8 Next-level Time Tracking Apps Specifically for Architects and Contractors
Finding tools that can help free up your time will create more space for you to focus on the creative side of your business—instead of logging in endless timesheets and expenses, or sending and chasing up invoices, you should try and invest time in automating your business processes as much as possible.
Automating your business with software is like an investment.
Just like cash invested one time in stocks or real estate generates income slowly, long term: investing time in implementing software to automate your business will free up time for the next weeks, months, and possibly years to come, helping you improve your profitability.
Today, we will be looking at the top 8 online tools and apps that have made tracking time, expenses, and invoicing incredibly simple and easy to do.
While many of these tools are free, some of them have subscription costs.
Let’s look at an example that solely focused on how much time is spent on expense and time tracking, and invoicing.
During any given week, you will probably have to:
- Record the hours you spend on a project then log that info.
- Sort out your teams’ timesheets each day/week.
- Save your receipts (from petrol to lunch dinners to building supplies,) then properly sort and log them when you get back to the office.
- Create itemized invoices and trying to remember what it was you, or your team members were working on and when.
- Create payroll reports and analyzing your project budgets to make sure you are not overspending.
- Go back through team members’ calendars and timesheets and checking for sick days, vacation days, and holidays.
- Figure out who has paid your invoice, and having to chase up with people who owe you.
This could easily add up to 2-3 hours each week.
Now, if you imagine that your rate is $65/hr, 3 hours a week will begin to add up quickly: by the end of the month that is about 13 hrs a month, or 156 hours a year, which at your rate would be about €10k per year. Suddenly, paying $50 for an annual subscription seems like a great investment.
The point is that some daily admin tasks can eat up a lot of hours over time, without helping you really build your business, and finding ways to minimize your admin hours will ultimately help you build your business.
Without further ado! Here are the top 8 apps that we would suggest to help you start automation your time tracking, expenses, and invoicing.
Top 8 time tracking apps
Hubstaff is a time tracking and productivity management software with a special solution for architecture firms. It lets you track time through multiple devices, like desktop, web, and mobile. That way you can get a high-level perspective on your project’s budget by managing your team’s tasks, hours, timesheets, and invoices, all through your central dashboard. When a project is complete, you can use the time and task data to better estimate future jobs — ensuring profitability for your company. It also integrates with many top apps so you can run your building projects, and business, more efficiently.
- Track location with GPS monitoring, identify roadblocks on the go to keep your projects moving forward—includes cool features like geofencing, which will start tracking time as soon as you or a team member gets to the job site.
- Manage your job sites, create and organize projects by client. Add crew members to specific job sites for time tracking.
- Integrates with over 30 apps including Basecamp, Trello, Asana, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, SalesForce, FreshDesk, ZenDesk, Github, and Paypal.
- Manage your team’s schedule and tasks with the online and mobile scheduling tool. And combine project and time management with the agile project management tool Hubstaff Tasks.
- High-level reports can be generated easily. From productivity and hours to budgets and invoices in one simple reports dashboard.
“Most time tracking software doesn’t give you the depth of data that Hubstaff does. They justify this by saying that “if you can trust your staff, no monitoring is necessary”. The reality is that remote teams have a hard time staying on top of who is working on what and who needs help. PM tools only go so far, but seeing where staff are struggling in real time allows us to be pro-active about priorities and getting everyone the information they need to get the job done without having to wait for them to ask.”
“Hubstaff is, hands down, the best time tracking platform on the market. My business would not function as efficiently, and I honestly wouldn’t be able to be as mobile as I am without it. My business model depends upon collaborations and Hubstaff makes that possible for me with very little time spent on administration. You simply can’t beat the cost for what you get!”
Plans range between $5-$10 per month per user. There is a 14-day free trial.
Either working solo or with a team, TimeCamp is a fantastic time tracking software for architects and contractors. The tool combines features of time tracking and project management software, ideal for a construction business. You can have this app track your time automatically or choose to fill out (your) timesheets manually. The reporting option is a great plus as they can help you figure out where you and your team are spending the most time, so you can schedule and plan effectively.
- The tool is available for all platforms and as a mobile app.
- Bill your clients easily based on billable hours, tasks, or projects.
- TimeCamp has a feature of creating invoices based on the reports and sending them to your clients instantly.
- It has automatic time tracking with desktop app to save you time. You don’t have to switch between different tasks since the app follows your activities.
- Use the extensive and detailed reports to inform you about your activities and find out which one are productive and which ones unproductive
- You can track your team’s absences, sick leaves, or holidays, a nice feature when it comes to payoff and taxes.
- Timecamp has powerful integrations to enhance your work with other tools and apps.
“As a single user and independent contractor, I’m really liking the clean, easy to use, yet robust UI and system of reporting.”
“It is very easy to use and allows me to calculate timesheets after the fact based on computer usage. The integrations to multiple systems allow me to bill against specific external tasks or tickets which makes invoicing a breeze. I especially like their shared reports feature as I can just email my clients a link with their invoice and they can inspect timesheets, without having to copy them to Excel or give them access to the platform.”
The solo plan is free, then the plans range from $5.25 per user per month to $7.50 per user per month.
