s even an iPhone version. The app allows you to manage your time, create and send bills, get paid online, organize your projects, create your reports and so on.
Here’s the link https://www.kiwili.com


Pete W. March 14, 2012 at 4:20 am

I strongly agree that time tracking tools are essential to freelancers. With the help of these tools it manages time effectively and limits wasted time. It also helps freelancers to stay focus on tasks and get more things done. These way freelancers are able to finish tasks on time and meet deadlines. There are also lots of time tracking tools and features that can be use. Some time tracking tools also invoice and help bill clients like Freshbooks. Here are more alternative tools that can help freelancers track time.


Greta August 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I’ve recently discovered another great time tracker I could recommend!
It’s OnePageOnly, a web based, simple, user-friendly and free tool for soloist and small teams. Check it out at http://onepageonly.net/


Anders N January 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I can recommend Timeduty.com, a online time tracking system.


Lars January 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for the tip Anders


Peggy Emch July 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Wow! There are so many applications I haven’t even heard of, spinning off from all sorts of angles! For a tried and true project and time tracking software, try https://www.timesheets.com


Madison April 16, 2010 at 10:31 pm

We have used TimeFox for years and love the online tools. It’s pretty simple and works well. It may not be super flashy, but the tool is reliable and the support is amazing. Worth a look if nothing else.


Peggy April 7, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Allow me to add one more time tracking app. Timesheets.com is so easy to use and has a lot more features than some of the other applications I’ve used such as slim timer. That one is cool but it’s lacking in a lot of functionality. Timesheets.com is fun to use too because it has a facebook-like wall where employees can communicate in real-time.


Stephen December 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I am using Neotriad, it manages projects and my personal time. Really great: http://www.neotriad.com


tripwiremag December 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm

@all; Thanks a lot for the positive feedback and the many additional tools you have described and provided links for!


Gibbous November 25, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I’d like to recommend Task Time 4 http://www.ttpsoftware.com/
The footprint on my screen is small. I can add start new product timers without filling in a lot of details and it’s super cheap. I have it open as often as I have Photoshop open.

I’ve been freelancing for a couple years now, both on my own and under a few companies, and they only use Quickbooks, so I have to have QBTimer open in a VM Environment. ANd I tell yeah, that stupid thing crashes my VM more often then not. Does any one know of a OS X native QB Timer that is NOT by Intuit? Am I the only one out there that has this issue?


mike November 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

I don’t know how my favorite free tool didn’t even get included in the comments yet: http://sidejobtrack.com. It has email invoicing with templates, client, project, and service tracking, separate prices for different services, discounting, a timer of course, everything I’ve ever needed for freelance work. It’s not a free trial or anything either, the whole service is free forever.


Charles-Henry Vespierre October 25, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Just very surprised you forgot freshbooks.com (the big one) and rescuetime.com (the growing one)
Both got free account.


janvi October 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Good News for all Freelancers – A new site is now in market where you can:
Post and bid projects – Absolutely Free
Buy and sell any service – Absolutely Free
Also create friend network
all these activities at one place, join today – https://www.myzoox.com/login.php


john October 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Are you looking for service providers, or jobs or want to post a project for freelance, here is the absolutely new site where it is free to post and bid and also you can enjoy with your friends, a combination of social network and freelance website at one go. Have a look dear: http://www.myzoox.com/index.php


Dino Franke October 22, 2009 at 10:53 am

I´m using “mite”. It´s a great online tool. Worth looking at:



evertt de sousa October 21, 2009 at 7:17 pm

very nice post, congratulations :)


Dare to Think October 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm

A nice and incredibly simple timer is “WorkTimer” for the Mac. All you do is continually start-stop to build up a series of times. Good if you don’t really need to know where the time was spent. http://code.google.com/p/mac-worktimer/


Martin Doersch October 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I use TimeLog. A very nice program to log my work times.
Here’s the url: http://www.mediaatelier.com/TimeLog4/
Best regards


John October 20, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Another great option for freelancers to track their time is a web-based app called Intervals. It was built for and by web designers and developers.


dewde October 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I use a web app called Cashboard to track time and generate invoices from it. Been a happy user for almost 2 years now.


peace | dewde


Geir October 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I’m a big fan of On the Job for the Mac. Very useful desktop software for tracking time: http://stuntsoftware.com/OnTheJob/


Anirniq October 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Nice article there.
I would add one other software : Billings on mac.
You can track your time, and by defining a rate it creates the invoice on its own. You can make template easily.



AnneC October 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I also like Qlockwork (from http://www.workingprogram.com), which is an add-in for Outlook that automatically tracks computer work.


stella October 20, 2009 at 7:04 am

Great list! I think these tools can help all the freelancers like me to track their time and concentrate and focus on important tasks assigned.


Mike Smith October 20, 2009 at 3:55 am

Nice list here. I’d recommend http://www.slimtimer.com as well – I’ve used it off and on for the past year or so. Definitely a good, clean and lightweight time tracker.


designfollow October 20, 2009 at 1:22 am

thanks for this creat article.


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