A beginner’s guide to implementing time tracking for contractors

Independent contractors are on the rise. They like the freedom that comes with the job, like managing their own time.

However, there are challenges associated with being independent contractors. If you don’t find a way to track time, you could end up with missed deadlines.

Efficient management depends on having an overview of your availability and how you manage the available time. An accurate record of your time is useful because if there is a payment dispute with the employer, there is recorded evidence to prove how you managed your time.

This guide is focused on the benefits of time tracking for contractors, and how to implement the tracking process.

Benefits of Time Tracking for Contractors

Tracking time is a crucial part of an independent contractor’s work life as it determines if they are productive enough or being compensated fairly for their work. In this section, we take a look at five reasons to track time.

Keeping Track of Tasks

Contractors work on multiple projects simultaneously. If they don’t find a way to track their tasks, it is very likely that they will miss deadlines.

Calculating Timesheets

Time tracking allows independent contractors and freelancers to calculate the total amount of time worked in a day and the time spent on each individual project.

Calculating Billable Hours

Contractors who work hourly need to calculate the billable hours. This data is generated by adding your hourly pay rate and using a time tracking app to track it.

Creating Invoice

After calculating your payment, the time tracking app allows you to automatically generate an invoice and send it to the client.

Generating Reports

Reports are a great way to measure your performance progress so that you can know where to improve. Reports are generated daily, weekly, or monthly. You can link and export reports to your clients in PDF or Excel, as proof of your progress.

How to Use a Contractor’s Time Tracker

All-time tracking apps are not the same, but they follow an almost similar pattern on how to use them. Here are the steps to using a time tracking app as a contractor.

Create an account

Download the time tracker of your choice.

Categorize projects

Create projects and use different categories for different clients. Choose a specific task, write a description of what you will cover, then start the timer.

Set hourly rates

Set the rates according to projects, then mark your entries as billable and the tracking app will automatically calculate the amount.

Track time

Use the provided timer to track the time you spend on activities. Desktops are most efficient for tracking because they detect idle time and give a reminder.

Export reports

Reports can be sent to the employer mostly in form of PDF and Excel

Features to Look for In a Contractor’s Time Tracking App

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which the best time tracker is.

Ease of use will depend on features such as automated reminders and an easy-to-use interface. It should also be mobile-friendly by synchronizing automatically and working offline.

The tracking app should also have a feature that enables independent contractors and employees to make comments about the project.

Here are other tips for what you should be on the lookout for:

  • Dashboard: This is where you spend time when working on a project.
  • Time tracker: Start and stop the timer to enter hours. You can also enter them manually.
  • Timesheet: For faster logging in of your weekly activities.
  • Calendar: For visually tracking time and logging activities.
  • Reports: See how you have spent your time and how much you have earned.
  • Scheduling: Plan your projects and visualize your capacity.
  • Time off: Plan your holidays and time-off requests.
  • Invoices: Issue invoices based on tracked time and hourly rates.
  • Activity: See sites you have visited or what you have worked on so far.
  • Integration: Connect your tracking app with other apps.

Conclusion

Freelancing or contract working is a highly independent form of working as opposed to traditional office work.

You might end up with missed deadlines if you don’t track your time. Time tracking will ensure you are accountable for the time spent on projects.

But all-time tracking apps are not the same. Look out for one that is cloud-based so that you can connect it with other apps. Besides, it should have different tracking options, especially a timer. An in-app communication tool is also great for communicating with your employer without getting off the app.

With a time-tracking app, keeping track of tasks, calculating billable hours, creating invoices, and generating reports will flow seamlessly.

The result will be better work management of your time which will be evident in the reports you export to the employer.