Looking for a free time-tracking, invoice-creating, web-based tool.
October 14, 2014 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I do some freelancing work and I'm looking for a free time-tracking online system that lets me print invoices to .pdf twice a month.

I currently use paymo.biz to keep track of some freelancing work that I do for a couple of hours a week. I use their free version, which allows me to (1) input time worked along with a description of what I did, (2) prep a report that summarizes time worked during a certain time period, (3) prep up to 3 invoices per month, and (4) print my reports and invoices to .pdf. Paymo is now switching to a paid version within 6 months. If I keep my free version, I'll be limited to 1 invoice a month, which isn't preferred (though I'll suck it up if I have to). I currently invoice my client twice a month.

As a result, I'm looking for other free options. I've been going through the Mashable list here of free invoicing tools, but the link is over a year old, so I didn't know if other options were out there, and I wanted recommendations from others who use this type of online software. So far, all of the options I've looked at have at least a couple of the features I currently use, but not all four at their free levels.

Another option is to just start keeping track of my time on Excel, then manually move everything to a Word-based template invoice every 15 days, but I feel like that's a step back.

Any advice? Thanks!
posted by lea724 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps not the answer you're looking for but I would just pay the $5 a month and adjust my fees accordingly. It's very important to me to support the services I use.
posted by dozo at 6:26 AM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd look at Fresh books, but I don't understand why you require it to be free. (As a freelancer you probably dislike it when a client wants you to work for nothing.)
posted by devnull at 6:26 AM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Freshbooks is pretty excellent, and it has a free tier; you start paying once you've got more than 3 clients (by which point you really ought to be paying anyway).
posted by gmb at 6:31 AM on October 14, 2014

Response by poster: I don't understand why you require it to be free. (As a freelancer you probably dislike it when a client wants you to work for nothing.)

You make it sound like I'm trying to cheat the system. A lot of these programs offer a free service which I'd like to take advantage of. I have one project with one client and would like to continue invoicing him as-is. My current service is taking that away, so I'm asking for alternatives.
posted by lea724 at 6:34 AM on October 14, 2014

Best answer: Nthing Freshbooks. I'm using their free version now to track and invoice the last few projects I have (I shut down my biz last year); it will generate invoices directly from time entered (with or without your comments), email or snail mail them for you, and provides the client with the option to pay online. Their support team is A++ as well.
posted by okayokayigive at 6:37 AM on October 14, 2014

Best answer: I believe Zoho invoices will allow you to do what you want (and probably more). I don't use it myself so you'll need to investigate the details further, but I don't think it sets any restrictions on what features (including reports) are available to users under the free pricing plan--it just limits you to 5 clients. As far as Software as a Service providers go, Zoho's been around for nearly 10 years now, so while no cloud-based services are guaranteed to be there or remain unchanged forever, it does have a good track record for longevity.
posted by drlith at 8:42 AM on October 14, 2014

I have used both Freshbooks and Zoho and both are very good though Freshbooks became my default. Freshbooks has a web-based timer as well but I used Toggl for that piece (there is an integration to import time entries to/from Freshbooks, but it looks like that's now only for the "Pro" accounts).
posted by camcgee at 2:53 PM on October 14, 2014

I use and love Freshbooks but I do feel it's expensive for what it is. Keep its price in mind as your business grows.
posted by rouftop at 9:24 PM on October 14, 2014

Harvest has a free plan for 1 user, 4 clients, 2 projects. I believe you get unlimited invoices. Their Mac app with global hotkey and keyboard navigation is useful when switching between projects throughout the day.
posted by c95008 at 1:39 PM on October 15, 2014

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