In this post, I review Hubstaff which is one of the most popular employee time tracking software.
If you are new to time tracking or want know why you should use a software to track time of your employees, read this post about time tracking apps.
Hubstaff is suitable for any business looking to track time of remote employees. But is best suited for freelancers, digital marketing agencies, consulting firms of outsourcing companies. It’s also great for Virtual Assistant (VA) businesses.
These businesses not only need to track time but they also need to pay remote employees and invoice customers by the hour. It is extremely important for these businesses to pay remote employees for the actual hours worked on their projects. They also need to invoice clients accurately for time spent on client’s project.
For example, a digital marketing agency may have three people working on a client project – one on SEO, another on social media and the third on AdWords. For each of them, the agency may charge different hourly rates. The digital agency will need to invoice the client accurately by keeping track of time spent by each of the three workers on this client’s project.
The agency can create a project in Hubstaff and assign these three individuals to the project. The agency will further set hourly billing rate for each of these employees. The employees will download and install Hubstaff client available on all popular platforms. When the employee starts working on the project, she will start the app and choose the right project. Hubstaff software will the automatically record time spent on the project.
At the end of the month, the agency can generate the invoice automatically from time logged by Hubstaff employee time tracking software. For each worker, the number of hours logged will be multiplied by the set hourly rate to generate the invoice. This reduces the manual work involved in generating invoice and eliminates manual errors.
Hubstaff can take random screenshots of the remote employee’s computer and store in the database. The Agency owner or manager can see the images to verify that the worker was actually working on the client work and had not just turned on time tracking. The images can be used to back up the invoice should the client have any question about hours billed.
As you can see, Hubstaff provides an accurate and reliable way of tracking worker time and generating invoices automatically. This increases transparency and build your client’s confidence in your agency.
Most agencies also use Hubstaff to manage their payroll. Since the time is already logged in the software, the agency just need to set the hourly pay rate and benefits to generate payroll advice and process it. The Hubstaff payroll module integrates with Payoneer and Bitwage for processing the payroll. The entire payroll process becomes a breeze with Hubstaff.
In fact, Hubstaff is so well designed for agencies, outsourcing companies and VA businesses that it works like a mini ERP for them. With Hubstaff, there is no need to have separate timesheet, payroll and invoicing apps – the three most important software needed by these businesses.
You can also use Hubstaff for managing internal projects. But there are other tools such as HiveDesk may work equally well and are cheaper if you don’t need to process payroll and invoice clients from the employee time tracking software.
Hubstaff works really well for agencies and VA business with up to couple of hundred remote employees. It’s also great for freelancers. In fact, freelancers can save a lot of money by billing clients with Hubstaff instead of freelancing platforms like Upwork.
Hubstaff has a 14-day free trial. You don’t need a credit card to start the free trial. It’s a full featured trial meaning you have access to all features of the software. This is great for evaluating various features and be sure that Hubstaff will work for you before you start paying.
But just in case you sign up for the paid plan and then realize it’s not for you, you can ask for a full refund within 60 days of starting the plan. No other leading time tracking app provides this refund option. So really, there is no rick for you to try Hubstaff for a full month, track time, process payroll and invoice clients. If you everything works out, great. Else you can ask for your money back and still be happy.
Hubstaff is super easy to use. The company maintains a vast knowledge base and FAQ in case you run into any issue. The company also provides top of the line customer support through email and live chat. So you are well covered when in case you need help.
Hubstaff has two components
- A server or web app that is the central place for you to manage and administer your account
- A client or desktop app that employees use to record their time
Hubstaff also has iOS and Android apps. While you can track time using the apps, you cannot do it automatically. Employees have to manually enter time in these apps. You should use mobile apps as a monitoring and reporting tool rather than an employee time tracking software.
After you sign up, you will need to confirm your email address. When you click the confirmation link, you wil be taken straight to the start page where you can set up your account and first project.
You will also receive an email with instructions on how to get started as soon as you confirm the email address. The email is clean and has everything you need to get started. Hubstaff guys have designed the onboarding process to be smooth and this is evident from the first step itself.
Once you log into the Hubstaff web app, you will see the Settings page with three tabs – General, Billing and Team. Click the Team tab to manage your team on remote employees.
You can decide what your employees can do and what information the Hubstaff software will collect.
In the left hand column of the page, you will see navigation links to help you get started with the software.
Click the Create Project link to add new projects or manage existing ones.
Click the Download and Test link to download Hubstaff apps to your computer or mobile device.
Click the Invite Team link to add new team members to your projects. Click the blue Invite member button to add an employee.
In the pop up, you enter email id of your employees or remote workers. You can add multiple employees in one go and assign them projects.
When you set up an employee, Hubstaff will send an invitation to the employee to download the desktop app. After the employee downloads the app and installs it, she can start recording her time.
You set an hourly pay rate for each employee for generating payroll and doing cost estimates for your projects.
If you don’t want an employee to work more than certain number of hours, click the link in the left navigation column to set the weekly limit.
After the remote employee starts the desktop app, she will be able to log in and select a project from the list of projects you have assigned to her. If you assign a worker to multiple projects, she can select another project after she finishes working on the current project.
As the employee works on the project and tasks assigned to her, Hubnstaff keeps track of time and logs it against the task and project selected by the employee. The software will also take random screenshots if you enable this feature.
Hubstaff can also track which applications and websites the employee uses during the project work. You can use this information to verify that she was working on the assigned project. If the employee used an application or visited a site she should not have while
A feature that makes Hubstaff extremely useful for companies providing customer support is the ability to schedule staff time.
Using Hubstaff, you can schedule your staff in different shifts and assign them working hours. Each shift / person will have a start and end time. As soon as the person logs into Hubstaff desktop software, her start time will be recorded. Hubstaff will monitor her time and activities till she logs out.
Using the timesheet generated by Hubstaff, you can verify if every person started his or her shift on time and worked the required number of hours. The time tracker will email alerts to inform you if any employee log in late, is absent or logs out early.
While the app is quite easy to use and robust, there will be times when you will need help. Customer support is another area where Hubstaff excels. There is a Live Chat option right inside the app – just click the chat icon and you will be connected to a support agent. There is no need to go to the website to raise a ticket (although you can do that too).
Hubstaff is quite affordable even for small businesses. The pricing starts at $5/mo/user with features suitable for managing internal projects where you don’t need to invoice anyone.
If you want the full agency ERP features, upgrade to the premium version for just $9 $9/mo/user. That’s still cheaper than most employee time tracking software with similar features.