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TSheets Review: Best Time and Attendance System for Businesses with a Mobile Workforce

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend TSheets as the best time and attendance system for businesses with a mobile workforce. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of time and attendance systems on our best picks page.

TSheets offers numerous ways for employees to clock in and out, tracks remote workers' location throughout the day and is easy to use.

TSheets costs $5 per employee, plus a $20 monthly base charge for businesses with less than 100 employees, or $100 for businesses with more than 100 workers.

What makes TSheets such an attractive system for businesses with employees who always, or sometimes, work outside the office is the variety of ways they can manage their time and attendance. Of all of the services we examined, TSheets offers mobile employees the most options for clocking in and out. With this system, on-the-go employees can use laptops, mobile apps, telephones, text messages or Twitter to record their time each day.

The TSheets mobile app, which is available for both iPhones and Android devices, allows employees to clock in and out, track the time they work on specific projects, view time sheets and see which of their co-workers are also on the clock. Additionally, it lets employees view their schedules, receive notifications when their schedule changes, and create and submit paid time-off requests.

Employees that use the mobile app can have their location tracked throughout the day. Besides logging exactly where employees are when they clock in and out, the mobile app records their specific location every 10 minutes. With this feature, managers can log into the system to get a clear picture of where their remote workers are spending their time each day. This level of detailed tracking of on-the-go workers wasn't offered by most of the other services we investigated.

The mobile app also has a special feature for those in charge of managing an entire crew while out in the field. With this tool, supervisors can clock an entire group of workers in and out at one time. What's nice about this tool is that it works even if the smartphone being used is out of a service area. In those instances, the time sheet data is stored offline. When cell service returns, the supervisor can click the "sync" button to immediately send the time card data for the entire crew back to the office.

In addition to the mobile app, employees can log in and out of TSheets via a mobile website that can be accessed by any smartphone, and by texting, tweeting or dialing-in from any telephone.

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on time and attendance systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need: 

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TSheets isn't just a system for mobile employees. Time and attendance can be tracked and managed for those who work inside the office as well. With this system, employees can clock in and out with any internet-connected computer. TSheets gives employees the option of punching in and out in real time, or manually entering their hours each day.

One fun feature not offered by TSheets' competitors is the ability to set various sounds to play when you punch in and out. For example, the system can play drums or whistle when clocking in, and play a hallelujah or a yee-haw clip when clocking out. 

To help ensure overtime costs aren't incurred, you can also create alerts that notify you via email, text message or Twitter when your workers are closing in on the end of their shift. Additionally, you can send automatic alerts via email, mobile push notifications or text messages to employees to remind them to clock in and out.

Besides tracking when employees come and go each day, the system also manages paid time off (PTO). TSheets is able to keep track of vacation, sick and holiday accruals for each employee. You can authorize workers to submit their own PTO hours or have administrators or managers do it for them.

The system also has scheduling capabilities. The scheduling software allows managers to build and share schedules with employees, and assign jobs and shifts. Employees can see the latest schedule in real time by logging into the system or on the TSheets mobile app. In addition, employees can add their schedule to any calendar app that supports iCal. This includes any iOS, Google or Outlook calendars.

Another aspect of the TSheets system we found valuable is the Who's Working feature. This digital in-and-out board allows both employees and mangers to see, in real time, who's working, what the person is working on and how long the individual has been working on it. This feature was not offered by any of the other systems we researched.

TSheets is a cloud-based service that doesn't require any special hardware or software. The system can be easily accessed from any internet-connected computer, smartphone or tablet

The online portal is easy to navigate, with each section clearly labeled. Among the tabs employees can click on include My Time Card, to clock in and out and review the hours they've worked; Who's Working, to see which of their co-workers are on the clock; and Submit Time, to send managers completed time cards.

The TSheets online portal is very easy to use. All of the sections are clearly labeled along the left-hand side of the page.

Managers have access to additional tabs, including Manage Employees, which allows them to add employees into the system, set overtime rules and determine which parts of the system each worker has access to; Paid Time Off, which lets them add in vacation or sick hours; and Reports, which allows them to view labor-management data. TSheets offers time card, payroll, approvals and project reports that each include customizable filters. Reports can be viewed from a company overview perspective, or can be drilled down to the details of an individual employee.

