Posts filed under ‘Friday Freebies’
Inspired by one of our favorite designers Eliza Gilbert, and struggling to allocate the time to our blog, I decided to “theme” out certain days so that coming up with inspirational contributions wouldn’t be so daunting. And one thing I never have any trouble coming up with is my enthusiasm for free services I’ve found on the internet that have helped our small business be more productive. My hats are off to these companies that charge for premium services but offer limited accounts for us “little guys”. They are betting if we are successful we will stay loyal and eventually become paying customers. It is a popular business model and if they can keep up with changing technology they might have something here. In the meantime, while I might not be a paying customer, I pay in gush money.
Now timetracking may not be fun, but an interesting exercise our business consultant Dave Richeson put us through in 2008 proved to me that we had probably been losing on average $6000 a year – simply because we were losing a few minutes here or there on our manual record-keeping. Not recording this phone call, or that email, simply because it was too “inconsequential” to bother to write down. When you have several team members on a project and the project extends weeks or months it adds up. Over a decade of being in business ‘inconsequential’ meant a loss of $60,000. And it was not a loss we could take a tax deduction on!
Without delay we started time-tracking and not only are we more confident that we are billing more accurately, but we can also review each project when it is complete as a team. Using our time reports we can see if we truly made a profit (more often than night we bid on projects and the fee is fixed) by being efficient, and if we didn’t, we can see objectively where we spun our wheels in the mud. Ideally we can correct for it and not make the same mistakes in future projects.
Paymo’s TimeTracker is quite nifty. It has a free account that lets you have two people tracking time under the same projects and you can also try their tied in invoicing system (limited to 3 a month). We don’t use that as we keep a separate invoicing system, but because all our team works as contractors, the timetracking system is perfect for us. You can set up clients, projects, task lists and tasks. What
My favorite feature is the Widget “popout window” that lets you track and assign your time in real time. Editing your time is in the same window under another tab. Easy and convenient. You can also add time in bulk to a timesheet.
In the free account you can also add your logo and feel all official and cool. Additionally it has lots of pretty bars and graphs about how I’m spending my time, which I admit I utterly ignore. They ARE pretty eye candy but take a little flash load time when first logging on. Small inconvenience.
The only other thing I find even the slightest bit annoying is being forced to have a task list and one task under it – if you delete it then your project doesn’t show up on the menu. Sometimes a project is small and I just want to put time to the project. Seeing default task list and default task everywhere initially was a bit confusing. That said, sometimes we do need that level of detail so it is good to have it.
Overall this is a great service. We give it 4 out 5 wingflaps.
I hope this has been helpful. For us it is the perfect tracker and we know we can upgrade as we need to a paying account. But every business has different needs – if you have a free (or low cost) time tracking service you like, and that would be useful to our small business followers, please comment and let us know!