- February 28, 2024
- by Kate Borucka
- 10 comments
Time tracking apps for freelancers are one of the most demanded tools in the world of productivity. That’s because the life and work of a freelance worker are extremely demanding. In this post, we’ve prepared the best time-tracking software for freelancers to help you stay on top of work and some of the good reasons to convince you to use a time tracker as a freelancer.
Track time and bill your clients effortlessly with TimeCamp!
Table of Contents
Why Use Time Tracking Software as a Freelancer?
Being a freelancer is such an appealing vision of a job. We live in times where technological progress and vast urbanization allow people to work from any place in the world at any time. The number of users googling “how to become a freelance photographer or how to run a business from home” is increasing, and all these people need efficient tools to manage their activities.
According to the sixth annual Freelancing in America study by Upwork and Freelancers Union, “freelancing income totals almost $1 trillion — or nearly 5% of GDP — more than major industries like construction.” There is no surprise that so many people decide to leave office life behind and jump into that convenient lifestyle.
However, working as a freelancer can be demanding. It requires self-discipline, proper time management, and constant communication with clients.
Numerous companies, stakeholders, or investors decide to work with freelancers. Yet, establishing such cooperation is not that simple. It is an ongoing process in which you exchange information of different types – how many hours you spent working on a project, what is the expected budget needed for future projects’ completion, metrics, and numbers.
Without proper management of your freelance business, you may easily get lost and lose your clients. And that’s where good time tracking software can help you out.
How to choose the best time-tracking software for freelancers?
Year by year, the number of well-recognizable time tracking apps increases, so the competition in the market is at its highest level. While having plenty of options to choose from is good, it can also be quite confusing for those who have already started their journey with time tracking software, especially if they’re on a low budget.
While features like team management, timesheet approval, or attendance tracking features are highly beneficial for teams of any size, freelancers may not necessarily need them. Best time tracking apps for freelancers should be simple and ensure them accurate hours logging to bill their clients accurately.
Must-have features of time tracking software for freelancers
Let’s get through the features and other assets that time tracking apps for freelancers should have!
👉 A free version and/or free trial
It shouldn’t be a surprise; freelancers need to count every penny, especially when they’re at the beginning of the journey with their businesses. That’s why finding time tracking software that offers a nicely packed free version is a great deal.
Of course, most of the time tracking tool providers avoid including more advanced features like invoicing, billable hours, or reporting features in the free plan of their product, but even unlimited projects or an ability to integrate the tool with a project management app sounds fairly enough for a freelance time tracker.
However, if you decide to switch to a paid tool, having a chance to try all the premium features before purchasing a paid plan is essential.
👉 A version for mobile devices
Freelancers often decide not to rent a separate office in order to to make savings. Being constantly on the go and working from many different places, like co-working spaces or clients’ offices, it’s not so convenient to carry a laptop with them all the time only yo use desktop apps of their favorite tools.
Here, the apps for mobile devices (or eventually a well resigned, responsive web app) come with a helping hand. Even if they offer fewer features than their web or desktop versions, they still do their job as time trackers and help tracking time spent on daily assignments. Apps for desktop and mobile devices usually perfectly synchronize so that there’s no need to worry the hours logged with a mobile version of your favorite app won’t be included in the overall time reports.
👉 Billable hours
Most freelancers usually bill their clients by the hour. That’s why except for robust and unlimited time tracking functionality, they need a tool that ensures them an ability to record billable hours.
Unfortunately, such a feature is often included only in paid plans of time tracking software for freelancers. Check TimeCamp and get the invoicing feature only for $2.99 per month!
👉 Reporting features
Even basic time tracking tools with a free plan has time reporting features in their offer. Being able to report hours spent working for a particular client or project is a must for freelancers who want to stay on track with their progress. But once you generate a report (and even better – create custom reports!), it also serves as a perfect proof of work you can send to your customer and get paid fairly.
👉 A time clock feature
Advanced features are fun and streamline many administrative tasks, but let’s not forget that the best time tracking software for freelancers should serve s a decent time clock app or timesheet app. The more monitoring features it offers, the better. It can be available as a web timer, as a desktop app, as an app for mobile devices, and even better, as a browser extension that allows tracking time for other tools for free.
