Your small business needs accurate time tracking. It’s not only vital for keeping labor costs within budget. Precise timekeeping helps you:
- Stay compliant with labor regulations
- Make future scheduling and staffing decisions
- Understand how employees are spending their time and adjust workloads as needed
- Find ways to improve efficiency
Time tracking software like Buddy Punch can help, and it can make life even simpler with built-in scheduling and payroll features. However, Buddy Punch is only a three-in-one — not an all-in-one — solution. Settling for its limitations means you could be missing out on additional tools that would help you run your small business more efficiently.
That’s why we researched top time tracking and scheduling solutions and referenced real customer reviews from websites like G2 and Capterra in May 2023 for this article. Below, we’ll explore key features, pros and cons, pricing, and user ratings for the best six Buddy Punch alternatives so you know what you’re getting into before you invest time and resources into a new time tracking solution.
What is Buddy Punch and what is it used for?
Buddy Punch is a time clock platform that employees can use to punch in and out of work from any device, including tablets and mobile phones. As the name suggests, it also offers a wide variety of tools to prevent buddy punching and time theft. For example, its webcam feature automatically captures employee photos when they clock in and out to verify identity, and its IP address locks prevent team members from signing in on an unauthorized device.
Buddy Punch also offers easy drag-and-drop scheduling features that let employees view their upcoming shifts from their phones. Additionally, it syncs built-in payroll tools with staff time cards so business owners can review wage data and submit employee paychecks easily.
Why you might choose a Buddy Punch alternative
While Buddy Punch is a solid time tracking platform, it has a few shortcomings that could impact your team’s efficiency.
It doesn’t have all the features you need
Buddy Punch’s three main tools simplify employee time tracking, scheduling, and payroll — which are all important aspects of team management. But it’s missing key components, like features for communication, simple onboarding, and HR and compliance, which you need to sustainably grow your team, keep everyone organized and on task, and avoid legal and regulatory issues.
Thankfully, more all-encompassing platforms exist. They may include additional elements for:
You need a mobile app that has more functionality
Buddy Punch conveniently lets team members clock in and out of work from their phones. However, today’s small business owners also use mobile devices to coordinate and communicate with their staff throughout the day, which Buddy Punch can’t accommodate. That’s why you may prefer an equally usable mobile app that incorporates tools for compliance, document storage, and team messaging.
You’re looking for a more cost-effective option
Buddy Punch paid plans also start at $19 per month and $3.49 per user per month. While that price point may be feasible for small teams, consider how per-person pricing will add up as you expand. It’s better to opt for a solution like Homebase that has per-location pricing, so your expenses will only increase as you add more stores or shop fronts.
Key features to look for in a Buddy Punch alternative
Adding another platform to your toolkit should lighten your load, not add to your burden. Here are a few important elements to factor into your research:
- All-in-one solution — If you’re new to using automated tools for time tracking and scheduling, a straightforward solution with a few simple features may seem less overwhelming. But it’s best to start with a versatile option that also includes key functions for messaging, hiring, and HR and compliance. That’ll make it easy for you to grow your business and give you peace of mind that you’re on the right side of labor and tax regulations.
- Ease of use — Intuitive software means team members are less likely to make mistakes or overlook important details when checking their shifts, updating their availability, or clocking in and out of work. A well-designed app will guide users through its workflows, reducing confusion and clearly presenting information.
- Range of integrations — Platforms that integrate with lots of other popular apps help you avoid inefficient and error-prone double data entry — no need to copy and paste between systems. The right integrations can also improve your team’s communication and collaboration. Knowing that, make sure your software of choice connects with the tools you use every day for point-of-sale (POS), task management, and accounting.
The breakdown: 6 top Buddy Punch alternatives
Your small business’s needs are unique, and so is every option on our shortlist of Buddy Punch alternatives. That’s why we’ve broken our comparison down based on the best use case for each platform:
- 1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
- 2. Deputy: Best for unique compliance features
- 3. QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets): Best for real-time GPS coordination
- 4. Paychex Flex: Best for self-service payroll
- 5. Rippling: Best for automated time tracking workflows
- 6. Clockify: Best for project tracking
1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
Running an hourly small business team is hassle-free with Homebase. Not only does our platform equip you with the intuitive time tracking, scheduling, and payroll features you need every day — it also keeps everyone connected and in the loop with team messaging.
Plus, Homebase helps you tackle two of the most tedious tasks for hourly businesses: hiring and employee onboarding. Post jobs, track applicants, digitally onboard new hires, and store all of your employee paperwork in one place.
