Using ClickUp for freelance time tracking

10 Best Freelance Time-Tracking Software in 2023

Over the years, freelancing has been one of the most sought-after pay-making jobs, especially during and post-pandemic.

In fact, a study by UpWork revealed 17% of the respondents, equivalent to 9 million U.S. workers, are less motivated to return to an office setting and consider freelance work to work from home instead. As more workers adopt this mindset, The Great Resignation has turned into an economic trend.

It has further increased the popularity of freelance work, as this type of labor offers more flexibility than your typical 9-to-5 job. But with that flexibility also comes more added responsibilities for you as a freelancer.

You’ll need to proactively search for opportunities, manage your workload and projects, and track your billable hours on your own. This is where time-tracking software and project management tools come into play.

Both freelancers and employers can use these tools to manage their work and track their hours. And in this article, we’ll go over the benefits of time-tracking apps for freelancers and 10 of the best tools you can use to manage your freelance work.

Benefits of Time Tracking Software for Freelancers

There are so many automatic time-tracking apps for freelancers out in the market with different features onboard, and there’s no wonder why. Time-tracking software helps freelancers and employers alike as follows:

  • Automates time tracking processes: Automatically monitor time through time tracking buttons, manual editing, or inputting the range of time worked
  • Streamlined workflow via integrations: Take advantage of third-party integration to directly create invoices on hours worked at the click of a button
  • Time reporting: Manage projects and generate analytics by generating detailed reports on hours worked by employees and freelancers
  • Streamlined payroll processing: Generate accurate invoices faster
  • Improved productivity: Teams who are effective at tracking and managing work hours can significantly cut down on manpower costs and improve efficiency

“Employers should not only know how to budget finances but time as well. When time spent on work by all team members is properly managed, this translates to matching budget costs and hitting profit targets.” —Colin Palfrey, CMO of Crediful

Key Features to Look for in a Time Tracking App

There is countless time-tracking app that exists online, so what features should you be looking for in the best freelance time-tracking software?

Here are a few key features to consider:

1. Accurate time tracking

The most critical feature of a time-tracking tool is its ability to track time in and time out accurately.

In most cases, employers are interested in knowing what an employee does during their work hours and what web apps they use. Active and idle times count, too, as employers strive to maximize and reward efficiency.

ClickUp Timer Tracker feature
Accurately record time spent on tasks and projects in ClickUp

2. Timesheets

Time trackers that offer online timesheets help provide a management tool to generate time reports, work hours effectively, and specific project time tracking.

These timesheets should also be available in PDF, CSV, or Excel formats.

Some freelancers leave the time tracking to their employers. However, effective freelancers carefully assess and validate their timesheets and raise concerns with their employers for discrepancies.

According to Jake Hill, Founder of DebtHammer, “Our organization helps individuals that do not know how to manage or deal with their debts. This often happens when budgeting or expense tracking fall through, so we believe that it is important that anyone dealing with business make us of platforms that help them manage their cash flow, expenses, and budget properly.”

Create timesheets and monitor time tracked in ClickUp
Create timesheets and monitor time tracked in ClickUp

3. Integration with third-party tools

Did you know that you can integrate third-party tools into a lot of your time-tracking apps of choice?

Time-tracking apps that allow freelancers to integrate apps, app extensions, and programs and systems like project management tools, payroll processing tools, Google Calendar, developer tools, and content creation tools allow for a more seamless work process.

For example, freelance project managers should find the best time tracking systems that allow them to seamlessly import or transfer data reports of a freelancer’s billable hours to accounting programs like Quickbooks payroll.

Connect ClickUp to your most-used apps to streamline your work across tools and bring them into one centralized place
Connect ClickUp to your most-used apps to streamline your work across tools and bring them into one centralized place

4. Permissions and privacy

According to Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group, “People nowadays are more aware of their rights, most especially when it comes to invasion of privacy due to how advanced technology is in monitoring our online activities. However, this can be solved when strict privacy and security policies are in place and well-communicated to the employees.”

It’s important to choose project management and time-tracking tools that are committed to protecting your data.

Check out these small business time tracking tools!