👉 Project budgets estimation
One of the most common freelancer headaches is taking projects that, in the end, turn out to be less profitable than expected. Of course, predicting the future is impossible, but who said we couldn’t learn from the already gained experience (not to mention from mistakes)?
Budgeting features and estimating project budgets allow you to compare tracked time with a previously set budget and billable rates. It works somewhat as an expense tracking, but on a bigger scale, so you can easily estimate if the project is profitable or not.
Unfortunately, most of the free time tracking software for freelancers doesn’t offer this feature. However, the monthly cost per user of such a tool can be incomparably lower than the money lost because of decisions made based only on guessing.
If you’re mostly paid through invoices, consider finding a time tracking system that allows you to create invoices straight from hours tracked for a particular project. It’s mostly a paid feature of time tracking tools, but trust me – saving time filling the invoices is worth the price.
👉 Integrations with third-party apps
Today’s SaaS tools market is full of various useful tools that streamline business running. Except for time tracking, you can also automate your project management and task management, accounting, client management, and so on. The best thing is you can connect all of them with your time tracker and keep an eye on how much time you spend on activities you manage working with them.
Such control over time is essential, especially for effective project management. Managing multiple projects simultaneously can be tiresome and often leads to losing control over time consumption, but integrating project management tools with time tracking for freelancers is a top-notch solution for that problem.
What Is The Best Free Time Tracking App for Freelancers?
Time tracking apps for freelancers are somewhat of a personal assistant. Not only do they track time, which is especially helpful when you are paid based on an hourly rate, but they also help in managing projects, accounting aspects of freelancing, or keeping all the data in one place.
In a good freelance time tracker, all components should mingle freely so you can flexibly use the app. It’s also good if you can automatically track time, edit and add time entries, track billable time, and integrate the app with other software for more effective work.
And don’t forget to look for a free trial to test all functionalities before you decide to invest in the tool.
To help you find the right tool, we’ve compiled a list of the best time-tracking software for freelancers that offer a free plan and features like invoicing without using third-party apps.
👉 Best for: Tracking billable rates, project progress, and improving productivity
TimeCamp is a free time tracking software for freelancers and teams, for unlimited users. It combines the features of a time tracker and a lightweight project management app. The tool allows you to manage projects in one place and collect all information about your work, including the client’s data. Tracking time has never been easier – it’s available as a web app, mobile app, desktop apps and a browser extension; all the versions synchronize perfectly and fill your timesheets in seconds.
Unlimited projects: included even in a free plan! Add projects, create tasks and make a work structure that follows your workflow,
Automatic time tracking: download desktop apps for Windows, Mac or Linux and let them track work hours in the background and assign entries to the appropriate tasks,
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can freely and flexibly add time manually and edit entries to customize reports, add, or remove activities, time away, offline work, and more.
Tracking billable time: track billable hours to easily invoice your clients later. You can set billable rates for different projects, and track all your expenses. Budgeting helps to stay on top of finances and monitor their state.
Time Reports: Extensive, detailed reports provide an in-depth analysis of activities and project progress. They also show your productive and unproductive activities, attendance, time off, overtime, underperformance, work by clients, projects, and more. You can import or export reports to later use them with your favorite tools or share them with clients. Detailed project and task reports are available in a free version of TimeCamp.
: TimeCamp integrates directly with 30+ sales, marketing, accounting, payroll, dev, and project management tools like Trello, JIRA, Asana, Monday, Clickup, Salesforce, Zendesk, or AzureDevOps. Moreover, a browse
- Free – a free plan of TimeCamp for unlimited users includes all the essentials – accurate time tracking, unlimited projects, a time clock kiosk, desktop, and mobile apps, idle time detection, and many more,
- Starter – $2.99 per user per month, including unlimited tasks, excel reports export, attendance, time-off, overtime tracking (billed annually)
- Premium – $4.99 per user per month, including one integrations, billable time, budget & estimates, apps & websites tracking, project archiving, and more (billed annually),
- Ultimate – $7.99 per user per month, including unlimited integrations, billable rates, labor costs, invoicing, timesheet approvals, custom user roles, and more (billed annually)
Enterprise – custom pricing; contact sales team for more details
👉 Best for: Free time tracking, invoicing, and payments app
TopTracker, now aa part of Toptal suite, is one of the few free time tracking apps for freelancers which offers a variety of features in its free version. It is an application that can be used anywhere. It’s a combination of a time tracking tool and an app for payment processing dedicated specifically to freelancers.
