Hubstaff Review

Hubstaff Review

Hubstaff is a valuable time tracking system, and it's an especially useful tool for managing freelancers and remote employees.

Pros

  • Advanced activity tracking allows you to quickly gauge productivity levels, and understand how employees are spending their time
  • Helps businesses stay within budget by setting employee and project limits
  • Free plan available

Cons

  • Payroll and billing functionality lacks flexibility
  • Mobile apps can be difficult to use with several users reporting synchronization issues

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

Table of Contents

Hubstaff Pricing

  • Paid version starts at $5/month per user
  • Premium Plan costs $10/month per user
  • Receive 2 months free when you pay upfront for an annual subscription
  • Free plan available for solo users
  • Free 14 day trial

Full Review

Hubstaff is a popular time tracking system designed to help organizations efficiently manage their teams and improve their overall productivity. The company was created in 2012 after its founders struggled to find suitable software that could help manage their distributed workforce. Today, Hubstaff has grown to become a leading productivity tool, serving over 8,000 businesses and tracking more than 650k hours through the platform each month.

The software’s flexible approach to time tracking helps businesses manage remote employees and various departments internally, and also makes it easy for service-based businesses and freelancers track hours spent working for external clients.

Hubstaff helps keep track of your employees by monitoring time spent on various tasks and projects. Managers can set project and employee pay limits, allowing for easy budget control. Business owners can also gain useful insights into different team members through the "activity level metric", which analyzes mouse and keyboard movements, and calculates how much idle time each team member has.

Users need to download a desktop client or install a Chrome extension to start tracking time. The company also have a mobile app (iOS and Android) which enables managers to view GPS location and monitor employee movements. However, several users have expressed concerns over the functionality and synchronization of the apps.

Hubstaff provides detailed guides and walkthrough videos covering the setup and features, which makes it easy to learn how to use.

Key Features

Below, we'll discuss the key features of Hubstaff, and how they can benefit your business.

Time Tracking

Hubstaff offers two different options to track time. Users can either build manual timesheets and enter past hours worked, or utilize automatic time-tracking offered through a range of native desktop applications (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS). Automatic tracking is more accurate and provides additional insights such as screenshots and activity monitoring. The app operates in the background and can distinguish one project from another.

Hubstaff Review Mac Time Tracking App

Hubstaff utilizes an organization, project, and task structure. Users can set up multiple organizations, although they must assign at least one project for each organization in order to begin tracking time through the software. There are many different ways businesses can customize the structure to utilize Hubstaff. For example, if you're a freelancer, you may want to create one project to represent each client, and track cumulative hours worked for each client. Businesses may want to use different projects to track time for each internal departments (sales, marketing, finance, etc), and create various tasks to track progress within each project.

Hubstaff Review Creating a Project

Activity Tracking

One extremely useful feature to assess productivity is Hubstaff's activity tracking module. The system analyzes mouse and keyboard strokes over a 10-minute period of time to determine how active the user is, based on their recent activity. An extremely active employee may achieve a level between 75-89% of active time, and anything lower than 50% can be a sign of a distracted employee. However, this should also vary on the role, and should be viewed as one data point to gauge an employee's productivity—if there activity tracking is low, but their output meets your expectations, then this shouldn't necessarily be viewed as a negative.

While this is a useful metric, it’s important to review activity levels over an extended period of time (weeks) to spot trends and make informed decisions. Hubstaff doesn’t record or store individual keystrokes and mouse movement, so a user may be "active", but doing non-work related activities.

Screenshots are enabled by default and provide a snapshot of each user’s monitor, based on predefined intervals (between 1-3 screenshots every ten minutes). Multiple monitors can be tracked, and screenshots can be partially blurred to protect privacy. Employees have the option to delete screenshots, although the associated time slots will be deducted from their payable hours.

Hubstaff Review Screenshots & Activity Tracking

Hubstaff also monitors applications and websites the employee visited, in addition to the time spent on each site. Time filters can also be used to ascertain the most used applications or websites across a certain project, which can provide visibility into how your team is spending their time.

Hubstaff Review Url Monitoring

Client Invoicing

Hubstaff includes the ability to invoice clients based on time worked or projects completed. Projects can be allocated to clients and billed as a fixed price or based on the time a team member has worked on the specific project. Custom messages can also be added to your invoice. A client login can be set up to enable access and allow them to view progress.

