- Simple, multi-platform time tracker
- Straightforward online account manager
- Variety of settings for admins
- Time off request option
- GPS-based tracking in mobile app
- Free trial and money-back guarantee
- Bumpy data syncing between trackers
- Primitive, Chrome-only browser extension
- Limitations in Free and Basic plans
Remote workers and businesses that rely mostly on time-based projects know how important it is to be able to properly track time. Before the introduction of cloud-based time trackers this was a logistical nightmare. But nowadays users have solutions like Hubstaff, a leader in time tracking and project management options since 2013. With Hubstaff, users can kill two birds with one stone: not only do they get a simple and reliable time tracking app that works on all major platforms, but they are also given access to an online account manager that properly records work time and generates various reports based on that data. However, Hubstaff is more than just a simple time tracker as it also provides various customization options for the organization’s admin as well as unique and useful features like invoicing or a separate tab for requesting time off. And to make the deal even sweeter, Hubstaff offers a free plan tailored to freelancers and powerful paid plans for which multiple types of discounts are available.
As in the case of most time tracking software, Hubstaff is comprised of two solutions. First, there is the online manager that not only serves as storage for everything from user activities and timesheets to various reports and tasks, but also comes with special features – which we’ll talk about soon – and a wide variety of settings that the organization’s admin can fully customize to the company’s liking. Then there is the time tracker itself, a simple app available for all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Although both the online manager and the time tracker are pretty easy to use – even without prior experience with time tracking solutions – only the app is self-explanatory. In fact, the online manager requires some time to get used to due to providing many different features and settings, which is why checking out the start guide is highly recommended.
Since it’s the heart of every time tracking solution, Hubstaff made sure that the desktop application is as simple and straightforward as such a program could get. The left side of the app shows projects added via Hubstaff or a connected third-party app, whereas tasks within those projects are displayed on the right side. Interestingly, both projects and tasks can be tracked and even filtered via a search bar, but only tasks can have detailed descriptions as well as turn red on due dates. Additionally, there is also the option to add work-related notes to tasks that are then stored under “Screenshots” in the “Activity” tab within the online manager.
As for time tracking itself, the big black bar with the hours, minutes, and seconds isn’t the total time worked during the day; it actually shows the time spent on a given project/task. This can be a bit confusing, but it’s not nearly as odd as what happens when you hop between devices. Due to Hubstaff measuring time in blocks, there is always a 10-minute difference between the app used for tracking and the one you are switching to, which can be quite distracting if you need to frequently change devices. Thankfully, all it takes is letting Hubstaff track the time on the new device for a while and the time is automatically updated.
When it comes to app settings, however, there isn’t much to do as many things like the number of screenshots taken during the 10-minute blocks and a prompt regarding the fate of idle time that pops up after a predetermined amount of time are already set up. Still, there is the option to have Hubstaff automatically start, notify users when screenshots are taken, or more importantly, send reminders when time tracking is due.
Where the time tracker is the heart of Hubstaff, the online manager is undoubtedly the brain, as this is the place where virtually everything can be monitored. Despite sporting many functionalities and even allowing users to hop between different organizations, Hubstaff’s manager is still quite straightforward, proven by the logical arrangement of tabs and the informative, fully customizable dashboard that displays the most important data. The most-used tabs like “Activity”, “Timesheets”, and “Reports” are especially self-explanatory, not to mention that they all sport many filters with which finding the necessary information is a breeze.
As for the other tabs, particularly “To-dos”, “Schedule”, and “Invoice”, they are also pretty straightforward, but if the business doesn’t apply an extraordinary work schedule and/or has third-party apps to assign tasks and deal with invoices, then these sections can be skipped in a heartbeat. What should never be ignored, however, is “Time off”. Though it’s still in beta, this is an important tool for employees, as it’s an effective way of requesting a leave based on the company’s time off policies, which then can be easily approved or denied by the admin.
Speaking of the admin, the account possessed by the organization’s owner greatly differs from the online managers of employees – although they also have everything that normal users do to properly record their own work as well. However, admins are the only ones within an organization who can invite employees and determine their roles, add clients to the database, integrate third-party apps, and manage the payroll. In fact, by moving to the settings, there are even more things to set up for members, such as the frequency of screenshots, turning on GPS tracking in the mobile apps, determining the idle timeout, or requiring users to explain why their already recorded time has been edited.
