5 Free Time Tracking Software Solutions

by:
on April 22, 2016

Imagine you’re in the midst of project planning—outlining requirements with stakeholders and trying to nail down an accurate project schedule—when you’re asked point-blank how many hours it should take to complete a certain task. You pause, look through your notes, and respond with your best guess.

As a project manager, you want your response to be built on reliable, accurate data—not illegible paper timesheets and your team’s fallible memory.

But without automated time tracking software in place, you’re at the mercy of human error.

While many project management (PM) solutions include time tracking functionality, purchasing one requires an investment many small businesses aren’t ready to make. In fact, our research shows that 60 percent of small businesses still don’t have a PM system.

If purchasing time tracking software as either a standalone system or as part of a robust PM solution is out of your budget, fear not!

Below we look at five free cloud-based time tracking tools that can increase not only the accuracy of your best guess, but improve worker productivity and reduce job costs as well.

Free Time Tracking Solutions

Toggl

Toggl is a time tracking solution designed for project teams across various industries. Users can add unlimited projects and clients and use those labels to categorize the time spent on various tasks.

Free time tracking capabilities include:

  • Tracking time in “offline mode,” meaning without a network connection.
  • “Idle detection,” which alerts users of the time they’ve spent away from the keyboard.
  • A “pomodoro timer,” which lets users set up notifications to remind them when it’s time to take a break.

Tracking time in Toggl
 

Additional Toggl features:

  • Dashboard: View summary of individual and team activities.
  • Reports: Filter and sort data by Summary, Detailed or Weekly report options.
  • Integrations: Syncs data with leading PM solutions, including Asana and Basecamp.
Toggl is completely free for teams up to five people and includes all the capabilities listed above. Larger teams looking to add features such as billable rates, time estimates and priority support can opt to purchase Toggl Pro or Toggl Business for a per user per month fee (discounts available for annual billing).

My Hours

My Hours is time tracking software designed for freelancers. Users can track time around specific tasks or organize tasks under projects and clients. There is no limit on the number of projects, clients or tasks that can be added.

Free time tracking capabilities include:

  • One-click, automated time tracking; or manual entry of a time log
  • Tracking billable/non-billable hours on tasks and projects
  • Assigning a pay rate to make billing and invoicing easier

Dashboard view in My Hours
 

Additional My Hours features:

  • Invoicing: Users can choose from three invoicing methods: project hourly rate, task hourly rate and person hourly rate.
  • Dashboard view: Includes options to export, print or share data via email.
My Hours is available in two packages: Solo and Team. The Solo version of My Hours is completely free and includes all the capabilities mentioned above. The paid Team version is available at a low, per user per month fee, and includes additional capabilities such as task delegation and team monitoring.

TimeCamp

TimeCamp is a time tracking application designed for individuals and project teams across varying business sizes. Users can track time for an unlimited number of projects, tasks and subtasks.

Free time tracking capabilities include:

  • Monitoring computer usage: TimeCamp can track the websites and applications that users are spending time on.
  • The ability to set up projects as either fixed price or billable hours.

Timesheet report in TimeCamp
 

Additional TimeCamp features:

  • Project costing: View project profitability and budget based on actual vs. estimated time.
  • Integrations: Available PM software integrations include JIRA and Pivotal Tracker.
TimeCamp is available in three packages: Solo, Basic and Pro. The Solo version is completely free. Interested parties can try the Basic and Pro versions free for 30 days. The paid versions offer additional features such as invoicing and priority support.

TrackingTime

TrackingTime is time tracking software designed to help teams increase productivity and collaborate more effectively. The app is centered around a team task manager, so users can organize their projects and to-do lists on a centralized dashboard and see what their team members are working on.

Free time tracking capabilities include:

  • Integrating customized timesheets with task time-tracker (view time by client, user, task etc.).
  • Distinguishing between billable and nonbillable hours.
  • Defined user roles: Team member (track time and edit tasks), project manager (edit projects, timesheets and view reports) and admin (view and edit billing details).

My tasks screen in TrackingTime
 

Additional TrackingTime features:

  • Time analytics: Runs reports on time spent per client, project or by any employee.
  • Project costing: Tracks estimated versus real costs to plan future projects more effectively.
  • Project collaboration: Track comments and notifications via team dashboard.
TrackingTime is completely free for teams up to nine people. Larger teams can purchase TrackingTime Pro for a per user per month fee. The Pro version includes additional integration and reporting options.

Harvest

Harvest is a time tracking solution designed for project teams of all sizes. Users can start out with the free version of Harvest and upgrade to the paid versions as their business grows and their needs change.

Free time tracking capabilities include:

  • Setting hourly and fee-based rates, track estimated versus actual budget costs.
  • Tracking billable and nonbillable hours.
  • Providing automatic reminders for team members to complete timesheets.

Reports screen in Harvest
 

Additional Harvest features:

  • Invoicing: Set up automatic payment reminders and online payments.
  • Integrations: Harvest integrates with several PM platforms including Trello and Teamwork PM.
Harvest is available in several packages: Free, Solo, Basic and Business. The Free version includes one user, four clients and two projects. The Paid versions include multiple users and unlimited clients, projects and invoicing for a monthly fee. All paid versions are available for a free 30 day trial.

Are You Ready To Invest In Paid Software?

Free time tracking software can be a great starting point for project teams looking to increase productivity and keep a closer eye on billable hours.

But free software capabilities can be limited. As teams grow and business needs change, most will graduate to a paid solution that offers more advanced functionality and integration with other tools, such as payroll and accounting software.

They may decide at that point to invest in a project management solution that includes time tracking in a suite of other applications, such as resource management and project planning. As most vendors offer free trial periods and product demos, teams can try out the platform before purchase to ensure the software helps drive business goals.

Next Steps

If you feel your team is ready to invest in a project management solution with advanced time tracking capabilities, here are a couple next steps:

  • Read reviews for leading PM solutions: See how your peers have rated these systems for qualities such as customer support and ease of use.
  • Take an online PM questionnaire: The PM market is vast. By completing this questionnaire, we can narrow down the field and match you with up to five vendors that have products aligned with your needs and business requirements.

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