What really sets Homebase apart, though, is the human resources features. With a Homebase plan, you’ll have access to live HR experts who can review your company policies, answer questions on hot topics like termination law, and even help you build your first employee handbook. That’s a major win for businesses that don’t want to hire an entire HR department.
- Time tracking with GPS and geofencing tools to prevent time theft
- A time clock that automatically converts hours into timesheets complete with wage and overtime data
- An easy employee scheduling tool that auto-populates timetables with shifts every week
- Simple shift-swapping features that limit extra work for managers
- Full-service payroll software that calculates wages, sends payments, and files taxes for you
- An employee messaging app you can use to send messages to individuals, custom groups, or the entire team
- Hiring and onboarding tools with job description templates, digital new hire onboarding, and document storage tools
- HR and compliance functions that make it quick and easy to create policies and procedures and centralize staff information in one place
- Sales forecasting tools that help you make money-saving scheduling decisions
- A cash out feature that lets employees withdraw up to $400 of their wages
- A mobile app that empowers managers and employees and lets them manage everyday team tasks from anywhere
Pros and cons
👍 Free account offers basic scheduling and time tracking for up to 20 employees
👍 Only takes a few minutes to set up
👍 Easy shift-swapping makes it ideal for managers and employees alike
👍 Per-location pricing for better affordability
👍 Beginner-friendly platform with no learning curve
👍 Built-in payroll reduces the need for additional software
👎 No mileage tracking or task management tools
👎 Not possible to view multiple work locations at the same time
Homebase’s basic scheduling and time tracking tools are 100% free. Here’s a breakdown of all the plans we offer so you can make the best choice for your small business:
- Basic — Free for one location and up to 20 employees. It includes basic scheduling and time tracking and employee management tools like messaging, point-of-sale integrations, and access to email support.
- Essentials — $24.95 per month per location. Everything in Basic, plus payroll integrations, team communication, performance tracking, advanced time tracking and scheduling, and access to live support.
- Plus — $59.95 per month per location. Everything in Essentials, plus hiring tools, retention and performance tracking, time off controls, and departments and permissions.
- All-in-one — $99.95 per month per location. Everything in Plus, with HR and compliance, new hire onboarding, labor cost controls, and business insights.
Users can also save 20% when they sign up for an annual plan.
Homebase payroll is an extra add-on and costs a base fee of $39/month plus $6/paid employee per month.
2. Deputy: Best for unique compliance features
Deputy is a staff scheduling and time tracking app business owners and managers can use to run their teams from any device. With its mobile app, employees can access work schedules, clock in and out of shifts, and communicate and share documents with their managers and teammates, which is handy for keeping information centralized and organized.
Deputy makes scheduling easier with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) that auto-populates employee shifts using labor and sales data. But it’s most noteworthy for its Active Attestation function, which automatically prompts staff to confirm when they’ve requested overtime or chosen to miss breaks. This is particularly helpful for keeping accurate compliance records and avoiding legal issues.
- Drag-and-drop scheduling that makes it quick and easy to assign shifts
- AI-powered auto-scheduling feature
- Time tracking that syncs with timesheets
- GPS-enabled mobile time clock to track time from anywhere
- Break and overtime alerts to help you stay compliant with labor laws
Pros and cons
👍 Responsive support team
👍 User-friendly interface
👍 Great for basic time tracking and scheduling
👎 Certain features lack customization capabilities
👎 Geofencing tool isn’t as powerful as other platforms
Deputy’s free plan lets users post up to 100 shifts a month. Then, pricing starts at:
- $3.50 per user per month for scheduling
- $3.50 per user per month for time tracking
- $4.90 per user per month for the Premium plan, which includes both time tracking and scheduling
3. QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets): Best for real-time GPS coordination
Business owners and managers who are already familiar with the Intuit and QuickBooks family of products will find QuickBooks Time’s interface familiar. The platform lets you track employee time and projects for billing, and its scheduling feature allows you to assign both shifts and jobs on different work sites. These tools make it useful for the construction and landscaping industries.
Another handy feature is the Who’s Working tool, a GPS-enabled tracker that lets you see who’s currently punched in, where they’re working, and what job they’re assigned for the day. That way, team members feel safer at work and supervisors always have oversight.
- GPS-enabled time tracker that can be used on phones, tablets, and kiosks
- Project tracking that gives more insight into employee productivity
- Staff scheduler that lets you assign jobs, shifts, and tasks
- PTO management and tracking
- Integrates with the QuickBooks suite of products
Pros and cons
👍 Minimal learning curve
👍 Integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and Intuit products
👍 Great for users with minimal tech expertise
👎 Lacks customization options that would make it more user-friendly
👎 Support team not as helpful since rebranding to QuickBooks Time
QuickBooks Time plans include:
- Premium — Time tracking, scheduling, and reports for $20 per month and $8 per user per month.
