So you’re a freelancer or you own a business that requires invoicing, and time tracking.
How do you track down your hours? How do you create invoices? How do you send them to your clients?Manually?
As a business owner, I understand that you want to stand out. You want to give your customers the best experience possible, but you must always look for ways to save time as well.
You need to be practical and spend your time on more valuable things. Time is money, right?
I remember how I used to create my own invoices via Google doc or Word document.
I had to make them look perfect, calculate totals, save them to my computer, then open up my mailbox and compose messages, add payment instructions, and so on...
Just crafting one invoice takes me some time already, especially for those repeat customers.
I asked myself, “Do I really need to create these manually?” "What if I started growing?"
I figured it would me much smarter if I use a software that will make things easier for me.
I wanted less distraction. I wanted to save time. I’d rather spend my time on something I enjoy more and of course, on something more profitable.
So I did some research and shopped around for reliable invoicing softwares and time trackers that can generate elegant invoices.
And guess what, I’ve tried several ones but I only liked 5 of them, and they seemed promising.
Take a look at my top favorites:
Ballpark lets you make estimates, as the name implies, but also does a lot more. It is easy to turn an estimate into quotations and into an invoice once it is time to ask for payment. How convenient is that? Awesome features include:
- Create beautiful invoices. They really have beautiful and easy to scan invoice templates. I love the features you add to spice up your invoice as well. Clients can discuss in generated invoices, make payments easily, invite people, attach images, easily print and it automatically change the invoice status to PAID once it’s paid. Just beautiful!
- View invoice activity. You’ll be able to view activities on your invoices such as when an invoice is created, sent and when it’s viewed by your client (which is a cool feature!).
- iPhone app available. You can use a web browser or an iPhone app to monitor time usage, to see whether you’re still on schedule, or how you are keeping to your budget.
- Time tracking. Of course, they have this kick-ass timer where you can easily track your hours. You can also pause and continue timing later in the day.
- Monitor payments. You can also monitor payments, and cash flow.
- Integrate PayPal and/or Stripe. Clients can easily process payments through Paypal or Stripe.
Single person operations may avail of their Solo plan for $12.99 a month. If you require a maximum of ten users, then you’ll find the Team plan at $29.99 a month a perfect fit. The top-of-the-line Agency plan provides access to unlimited users. All plans come with unlimited estimates, unlimited invoices, time tracking, and payments through PayPal and Stripe. Get 10% off your monthly using this link.
Harvest has one of the most powerful time-tracking and invoicing software out there. Time can be input from anywhere, is integrated with invoicing and reporting tools. Here are some wonderful features:
- Sleek invoices. Their invoice’s template is simple but sleek. I love how it looks so simple yet professional. You can even customize it by changing the color scheme, and adding your logo.
- Painless time tracking. You can track your hours from your desktop, iPhone and Android phones.
- Automated invoices. They can automatically generate invoices for you on a scheduled frequency – weekly, quarterly, yearly, custom. Generated invoices can be saved as draft or automatically send them to your customers. And oh, you can auto send a reminder as well!
- Allow online payment. Your clients can easily pay you from the generated invoice via PayPal or Stripe. That means, they don’t need to open another browser and manually pay invoices. They can do that by just clicking.
- Expense tracking. You can log expense toward your projects so they can be tracked, analyzed, and included in invoices.
- Other awesome features: You can easily create personalized estimates complete with attachments if necessary. If you have clients in multiple countries, invoicing can be done online using different languages and currencies.
If yours is a solo operation with no more than 4 clients and 2 projects you may avail of their Free service. The lowest paid plan is the Solo which starts out with one user, unlimited invoicing, unlimited clients and unlimited projects; it can be upgraded to handle up to 3 users. If you have a mid-level type of operation the Basic plan has all the features of the Solo, plus a time approval feature. It is meant for 4 users which may be upgraded to 9.
Large organizations should be happy with the Business plan which is meant for a minimum of 10 users and has all the features of the Basic plan. On all plans, upgrades for additional users cost only $10 per month per user.
3. Invoice Home
If you need an affordable invoicing tool, Invoice Home would be perfect for you. They ONLY charge you $5 a month for unlimited invoices. Total $1,000 / month they are 100% free service.
- Lots of beautifully designed templates as far as I know, they are the only online invoicing tool available providing over 300 templates at this moment.
- Easy to use. Their interface is super easy to understand.
- Available in different languages. Available in English, French, Spanish, German.
