In this buyer’s guide, we compare Harvest with two other best time tracking software tools, Mavenlink and Toggl. We chose to compare these three companies because of their excellent customer reviews and solid reputations as good tools for business.
Please note that this software is best for freelancers and professional businesses like design firms and marketing companies. For scheduling hourly employees, you’d be better served to check our Employee Scheduling Software guide. Or look here if you want a free downloadable time sheet sheet template.
Best Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses: Harvest
Harvest is the overall best choice for small businesses because it offers top-of-the-line features at a reasonable price. It has over 80 integrations, advanced reporting capabilities, client invoicing, and an ample amount of support and help.
Best Time Tracking Software Comparison Table
$29/month per user for Project Management with Financials
$18/month per user for team time management
$49/month per user for business intelligence with Advanced reporting
|Ease of Use|
|Records Exact Times?|
|Send Invoices to Clients?|
Best Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses: Harvest
Harvest is the overall best choice for small businesses because it is reasonably priced while having top-of-the-line features, including:
- Over 80 integrations, making it easy to work with the systems you already have
- Advanced reporting capabilities, giving you the insight you really need
- Client invoicing, so you don’t fall behind on accounts receivable
- Ample amount of support and help
Using Harvest, you can track your time and the time of your resources (e.g. employees, contractors, and freelancers) like a stopwatch with start and stop times. You can then use that information to create an invoice directly within the software and send it to your customers.
Harvest has built-in reporting to analyze your data so that you don’t have to. You can set hourly and fee-based budgets to track your projects’ progress, and you can run reports on billable and nonbillable time for specific staff, tasks, clients, and projects.
Harvest has both electronic and live people as part of its customer support team, allowing you as the business owner to learn in the way you want to (online or with a voice guiding you). Harvest’s interface is also easy to read, cheerful in its bright orange and green interface without being hard on the eyes and allows a virtual tour before you sign up for anything. It also has a free 30-day trial, no credit card required, which means no hidden charges.
The downsides to Harvest are few. However, it does lack 24/7 live support, which could be an issue if you are a small business owner who is a night owl, and it also lacks the ability to track time by day (it operates like a stopwatch). If you have teams across time zones, both of these could be issues.
Best All-In-One Time Tracking Software: Mavenlink
Mavenlink is just as it’s described–a maven or expert–in being a complete business software system. It allows you to do all of the following in one software tool:
- Time Tracking
- Project Management
- Business Intelligence Reporting
- Get templates, such as for tracking PTO
While Mavenlink offers a complete platform for businesses, Harvest focuses on businesses that already have accounting software, project management software, etc. You can just use the Mavenlink Project Accounting feature if you want to really hone in on just time-tracking and invoicing.
An all-in-one tool like Mavenlink has pros and cons. On the plus side, it allows you to quickly, efficiently, and conveniently complete all business tasks without ever leaving one tool. On the downside, if you’re looking for a more incremental approach and already have systems that you prefer for accounting, project management, or business intelligence reporting, Mavenlink isn’t the best choice. It is best for a newer business or a business owner who is fully ready to change over into everything being in one place. The biggest benefit is for users who plan to use the software for all of its features, including accounting. If you need to brush up on your accounting, check out our Small Business Bookkeeping and Accounting Guide.
Mavenlink also has excellent live customer service 24/7 and has a fantastic onboarding procedure; you feel like they really roll out the red carpet to help you succeed.
The downsides of Mavenlink are a higher price tag and, of course, it’s a bit harder to learn thanks to all the bells and whistles. It does also lack the time tracking by day, similar to Harvest, and operates like a stopwatch as well. Finally, Mavenlink lacks some integrations that Harvest offers.
Best Time-Tracking Software for Ease of Use & Set Up: Toggl
Toggl keeps it simple – easy pricing, easy exact time-tracking with start and stop times, and it integrates with over 50 other systems, making it easy to put in place with what you already have. Toggl is also incredibly easy to learn and won’t take hours away from your team in order to get on board and track their time.
However, Toggl does lack an ability to invoice, meaning you have to integrate some sort of invoicing system or accounting software like QuickBooks. It also has the simplest customer service options and primarily caters to the online learner who can use email or Twitter to get what they need.
