Time Tracking Software Reviews

Time Tracking Software Reviews

Time Tracking Logos

Image via Kat Camplin

For months I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect tool to track my time and my client’s time. Specifically, tracking prepaid package time for each client. On my list is a way to view package time use, alerts when payments are due, tracking prepaid money as credits, and easy invoicing. It should also be cost effective. $90 a month is out of the question. Most of my clients pay by check, so online payments aren’t a priority, but two of these systems support that function.

All of these services use a Client / Project format. The top-level is the Client and time tracking is at the Project level. This can take some getting used to if you’re not used to dealing with Projects. As an example, if you’re working for a rescue group tracking individual dogs as Projects is very handy.  Each of the systems below has its pros and cons. Take a look!

Harvest

Time Tracking with Harvest

Image via Harvest

Website: https://www.getharvest.com/
Cost: 1 user – $12/mo. $10 for each additional user.
Free Trial?: Yes

With unlimited clients and projects for just $12 a month, Harvest tops the list for the solo trainer. Projects can be tracked via time or money, and the Project landing page has pretty blue sliders that show how much each Project has used and has left. You can set Project alerts based on percentage used, so you can remind your clients when there is only 1 or 2 sessions left early enough to tweak goals or talk about another package. If you charge for equipment or consumables you can add those in too.

The time tracking interface is friendly, giving you either a day view or week view to enter time against a Project. Click the day, choose the client and project, enter an hour amount and save. For the week view you can add lines for all your weekly clients and just tab across the days of the week entering your time. Putting this into your daily workflow will make this go even faster. Log your hours from the day before and stay ahead of the game. There is also an iPhone and Android app so you can log time on the go.

Invoicing is simple and you have a few choices. You can either base the invoice on previously logged hours, which pulls all your visits into single lines on the invoice, or you can do a free form invoice and fill in lines however you like. If you’re doing prepaid packages the free form invoice is a lifesaver. You fill in the cost per hour, number of hours and bam, invoice is done. Save the invoice and then you can immediately record a payment, which turns invoices into a nice receipt for your clients. You can either send clients a link to the invoice, download it as a pdf and send in an email, or print it out and send it snail mail.

You can accept online payments through Paypal Standard/Business or Stripe.

Harvest integrates with other online services on its own and through Zapier and IFTTT. If you use Quickbooks the integration is easy. To check out all integrations visit Harvest’s Integration page.

Freshbooks

Image via Freshbooks

Image via Freshbooks

Website: http://www.freshbooks.com/
Cost: 5 clients – $10/mo. 25 clients – $20/mo. Unlimited – $30/mo.
Free Trial?: Yes

Freshbooks bases it’s cost on clients, not users. On the plus side if you’re doing a lot of rescue group work and need to track individual dogs as projects, the rescue group only counts as one client. However, if you have a large and revolving client base, archiving and un-archiving clients will be a pain. That said, I really like the idea of archiving inactive clients so you don’t have to scroll through people you don’t work with any more.

Time tracking is similar to Harvest, except you have the added option of a month view to enter time. You have the option to set hours as billed or unbilled as you log.

Freshbooks also has pretty blue sliders on the Project dashboard, but they are a little different. Instead of time used and left, the slider represents time against an estimate. You can use the Estimate time as your prepaid package time, so the slider will be a true representation of time used. The other columns show hours as billed or unbilled, which is handy if you’re tracking payment plans.

While I like how Freshbooks allows you to log prepaid credit, the credit is at the Client level, not the Project level. This means you are tracking time for the Project (dog,) but credit goes to Client (human or organization.) This can be a problem if you’re working with multiple dogs at a rescue group and invoicing is done separately per dog. You’ll have to remember which dog the credit goes towards.

Invoicing works basically the same as Harvest, you can choose between outstanding unbilled hours or enter information free form. Save the invoice and you can log a payment and send as a receipt by email or snail mail. There is no web link choice in this system.

The downside to Freshbooks is there isn’t an alert system as there is in Harvest. However, if you’re on top of your time and invoicing you really don’t need the reminders.

You can accept online payments either directly through Freshbooks or link to Paypal or Stripe. Freshbooks fees are 2.9% +.30 for Visa/MasterCard and 3.5% + .30 for American Express

There is a mobile app and lots of integrations with other systems, either directly or through Zapier. Check out the Freshbook Integration page.

Intervals

Image via GetApp

Image via GetApp

Website: http://www.myintervals.com/
Cost: 15 Active Projects – $25/mo. 40 Active Projects – $49/mo.
Free Trial?: Yes

Intervals bases costs on Active Projects – not Clients or users. This can be a problem if you are handling more than 15 dogs at a time. However, Intervals adds Tasks functionality to time tracking and invoicing, which is appealing. Need to send an email or do a follow-up call for a specific Project? Intervals does that.

