Back when I used to freelance, I got paid by the hour. Since I was working from home for a wide variety of clients, it was up to me to keep track of my own hours and bill my clients appropriately.
At first I didn’t use any programs for this at all, until a client demanded to know just how I’d figured it took me five hours to finish his project. Since, apparently, my word and the computer clock wasn’t good enough for him. After that I picked up an extremely basic system which kept a timer at the top of my screen and would take random screenshots to assure my clients I was actually working when I said I was.
In theory that’s great. In practice, it was terrible, because the program I used was basic and full of bugs. I hated the software so much, I ended up changing my format and billing by the word.
If only I’d known there were other options out there, that there was a better way. In the years following my freelancing days, the timetracker world has gotten bigger, and there are more options now than ever before.
Here are a few of your free time tracking software options on the market today, and since I remember being a starving freelancer, they all have free versions, though note they may be more limited than the paid version.
Though if you figure out a way to charge by the word for legal work, please tell me, because that sounds awesome.
A billing and time tracking software, Bill4Time also offers a few additional features. It has a mobile version, which is always convenient. Bill4Time also has expense tracking capabilities, so you can keep track of anything you spend in the course of getting work done. And if you’ve ever had to do that without tracking software, you know just how sweet this feature is. Printable invoice templates keep your bills looking consistent.
“It took me less than 10 minutes to set up all of our client/matters and begin billing time.”
“Very user friendly with more options than you need, this makes tracking time and billing it actually fun, believe it or not!”
Though look out, because one reviewers warns that the “iPhone version is not ready for prime time.”
BillQuick is your standard time tracking and billing software, and this version is designed specifically for legal needs. It’s fully integrated with QuickBooks, a legal favorite. You’ll also find a mobile app option (iOS and Android, so you can pick your poison) as well as the usual desktop version, which can be installed or cloud. If you like, you can also access extended law practice management options with the same software.
“User friendly and support staff is great if you get stuck.”
“We were using Quickbooks, but their accounts receivable was not strong enough to meet our needs. Supplementing with BillQuick was perfect. The two programs sync almost seamlessly.”
“ Moving our invoicing efforts to BillQuick was a great decision, as it automated billing and made everything so much easier and more accurate. The solution saved me approximately five days each month.”
Cloud-based, CaseFox is a case management system first, but also features great time tracking and billing abilities. The time tracking automatically populates invoices so you don’t have to input your data yourself. It features a leger and a desktop time tracker for easy on and off. You can also make notes to be included in the invoice as you track your time.
“Super functional yet incredibly simple. Support is amazing and quick with responses. Developer is incredibly open to adding new functionality.”
“We find it completely intuitive to use, and it has really cut down on the time we spend on billing.”
“The software it great and I love that it is customizable. There have been many times that I have contacted CaseFox support asking them for something that didn’t currently exist and within hours they added in the new feature for me.”
Unlike many of the time tracking options out there, which are primarily something else with a time tracking option, FreshBooks is a dedicated time tracking and invoicing software. Separate work into several categories so you can switch between different projects and keep on time tracking without a seam. It comes in cloud version and app version on iOS and Android.
“Their staff are friendly, knowledgeable and working to help you use everything in the best way possible. I loved my experience with Freshbooks both personally and professionally.”
“The software is so easy and straightforward they learning curve is more like a bend”
“The app is easy to use and very helpful. I like that the categories would automatically update each month.”
Toggl is pretty cool in that it lets you switch (toggle, perhaps?) between multiple time trackers which are all open at the same, which is probably my personal favorite feature. It also is integrated with several other softwares like Quickbooks and Google Calendar. You have on and offline time tracking options as well as mobile.
“It is lightweight software, so rarely glitches and the iphone app that syncs my time makes tracking on the go just as simple.”
“Reporting is easy and you can add cost to any user also. This helped me allocated more resources to my projects once I was able to track the daily, weekly and monthly productivity of my team.”
“The best feature: it often happens that I leave in a hurry and forget to turn timer off. It understands this and sends me an email with a warning. Really cool.”
Got Time For One More Free Time Tracking Software?
Do you use a free version of a time tracking or legal billing program I didn’t include? Tell me about your favorite software in the comments.