Automatic time tracking: TopTracker has a traditional timer that runs on the web. With the desktop app, you can track activities with descriptions, and take screenshots or webcam shots. Additionally, it has the hotkeys which allow you to quickly track time with start and stop – a feature particularly useful when you travel.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can freely edit and add entries manually.
Tracking billable time: TopTracker allows you to track billable time and watch your budget.
Reports: TopTracker tracks your work in real-time and puts all that data into reports.
Integrations & different platforms: TopTracker is available only as a web or desktop app. It integrates with Payoneer for payments but no other integrations are available. Thus, it’s best as a stand-alone solution independent from other apps.
Free trial: TopTracker has a free plan that you can use without a time limit.
👉 Best for: Invoice and accounting software with time tracking
FreshBooks is invoice and accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses as well as freelancers. It has a time tracking module that helps to monitor time and money spent on projects, clients, which makes it a great addition to the rich accounting functionalities.
Automatic time tracking: FreshBooks has a built-in automatic tracker that keeps track of time while you can focus on work.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add and edit time entries in timesheets.
Tracking billable time: FreshBooks has the option of tracking billable hours as well as rich accounting and invoicing functionalities.
Reports: Simple reports with the breakdown for particular projects or clients. Other than that, you get detailed financial reports on the state of your business.
Integrations & different platforms: FreshBooks can be easily integrated with hundreds of the most popular tools and apps so you can track time directly from the apps you already use. It’s also available as a web app and for mobile (iOS, Android).
Free trial: available for 30 days with all the features. Then, you need to choose from one of the paid plans—Lite ($15 per month) Plus ($25 per month), Premium ($50 per month), or custom pricing for more than 500 billable clients.
👉 Best for: Monitoring your projects and profitability
TMetric is a straightforward, free time tracking software for freelancers that combines simple freelance project management with basic time tracking. It allows you to monitor the progress of work, measure budget and time spent on tasks.
Automatic time tracking: TMetric tracks time with a one-click timer on every platform you use the tool. It also tracks the usage of apps and websites.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add time entries manually or edit them.
Tracking billable time: TMetric allows you to track billable time for projects and work types. You can also monitor your budgets for projects, and set recurring budgets for projects that reset each day, week, or month.
Reports: You can see all your projects with hours tracked, earned money, and incurred costs. Reports also show the usage of apps and sites. All reports can be exported and shared with clients or stakeholders.
Integrations & different platforms: TMetric integrates with several of the most popular project management apps, and with many other tools via Zapier. The app is available for web, desktop (Windows, macOS, Linux), mobile (iOS, Android), and as a browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge).
Free trial: No free plan, three paid plans available — Business ($7 per month), Professional ($5 per month), and Free with limited features. Every plan includes a free 30-day trial.
5. Toggl Track
👉 Best for: Simple time management
Toggl Track, formerly known as just Toggl, is a lightweight time tracking app for freelancers who like simplicity and want to easily track work hours spent on particular projects and tasks.
Automatic time tracking: You can use the automatic tracker in Toggl on all platforms and with add-ons. The desktop timer also includes the Pomodoro timer.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add time entries manually, edit them, and adjust to customize the reports.
Tracking billable time: Tracking billable time is available only in the paid plans.
Integrations & different platforms: Toggl can be easily integrated with over 100 apps for productivity and managing projects, and other time trackers for a better experience. The app is available for web, desktop (Windows, Linux, macOS), mobile (Android, iOS), and as web extensions for Chrome and Firefox
Free trial: There’s a 30-day free trial, then, you can either keep using Toggl for free with limited features, or subscribe—Starter ($10 per user/month), Premium best for teams ($20 per user/month), or Enterprise (custom pricing).
