Survey of 18 Time Tracking Tools for Freelancers

Here is a super quick survey of time tracking tools.  – wait, start the timer in PayMo which is the tool I’m testing now.  I tested Harvest last month and reviewed it here.

Ground rules of the tool survey


Only looking at these attributes (based on my unique needs, outlined in the Harvest review).

  • Cost – dolla dolla bills, y’all
  • Style – This may take different formats. Like, “Things his app would say to pick up a girl/boy”, CD this app is playing in the car, etc.
  • Reminders and Idle detection – I want an app to be smarter than me.  THAT’S why I’m using it. I’m looking for more than an egg timer.  This is a deal breaker.
  • Invoicing – This is really the reason to track your time.  time = money, so they say.
  • Demo / free account – I got commitment issues, sure.

Other things you may want to consider in a time tracking tool (but I didn’t)

Mac and PC interoperable, employee timesheets, phone app, estimates, expenses, interface with other apps, project management features, cool reporting and graphs, task management and To Do lists,  awesome customer service and social media ties, update history with consistent updates (cause this type of tool will change in the next few years, you can bet), use of hot Keys and slick user interface,

All of these tools / apps / whatevers are PC based and my survey is based on features available to PCs.  If you are interested in a Mac app you should use Billings. BOOM.  Done and Done. Ben just gave me a demo and it made me so mad I felt like this.  (Fair warning: turn your speakers down – totally NSFW.) Also, if you are interested in tracking time on your iPhone or new iPad look here.


You be the judge.  18 tools enter, you decide their fate.  I’m using PayMo and there are serious issues with it, but it has a serviceable free plan and has idle time detection.  Which are you using?  Did I miss your favorite?  let me know in the comments below.

The Time Trackers

In alphabetical order:

Cashboard, chrometa, freckle, grindstone, harvest, LesstimeSpent, Minutedock, PayMo, projectorPM, rachota, so1o, TaskCoach, TaskForce, Tick, timerSync, toggl, tsheets, yast



  • Cost: free, $10/mo. – goes up with clients invoiced and employees with access to system.
  • Style: Frat guy and a hippie had a baby.  That baby is hella smart.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: can’t find
  • Invoicing: Yes
  • Demo / free account: 15 days and free account




  • Cost: starts at $19/mo. ($29/mo.  for invoices)
  • Style: Crazy Eyes Killa
  • Reminders and Idle detection:  Oh yeah!  That’s all this does… I think.  There’s no ‘Features’ page.  wha?
  • Invoicing: yes, but at the 29/mon plan
  • Demo / free account: no
  • Notes: passive time keeping, this looks very interesting.  Sucks that there is no demo or free service.




  • Cost: $12/mo.
  • Style: Cuddle Bunny
  • Reminders and Idle detection: can’t find
  • Invoicing: yes
  • Demo / free account: yes / 30 day demo
  • Notes: This app has a manifesto.




  • Cost: Free… like No credit card free?  Like free demo? NO!? FREE NINETY FREE!?  The catch? If you want to use your time to create invoices, the program is handcuffed to the invoice program Task Force.
  • Style: A hand me down car – It’s free, so do you trust it.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: yes
  • Invoicing: no
  • Demo / free account: All FREE




  • Cost: $12/mo.
  • Style: That candidate that everyone likes, and you want to, but you can’t … but you want to, but youaren’t the target market – or Makes you feel like a gay republican
  • Reminders and Idle detection: No PCs allowed (see review)
  • Invoicing: hella sweet
  • Demo / free account: 30 days, yep




  • Cost: $7.95/mo.
  • Style: the big kids little brother
  • Reminders and Idle detection: can’t find
  • Invoicing: Yes
  • Demo / free account: demo for 30 days




  • Cost: $16/mo. (yearly discount)
  • Style: A computer hacker in a wetsuit and a surf board walks into the beach cafe and orders something you’ve never heard of …
  • Reminders and Idle detection: can’t find – (don’t think so, cause it’s browser based – I wonderr if you could roll y’er own with a script)
  • Invoicing: Yes
  • Demo / free account: 14 day demo
  • Notes: uses a cool Twitter style interface



  • Cost: free, $10/mo.
  • Style: Walks up to you in the Ikea and you get into a conversation about Warren Buffet driving an old pickup
  • Reminders and Idle detection: yes
  • Invoicing: only one invoice with free account
  • Demo / free account: yes, usable free account
  • Notes: Awesome. I was going to give grief about the crazy log0 cartoon… but they changed it today.  I’m using PayMo now and hope to do a review soon.



