Videography is my chosen profession and I love it. However, no passion goes unscathed by inconvenience, regardless of how small. As a freelancer, I am constantly burdened with the need to track time for clients. Brian Warren a few days ago wrote a very in-depth article reviewing On The Job 3.0, an amazing program that I have used myself when at my desk. However I needed something that was a bit more portable when I’m out shooting or doing preparations and still need to keep track of my time.
This is when I turned to my iPhone as a solution for such a problem. While browsing for such an App I noticed that there were nearly enough time tracking apps on the iPhone that they can almost garner themselves their own category in the App store. After diligently browsing all of them, I narrowed my selection down to the five I would try out, and I tried each one for a few days before making my decision on which is best to fit my needs.
2.5 stars / Free, $19.99 for an account
Key Features: SSL encrypted, integration with Quickbooks, and multiple pricing levels for invoicing purposes. Not to mention all of the typical features for an app such as this; and it is also free.
However Bill4Time comes with a few strings attached. This iPhone App is actually a mobile platform for the Bill4Time.com Web and Desktop application, which costs $19.99 per user. This was a solid app for me as far as potential features, however I did not need the Web variant of this application, and the $19.99 price tag didn’t help me decide in Bill4Time’s favor.
3 stars / 99 cents
Key Features: Ability to set different price points for different tasks, export to HTML.
This is a pretty basic but it does come in as one of the cheaper applications in this comparison, and you do get what you pay for. Among the basic features there was one feature that was not present. The one feature that I desired that I saw that PunchClock lacked was invoicing capabilities. As far as this app’s exporting capabilities go, it could be better. It simply emails an Excel file to whomever you wish, which is handy; but the file itself is extremely unorganized and frustrating to decipher. This is a fairly young app, so hopefully we will see this in later updates. But for now my verdict is that PunchClock is too basic for my needs, and it just wouldn’t meet my needs until it implements a few necessary features.
3 stars / $5.99
Key Features: Exporting to Excel, Analytic module with charts, week/month/day navigation, and Searching.
iTimesheet seemed more to me to be a fun muse rather than a professional application for freelancers. It has the potential to meet all the criteria for what I needed in an App such as this, but for some reason I find myself unhappy with it. I would attribute these shortcomings to the lack of ability to set a price for different projects, and as far as the analytical mode, I found it to be quite interesting, albeit not very useful.
A few features I would like to see in future updates to this app would include the ability to see a total amount of time for a particular client, as well as the total amount of time spent on a project. I would also like to see a feature implemented that allowed me to set a price for each particular project; for example set a project at $65/hr, and have it calculate my totals. Then this app might prove to be useful. As of right now iTimeSheet Lite is the way to go simply because it is free, I personally don’t find the $5.99 price tag all that appealing for this particular App.
3 stars / $2.99
Key Features: Full featured Email client, Password protected, support for different currencies.
This app comes in at $2.99 and in my opinion it honestly isn’t worth that. Sure it is a cheaper price, but after using it for a day or two you will be frustrated and find yourself back at this review trying to figure out a different solution for the time tracking problems.
One notable feature included in this app is its inclusion of a full featured Email client. I thought this to be a huge plus until I used it, it was buggy, at times crashed, and I just found it much easier to use the iPhone’s defualt mail client. Aside from that, this app didn’t have the features I was looking for when I went on this search for the perfect time tracking App.
3.5 stars / $4.99
Key Features: Ability to track multiple project and clients, different rates for different projects, multiple currencies, and exporting into HTML.
I believe out of all of the apps I looked at, this one impressed me the most. It gives you the ability to sort, track, and invoice multiple projects for multiple clients, and set prices for different types of jobs. Once you are finished with a job it features the ability to email the invoice which is in a very readable format. View a sample here.
This program is easily the most feature heavy of all the apps in this comparison, and that does come with bit of a learning curve. However, anyone with a little iPhone savvy should be able to adapt to this app in a minimal amount of time. In the end I deemed this one worth of its $4.99 price tag, and will be using this in the future to keep try of my projects and clients.