What software/app do you use to track your hours to charge your freelance clients?
I'm old-school. I use notebooks. I will have a page for a client, write the day, and then write start and end times along with super brief notes about the work I did. In the end I will tally it all up, invoice, boom.
For me, this process works better than timer/tracking software. I would always forget to start or stop it... and I like being able to jot down thoughts, tasks, etc alongside it all on paper.
Likewise. I tried various apps but nothing came close to notebooks in terms of simplicity and reliability. At the end of each week, I input everything into timesheets in FreeAgent (which I also use for invoicing).
I don't believe in tracking time. It's like a religion thing.
Of course, there has to be a way of charging projects, but I don't think that time is the most effective one. I try to work more on a per project basis or on a daily basis.
Totally agree, and that's the way I've worked in the past years. Per project basis works for almost all projects, even probably consulting, and I've found that it's always benefited me and the client.
Per project basis is nice for the client- but sometimes bad for you. I used to only do per project but there's too many projects where I was getting burned. You don't have to track hours to invoice the client. I track hours just so that my agency is internally accurate at predicting total hours for a project. Each proposal we do is more accurate than the last.
Btw: We've been using Timely
+1 for harvest - works really well to track time, manage clients, invoicing, expenses, etc.
I'm using the OSX app On the Job (http://stuntsoftware.com/onthejob/) since about 3 years. I think it's not really in development anymore (last update was retina support a few months ago) and it looks a bit outdated already but it still does everything I need and I'm not really feeling like paying 10-20 bucks per month for a SaaS time-tracking tool.
I have always used Harvest. I don't have much experience with any others, but the trifecta of web, desktop, and mobile apps keeps me on top of it. I also enjoy the "idle" alert: if you've been away for a bit, it tells you so when you come back and asks if you want to remove the idle time.
Although I track to each project, I may not invoice hourly. If I estimate a flat fee, it's nice to see how I'm tracking against it. Most of the time, it is simply for internal and estimation purposes like Mason L.
http://try.hrv.st/2-12311 — that's a referral link; gets you $10 off your first month.
When I am freelancing I'll use something like Ballpark for all invoicing and time tracking. It has a pretty small, simple widget.
The only downside with any time tracking app is that you, for the most part, need to be cognizant that it is running and need to manually turn it off.
I use Timings for over a year now: http://www.cheatsheetapp.com/Timings/
Very happy with Toggl at the moment. Not using it for real clients a lot but for personal evaluation. Perfect fit for me since it does exactly what I want without too much extra, and free!