  • Cost: Free as in open source
  • Style: Your cousin from the Czech Republic visits you and wants to eat at Arby’s and play D+D
  • Reminders and Idle detection: don’t think so “You will need to tell when you leave computer or switch tasks”
  • Invoicing: yep, invoice report
  • Demo / free account: open source free download


Task Coach


  • Cost: Open source Free
  • Style: Overheard at the checkout line of an interstate Subway / Love’s travel center, “I had zero idea she was a unicorn”
  • Reminders and Idle detection: nope
  • Invoicing: Nah
  • Demo / free account: free
  • Notes: I’m keeping this tool in the round-up ’cause it looks good and has ipad, iphone, linux, etc.  It’s more a ToDo manager with good time tracking.



  • Cost: $11/mo.
  • Style: Your uncle buys a new truck every year and you kinda think he is a turd burglar but you kinda think he is cool.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: don’t think so
  • Invoicing: yes
  • Demo / free account: 30 day demo
  • Notes: Integrates with Grindstone2.  So they come as a pair, but you could use Grindstone separately




  • Cost: $24 US dollars… and that’s it Forever!
  • Style: Freshbooks lapdog is still a pretty good pet.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: no
  • Invoicing: no
  • Demo / free account: no
  • Notes: Connects with Freshbooks.




  • Cost: $5/mo.
  • Style: A spaceman came down to answer some things … we are all color blind. -David Brent
  • Reminders and Idle detection: requires Add-on ‘Autopilot’, but I can’t find anything else about it on the site. It sounds AWESOME.  It ‘learns’ which programs are billable and which are not. It asks if you want to stop timers when you go between… what? What? WHAT?  That’s exactly what I’m talking about.  Computers can do this stuff if we ask them to.  Programmers, I’m looking at you.  is this so hard?  c’mon man.  but… where is the info on this cool feature?  Could it be super secret?  revoked b/c of some top secret government project?  dunno…
  • Invoicing: no, I don’t think so.
  • Demo / free account: 30 day Trial




  • Cost: free (ad supported) $6/mo. (no ads)
  • Style: The guy who paid attention in AJAX (drag/drop, click/drag, scroll wheel) and a geeky-hot Wisconsin dairy farmer had a baby.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: no
  • Invoicing: no, but cool reports
  • Demo / free account: yes


These last three are really Project Management Apps with time tracking features.

T Sheets


  • Cost: free, $10/mo.
  • Style: A dude from Tron comes in and orders a pizza.  “Hey Flynn.” “Hey Newman”
  • Reminders and Idle detection: didn’t find it
  • Invoicing: no, integrates with Quickbooks
  • Demo / free account: 14 day trial


So1o (Solo)


  • Cost: $10/mo.
  • Style: I am a robot, I love robots.  Sexy ass robot.
  • Reminders and Idle detection: no
  • Invoicing: yes
  • Demo / free account: 14 days trial




  • Cost: $12/mo.
  • Style:  The neighbor kid down the street that you ask for all the game cheats
  • Reminders and Idle detection: can’t tell
  • Invoicing: no
  • Demo / free account: 30 days demo
  • From @projectorapp – “We integrate with Harvest and Freckle – others soon – for invoicing. We’re mainly a project mgmt app”


35 comments on “Survey of 18 Time Tracking Tools for Freelancers

  1. Pingback: Time Tracking App Review – PayMo | A Better User Experience

  2. I may be the only person who understands them but personifying each site was entertaining, sharp and actually helpful.

    Game on, Wayne.

    • Megan, personifying is ok, but sometimes we look more for simplicity and useful features. I switched over from Toggl to which is simple and has useful features like screenshots, and still is value for money as it costs less than Toggl.

  3. You didn’t include HoursTracker…
    I use it on my iPhone and its 100% free. You can pay to have multiple web based backups, but you get one that you can overwrite for free.
    I love it. You can export jobs as .csv files and copy paste in Excel or other programs for easy invoicing

  4. I have been desperately searching for something that syncs with Quickbooks Pro and has a click-drag option for entering time. I manage a small office of 9 people that were pretty upset when QB discontinued TimeTracker and stuck everybody with eBillity. Yast offers the click-drag capability (albeit horizontal rather than vertical – yes, my office is that picky) so it would be awesome if it could talk to QB. Has anyone heard of any other time tracking tools that sync with QB and don’t suck?? Thx.

