Time-tracking and billing software for architects: 7 features to look for

As an architect, you’re probably busy enough without having to worry about keeping track of time and money. But if you’re going to grow your business, then you’ll need to be able to get paid accurately and on time.

Whether you bill clients by the hour or per project, you can easily create invoices and track time using a cloud-based time tracking app. 

What is the software’s pricing model?

Traditionally, when purchasing software that you install on your computer, you paid a one off price then that was it. You could use that version for ever, until you needed or wanted to upgrade it to the latest version, then you paid again, and so on.

Nowadays, with Software as a Service (SaaS), you pay a recurring fee, usually monthly, for as long as you want to use it for.

Almost all modern time tracking and billing software will have a monthly option and a yearly option. If you do find one that has a one off fee, make sure to find out if future upgrades are included in that price, or if you will have to pay again for the latest version!

Paying monthly is also a good thing because if you decide to stop using the system and use something else, you haven’t invested that much money in it.

Does it have a trial version?

How would you feel if you were trying out a new software product and the first time you tried to use it, it didn’t work as you were expecting, or worse still, was full of bugs? You would probably feel like you just wasted your money.

So, how can you avoid this?

The answer is to try the free trial version. If there is no free trial of an online system, then how are you to know if it is a good fit for your business? I personally would be very reluctant to pay for software or service that didn’t offer a free trial version.

You need to try it out without wasting any of your hard earned money! 

Can I use it on multiple projects at once?

A good thing to look out for is if the software or system allows you to work on more than one project at the same time. We all do it, have multiple things on the go at once, so it is very important to be able to work on multiple projects at once.

Doing a quick update to a project because a client has sent a new document should be a trivial task. Only being able to work on one project at a time is not a great feature to have, so make sure the system you choose allows you to work on multiple projects at the same time.

Does it support multiple project types?

Are the project types hard coded in the system, or can you add your own? If you can add your own, can you add as many project types as you need or is there a limit?

All good questions to ask when evaluating a new system. The more flexible a system is, the more you will be able to get out of it, and in turn, the more time you can free up to work on the important things in your business.

Can my clients log in to see their projects and invoices?

Another feature that is often overlooked is can your clients login to the system to see their projects? If so, this can free up a huge amount of time for you because the client doesn’t need to come to you for updates on the project.

They can simply login to see everything. See when an invoice needs to be paid or send an update to you without having to call and talk to someone.

Can I run reports on my data?

It’s all very well being able to manage your time tracking and billing, but can you actually run reports on the data over time so you can see how your business is performing.

Reporting is a big feature because it allows you to see all of the important stats for your business.

Can it produce professional looking invoices?

Any billing system will be able to produce invoices, that’s a given, but, do those invoices look professional? Are you able to add your own business logo and terms/conditions so that they match your business brand?

If not, then you should be looking at a billing solution that produces invoices that are professional looking.

In conclusion, to track time and invoices, you need a tool that is easy to use, affordable, and comes with a lot of great features. The most important thing to look for in a time tracking and billing software is ease of use. It needs to be quick and simple to set up, and it should have a lot of features that can help you stay organized and track your clients and projects.

That’s exactly where PlanMan comes in. PlanMan is online software designed specifically for architects and town planners. We offer a free no obligation 30 day trial, then after that prices start at just £49 per month.

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