But if all you need is a way to track your employee, whether they are next to you or across an ocean, Toggl is a good option and you can implement immediately.
In-Depth Overview: Harvest vs. Mavenlink vs. Toggl
This buyer’s guide covers the best time-tracking software out of the dozens of options out in the market. Time-tracking software can provide excellent insight into where your small business dollars are going, with uses ranging from reducing resource inefficiency to accurate client billing. While time-tracking software may seem difficult to put in place, these three companies make it easy, and the benefits to your business and bottom line are plentiful.
Price tends to be the most important issue for most small business owners, and for time-tracking software, the range of prices accurately reflects the software’s capabilities. While assessing your budget is important, matching the software to your needs is as well.
If you are the only user, your cost will be reasonable across the board; it is once you add on users where you might need to do some math.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is a difficult area to write about for this software because it correlates directly to the complexity of the features. We will elaborate on the ease of use from a business owner’s standpoint and from an end employee’s standpoint.
The entire point of time tracking software is to track your resources’ (i.e. employees, contractors, freelancers) time (and your own) and to then assess if your organization is working efficiently, if your projects are getting done on time, and if you are accurately billing your clients for their time.
Note: None of our options include location stamping so that you can know where your employees are while they log time. If you want some options with that, check out this table below.
Report Generation Features
Report generation, though not the sexiest feature, can be the most valuable in the long-term for the small business owner. Being able to spot patterns in how your time is being used (and the time of your resources) allows you to make decisive changes that affect your bottom line.
In the long run, the basic goal of all time tracking software is to enable you, as the business owner, to view reports on the hours worked by your team and to use those reports to invoice clients. You can view the productivity of individual employees or of your company as a whole. You can also view a breakdown on time spent on each project, which comes in handy for invoicing.
Depending on how long you have been in business, you may have many other software components in place, ranging from accounting software like QuickBooks to project management software like Basecamp. If you have systems like these already in place, you are going to need to integrate them with your time-tracking software to avoid double-billing and other issues.
If you have remote resources, young employees, or a mix of both, you will certainly want a time-tracking software that links to their smartphones, so that employees can track time anywhere. Employees can then also subtly track time while on the go or in a client meeting, making your invoicing more accurate for the time actually spent with a client.
Customer Service & Onboarding
Customer service is always important when choosing software. If you are paying for a system, someone should be there to help you along if you have issues or a fire alarm crisis with it. Luckily, all of these software tools offer excellent customer service, but in varying forms.
All Time-Tracking Software Options
Harvest, Mavenlink, and Toggl represent the range of the best time tracking software currently available. In our opinion, they are great examples of the types of software available, ranging from simple like Toggl to complex capabilities like Mavenlink.
There are some cases though where using a more specific time-tracking software might better suit your needs. Or if you’re looking for software that also helps with scheduling employees, take a look at our article on Best Employee Scheduling Software.
We looked at many different kinds of systems when researching this guide and found that some might meet your business needs better than others.
Here is the full list of time-tracking software systems that we looked at:
Full Time Tracking Software Table
|Harvest||Overall Use||Intuitive user functions, analytical reports and invoice clients.|
|Mavenlink||New Business||One-stop shop, includes accounting, project management, time tracking and invoicing.|
|Toggl||Easy To Use||Get employees tracking time ASAP with little training.|
|TSheets||Shift-Based Employees||Includes job scheduling, shift swapping and simple payroll.|
|actiTIME||Simplicity||Best for QuickBooks users due to ease of integration.|
|Hubstaff||Freelance-Based Staff||Great for businesses spread out all over the globe.|
|TimeSheets||Time & HR Solution Together||A full-service solution; HR, time tracking, payroll.|
|Paymo||Traditional Project Management & Techies||Great for software or web development teams.|
|TimeCamp||Remote||Track websites and applications users are spending time on (productivity).|
|TrackingTime||Teams Who Need Organization||For teams who need a hierarchy.|
|SpringAhead||Organizations With Varying Time-Tracking Needs||For teams who need multiple time-tracking Modes|