Get paid for your time: On The Job 3.0

Brett Terpstra
B. Terpstra|01.28.09

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Get paid for your time: On The Job 3.0

On The Job 3.0 was released today, and it's poised to give my long-standing favorite time-tracking app, Billings 3, a good run for its money. On The Job 3 represents a complete rewrite of the application. It's such a new and different beast from its previous incarnations that -- in the words of the developer -- it "really feels much more like a version 1.0 than a 3.0."

On The Job is designed for individuals -- freelancers, contractors, etc. -- who need to track their time and expenses, send invoices for multiple jobs with multiple clients, and handle payments. It, like Billings, is especially geared toward those who want the extra features which can make them look utterly professional in their invoicing and billing.

Let's start with its looks: it's just plain gorgeous. From the main UI to the popup entry forms, and from the client editor to the template editor, the minute details of the interface have been treated with great care. I'll go ahead and say that the invoice template selector is eerily similar to Billings', but I'm not sure where the credit for the first such interface belongs. Let's just say it's a good one to pick up on. The default templates are definitely competition for Billings, whose selection is already above-par for time tracking and billing apps. Editing templates in either app is far more pleasurable than the first time I ever tried to edit a template in Quickbooks.

The first thing that struck me when I opened up the demo was the sheer simplicity of the interface. Everything you need is there, exactly where you want to look for it. The play/pause button for timing jobs is big but not overly obtrusive, and you can turn its default, obnoxious spinning to a pleasant throb in the preferences. That sounded dirtier than it is. There's a menubar control of the timer as well. The overall feature set is not as robust as Billings, but there's definitely something to be said for simplicity. If you don't need the additional features, such as Pro Forma invoices, full account tracking and statements, it's very possible that On The Job might be a great candidate to serve your time-tracking needs.

Other features in the new version include:

  • Invoices for a specific date range
  • New outstanding invoices panel
  • Custom hourly rates for specific tasks
  • Individual timing sessions are tracked, and can be "edited in post"
  • Expense types now include quantity and mileage
  • Per client currency settings
  • Automatic and fully customizable invoice number generation

On The Job is selling for $39.95US. I have to mention that the "Main Street Sale" of Billings is still going, and it's at $39.99 right now. Both have free demos, so if you're a freelancer or contractor in the market for a slick way to track time and send invoices, make your own comparison. Personally, I'm torn. I'll decide in the next 20 days which, coincidentally, is the length of the On The Job demo period.

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