Small Business

Enhance Your Project Management; 3 Best Apps to Track Time on Projects

Understand your true labour costs and improve your project profitability ...
Sean QuinnPosted on Friday, September 16th 2022

Keeping a handle on your project's budget is a key challenge for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses who operate on tight margins. Many businesses have a good understanding of most key material costs, day to day overheads and one-off project-specific costs, but are lacking information in one area - how much is your employees' time costing you per project?

For salaried employees, their monthly paycheck covers hours spent across multiple different projects, which take up varying amounts of their time. Without keeping track of their hours worked, it's impossible to know which jobs are disproportionately taking up more time - and therefore, which projects have the highest labour cost.

Even for employees paid hourly, an 8 hour shift may be spent across different tasks and even different job sites - without knowing which of your client's demanded the most time and attention.

Many small businesses are surprised at their findings once they implement a time tracking solution. Contracts that you once thought of as lucrative and high value may be using inordinate amounts of labour time, making their profit margin much less significant. On the flip side, you may notice certain clients' projects aren't getting the time nor attention they deserve, highlighting the need for increased recruitment in certain areas.

It's essential to put in place a time tracking solution that suits your business, so we've evaluated 3 of the best cloud-based apps which are tailored to your specific industry.

Best Time Tracking App for Remote Workers


If your employees are often working on multiple sites, a mobile app with GPS capabilities is essential.

With TimeKeeper's cloud-based app, your workers can clock in remotely at each job in a few taps, with geofencing and facial recognition for total security. During their day, they can seamlessly switch between jobs in the app, with no time lost in between. The app is also available on tablet, so multiple employees can clock in via one central device, and desk based employees can clock in via the web portal too.

Their time entry data is automatically sent to your central web dashboard, where you can run multiple in-depth reports to see exactly where your employees' hours are being spent.

For a complete overview of each project, you have the option of running off a Job Activity report for any timeframe. This collates all of your most crucial data, including your job's labour cost (based on the hourly pay rate you enter for each employee) and your hours spent versus the hours you originally budgeted.

Visual job snapshot with the Job Activity Report

Key benefits:

  • Can track employee's time spent per job, across multiple client locations
  • Can clock in via mobile, tablet or web (or a combination of all methods)
  • Can set employee's hourly pay rate in the system, for enhanced job costing reports

Get started

TimeKeeper offer a 14 day free trial (with no card details required) so you can test the app out with your team. They also offer UK based support if you need a helping hand.

Best Time Tracking App for Creatives


If your team often flick between tasks during the day, you're likely in need of an app where your employees can 'start' and 'stop' working on a project in a few clicks, without interrupting their workflow.

Harvest allows you to start and stop the timer on each task, and view the running total for the time spent each day, allowing your employees to have total control and understanding of how they're really utilising their time.

The app also integrates with many other digital solutions you're using already (like Slack, Trello and Asana) so should fit perfectly into your current project management set-up.

Key benefits:

  • Can track time on desktop or mobile
  • Can access project reporting and labour cost
  • Can track time against multiple tasks and clients

Get started

Harvest offer a 30 day free trial, which should be plenty of time to assess whether it's a good fit for your business.

Best Time Tracking App for Sole Traders and Entrepreneurs


We've discussed the need for time tracking when teams are working on big projects  collaboratively, but what if it's just you?

Many solo founders or entrepreneurs assume they don't need to track time, as they don't have a boss to answer to about where their time is spent. However, tracking your time is still crucial to understanding which projects are profitable and which opportunities you need to pass up, especially when you're limited by the amount of work you can complete yourself during the work day.

Clockify is the best free app we've found, which should fulfil your requirements until your team grows. The app allows you to start and stop your timer for each activity, as well as planning out your calendar to stay organised.

Key benefits:

  • Can track time against multiple projects
  • Can integrate with existing apps (such as Trello and Asana)
  • Can view your hours worked, broken down by project

Get started

If you're using Clockify for it's most basic time tracking capabilities with none of the frills, their free plan is perfect.

The bottom line

Whatever industry you operate in, your business could benefit from incorporating time tracking software into your project management system. Although the best apps do charge a monthly subscription, the clarity they provide on your true labour cost per project is invaluable, and should hopefully save you money in the long term.

Ready to save your
business time and money?