10 Best Freelance Time Tracking Software in 2023

While many time-tracking freelancer apps exist in the market today, they all perform the most basic time-tracking features and certain time-tracking apps perform better than the rest of the pack in terms of compatibility, seamless integration, and accuracy.

The time tracker you need highly depends on the size of your organization, your current, and future needs as you scale your business, the features you’re looking for, and your budget.

To make it easier for you to make the best decision when choosing the right tool, We we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 time-tracking apps for freelancers, including their best features, limitations, prices, and reviews.

Each time tracking tool offers a unique set of features. Take a look at each one to see which meets your current requirements and can help support your future needs as you scale your freelance business.

1. ClickUp

ClickUp Global Timer
Track time, set estimates, add notes, and view reports of your time from anywhere with ClickUp’s Global Timer

ClickUp is an all-in-one project management tool built for teams of all sizes across different industries, from enterprises to freelancers and everyone in between. 

This powerful tool offers a fully customizable platform with hundreds of features, including a ClickUp’s built-in global time tracker to help freelancers simplify their workflow and accurately track their hours. Easily start and stop time from anywhere, add notes and labels to their time entries, sort and filter time entries by labels, and get a roll-up of the total time spent across all your tasks.

And as for project management, ClickUp allows you to manage projects, tasks, deadlines, billable hours, and multiple clients—all in one centralized place.

Additionally, ClickUp can be integrated with over 1,000 other work tools, including Gmail, Slack, and other time-tracking tools on this list, to seamlessly connect all your most-used tools together to streamline your workflow and help you track and manage your time across platforms.

Connect ClickUp to other time tracking tools for a more streamlined workflow
Connect ClickUp to other time-tracking tools for a more streamlined workflow

But this tool isn’t just for freelancers, this tool is great for employers who work with freelancers because it offers privacy, permissions, and guest features. As a Workspace owner or an Admin, you can simply adjust your permissions and invite guests into a specific Workspace.

And to protect your privacy, ClickUp allows you to grant or limit guest permissions to sensitive data. Overall, ClickUp is one of the top choices for time tracking due to its powerful and flexible project management features, along with a feature-rich Free Forever Plan.

And with a scalable architecture, attractive UI, and hundreds of features on its bench, ClickUp is a favorite project management tool among employers and freelancers in any industry looking for project, task, time, and client management.

Best features

  • All-in-one project management tool and productivity tool: Fully customizable platform with time tracking and workflow automation features to support any project and teams
  • Global time-tracking: Built-in global time tracker that allows you to start and stop time from anywhere, including in the mobile app
  • Chrome Extension: A free chrome extension to record time from your desktop app, web browser, or mobile devices,
  • Editable time entries: Add time retroactively or create entries by date range with manual time tracking
    Link the time tracked to a particular project or task,
  • Notes: Add notes to your time entries to reference exactly what you spent time on
  • Labels: Create and apply labels on your time entries so you know which task you were working on and categorize them effectively
  • Timesheets and time reporting: Build and customize timesheets by day, week, or month which you can see by date or by individual task
  • Billable time: Mark time as billable to see what time should be expensed on invoices
  • Template library: Choose from hundreds of customizable templates for freelancers, including ClickUp’s Employee Timesheet Template, time blocking templates, and schedule templates to name a few.
  • Privacy and data protection: Control access and sharing permissions
  • Integration: Connect ClickUp to over 1,000 work tools
Manual time tracking in ClickUp
Record time as you go or enter it manually, then add notes and tags to your time entries in ClickUp

Limitations

  • Because you can edit time entries manually very easily, this feature can be a blessing and a curse when not monitored properly
  • ClickUp’s advanced customizations can be overwhelming for some

Pricing

  • Free Forever 
  • Unlimited: $7 per member/month
  • Business: $12 per member/month 
  • Enterprise: Contact sales for pricing

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.7 out of 5 (5,371+ reviews and 120 discussions)
    • Among G2’s Top 100 Software Products
  • Capterra
    • 4.7 out of 5 (3,397+ reviews)
    • Featured as a top performer in Project Tracking Software in Capterra’s 2022 shortlist
ClickUp Flexible Time and Workload Tracking CTA

2. Bonsai

Bonsai time tracking features
Time tracking in Bonsai

Bonsai is an all-in-one business management application that takes care of your business or freelancing projects from start to finish.