Hubstaff is a simple management tool for freelancers and contractors. With screenshots and activity monitoring, you’ll be able to see what your freelancers are working on. Monitoring features can be customized on a per-user basis or turned off altogether.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add or edit your time entries to customize timesheets and reports.
Tracking billable time: Simple budgeting and billable hours tracking are available in the free version.
Reports: In Hubstaff, work hours are pulled into customizable reports. You can view reports by week, team member, project, and client, as a timesheet, manual time edits, attendance, and location reports.
Integrations & different platforms: Hubstaff integrates with some of the most popular apps. It’s available on the web, mobile (iOS and Android), and desktop apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome.
Free trial: At Hubstaff, you can start with a 14-day trial, then either upgrade to Basic ($7 per month), Premium ($10 per month), Enterprise ($20 per month) or stick with the free version with limited features.
👉 Best for: Tracking project budget and expenses
Harvest is an online time tracking software and expense tracking app. It helps in measuring the profitability of projects.
Automatic time tracking: In Harvest, you can track time based on your to-do lists, tasks, or single hours. You can track your work with the one-click start/stop button on the web or mobile app.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add or edit time entries but the app doesn’t give you much flexibility in customizing your reports.
Tracking billable time: You can track billable time and other expenses related to projects so you have real-time insight into your business’s budget.
Reports: Harvest turns timesheet data into simple visual reports with graphs, your data broken down by person or task, and information on tracked hours, budgets, billable amounts, costs, and uninvoiced totals.
Integrations & different platforms: Harvest integrates with many other apps. The tool is available as a web tracker, mobile app for iOS and Android, and a desktop app.
Free trial: Harvest has two plans—Free for 1 user with 2 projects, and Pro ($12 per user/month) with unlimited projects and users. A free 30-day trial is available.
👉 Best for: Tracking time with time blocking, intervals with the use of a physical tracker
Timeular is not only a time tracking app but also an interesting gadget that helps to manage your time and improve productivity. It comes with 8-sided tracking dice and a dedicated app. You assign an activity to each side of the tracker and flip to start tracking your time, and desktop and mobile apps tell you where every minute of your day is spent.
Automatic time tracking: Timeular is fully automatic. All you have to do is to flip Timeular and it automatically tracks time spent on tasks. It also records time offline.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can easily edit and delete time entries.
Tracking billable time: You can track billable and non-billable time.
Reports: Timeular generates detailed, colorful, and transparent reports.
Integrations & different platforms: Apps for MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS.
Free trial: No free trial available, however, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case the tool doesn’t meet your expectations.
👉 Read also about Best Time Blocking Apps.
👉 Best for: simple online time tracking with basic reporting
Checkiant is a lightweight, free time tracking app for freelancers who want to monitor their work hours and budget in a minimalistic way. The tool is simple but has all the necessary features you need to track your time.
Automatic time tracking: Checkiant offers a simple start/stop online time tracker.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can freely add/remove/change time entries.
Tracking billable time: Tracking billable hours is available.
Reports: You receive simple reports with projects, clients, and tracked time.
Integrations & different platforms: Because Checkiant doesn’t have integrations, it’s best to use it as a standalone solution. However, you can use their API to build custom features.
Free trial: 30-day free trial is available. During this period you can try all features. After the trial, you can either stick to the freemium plan or subscribe to Premium ($5 per user/month), or Enterprise ($10 per user/month).
👉 Best for: reporting and real-time insight into time tracking statistics
Kimai is a free, open-source time tracking perfect for freelancers. It’s a customizable app that allows you to control your budget, work hours, and manage projects with activities. You can use it solo or with your team.
Automatic time tracking: Kimai has a web-based time tracker. It’s a simple timer that works as a start/stop button. It’ll run as long as you don’t turn it off, and you can do it in any browser. It doesn’t stop automatically. There are also time clock and duration modes if you prefer to track time in another way.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can edit your time entries and edit them if you want to track time manually.
