5 Key Drawbacks of Free Time Tracking Software


Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

Hi, I’m Asim Qureshi, the CEO, and co-founder of Jibble, a cloud-based time and attendance software. I have several years of experience in building and scaling software products and teams across various industries and markets. Before I founded Jibble, I worked as a VP at Morgan Stanley for six years. I’m here to help you uncover the 5 key drawbacks of using free time tracking software.


Time-tracking software has become an indispensable tool for businesses and individuals seeking to optimize productivity and manage their time efficiently. With the allure of “free” offerings, many are drawn to explore the world of free time tracking software. While these solutions might seem like a budget-friendly dream come true, it’s essential to peel back the layers and uncover the drawbacks that could potentially lurk beneath the surface. 

In the context of time-tracking software, certain drawbacks may not be immediately apparent when you opt for a free version of the software. While the software itself may be advertised as free, there could be certain limitations, restrictions, or aspects that come with potential costs, either in terms of functionality, user experience, or data privacy.

In this article, we’ll delve into the potential drawbacks of using free time tracking software, helping you make an informed decision for your time management needs.

A guy wearing glasses checking his wrist watch.

1. Limited Features and Functionality

The biggest drawback that comes with free time tracking software is the limitations it brings to the table. It may be a great starting point for individuals and small teams, but brace yourself for the missing pieces of the puzzle. Those additional fancy advanced tools that promise to revolutionize your time management may be hiding behind the velvet rope of the premium, paid plans.

For example, automatic time tracking sounds like a dream and it would be nice to kick back and let the software do the tracking for you. But you might need to reach for that wallet to access such perks. Insightful reports and analytics might also be off-limits in the free versions.

Additionally, these free time tracking software may leave you stranded without seamless integrations to your favorite project management or communication tools. It can make it challenging to synchronize data and streamline your workflow effectively.

So, while free time tracking software has its merits, it’s essential to know what’s under the hood. If those missing pieces are vital to your time-tracking practices, you might as well consider splurging on the paid plan.

2. The Sneaky Trap of Restricted Number of Users

As your business grows and expands your workforce, you may encounter drawbacks such as restricted user access to free versions. As team sizes increase, the limitations imposed on the number of users allowed in the free tier become apparent. The realization that not all team members can access the time tracking software without additional costs can pose a challenge to business continuity and efficient collaboration. 

This constraint might lead to the necessity of selectively choosing which team members have access to the time-tracking tool or exploring alternative solutions. But, as it’s not viable to use time-tracking software for only some of your employees, you will end up sticking with manual time tracking or paying for an increase in user limitations.

In such circumstances, it becomes important for you to assess your team’s growth trajectory and evaluate whether the current free solution aligns with your long-term needs. As the business expands, upgrading to a paid plan that accommodates the entire workforce may prove to be the best approach.

3. Unwanted Advertisements and Distractions

In the realm of free time tracking software, the presence of advertisements and distractions represent potential drawbacks. As developers seek to sustain their free offerings, advertisements become an avenue for generating revenue. However, these uninvited guests can inadvertently disrupt the user experience and affect productivity.

Advertisements, in various forms, can appear during the time-tracking process, presenting themselves as pop-ups or banner ads. While they serve as a means to keep the software free, they may divert the user’s attention, potentially hindering seamless workflow and concentration on essential tasks.

Imagine a professional attempting to diligently track time and allocate resources, only to be interrupted by an advertisement encouraging the exploration of unrelated products or services. Such disruptions can disrupt focus and hinder optimal time management. Moreover, banner ads encroaching on the screen can subtly impact user experience and detract from the software’s primary purpose – efficient time tracking.

For some, the value of a free offering may outweigh occasional disruptions. However, for those who prioritize uninterrupted time tracking and a seamless workflow, upgrading to an ad-free version becomes a viable solution.

4. Potential Data Security and Privacy Concerns

It is important to pay attention to data security and privacy concerns as it is something that nobody would want to incur. You aren’t the only one who wants to maximize profits for your business. Some free time tracking software developers may choose to gain profit by relying on data collection and analytics. Consequently, concerns arise about the usage and protection of personal and business data. It is important to ensure your sensitive data is safeguarded with strong encryption and stringent privacy measures to maintain the integrity of your business operations.

Moreover, some free software might have limitations on data retention or lack transparency when it comes to rules about access. This can impact your business’ historical records and compliance efforts. To prevent having to address these concerns, you should opt for software that prioritizes data security and offers transparent privacy policies, even in their free plans.

5. Intricate Upselling Tactics

The final drawback is upselling tactics within free time tracking software that subtly impact users in several ways. At first glance, the free version of the software may seem like a fantastic deal, providing essential time-tracking functionalities without any immediate financial commitment. However, the true enchantment lies in the presentation of premium features that remain out of reach, enticing users to consider upgrading.

As you get used to the convenience and efficiency of the free version, you may gradually encounter glimpses of advanced reporting, integration capabilities, or exclusive add-ons cleverly showcased within the software. These subtle nudges towards premium plans create a sense of allure, subtly fostering the desire for a more comprehensive time-tracking experience.

While these upselling tactics may not directly impose monetary costs, they can indirectly alter your perception of the software’s overall value. You might initially be drawn to the free version, only to encounter glimpses of advanced features and capabilities showcased within the software. This can create a sense of allure and desire for a more comprehensive time-tracking experience, subtly nudging you toward considering an upgrade, thus incurring more costs.

Final Thoughts

It is imperative to delve deeper and uncover the drawbacks that lie beneath the surface. Beyond the apparent monetary benefits, organizations must consider the non-monetary implications that can impact their productivity, efficiency, and long-term success.

The drawbacks of free time tracking software encompass various aspects, such as limited features and functionality, restricted user access, unwanted advertisements, potential data security concerns, and intricate upselling tactics. These factors can pose significant challenges and drawbacks, hindering seamless time tracking, collaboration, and data protection.

To make the best decision for their time management needs, businesses should take a holistic approach to evaluating time-tracking software options. Careful consideration can help organizations make informed choices that align with their specific requirements and growth plans.