It bills itself as the number one self-employed product suite that integrates and automates your processes and seamlessly runs your business.

Bonsai is an app for freelancers who want to stay organized in client management and project management, from drafting contracts, invoicing features, and time and task tracking, to accounting and taxes.

Best features

  • There are numerous templates for contracts, proposals, invoices, the scope of work, and quote documents on the web app itself; there is no need to scour the rest of the internet for templates
  • Tracking time through Bonsai is very straightforward. It allows you to indicate the specific project and task you’re working on for each time range
  • A built-in accounting, cash, and tax management tool
  • Organizes multiple projects and tasks in an easy-to-understand interface with a scheduling feature to be on top of your appointments and check your availability

“Accounting and taxes are very tricky topics, especially when you’re not well versed in them. Bonsai makes this equation easy, particularly for freelancers just starting.”Anthony Martin, CEO, and Founder of Choice Mutual

Limitations

Pricing

  • Starter account: $24/month
  • Professional account: $39/month
  • Business account: $79/month

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.8 out of 5 (51+ reviews and 3 discussions)
    • Among G2’s High Performer list
  • Capterra
    • 4.2 out of 5 (4+ reviews)

3. TimeCamp

TimeCamp time tracker user interface
Time tracking in TImeCamp

TimeCamp is a cloud-based free time tracker app that helps project managers manage tasks, hours worked, billable rates, and billable hours and analyze project performance. 

For freelancers, TimeCamp helps you track time and get an in-depth analysis of all your work activities and progress for each client, boosting efficiency, productivity, and time management among different clients.

It’s free to use with different pricing options for more advanced features, so freelancers can enjoy TimeCamp’s basic features at no additional cost!

Best features

  • You can enjoy unlimited users and projects on desktop and mobile devices at no cost
  • Time Camp extension allows you to integrate your work with Trello, Google Calendar, Monday.com, Slack, ClickUp, and more!
  • Allows employers and employees to check and keep track of time records and leaves
  • Direct timekeeping to invoice function
  • Allows project time tracking and generating project reports

Limitations

  • Time Camp takes pride in its free forever plan for its users. However, reporting features are not available in this free package.

Pricing

  • Free forever plan
  • Basic: $6.30 per user/month
  • Pro: $9 per user/month
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.6 out of 5 (188+ reviews and 4 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.7 out of 5 (572+ reviews)

Check out these TimeCamp alternatives!

4. Time Doctor

Time tracking in Time Doctor
Time tracking in Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a SaaS employee monitoring app that helps freelancers track time and employers generate productivity reports and monitor team activities during the work day.

Aside from a time tracker, Time Doctor keeps track of freelancers’ client billings through easily generated invoices, expense trackers for each client, and productivity, expense, and budget reports. 

Best features

  • Creating daily and weekly productivity summary reports with hours done, websites opened, and projects and clients worked on
  • Provides online timesheets that are fully customizable
  • Records and monitors websites and applications used during work hours, allowing administrators to determine employee productivity
  • Distraction alerts to help stay focused on tasks at hand

Limitations

  • Time Doctor’s web and app monitoring feature may cause supervisors to micromanage, which may seem offputting to some team members.

Pricing

  • Basic: $70 per user/year
  • Standard: $100 per user/year
  • Premium: $200 per user/year

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.4 out of 5 (324+ reviews and 12 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.5 out of 5 (457+ reviews)

5. Toggl

Time tracking in Toggl
Time tracking in Toggl Track

Toggl is a productivity and time tracking app that offers Toggl track for effortless time tracking, Toggl plan for work planning and management, and Toggl hire for skills-based hiring.

Freelancers can greatly benefit from Toggl Plan as it helps you get a bird’s eye view of all your work in one place, mapping your to-do-lists in a color-coded timeline, managing them with custom task statuses and deadlines to keep track of your progress and stay on top of your schedules.

Toggl freelance time tracking also helps freelancers go deep into how much work is spent on each project, create invoices for hours logged, track projects that are done for each time logged, and send timely reminders for how long you’ve worked or when you might have forgotten to track!