ClickTime increases employee utilization, enables more accurate forecasting, and helps architecture teams maximize billable hours. From client lunches to tracking time on the building site—this app will help you keep all your expenses and logged time centralized to your mobile. The app can track your time on the go, track expenses, create expense sheets, and snaps photos of your receipts. Also, their pro expenses tool helps you make sure that you are tracking costs effectively.
- Allows you to log your time based on your clients, projects, and tasks while on the move.
- Helps you assure you are paying your team fairly: easily track of sick days, vacation days, and holidays.
- Records expenses to create expense sheets easily entirely through your mobile, including saving copies of receipts directly from your smartphone’s camera.
- Whether on the road for a project, or at home, ClickTime helps you keep track of your reimbursable expenses and billable hours.
“Our work ranges from lump sum to time-not-to-exceed hourly billing. ClickTime makes it easy to understand and manage costs in all circumstances. With all the travel between offices and projects, we get a lot of value out of tracking our time on the go. ClickTime has definitely saved our team a lot of time.”
“The ClickTime mobile app is great for allowing staff the flexibility to enter their work hours on their own time and using their own devices. It’s great not being forced to only enter your time while staying in the office.”
“We’ve been with ClickTime since 2011 and we’re still as pleased as day one. We would have spent thousands to create and maintain a timesheet system of our own. Whenever we have any questions, we just call and ClickTime helps us reach an answer in minutes. Solid support is worth a lot and is something we’re glad to pay for.”
Packages start from $8 per month per user
This is a super popular app for time tracking for companies (over 9K companies are currently using it) from all sizes from all industries. This app not only lets you track time and issue invoices, you can also log in holidays and sick leaves next to working hours. It can help you manage projects with assignments and estimation tools, and many users find the easily-generate customizable report essential in managing their teams and costs.
- Easily track your time by client, with varying billing rates depending on the project or client. You can also clearly track your billable and non-billable hours.
- Create an employee database and track who is doing what, at which rate, when. ActiTime will also help you track overtime, holidays, vacation days and leaves for your team.
- The app can help you with billing and invoicing, tracking who has paid you, and which bills and invoices are outstanding.
- The time tracker can be used via mobile or desktop, so whether you are at the office or the jobsite, you have complete management of (including editing) your timesheets.
“actiTime has been a huge benefit to me. It makes tracking the real-time of each employee’s work easy, meaning I can provide a fair pay for what was worked on.”
“For our organisation, we need a very simple tool that could provide a rough indication of what the time is spent on for the needs of strategic planning and budgeting. Many other tools are very focused on minute-by-minute reporting, which becomes quite cumbersome when that level of accuracy is not needed. ActiTIME, though allowing making a very detailed report, too, can be ‘stripped down’ to very basic functions that are both very similar to use for the workers reporting their time and for the administrator analysing the reports. It took a very short time to learn how to use it, and the interface is quite intuitive – no handbooks needed.”
Ranges between free to $8 per month per user.
Harvest makes it easy to track time from your desktop, smartphone, and other devices—including integrations with tools like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. It collates all your timesheet data into visual reports so you can see what your team is working on, catch projects before they go over budget, and make more intelligent decisions about which personnel you have on what project.
Harvest also makes it simple to streamline your invoicing process: track the time to a specific client, or manually fill in the information. From that billable time, you can easily make up an invoice to email directly to your client and get paid online.
- Great for online or offline tracking: Tap to start/stop the project and task timers from anywhere and it will sync up when you are back in a wifi area. You can add manual entries for billable and nonbillable hours. You can easily view and edit previous time entries.
- View your teams’ timers in real-time. You can make and review detailed task notes for better project tracking, and automatically send reminders to your team to submit their time.
- Enter expenses quickly and easily. Take receipt photos and upload right to Harvest, Track mileage for reimbursement, then submit expenses for client projects.
- The app generates professional looking invoices, which you can send out right from the app. Manage your income/outgoing with the ability to view and track your invoice history, recording and/or removing payments when necessary. You can even receive push notifications for payments.
“I’m a consultant who also does installs, repairs, and remote support. It’s simple to set up Harvest with your client list, hourly rates, products and services. Once set up, tracking time and expenses are even simpler! They have a web interface and a mobile app. The mobile app duplicates most of the web features and is very handy when on-site—a couple of taps selects the client and starts the clock.”
“Harvest is a super-simple app which manages all our client payments and invoicing/reminders for our clients and integrates with Stripe for a seamless payment process. We use it every day and can bill clients in USD or other currencies easily, and provide them with downloadable PDF’s, payment portals and other functionality (using external app integrations) with ease.”
Free, package up to $12 per month per user.
Toggl is a powerful, yet simple time tracker that helps you by tracking your hours and managing your work.
It actually gives you a great breakdown as to how efficiently you may or may not be spending your time. It will give you a complete insight into various projects you have worked on, or clients you have worked with as well as an analysis of the profitability of those projects.
- Discover where you are spending your time on with summary reports. Analyze them in the app or export them to send that data to your clients.
- Based on your habits and previous time entries, the mobile app will give you suggestions on what you could track.