- Elite — Mileage tracking, project tracking, and geofencing for $40 per month and $10 per user per month.
4. Paychex Flex: Best for self-service payroll
Paychex Flex is Paychex’s dedicated platform for managing benefits, payroll, and HR processes. It serves businesses of all sizes and may be worth considering if you need in-depth benefits and insurance administration tools.
While Paychex doesn’t come with scheduling or communication features, customers enjoy its payroll software, saying it’s easy to navigate and makes paying employees simple and efficient. Staff also appreciate the employee portal mobile app, where they can access their payroll and HR information at any time.
- Full-service payroll that automatically withholds and calculates tax filings
- Mobile time clock for remote clock-ins
- Time clock that instantly exports employee hours to payroll
- Applicant tracking and screening software
- Onboarding feature with employee self-service portal
- Employee benefits and insurance management
Pros and cons
👍 User-friendly interface
👍 Payroll integrates seamlessly with other features
👍 Payroll is quick and accurate
👎 Occasionally substandard customer service
👎 Some features like benefits and insurance are better suited to larger businesses
Paychex Flex’s bundled plans include:
- Essentials — Payroll, employee self-service, and hiring and onboarding for $39 per month and $5 per person per month.
- Select — Advanced payroll and integrations for $44 per month and $3 per person per month.
- Pro — Job costing, pre-employment screening, and paycheck previews for $89 per month and $3 per person per month.
5. Rippling: Best for automated time tracking workflows
Rippling combines HR, finance, and IT features so small-to-mid-sized companies can manage time tracking, payroll, benefits, expenses, and company-provided devices with one platform. While it may not be the best option for hourly, shift-based businesses that rely more on communication and scheduling tools than benefits and expense features, it’s not a bad choice for startups or small firms.
Rippling also has impressive customizable time tracking workflows. For instance, managers can use this tool to create overtime and PTO rules that trigger automatically when the employee accrues a certain number of hours.
- Time clock that’s mobile, computer, tablet compatible
- Configurable time tracking rules and workflows
- Employee hours instantly sync with payroll tools
- US and globally compliant payroll software
- Benefits and insurance administration
- Learning management software for automated onboarding and training
Pros and cons
👍 Makes intimidating HR processes like benefits and insurance simpler
👍 Time tracking, attendance, and payroll are very user-friendly
👍 Regularly updates and new features
👎 Some features are hard to find and not integrated seamlessly
👎 Support team isn’t always quick to respond
Rippling starts at $8 per month per user, but the total price of your plan depends on the features you want to add.
6. Clockify: Best for project tracking
Best suited to startups, freelancers, and teams that need to track billable hours, Clockify makes time tracking and project tracking straightforward and easy to manage. Although it doesn’t offer team management tools for communication, shift scheduling, HR and compliance, or hiring and onboarding, Clockify is a solid choice for teams that are happy with their current array of staff management solutions and need a simple time tracking app.
- Project tracker that makes recording billable hours simpler
- Project scheduling features that allow you to visualize projects on a timeline
- Editable timesheets that let you detail how long you’ve spent on specific tasks
- Kiosk and mobile time tracking apps
- Time and attendance reporting dashboards
Pros and cons
👍Easy to use with an accessible learning curve
👍Useful for large teams that need to separate specific projects from tasks
👍Detailed reports show you how team members spend their time
👎 Slightly outdated design
👎 Manual time editing function is time-consuming
Clockify has a free plan, but otherwise its pricing isn’t readily available.
Everything you need to run your team with Homebase
Buddy Punch offers useful time tracking, scheduling, and payroll tools, but you shouldn’t commit yourself to a platform that isn’t designed with your needs in mind — especially considering its per-user pricing and limited mobile app.
You’ve got choices. If you need GPS tools to keep track of your time, you may prefer QuickBooks Time for its Who’s Working feature. Or you may opt for a simple project tracking solution like Clockify.
But if efficient yet intuitive team management is what you need, Homebase is your best bet. It only takes a few minutes to set up a free account, and then you’ll have access to basic time tracking, scheduling, and employee management for up to 20 team members.
And the best part? Homebase is designed to grow with you. Our paid plans include features for hiring and onboarding and HR and compliance so you can expand your team, stay compliant, and keep your business moving forward and thriving.