  5. I’ve been using an online time tracking tool called 88 Miles. I’ve used a number of the tools mentioned here in the past but never quite settled on one that worked the way I wanted it to. 88 Miles ticks all the boxes – easy to use, comprehensive reporting including a lot of ‘at a glance’ online reports, and very affordable. One thing I really like is it’s a flat rate and they’re not constantly bugging you to upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version. It’s also been really reliable – always available when I want to use it. I recommend it and I voted with my wallet, too.

  6. Pingback: BUX Podcast #72: The Top 10 UX Articles of 2012 | A Better User Experience

  7. Hey Gang! Thanks for all the great comments. It might be time to revisit this list and add the tools added here in the comments – keep’em coming!

    @Bob – If I ever make my own time tracking tool, it will be called ‘literate valet’ (and will be pronounced like they do in ‘Downton Abbey’)

    @Megan – You get me. You really get me.

    Thanks for commenting everyone!

  8. You may also take a look at time cockpit ( It automatically logs all work done on a PC. The tracked activities are displayed in a graphical calendar. You can transform logged activities to time sheet entries and add additional information like the project for billing or project controlling.

  9. Hey, you should also check out UpYourTime.

    It’s a really awesome time management tool because it has all the features you need if you’re a freelancer or an agency. And it’s really easy to use and customize and it’s also sort of fun to play around with.

    Give it a look on

  10. Pingback: Writing for a Profit: Writing at Home

  11. Hi!

    I recommend to check out

    I think this is a very easy solution for tracking working hours and calculating the total. Not like many other solutions with tons of unnecessary features. But it’s still flexible enough for my needs. And it’s free!

    Also you don’t have to create an account. Just open the website and track your time.

  12. If beeing a web based platform is not one of your requirements, check out

    It has really neat idle detection. Whenever you step away from your computer and come back, it remembers when your idling started and asks you what you did since then. This is really useful.

  13. Replicon’s timesheet – software is another wonderful cloud based app that we have implemented in our office and started tracking employee time and attendance & payroll management. It was quick to implement and pretty much simple to use with a calendar view interface and some great features.

  14. I’ve developed Daily, a time tracking utility that works differently by asking what you’re doing in a non-disturbing way. This is especially handy for those who don’t like time tracking but are required to do so.

    Check out for more information. It’s available for Mac OS.

    Daily enables you to:
    • Discover the duration per activity, accurate to the minute!
    • See when you’ve started and stopped working;
    • Register activities while you’ve been away from your computer;
    • Automatically record a pre-defined activity using silent-mode;
    • Control Daily using global keyboard shortcuts;
    • Automatically start & stop registering on specific moments using the scheduler;
    • … and much more!

  15. Hi Newman,

    1 year has passed from the article writing, I though it would be nice to inform you that
    if you want to do time tracking
    without the hassle to start timers or install app or remember something to do, then you might find a match with a tool to help tracking time without all the troubles 🙂

    Hope to have given one more options to your readers.

    Be well!

  16. Hi,

    There is also automatic time tracking software :


    It has automatic time tracking based on added keywords. If you forget to track time you can use graphic timesheet. TimeCamp always remeber your activities even if you forget what you were doing. Invoicing and standard timer is also included.

    and it is insanely cheap for all this features (9$/month/user)
    30 days free trial to try it for free.

  17. Time Tracking Tools for Freelancers is a system to record workers log in /out irregardles of his location . This will as reference of payroll department in wages preparation

  18. Well written, Newman! Let’s have another go at this, shall we? I would love to hear how the app landscape has evolved and am dying to hear more personality types from the Lanier Psych Observatory.
    Cheers, -m

  19. Good review! I don’t understand the timer thing in these apps. Do people really use that. Reminds me of punch cards of lore.

  20. Have you ever heard of proofhub? I am using it. It is not only useful and functional, but easy to use as well. With a smooth interface that blends perfectly in people’s habits, it makes lives simpler for people, rather than complicating it with its mere usage.

  21. Hi Newman and thanks for the list! It’s a neat one, albeit these are mostly project management tools. I struggled to find something simpler, but I’ve been using Mobile Worker ( for a while already (more than 6 months), it’s not ideal at times, yet I find it much more convenient than these complex project management tools. Highly recommended!

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