- Payment methods: PayPal, Authorize.Net, Stripe
Pricing: Free or $5 a month
4. PayDirt App
PayDirt is one of the first invoicing tools I’ve ever used. It’s a simple online software service which helps online contractors or freelancers track time worked smartly. Here are some of the great features they have:
- Smart timer. This one is my most favorite one! It tracks both time and the client you are working for with just one-click. If you are the forgetful type, you can turn on your timer 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes ago.
- Compatible with any web browser or application. You and your clients can see unpaid balances. Draft invoices can be sent via the web or smart phone application. If you love graphs, its reporting system allows has that too.
- Recurring invoice. They can automatically generate invoices for you – weekly, monthly, years. Just set the schedule and you’re set!
Pricing: From $8-$29/month
If you work alone you may choose between the very basic Starter package which allows tracking of only three active clients for $8 per month, and the Hustler package which allows unlimited active clients, online payments, multiple languages and multiple currencies, for $16 per month.
The Coop package allows three users to track unlimited clients, online payments, multiple languages, multiple currencies and team features for $29 a month.
If your organization is really large, get the Enterprise Plan which starts at no more than 40 users for only $249 a month. The plan has every feature offered by PayDirt.com and can be expanded to cover more than 40 users if necessary; just add $5 per month or $50 per year per additional user.
Hiveage is one of the most beautiful invoicing tools I’ve ever used. It’s made for freelancers and small businesses that send invoices and tracks time, expenses and mileage. Here are some of my favorite features:
- Create professional-looking invoices. You can draft and send professional invoices and estimates with just a few clicks. I love how you can add your logo to your invoice and customize the description (you can attach an image, date, link, and tags).
- Auto generate recurring invoices. Your clients will surely appreciate the reminders and acknowledgements that hiveage.com prepares in an instant. They can auto-save an invoice for you and alert you or email invoices directly to your clients. Such a time saver!
- Easily track your hours. They also have this timer available so you can easily track billable hours.
- Accept online payments via generated invoices. They put payments to PayPal, Stripe, 2CheckOut, WePay, Google Wallet, and even offline payments. Amazing. And the other great features include, you can change the settings of your PDF file to allow your clients to pay partially and send automatic payment receipts for all payments. How cool is that?!
- Awesome dashboard. It shows your income over the last several months, total invoiced, payments received, total outstanding, accounts receivable.
- Other great features. You can easily duplicate existing invoices, add comments, download as PDF, share it with your teams, invoice activity
Pricing: $6.95 - $49.95
The basic free service is great for those just starting out. If your business is already growing, you may want to try out their Custom package which allows you to choose the services you pay for. The Custom package starts at just $6.95 a month or $69.95 per year plus any features you choose to add.
If you already have a team, you might better off choosing either the Big 5 or Big 10 package which gives you all the features on offer – you don’t have to choose. The Big 5 package for allows for up to 5 users and costs just $29.95 a month or $299.95 per year. The larger Big 10 package is for a maximum of 10 users and is even more affordable at $49.95 a month or $499.95 a year.
I am using the “BIG 5” plan by the way.
6. BlinkSale: Invoicing ONLY
BlinkSale provides a convenient way to keep on top of your hours worked, invoice preparations and a bit of documentation as well. You get to choose from many estimate invoice, reminder, and thank you note formats which you can easily customize.
- Recurring invoices. Of course, this feature is available! You can automatically send invoices and bill your clients on a schedule for a fixed amount.
- Create estimates. Someone need estimates? You can easily create an elegant one with BlinkSale, then your client can “Approve” or “Decline”. Once it’s approved, this activity will be logged in your records and you can then convert it to an invoice.
- PayPal & Stripe integration. They allow Stripe (credit card payments) and PayPal payments. You can even choose to invoice in many different currencies.
- Impressive invoice templates. You get to choose from many estimate invoice, reminder, and thank you note formats which you can easily customize.
- Awesome customer service. If you’re worried about customer care, Blinksale.com takes pride in what it calls ‘ridiculously great’ customer service, by phone or email.
BlinkSale says it all in their advertisement. They charge only a single rate of $15 a month. This is already good for unlimited everything: users, clients, invoices, estimates, etc. So Blinksale.com is really for everyone from a one man operation to large organizations.
They are all basically the same. Most have the necessary features including recurring invoices, online payments, and time tracking but with different additional features. Of course, it also depends on what you need and on your budget.
Whatever size organization you may have, there is an online estimating, time tracking, and invoicing service right for you. The good thing is that competition has made these types of services very affordable. Choose one now, so you can concentrate on making money doing what you do best.
What about you? Do you use an invoicing tool? Which one? Share below!