Basic time tracking and invoicing for a solo consultant
14 Aug 2008 - 7:52pm
5 years ago
Michael B. Moore
I'm neck-deep in looking at various options for doing basic time tracking
and invoicing just for me, not a whole agency. I've wasted a ton of time on
this and figured I'd tap the collective wisdom here.
Up until about a year ago I used a pretty simple timer on my Treo and an
Excel spreadsheet for the invoices. Then I migrated over to iPhone/MacLand,
and I've used an online timer called Toggl and iWork Numbers, but Toggl is
buggy and the Numbers thing each month was getting to be a pain.
I've looked at stand-alone apps and web apps, and despite the recurring
cost, I'm leaning toward a web app, as I do work at a variety of client
sites and don't always have access to my personal laptop.
Here's what I'm looking for:
1. Time tracking that can use either time as you go, or direct entry
2. Ability to track multiple projects in a day
3. Multiple clients, and for each client, multiple projects
4. The ability to track number of hours against a total for a given
5. The ability to track number of hours against a monthly amount for a
6. Basic invoicing - create a PDF and email it
7. Invoicing that allows me to bill multiple projects in one invoice
8. When billing multiple projects, show subtotals for hours and dollars
9. A way to have custom info for each client invoice (vendor#, cost
10. Some ability to track invoice payments
Nice to have features might be:
- iPhone access
- A way to track prospective clients and make them active once a contract
Stuff I really don't need:
- Task management / to do lists (I'm using OmniFocus)
- Checkbook functions
- Electronic payment / client logins
- Project management
So far, I've looked at:
- Harvest - so far my top contender, but it doesn't do #5, 8 or 9. But
the design is lovely and it doesn't waste my time.
- CreativeProOffice - seems like overkill for what I need
- Cashboard - looks promising, but I haven't spent the time to really
- Blinksale - invoicing only (I could consider Harvest + Blinksale, but
then we're talking $24 a month)
- Simply invoices - same issues as Blinksale (invoice only) but a bit
- Freshbooks - could be a contender - if anyone's used it, let me know!
- SimplyBill - also looks promising
For stand alone applications I've looked at:
- Billings - looks pretty good, but can't invoice two projects at once
- Office Time - Does what I need, but clunky timing
- On the Job - looks good and is cheap, but doesn't appear to be well
- TimeNet - clunky and hard to use
- TaskTime4 - can't send one invoice for two projects together to a
- iBiz - overly complex and can't send one invoice for two projects
- Studiometry - expensive but can do everything & then some, but seems
overly complex and tedious for what I need
So as you can see, I've looked at a lot of stuff and given myself a massive
headache and no income to show for it.
If any of you have used these programs, or know of something better that
meets my basic needs, I'd be forever grateful for your advice!