As someone who runs a freelance consulting business, it's important to track my time accurately so that I can bill my clients properly, and there just so happens to be a plethora of standalone timekeeping apps available for iOS.
How do you wade through this crowded category in order to find an app that's right for you? Fortunately, I've done some leg work for you, but time tracking can be rather detailed and everyone has different needs and preferences. My criteria may not exactly match yours. Luckily, many of these apps provide limited free versions so that you can try them out before making a commitment of time and money.
What to look for
Here's a list of requirements I look for in an iOS timekeeping app (your list may vary):
- A standalone app and not simply a companion to a paid subscription service.
- The ability to manage both clients and projects.
- Different task categories and billing rates, along with a way to handle fixed-price items.
- Manual time entries as well as a timer that can be started and stopped multiple times.
- Produce invoices, preferably as PDF files.
- Backup and restore your data as well as a way to export data for offline reports.
- Sync data among multiple devices.
Top choice: TimeWerks Pro Billing with PDF Invoice
TimeWerks Pro Billing with PDF Invoice by Sorth LLC is a universal iOS app that is a great choice for freelancers and other business users for tracking clients, projects, time, expenses and billing. It requires a little bit of setup before you can start using it, but this seems reasonable considering that you're using it to help run your business. It comes in three flavors: a free lite version which you can use to try-before-you-buy, a $3 version with some optional features available as in-app purchases and a $5 version with those features included. (Note: I have been using the $5 version.)
If you already have your clients set up in your Contacts app, then you can link that info with the client profiles you create in TimeWerks. Then, for each client, you can record one or more projects that includes, among other parameters, how you want to your record time. For example, in one project you may want to list the start/stop times and bill to the closest minute while in another project you may prefer to list just the day a task was performed and round your time up or down in 15-minute increments.
Work Items are the tasks that appear on your invoice, and they can be defined with either a fixed-price or an hourly rate. They're available to choose from within in all your projects, which differs from some of the other apps where each client or project might have its own unique set of tasks and rates. I prefer TimeWerks' approach since my task categories and rates tend to be consistent among all my clients' projects.
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