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Ask HN: Freelance Management Services/Apps
57 points by n_coats on May 11, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 37 comments
What services are freelance developers using to manage time logging, expense tracking, invoice generation, and reporting for multiple clients?

Preferably a service that offers both a web and native app.

We use https://www.getharvest.com for that.

And https://basecamp.com for project management.

I have been really happy with Typeform-->Zapier-->Invoice Ninja. TF feeds a bunch of other apps too. The Invoice Ninja guys are super responsive with customer service (<12 hours in many cases) and immediately helped with some minor tweaks I needed to get off the ground. The app is well laid out. They have a self-hosting version but the SaaS is so affordable and snappy, I see no need unless some privacy issues. Not affiliated but a happy customer. Please use my referral code if you find it meets your needs (https://app.invoiceninja.com/invoice_now?rc=DNCBCKGS).

I've been using http://hellobonsai.com for invoicing. It has been an amazing experience.

They do time tracking and a bunch of other things as well and are continually improving the product.

I have a settled on Toggl for time tracking and Zoho Books for invoicing. Toggl supports csv export and Zoho Books has an import feature that makes getting data from one to the next fairly simple, with the help of a simple script I wrote to transform the data (https://github.com/joshrickert/toggl-zoho-books-timesheet-co...).

I did a pretty exhaustive search when I set out to solve this problem a couple years ago, and ended up with a considerable amount of research that I summarized on my blog (https://joshrickert.com/blog/invoicing-apps-for-freelancers/).

I second Toggl. It's simple and gets out of the way. The desktop app even reminds you to track your time if you are actively using the computer for a while but forget to hit the start button.

I charge a weekly rate (for a variety of reasons that I should probably write down as a blog post), so the data is more for my consumption than for my clients'. Still, knowing how many hours of productivity you can sustainably manage per day is valuable for setting your rates and coming up with estimates.

Thanks for the suggestions and write up - very insightful.

AND CO is a good service https://www.and.co/

This looks amazing - much better than most of the comparable services I've looked into. Going to give it a shot - thanks!

I run my own time tracking tool over at https://logmyhours.com - great for both freelancers and small teams! Built in invoicing tools, report exporting and mobile app for both Android and iOS.

If Log My Hours is missing a feature you need, reach out and I'll be happy to help :).

Freeagent (UK) https://www.freeagent.com

If you're comfortable setting up a server, I've been using duet for a couple of months which is great. Doesn't have a native app though but no monthly fees. https://duetapp.com/

I use Timely for time tracking because of it's fast time-to-data-entry. Also, they integrate with calendar and todo services for those "what did I do today" moments.


Very early on:

* time tracking: a frankenstein combination of system logs (especially helpful when jumping between workstations), paper notebook, and chatlogs

* invoicing: http://billable.me/

* both: some elbow grease

Evolution (and current, w/ a small team):

* time tracking: http://getharvest.com/

* invoicing, accounting, etc: https://www.xero.com/

The first one carried me for a few months, at an average workload of 60~140h/mo and a maintenance workload of about 4 hours total.

The latter is solving somewhat different problems, but does equate to time won on the admin side.

https://cushionapp.com/ is a favorite of mine. Mainly a scheduling/forecasting app but has some great, newer features around invoicing/payments and time tracking.

It might not be as hip as some of the other options, but Quickbooks invoicing allows you to accept payments as ACH transfers. Not many services do this. (Or at least, they didn't when I last researched it ~2 years ago.)

An ACH transfer costs me $0.50. A credit card transaction costs at least 2.9%, although some invoicing tools charge an additional percentage on top of that. On a $4000 invoice that's over $100 I would pay out as fees with another tool.

Nearly every client I've worked with has been okay with paying this way instead of credit card.

They also allow you to use Direct Debit if you are in UK/EU.

I use Pancake (https://www.pancakeapp.com/) for my invoices, expense tracking, proposal/estimate writing, and reporting. They don't offer a native app, but the site is responsive and works well enough on mobile. Pay once and run on your own server.

I previously used Toggl for time-tracking, but have been transitioning out of hourly billing and haven't been tracking time for months.

Gsuite / Trello / Toggl / Xero . This is comprehensive as I have found a combination of services to be and still be relatively low overhead.

I hear freckle (https://letsfreckle.com/) is good for freelancers.

https://books.zoho.com is international and has been wonderful for my project billing. I've been using it for ~2 years as a freelancer and have no complaints. I don't have any business or accounting education and I credit the design of the UI with helping me learn basic accounting principles.

I'm currently building a small weekend project that will automatically chase invoices for freelancers. Would people be interested in that?

never would have thought they expanded into that.

Freshbooks. It's not free, but it has all the features you want, both on web and mobile. It costs me ~$200/year, but it saves me enough time that it more than pays for itself.

We use Albert https://www.getalbert.com/ (UK-only). Very easy for invoicing.

QBserve is a great Mac app for time tracking and logging.

We use https://tmetric.com/. Simple to use and gets the job done.

I've been using harvest for years - and It's been great. The time-tracking widget has been updated - and the invoicing is smooth.

Toggl is good for time tracking. https://toggl.com/

https://hubstaff.com - for management and payments

https://wakatime.com for automated time management

Wave accounting / https://waveapps.com

Time: Toggl

I have to second this. Toggl is fantastic not just for freelance time management, but for managing time spent on any project. It has a lot of features that you'd just expect to be there, like when the browser icon changes whether you're on the clock or off the clock, or how you can just click 'play' on a previously logged task to resume the timer for that task.

Google Sheets

https://www.upwork.com (odesk in the past)

freshbooks for basic accounting/invoicing/timetracking.

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