Best features

  • Crystal clear reports for how many hours you’ve worked in a week
  • Over 100+ app integrations from native integrations, browser extensions, and automation apps
  • Create billing invoices for your clients easily
  • Track what activity was done for which hour worked

Limitations

  • More expensive than its competitors with more advanced features

Pricing

  • Team: $9 per user/month
  • Business: $15 per user/month

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.6 out of 5 (1,513+ reviews and 21 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.7 out of 5 (1,944+ reviews)

Check out these Toggl alternatives!

6. Clockify

Time tracking in Clockify
Time tracking in Clockify

Clockify is a time tracker and timesheet app that helps freelancers track hours across projects. It includes timekeeping, reporting, and management features.

Time tracking in Clockify helps freelancers track time using a one-click timer, manually edit time logs for when they’ve forgotten to clock in for the day, and integrate Clockify with many projects and task management programs like ClickUp, Asana, Trello, or Todoist. 

To get a detailed report of your clients, work hours, and revenue, freelancers, can export time-tracking data from Clockify into a PDF, CSV, or Excel file.

Best features

  • Allows you to set up projects, categorize them by clients, and setup tasks 
  • Includes an expense tracking feature to record fixed fees and other project expenses
  • Set hourly rates for each employee and project
  • Ability to clock in from a shared device through a PIN code

Limitations

  • User interface can be more friendly and attractive

Pricing

  • Free
  • Basic: $3.99 per user/month
  • Standard: $5.49 per user/month
  • Pro: $7.99 per user/month
  • Enterprise: $11.99 per user/month

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.5 out of 5 (134+ reviews and 3 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.7 out of 5 (4,334+ reviews)

Check out these Clockify alternatives!

7. Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch time tracker
Time tracking in Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch is an online time-tracking solution with scheduling and payroll features. 

As a web-based time recording software, Buddy Punch believes that a time tracker for freelancers need not be just a clock but a dedicated software that seamlessly connects time worked with billing, invoicing, and payroll.

This app simplifies time tracking and payroll using job codes, custom reports, and time off tracking requests for employers with freelancers who can significantly benefit from the wide range of employee time tracking features and services to monitor contractor work hours and activities.

Best features

  • Ability to set up email or mobile notifications to monitor employee overtime
  • With GPS and webcam images for each employee’s clock-in and clock-out
  • Punch-in and out options include a 4-digit pin, QR Codes, Facial Recognition, or a simple username and password
  • Includes dozens of overtime calculation parameters to ensure overtime computations are done correctly

Limitations

  • Administrators can control and change the hours on a freelancer’s time card without notifying them of the changes made

Pricing

  • Standard: $2.99 per user/ month
  • Pro: $3.99 per user/month
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.8 out of 5 (157+ reviews and 5 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.8 out of 5 (760+ reviews)

8. Hubstaff

Time tracking in Hubstaff
Time tracking in Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a cloud-based employee work and time tracker that offers remote work software, field service management, agency time tracking, freelance time tracking, consultant time tracking, and many more.

As an all-in-one employee tracking application, Hubstaff allows employers to track time, monitor employees, manage the workforce, and perform agile project management. 

For freelancers, Hubstaff helps track your billable and non-billable hours on an easy-to-navigate app, organize clients and projects for easy billing, and generate online timesheets and invoices for easy payment collection from clients.

Best features

  • Includes a dashboard for employee monitoring with details on daily and weekly activity, hours worked for the week, and significant info on employee activities and work
  • Generates detailed reports to know where your money is going and what is consuming the budget for your projects for effective planning
  • It allows you to discard idle time easily
  • Achievement badges to reward efficiency and boost morale

Limitations

  • Not supported on Chromebook desktop
  • No payroll integration with Payoneer

Pricing

  • Desk Free: For one user only
  • Desk Starter: $5.83 per user/ month
  • Desk Pro: $8.33 per user/month
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.3 out of 5 (407+ reviews and 14 discussions)
  • Capterra
    • 4.6 out of 5 (1,314+ reviews)

Check out these Hubstaff alternatives!