The client invoicing is useful if you don’t already have existing invoicing software, although the features are limited and additional software may be needed for organizations looking for a more robust solution. Unlike QuickBooks, there is no option for clients to pay with a credit card or bank transfer, and payments must be recorded manually.

Hubstaff Review Sample Invoice

Payroll

Hubstaff allows you to set up automatic payments to reimburse employees for hours worked, or make one-time fixed payments. Hubstaff connects with a range of different payment gateways including PayPal, Payoneer, and Bitwage. You can apply time limits for billed hours by each employee to ensure employees don’t exceed a specified number of hours in a week. In addition, smart activity tracking ensures you only pay for actual time worked.

Hubstaff Review Sending Payments

Reporting

Hubstaff includes a reporting section that offers useful insights into your team’s productivity. A weekly report provides a quick overview of the hours each team member has worked for the day, with a total amount spent included and activity level assigned. You can select custom dates and filters to allow you to view information on individual projects, tasks, or specific team members.

Hubstaff Review Weekly Report Example

There are also reports that display client invoices, payments made to team members, staff attendance, and even project time/budget limits. Reports can be exported to Excel, while users can send downloadable PDF reports to email addresses.

Hubstaff Review Available Team Reports

One of Hubspot’s most convenient features is the "Projects Budget" report, which lets users set budgets for each project and allocate pay rates for every team member. Hubstaff then uses certain criteria to determine how each project is tracking, by notifying you at different points along the way.

Integrations

Hubstaff integrates with over 30 different tools, expanding the software’s time-tracking capabilities to encompass third-party applications. Integrations include Basecamp, Trello, Zoho, Freshbooks, and Salesforce. As an example, if you use Trello for project management, you can track time through each individual task.

Hubstaff Review Supported Integrations

Mobile App

Hubstaff includes an Android and iOS app to help your team effectively track time while they're away from their computer. This functionality is especially useful for sales reps who are often on the road. Since its release, the mobile app has received mixed reviews, with several users mentioning synchronization issues and limited usability.

Hubstaff Review Mobile App Screenshot

Hubstaff vs. the Competition

Hubstaff vs. Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a popular alternative to Hubstaff, providing a similar range of features that includes time tracking, screen monitoring, web & application usage, payroll, and reporting.

One of the major differences between the two products is about the flexibility in structuring your workflow. Time Doctor allows you to have one company and multiple clients/projects, whereas Hubstaff supports the ability to run multiple organizations and their own projects simultaneously. This can be a valuable feature if you manage a remote team and several organizations.

In terms of pricing, Hubstaff appears to be the cheaper alternative starting at $5/month for the Basic Plan, compared to Time Doctor’s $10/month. However, the features are limited on Hubstaff’s Basic Plan, and you will need to sign up to the premium plan at $10/month to utilize payroll, app/URL tracking, invoicing, and location tracking.

Time Doctor includes a useful "Poor Time Use" report to quickly view any non-work related websites, while Hubstaff only allows you to see the applications and URL’s each employee has visited, from which you must make your own judgment. Time Doctor’s software will actually send notifications to users to deter them from visiting "poor time" sites and actively help them stay them stay on task. This functionality is a bit more robust than Hubstaff's "Activity Levels" metric.

Ultimately, the functionality of both products is fairly similar, but Time Doctor has a bit more robust functionality for some of their ancillary features. We do prefer Hubstaff's user interface over Time Doctor's, so the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both systems are excellent options.

Hubstaff vs. TimeCamp

TimeCamp is another easy-to-use time tracking software that helps businesses and individuals understand where time is being spent. A near identical range of features are offered including a timer, project management functionality, screenshots, online invoicing, and automated payroll. However, TimeCamp integrates with over 50 different apps and tools, compared to Hubstaff’s 30, providing greater flexibility when tracking third-party time across your business.

Hubstaff is a bit more expensive if you use the Premium Plan at $10/month per user, whereas TimeCamp costs $7/month per user.

Is Hubstaff Right for You?

Hubstaff is an intuitive tool perfect for companies who manage a remote team and individuals looking to track projects and tasks. Hubstaff's time tracking functionality is straightforward to use, although it requires users to install the Hubstaff Desktop Client or Chrome extension. The system includes a wide range of advanced features such as automated payroll, activity levels, and GPS location tracking, to simplify the process of monitoring and paying your employees.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a time tracking solution, Hubstaff similar functionality compared to its competitors, and is a worthy option to consider.

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