When you’re looking for the best time tracker software for your company, price can be a deciding factor. Especially if you’re not sure whether it’ll turn out to be profitable for your business and at the same time, you want something for the long haul. At first glance, the most logical course of action would be to get a time tracking open source or free version.
However, while having a fully functioning solution that you don’t have to pay a dime for can seem like a tempting offer, this is almost never the case in reality. Everything comes at a price, and the software that you got for free may turn out to be more expensive in the long run than any paid solution.
We’re not undermining the fact that there are many good-quality free solutions, but in most cases, they come with limitations that could prove unexpectedly heavy on your budget.
Limited Historical Data
If you choose a free time tracker software, one of the very important limitations will usually be the small storage space. In a lot of cases, you won’t be able to acquire an on-premise solution that many paid versions have, but you’ll be stuck with the cloud software. Which wouldn’t be so bad if you got huge memory storage to go with it. But unfortunately, you typically don’t.
What this effectively means is that most employee computer monitoring software free versions can store very limited amounts of historical tracking data. So if you suddenly wish to rewind and see what happened on a particular day seven months ago or if an employee has improved since last year, you might not be able to.
This can cost you not only valuable historical insights that could help you gauge your business improvement, but also actual money in case something goes wrong on a project. In these cases, a fully equipped time tracker software can ensure accountability by providing activity data for many months back, but a free system will fail you in this respect. You’ll have to investigate at an additional cost or lose a client.
Another thing that’s usually severely limited in employee monitoring software free versions is the range of features. All of the advanced features and functionalities are reserved for the premium plans, so you’re typically left with the bare necessities. And even if you don’t exactly need fingerprint time clock software, having just a limited basic array of options isn’t always enough.
For instance, if you have a consulting company and work with multiple clients on different projects, your priority might be to track billable hours. So the best way to do consultant time tracking is to have your software sort tasks according to what projects they belong to. The problem is - very few free solutions have this capacity (or it’s limited to just a couple of projects).
Not having the optimal features tailored to your needs will leave you with other functionalities that you might not even need or that are at least not top-priority. Tracking those just so you can track anything will waste you a tone of time without getting you an inch towards improving your company. And we all know that, in the business world more than anywhere else, time is money.
Lack of Support
Say you’ve got a time tracker Windows free version and a month later there’s a glitch which is preventing you from using one of its features. The best you could do in this kind of situation is to call technical support. Except that for many free time tracker software subscriptions, you can’t.
In a lot of cases, priority support and dedicated customer agents are only a part of the paid plans. You, as a free user, will mostly have to resort to help centers or maybe a non-priority email.
What this means is that if you run into a problem, you’ll have to either get your own tech team to fix the app or call in an external expert to help you. Either way, this is an additional expense for you that you wouldn’t have with a premium plan and dedicated customer support.
Low Capacity for Growth
And finally, the most compelling reason why a free time tracker is good enough as a personal tool, but not so much as a permanent business solution is its limited scalability.
You have one user at the beginning, maybe up to three, but as soon as your company starts to grow, this won’t be enough. Once you reach the user limit, you’ll have to switch over to another solution. This transition will cost you a lot of time - you’ll have to look for a good fit (once again), implement the software on work computers, onboard employees and your management staff on how to use the new platform, etc.
This is basically double the work you’d have to go through if you’d taken the full-fledged solution from the beginning. Just for a few months of free ride.
Using a free time tracker software solution might seem like the most affordable option, but you have to be aware of all the limitations and possible shortcomings that a free system might have. Depending on your needs and your potential to grow, a fully functional software might be the smartest choice in the long run after all.