9. Everhour

Time tracking in Everhour
Time tracking in Everhour

Everhour is a free time-tracking app for freelancers (individuals and teams) that helps track time and set and monitor budgets, client invoicing, and payroll.

Freelancers can greatly benefit from Everhour’s time tracking feature, so you know how much time goes to which project, with a corresponding billing and budgeting overview for each client to monitor cost efficiency or if it’s time to keep the ropes tight on specific projects.

Everhour’s task management feature also allows freelancers to view which projects are done, on hold, in progress, or pending in an easy-to-see dashboard.

Billing a client? Everhour generates preformatted invoices so freelancers can easily request payments from clients at the click of a button.

Everhour works with most major project management tools like Asana, ClickUp, Monday, Basecamp, Jira, and Notion.

Best features

  • Includes a dashboard that monitors a project’s progress, budget, and amount spent
  • Allows you to create tasks and organize them in sections to keep members on top of work
  • Allows you to track work-related expenses for reimbursement, budget management, and invoicing
  • Invoicing features can easily connect with Quickbooks, Xero, or FreshBooks

Limitations

  • Inability to categorize hours for one specific task.

Pricing

  • Free: Up to 5 users
  • Lite: $5 per user/month for up, starting at 2 users
  • Team: $8.50 per user/month, starting at 5 users

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.7 out of 5 with 148 reviews
  • Capterra
    • 4.7 out of 5 with 344 reviews

“Freelancers are at the core of our operations. As we help grow website traffic and backlinks for our clients, project management and time tracking platforms like Everhour helps us stay on top of our freelancer’s workflow from top to bottom.”Greg Heilers, Co-Founder of JollySEO.

10. Harvest

Harvest Time Tracking dashboard and reports
Time tracking in Harvest

On an organizational level, Harvest is a user-friendly time-tracking application that allows users to get an overview of project budgets, team capacity, and expense tracking, and see how this impacts profitability. For individual freelancers, Harvest is a great time monitoring tool to show your clients the progress of your work and the number of hours you’ve worked and cross-check them with periodical billings.

One thing that Harvest does best among the rest is helping freelancers keep up with billing and invoicing. Why? It includes a built-in invoicing, expense tracking, and payment collection system because of its integration with PayPal and Stripe. 

Harvest also allows freelancers to simultaneously use the time tracking system across different projects with different billable rates, which you can’t do at most time tracking systems. You can connect it to over 70 popular work tools like ClickUp, Slack, Google Calendar, and more.

With the ClickUp Harvest integration, you can sync your time entries from either platform to ensure your timesheet is up to date

Best features

  • Includes custom reminders to help freelancers remember to track time regularly
  • Includes a wide selection of visual reports for project management, including time reports separated by client, tasks, teams, and projects
  • Easy invoice generation and integration with PayPal and Stripe for easy payments
  • Integration with Quickbooks and Xero to keep your accounts up to date seamlessly

Limitations

  • Lack of batch-assigning time feature for employers working with multiple freelancers (Harvest alternatives)

Pricing

  • Free: allows one seat and two projects
  • Pro: $12 per seat/month

Ratings and reviews

  • G2
    • 4.3 out of 5 (771+ reviews)
  • Capterra
    • 4.6 out of 5 (522+ reviews)

Track Your Time and Make the Most of Time Tracking Tools

Choosing the best time-tracking apps can be tedious, especially considering the numerous features, pricing, benefits, and reviews these hundreds of platforms offer.

To choose the best time-tracking apps, you need to be able to do extensive research on which features are most necessary for your type of work, your budget, its time-tracking functionality, and if it integrates with popular project management tools.

Numerous free time tracking software on the internet offer endless promises, and freelancers and employers should carefully assess which platforms are the most time-efficient and cost-effective for their individual needs.

Free time-tracking tools like ClickUp are essential for both solo freelancers and employers working with freelancers to manage projects and tasks, accurately capture and monitor work hours, or invite clients or individuals for project discussions—all in one platform.

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Guest Writer:

Roman Shvydun is a freelance writer. He writes informative articles about marketing, business, productivity, workplace culture, etc. During 10+ years of content creation experience, his articles have helped numerous entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.

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