I recently sent out a survey to Hubstaff customers and asked them what problem they solved with our time tracker. About 10% of the respondents said they needed an alternative to Upwork’s hourly time tracker.

Some of the actual responses included:

  • “We need a solution cheaper than Upwork.”
  • “We need an alternative to Upwork.”
  • “We need an Upwork-like experience for our long-term staff.”

These responses revealed that Upwork, although effective as a time tracking solution, can be quite costly. It also revealed that people were irritated about how you can’t hire a freelancer outside of Upwork and then use its time tracker.

With this information, we no longer had to guess if Hubstaff was a good alternative to Upwork. Our customers were telling us that it was.

In addition to cost, one of the things that came up a number of times was time tracking. Upwork offers its own time tracking, but several respondents wanted another option.

Upwork is a great online platform for finding talented freelancers worldwide. However, there are some setbacks when it comes to the system’s timer, which is why we compiled a list of the best alternatives to help you track your team’s and freelancers’ hours more accurately.

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The problem with the Upwork time tracker

Not all employers are satisfied with the Upwork time tracker. Companies may feel that the tracker doesn’t give them complete control over their employees’ and freelancers’ activities and working hours.

One common problem is the impression that workers track more time than what they actually spend working. People also complain that the app did not track their work due to network connection problems or other internet-related issues.

Plus there are fees. If, for instance, you allocate $30,000 per year to projects, you’re handing $1,500 to Upwork just for the sake of using the platform.

This list of the best Upwork time tracking alternatives will help you remain in charge of your business-related projects and activities — without the extra costs.



Hubstaff serves as a great alternative to Upwork. The time tracker app offers streamlined productivity features for freelancers, contractors, and full-time employees.

Hubstaff offers a plethora of features that make time tracking and project management a breeze:

  • Time tracking apps built for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
  • Timesheet approvals to ensure accurate payments
  • Online timesheets
  • Client and project budgets to keep your team from going over
  • Automated payroll based on set pay rates and time tracked
  • Activity levels, geofences, GPS locations, and more
  • Detailed reports
  • Simple client invoicing
  • Integrations with project management software
  • Dedicated 24/7 customer support

The freelancer management app that saves $170,000/year

Save a ton of time and money by tracking time and paying freelancers with Hubstaff.

Level up workforce management reporting with Hubstaff

Try Hubstaff for 20+ reports and real-time workforce management insights. Free for 14 days. 

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If you’re looking for a free, single-user plan, you’ll have access to basic features with Hubstaff Time, Desk, and Field. Or, start a free 14-day trial for the full range of features.

Paid plans range from $7-$10 per user/month and include features like client project budgets, GPS tracking, custom invoices, and 30+ integrations with solutions like Asana, QuickBooks, and Trello.

Hubstaff vs. Upwork: the short version

Hubstaff Upwork
Takes commissions X
Hiring restrictions X
Screenshots X X
Activity monitoring X X
Automatic payments X X
Weekly budgets X X
App and URL tracking X
GPS location tracking X
Built-in timesheet approvals X
Time off tracking X



HiveDesk is another good Upwork time tracker alternative for your business because it offers:

  • Simple project management – create projects and tasks for you and your team
  • Visual productivity data – monitor the efficiency of each work session
  • Simple check-in/check-out – easily switch between projects

HiveDesk not only tracks how long employees have been working on a project but also shows you when they were last online.

Like Hubstaff, HiveDesk takes screenshots of employees’ work. That way, you can determine if freelancers are working on the tasks you’ve assigned or work for other clients.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Hubstaff comparisons stop. HiveDesk lacks time-saving features like automatic payments and timesheet approvals.

If you’re looking for a simple time tracking solution, you can try HiveDesk for 14 days. Pricing starts at $25/month for up to five users and one admin.

Screenshot Monitor

Screenshot Monitor

Time tracking doesn’t get much simpler than Screenshot Monitor. As the name suggests, it will take screenshots at regular intervals — but that’s not all it’s capable of.

With the auto-start option, freelancers will never forget to start tracking time. As soon as they turn on their computer, the timer starts. If they go idle, the timer will stop automatically.

Like other simple time trackers, Screenshot Monitor won’t give you the option to send payments, automate timesheet reviews, or dig into detailed reports for your business.

The free plan allows you to monitor two users and take three screenshots per hour. The Standard plan costs $4.99/user per month and allows you to monitor unlimited users at six screenshots per hour. The $6.99/user Professional plan offers unlimited users at a rate of 12 screenshots per hour.



Paymo has a wide range of functionality that makes it a great alternative to Upwork. Paymo offers:

  • A goal calendar to set priorities for your projects
  • Desktop monitoring to keep track of the programs your employees use
  • A client portal that allows your clients to access their invoices

Paymo is available on all devices running Windows or Mac. Employees can work while offline by downloading the desktop app.

You can use the basic features for free if you’re a solo freelancer or small team. For larger groups in need of additional features, prices start at $11.95/user per month.

Level up workforce management reporting with Hubstaff

Try Hubstaff for 20+ reports and real-time workforce management insights. Free for 14 days. 

[Try Hubstaff free]



Klok is a time tracking app for Mac and Windows devices. Its main features include:

  • A calendar view with visual representations of the time you worked. You’ll always know how much time you’ve spent on each task.
  • Klockwork Team Connector feature for synching projects, tasks, and clients across your organization.
  • A team console that allows several users to track and monitor the same projects.

With Klok, project management is relatively simple. You can save a project as soon as it’s finished and reopen it whenever you like.

The free version of Klok is nice for basic tracking, but it has limited features. As a single user, you can purchase the full version for a one-time payment of $19.99. Team plans allow you to add up to 30 team members at an additional cost.

Over to you

Did we miss any good Upwork timer alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out how one company saved 30% on contractor fees by choosing an Upwork alternative.

If you’re looking for more tips on paying freelancers, check out our list of the best available payment platforms.

This post was originally published February 12, 2016, and updated January 2022.

Category: Time Tracking