Tracking billable time: set billing rates for weekend, fixed or hourly rate, and track expenses based on customer, project, and activity.
Reports: Kimai supports an unlimited amount of users and timesheet entries. There are weekly and monthly reports. The reports show true logged time while rounded duration is used in invoices and exports. Additionally, you can export reports in Excel, PDF, or HTML.
Integrations & different platforms: You can add plugins manually (you’ll need to have some coding knowledge to do that) to extend the features. The layout is responsive so you can also use Kimai on mobile devices.
Free trial: You can either try Kimai or use it for free instantly.
👉 Best for: mobile timekeeping with timesheets
U.S. Department of Labor’s Mobile Timesheet app is an official governmental time tracker. It’s a time tracker for employees and employers to record work time and calculate pay.
This DOL-Timesheet does not currently handle items such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials, or pay for regular days of rest.
However, new functions are in development and are being continually added.
Automatic time tracking: There’s a simple time tracker that works as a time clock.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add or edit time entries manually.
Tracking billable time: The app calculates overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times (1.5) the regular rate of pay for all hours you work over 40 in a workweek.
Reports: Reports are simple timesheets with basic information—start and end time of work, breaks, total time, and date.
Integrations & different platforms: The app is available only on iPad and iPhone and doesn’t integrate with other tools.
Free trial: The app is free of charge, and you don’t pay to use it.
👉 Best for: time tracking with activity monitoring to boost productivity
Traqq is a free time tracking software for freelancers who want to find out how much time they spend on different activities up to the second. It monitors all your work and generates detailed reports.
Automatic time tracking: The app automatically tracks your activities, keystrokes and mouse movement, and monitors website and app usage. There is also an option to take video recordings of screen activity but you can disable this feature.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can add or edit time manually in your timesheets.
Tracking billable time: not available.
Reports: Traqq offers rich activity reports and timesheets.
Integrations & different platforms: This system of time tracking for freelancers is available as a desktop app for Windows and Mac. All your data is easily accessible in the online dashboard. No integrations with other tools are available.
Free trial: Traqq is a free freelance time tracker as it’s in the beta stage of development. All features are available for free.
👉 Best for: teams and freelancers
Everhour is a flexible and accurate time tracker made for various purposes and people, including freelancers. Besides time tracking, it can offer a range of extra features: reporting, expense tracking, budgeting and invoicing, and many more. With Everhour, you can be sure that every task is monitored and every minute is accounted for and paid for.
Automatic time tracking: You can automate your time tracking by setting up an auto stop timer, but Everhour is fitted better for time tracking by tasks.
Editing time entries & manual time tracking: You can easily enter or edit your time logs in your timesheets – all the data will be synced.
Tracking billable time: Everhour lets you track billable time that you want to include in invoices for your client and non-billable time which you want to log for reporting purposes.
Reports: You can quickly turn your work hours into transparent, concise, and customizable reports of any format you choose.
Integrations & different platforms: Everhour integrates with loads of different apps – from Asana and ClickUp to Freshdesk and Xero, thus making it possible to track time within tools for various purposes that freelancers might use.
Free trial: Everhour has several subscription plans: Free, Lite, and Team. The free plan provides simple time tracking, unlimited reporting, and website integrations. The Lite plan costs $5 per user per month and includes everything that the free plan offers, including billing, budgeting, invoicing, scheduled reports, etc. The Team plan costs $8.50 per user per month and includes everything the Lite plan has, plus unlimited users, time approval, time cards, expense tracking, APIs, scheduling, and many more. You can also request a live demo.
What Is Your Favorite Freelance Time Tracking App?
Free time tracking software for freelancers are a must-have solution for effective time management. All you have to do is choose from all the productivity apps according to your needs and business field.
Remember that all apps are different despite similarities. And if you’re not sure which one to choose, try all of them! That’s what free trials are for.
Do you have your favorite time tracking software for freelancers? Let us know in the comments!
Co-autor: Ola Rybacka, Content Specialist at TimeCamp