Time is every small business owner’s most precious commodity. But in order to get adequately compensated for your time, you need to track how you spend it (and how your employees spend it.)
Here are five useful time tracking apps for a variety of small business needs.
Toggl offers the ultimate in simplicity, letting you track time with literally two clicks. Create an account, and connect the Toggl timer to more than 100 web apps. Just click to start the timer when you begin a task, and click again to stop it when you end or take a break. Advanced features in the paid version send employees automated reminders when they haven’t tracked time.
Toggl also creates visual reports that show you how you and your employees are actually using your time and which projects are the most profitable. Toggl integrates with popular project management apps such as Asana, Basecamp and GitHub. It works with one-person businesses or teams. It’s a good solution if you want simplicity and are primarily interested in time and project management. Paid versions start at $9/user/month.
Timesheets.com works for both hourly employees and salaried workers who need to track billable hours or time spent on projects. It can also track employee time, mileage and expenses on the road via its mobile app.
Timesheets.com works with popular payroll companies including QuickBooks, SurePayroll and ADP; you can also export the data into a wide variety of formats. There are even HR tools including standardized documents and the ability to store documents privately so only relevant managers can see them. This is a good solution if you have both hourly and salaried workers. Plans start at $99/year.
TSheets is a time tracking and scheduling solution that focuses on mobility (although there’s also a desktop app). Employees can clock in on their smartphones via text, email, voice call or even Twitter. Crew features let you send an entire crew alerts at once, or clock them all in and out at the same time. The drag-and-drop schedule creator makes it easy to schedule employees for shifts, such as retail or restaurant work, or particular jobs, such as landscaping or construction.
Employees can use the app to request time off or ask to trade shifts; managers can make or approve schedule changes on the fly and quickly alert employees. TSheets is well suited for businesses with hourly workers, work crews or mobile employees, such as field services or construction. It integrates with most popular accounting and payroll software. Paid plans start at $4/user/month.
Planning for the future is a strong point of Harvest. This time tracking app creates visual reports that show you how much time your team is spending on each project. Employees can use the app’s timers to track their time or input it manually. With the mobile app, it’s easy to track time and billable hours anywhere.
You can also track expenses by simply snapping pictures of receipts, and automatically pull data from Harvest into invoices. A sister app, Forecast, lets you use data from Harvest to accurately schedule your employees’ time into the future. This is a useful app if your business works on a variety of projects for clients at one time or if you have employees who travel for business. Paid plans start at $12/person/month.
The Hubstaff time tracking app runs on computers or mobile apps and builds in plenty of employee monitoring tools. The app tracks mouse movements and clicks, takes random screenshots to show you what employees are actually working on, monitors employee internet use so you can see what websites they’re visiting, and even tracks which apps employees use the most. The mobile app uses GPS to track employees’ time and location on the road; employees can also track time on their mobile devices.
The Hubstaff package also includes a scheduling tool and invoicing app. This is a good solution if you want to monitor employees, remote or otherwise, closely, and keep tabs on productivity. Paid plans start at $5/user/month.
Need help choosing the right time tracking and scheduling software for your business—or any other aspect of managing your employees and your finances? The experts at SCORE can help.
(Disclosure: TSheets is a client of my company.)
By Rieva Lesonsky