As a self employed woman, my time is my own—but I get paid based on how much time I work. The two basic elements of such a self-employed arrangement are time tracking and invoices.
There are some very good time tracking and invoicing apps for the Mac, but ProfitTrain may be one of the best ever. It’s an elegant blend of all the features that make a painful set of tedious chores not only painless, but pleasurable.
Clicking Is Bliss, Billing Is Not
We liked it and gave Billable a positive review.
That was then and this is now. The 21st century is moving along and those who change with the times will prosper.
Managing time and tasks is a chore which Billable made easier than most. Billable is now ProfitTrain, an improved, re-packaged, re-born, time tracking and invoicing application for Mac users with a few twists—little features you need and will enjoy.
Features You Can Use & Will Use
The single biggest problem with most time tracking and invoicing apps is that they get loaded up with features that make them painful to use. The trick is to create a usable app with just the right blend of ease-of-use with features you will use.
Per-Client Defaults – My hourly rate varies depending on the client—length of project, due date, and so on. ProfitTrain allows for specific defaults on a per client basis.
Per-Client To Do List – Projects are made up of multiple tasks, so it only stands to reason that your billing app can handle multiple per-client to do lists. With a built-in timer.
Flexible Cost Types – In some cases I bid a project as a flat fee, vs. and hourly rate. But I need the flexibility for both flat and calculated totals.
Estimates, Publishing, Invoices, Oh My – I should be able to create an invoice from a bunch of to-do items, or from scratch, or as a recurring service, right? I should be able to generate an estimate for a project. And, when creating either estimates or invoices, be able to print, save to disk as a PDF or email it.
Labels, Addresses, And More, Oh My – No invoicing product is worthwhile unless it connects to Address Book on my Mac, and will print up customizable labels for invoices. It’s a must have feature.
Payments, Expense, And Reports, Oh My – Not only should a good invoicing app track my expenses on a per client basis, it should also track other expenses incidental to my business, track full or partial payments from clients, and even track an entire financial history per client.
I consider all on that list to be must-have features and ProfitTrain makes each a breeze to use. The toolbar is uncluttered and the icons are self explanatory.
Invoices can be customized with basic HTML. Report data can be exported to a spreadsheet for backup or to be sent to your accountant or tax man.
ProfitTrain’s interface uses a pleasant blend of tabs, toolbar icons, pop down windows, and pop up tools to make it easy to use.
What’s missing? Not much. When you start up ProfitTrain you’re asked to set up a new company (or, import an existing company from a previous version of Billable). You can also have multiple companies in ProfitTrain.
The Business Editor window has basic defaults, including Hourly Rate, Tax Labels, footer information for the Invoice, Invoice Number Scheme, even a way to add your company logo.
Similarly, the Client Inspector lets you set details for each client.
For services you use most often, ProfitTrain has a Line Item Blueprint feature which makes it easier to add specific services to an invoice with a click.
Time is money, yes, but spending too much time tracking all the little details takes me away from doing what I do. That’s why there’s a need for a Mac app to do all the nitty gritty detail work. ProfitTrain may very well be the most complete small business time tracking and invoice app I’ve used, and I’ve tried a dozen through the years. Is it enough to get me to switch from OfficeTime, my current favorite? Yes.