The Add On tab is where administrators can insert tools into the system, such as those for payroll integration and invoicing. Among the services TSheets integrates with for free are:

  1. Intuit Payroll
  2. Xero
  3. QuickBooks Online
  4. QuickBooks Desktop
  5. Square
  6. Square Payroll
  7. Gusto
  8. Expensify
  9. Insperity
  10. Qvinci
  11. Reckon
  12. Flint
  13. Results
  14. Activehours
  15. Cougar Mountain

We like that instead of managers having to always input information on new workers, TSheets allows for employees to do it themselves. You can set the system to automatically send new staff members an email that prompts them to enter their own details. After receiving the email, new employees create their own username and password and view a welcome video explaining some basics about the system.

TSheets also has an automatic break feature that's designed for employees who take consistent breaks each day. Rather than having them try to remember to clock in and out for those breaks, the system will automatically deduct a predefined break period from their time sheets.

Some of the new features TSheets unveiled this year include a path map that visually shows an employee's location throughout the day, the ability to automatically sync between QuickBooks Desktop and TSheets, a desktop app for Google Chrome users and the ability to edit timesheets via mobile devices.

TSheets' cost makes it an enticing option for budget-conscious employers. Unlike other providers that have setup or cancellation fees, TSheets has only a monthly charge based on the number of employees you have. For businesses with fewer than 100 employees, there is a $20 monthly base charge, plus $5 per employee. Businesses with more than 100 workers pay the same $5 per employee, but the base fee is $100 a month. 

These prices are all based on monthly payments. However, if you want to pay for the whole year in advance, you will save 20 percent. This is an attractive incentive that many of the other providers we investigated didn't offer.

There are only two other charges you may incur. Access to the scheduling software is an extra $1 a user per month. There is also an additional cost of $1.50 an employee per month for workers who clock in and out via a telephone or text message.

We were impressed with how upfront the company is with its pricing. Unlike other providers that required you to call for a price quote — which often ended up being just an estimate of what your true costs would be — TSheets has everything clearly outlined on its website.

Another added bonus is that TSheets offers a 14-day free trial period to make sure the system meets your needs — and you aren't required to provide any payment information when you sign up. When your free trial is over, you add in your credit card details and your account is ready to go. If you choose not to activate your account, there is no need to cancel anything.

We found TSheets' customer service to be top-notch. To gauge what you can expect from the support team, we called the company multiple times posing as a new business owner interested in time and attendance systems. Each time we reached out to TSheets, helpful and friendly representatives immediately answered our calls.

During each of our calls we received detailed answers to all of our questions that left us with a clear and comprehensive understanding of what TSheets offers. None of the customer service representatives we spoke to were pushy about trying to land our business. And at no time did they prod us for details about our business, or when we would need the service. Instead, the reps seemed more interested in making sure we had answers to our questions. This was an approach many of the other providers we spoke with didn't take.

We also tested the company's live-chat support. Each time we posed a question, it was answered within seconds and the information was just as detailed and consistent as what we got over the phone.

Support is offered by phone between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. (MST) Monday through Friday and via live chat between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (MST). The TSheets website is also full of helpful resources. It has one of the most extensive knowledge bases we came across during our research. It answers questions on everything from account setup and billing to payroll integration and running reports. Additionally, it has a very detailed user guide that walks you through every step of the system.

The biggest drawback to TSheets is that it isn't compatible with traditional time clocks. While this isn't an issue for businesses that are solely tracking mobile workers, it could be a problem for those companies that are also monitoring on-site employees. While those working inside the business can still clock in and out through their computers, some employers may have a problem with not being able to use a traditional time clock to punch them in and out. If this is a priority for you, we would encourage you to consider another time and attendance system, such as stratustime, our pick as the best time and attendance system for small businesses, or uAttend, our pick for the best system for very small businesses.

Another potential negative is the number of integrations TSheets offers. Many of the other time and attendance systems we researched had a much more extensive list of programs it connected with. It's worth noting, however, that for a one-time fee, TSheets' time cards can be configured to integrate with any payroll solution that accepts flat files. Nonetheless, this will be an added expense and one not every other provider charges for.

Ready to choose a time and attendance system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on time and attendance systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need: 

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.