Mobile & Add-ons
Quite surprisingly, Hubstaff has a browser extension that is basically an even more minimal version of the desktop time tracker. At first being able to track time via a simple add-on may seem like a jackpot, but this tool has two major faults: it lacks crucial features like taking screenshots and being able to track offline apps, plus it’s only available for Chrome. In short, the Chrome extension is more of an interesting extra than a full-on replacement of the default program, especially seeing how smoothly the desktop app can run.
Thankfully, no such problem exists with the mobile application, which is in fact a combination of the desktop time tracker and Hubstaff’s online manager. Granted, many functions available in the manager aren’t present here – such as invoices, the to-dos, and the entire Admin section – but there is actually a feature not even the desktop tracker has: GPS tracking, which upon being turned on allows team leaders to track members based on their physical location, too. However, note that if you or your employees see a different tracked time in the app and the desktop software, that isn’t an error; like we said, Hubstaff simply has different refresh rates on different platforms.
Seeing that time tracking is of utmost importance for many companies, it isn’t surprising at all that Hubstaff supports integration with third-party apps. The number of available applications is already impressive – 31 and counting – but since the company offers and supports an API, that number will definitely increase in the future. It’s worth noting, though, that due to the nature of Hubstaff, most applications that can connect to this program are project management solutions like Basecamp or Zoho Projects. However, that doesn’t mean Hubstaff cannot be used with used with other apps that don’t fall under the category of project management; it works just as well with certain help desk solutions, CRMs, online accounting software, and even payment processors.
- Asana: The ‘partner in crime’ of Best Reviews writers, this project management app is ideal for quickly creating and managing tasks that can be tracked with Hubstaff.
- QuickBooks: Whether it’s the desktop version or QuickBooks Online, when Hubstaff is integrated you can invoice clients based on the time worked on a project created with the accounting software.
- Zendesk: A popular help desk app, that combined with the power of Hubstaff, allows customer service representatives to properly track time spent on a single ticket.
Although it isn’t advertised well, there are actually three plans for Hubstaff users: Free, Basic, and Premium. All plans provide time tracking for one user by default, but the Free plan is actually what’s recommended for freelancers and sole proprietors. Note, however, that despite there being no major differences between the Free and Basic plans where core features are concerned, Basic keeps screenshots and reports for longer, plus it allows the integration of one third-party app. To unblock all features, however, Premium is your choice, since it provides invoicing, auto payroll, mobile GPS tracking, unlimited integrations, and much more. As for pricing, the main deciding factor isn’t the number of people included in the subscription, but the length of the subscription. In that regard, the Basic plan is $5 a month or $4.08 per month when paid annually, whereas Premium is $10 per month or $8.25 a month if paid on an annual basis.
Thankfully, not only can Hubstaff be tried out for free without limitations for 14 days, but it’s also failsafe as it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. And there is also a referral program that reduces your costs by 10% for each referred customer.
It’s quite a shame that Hubstaff’s live customer service is only available via email and live chat, because the quality of the service more than satisfies expectations. Not only did we manage to get an answer to our questions relatively fast – under ten minutes to be precise – but our contact also explained how to avert the issue of Hubstaff’s app not logging the last tracked minutes when it suddenly closed.
Despite the staff’s courteous and professional attitude, the company’s real forte is its thorough, documented support. In that regard, options vary from a detailed help page for all Hubstaff products, a highly-informative FAQ, and some video tutorials available on the company’s site and YouTube channel. It’s worth adding that Hubstaff provides a demo that’s tailored to your business’s needs, but by going through the on-demand help options anyone can get a clear picture of what the app and its online manager are capable of.
There is no denying that Hubstaff is an ideal choice for time tracking, regardless of whether it’s used by multiple people within an organization or just one. The multi-platform time tracker perfectly satisfies all expectations even if its data refreshment rate isn’t the best. The real deal, however, is the online manager, that aside from recording everything that time management solutions usually do, also includes useful extras like invoicing or a page for time off requests. Admins are especially in for a treat, as Hubstaff allows them to customize their organizations to their liking as well as to integrate third-party apps to make the workflow even smoother. And when all of this is combined with a decent pricing policy that includes a free plan as well as multiple options for taking the paid versions for a test drive, Hubstaff is undoubtedly a time tracking solution that’s worth checking out.Visit HubstaffFree Forever Version