- Toggl is compatible with Siri. Start a new time entry, stop it, or access your reports – with just a few words.
- With the calendar integration, you can see all of your calendar events and time entries in the mobile app itself (in the same view), receive notifications before the events start, and most importantly, instantly create time entries based on your calendar events.
- Organize and add more details to your time entries by adding projects, clients and tags. Clearly see where your work hours go and adjust your precious time & routines accordingly.
- Keeps your time seamlessly synced, safe and ready to track on your account, on any device.
“This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Simple, but feature rich. Great charts to visually see how you’re using your time. It’s perfect.”
“Very easy to set-up and use. You can create projects and group tasks together to get an idea for a given week how much time you spent in meetings, on a project, or working on specific tasks. It allowed me to advocate for myself and my team for additional resources as we were able to prove how much time we spent on a weekly basis doing tasks that could be delegated or improved. The ability to provide my leadership team a visual representation of my time and my staffs time was invaluable during budgeting and resource allocation time.”
Free plan available (that offers all the basic features, reporting, and app access), full plans for $9 per user per month if paid annually, $10 per user per month if paid monthly.
Timely is a time tracking tool for those who seek accuracy with minimal input – whether you’re tracking for teams, multiple companies or just yourself. Being automatic, it’s ideal if you often struggle to remember what you’ve worked on. Its smart resource scheduling features ensure everyone’s time is best utilized, and real-time project dashboards help you manage budgets and performance proactively
- One of the only AI-assisted time tracking tools available, it automates time sheet creation and offers predictive analytics for each of your projects. Everything is tracked for you in the background.
- Real-time project dashboards provide an overview of all your projects, while the professionally designed report templates help increase your efficiency.
- Time sheets are highly accurate and drafted for you by AI. If you do spot something, you can easily make edits.
- The mobile app helps you track all your time on-the-go, and the GPS feature is a plus if you travel for work.
“As a consultant supporting several projects, timely is a very easy to use and quick way to keep track of time spent on each activity. I have it on my PC, Mac and iPhone, and logging time is done in seconds. It synchronises instantly across platforms provided they are online. I also use Move on my iPhone and I really look forward to having these two functions come together shortly.”
“It’s quick to get up and running with Timely, entering clients and projects is a breeze. Being able to add a time or money budget is handy for those fixed-price projects – and Timely will send you notifications when you’ve reached a budget milestone (50 %, 80% and 100% of the allocated budget). An essential feature for me is being able to track my timings across different devices – if I need to work on a project at home, all my timings from work are synced. I can also log in to my timesheets via a web browser, should I need to.”
Starting from $6/month for individuals and $89/month for growing teams.
TSheets is a cloud-based scheduling and time tracking app that makes payroll and invoicing faster, cheaper, and more efficient. Team members can clock in and out from the jobsite directly from their smartphone, which also accurately tracks GPS points even in non-service areas. TSheet’s excellent customer service is also worth mentioning since it greatly adds to their 20,000 five-star reviews!
The app is great for architects and contractors who want to save time when it comes to payroll. This digital alternative to a paper timesheet or punch cards integrates with different payroll and accounting platforms such as Xero, QuickBooks, Square, and Gusto so you can automate your processes more effectively.
- Team members can automatically track of their time in seven different ways. Once the time has been tracked, you, or the person in charge of payroll, simply approves and submits it for payroll.
- The app allows crew managers to clock in multiple employees at the same time as well as assign them a specific task, then the time can be tracked on how long it took.
- Reports can be made on this data, making providing estimates more accurate in the future.
- Reduce the risk of audits. The app eliminates the worry of being audited because its timesheets are DCAA and DOL compliant. It helps companies retrieve timesheet logs from team members to show exactly when they clocked in and out, and includes GPS data if the feature is enabled.
“TSheets has really helped our business and employees keep better track of billable hours. With all of our employees equipped with a smartphone, there is no reason why they can’t update which job they are on for accurate hours. The customer service TSheets provides is unbeatable! They’re polite and eager to help you succeed.”
“TSheets is simple to use. Very custom for a business I help run with [my] uncle … Using TSheets to help track our employees’ hours and [the] ability to adjust their clock in and out times [is] super easy. Adding jobs and activities for each site has never been easier. Shout out to Shannon with TSheets for assisting me on setting up a few other things with my employees and work groups. Very helpful and exceeded my expectations on my issues. She went above and beyond to help find the correct information and help with the add-ons. Thanks, again!”
After the first free user, packages start from $4 per user per month up to $80 per month, depending on the business size.
Until next time…
Test out a few of the different apps that you think might work for your business and budget and make use of the free trials—see which interface looks and feels the best, and then start tracking!
Whichever app you choose, make sure that you chop and change if it doesn’t work for you within a few weeks, there are lots of tools available, and the idea is that they save you more time, not create more of a headache.
Are you looking for more tools that will help you save time on admin tasks?
What to read next
- Best Apps for Architects – Our selection for 2019
- 11 Tips that made me an Insanely Productive Person
- How Virtual Assistants Can Save Time and Help Grow Your Architecture or Contracting Business
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