Document handling is also added, so if you want to keep contracts or liability waivers with your clients, you can do it all here.

Entering time isn’t quite as easy as on Harvest or Freshbooks, but you have more ways to track your work if you choose. With the addition of Modules, you can move Projects along a pipeline. As an example, you can set up Modules for Consultation, In-home training, Public DS/CC, Group Classes, etc., and watch the progress of the dog from one level to the next.

The thing that stands Intervals apart is how it handles prepaid time. The slider on the Projects dashboard is real, not an estimate. You enter payment credits and the cost per hour and you can see exactly how much is used.

You have free form and logged hours choices for invoicing, just like the other systems. If you’re invoicing for hours logged you have the easy option of choosing starting and end dates to bill. You can add payments to the invoice as you go, which saves you the step of having to save and invoice and then adding a payment afterward. Invoices can be sent via email, saved as pdf, or printed.

Integrations are limited and there isn’t a mobile app for logging on the go. Check out the Intervals Integration page.

Intervals does send a handy daily overview report of your business, time, and outstanding invoices.

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Guest Post: How to Build a Successful Dog Training Business

Guest Post: How to Build a Successful Dog Training Business

dog training business

All dog trainers want to build a healthy and successful dog training business. But as your dog training business grows, so does the stress of managing your expanding client list, schedule, and income stream.

The act of putting best practices in place to help you manage your growth sounds like both a daunting and tedious task. But the truth is it’s not. There are simple tips to follow and free technology available to make the act of building a successful and scalable training business a breeze.

Your Client List

To provide the quickest and highest quality service to prospective clients, you need to know who your client is, how to reach them, and what their needs are.

Keeping all this information in a single location will pay large dividends as your customer base grows. Mobile tools these days allow you to keep all your client contact information, notes, transaction history, and payment statuses in an easily accessible spot. Client data and access to information in the most convenient way possible will save you a tremendous amount of time, especially as your days start filling up with more and more client visits.

Schedule & Appointments

The days of pen and paper scheduling are over!

Keep an organized daily, weekly, and monthly calendar in place that’s easily accessible and able to be updated on the fly. Appointment details constantly change, so give yourself a digital tool that allows for easy edits and updates. Not to mention, new clients reach out to you at random times throughout the course of the day, so put convenient systems in place to efficiently field these appointment requests and add them to your calendar without having to play phone tag.

Make sure your clients stay organized too. That means automating and customizing notifications and reminders sent to clients about upcoming classes, sessions, or private lessons. This will ensure your clients are always on the same page, and will ‘professionally and politely’ remind them of upcoming appointments with you, so you never experience a no-show again.

pocketsuite3

Payments

Everyone likes getting paid. The trick is to ensure that no payment ever slips through the cracks.

Protect yourself before walking into any training session. Ask clients to put their card down to reserve appointments ahead of time. This will not only reduce flaky clients and last-minute cancellations, but will professionally demonstrate to your clients that your time is valuable. Not mention, your entire payment process is streamlined once your appointment is complete – say farewell to those awkward “How much do I owe you?” conversations…Simply charge your clients as you’re walking out the door, and move on to your next appointment.

If you still prefer to invoice, then make sure no invoices are ever left hanging. Part of this is setting up a simple monitoring system to enable you to get notified with each invoice that has been paid. Then give yourself an easy dashboard to keep yourself up to date on any invoices still outstanding. This will also give you a sense as to who your best clients are (and even who your worst ones are).

Putting These Ideas Into Practice

Pocket Suite - dog trainer screen shotThe question now becomes how to implement these tips in the easiest and least disruptive way possible.

Good news! There are now tools out there that help solo professionals run their business from their phone. The key is to find the tools that are simple, that are affordable, and that move with you wherever you go – mobile. The more a single app does, the easier your life becomes.

As you start growing and winning more business, you’ll be able to bring these clients on in the most efficient way possible, maintaining your ability to serve them well – all the while making your day-to-day a lot less stressful.

Ready to be more efficient and professional with your clients? PocketSuite is a free iPhone app that provides all of these services for free! Download and access it through the Modern Dog Trainer’s referral link here.

Get Dog Training Business Tips!

Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every week! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.

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About The Author

Entrepreneur.com HeadshotSam Madden is the co-founder of PocketSuite, the first mobile business tool for independent professionals and solopreneurs. Sam spent most of his career researching and investing in business technology for small and medium-sized businesses. He has since shifted all of his focus to build great technologies like PocketSuite to help eager and independent professionals succeed. You can read more about Sam’s mission on Entrepreneur Magazine.

PocketSuite is a new mobile app for dog trainers helping them run and build a better business. PocketSuite empowers pet professionals with the ability to schedule appointments, invoice customers, collect payment, track income, and communicate with clients…All from a single app. PocketSuite is a free iPhone app to download and can be accessed through the Modern Dog Trainer’s referral link.

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