12 Best Project Management Tools for Freelancers
A one-person show is quite difficult to organize. You're your own auditor and manager, so there’s no checks and balances system in place. Meaning that there’s too much room for error and a recurring possibility of missing your deliveries.
But the project management tools for freelancers can give you all the support you need, in everything from task management to invoicing and budgeting. These solutions help you better prioritize projects, measure your performance accurately, and make the most profitable business decisions that contribute to your growth.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best project management software solutions designed for freelancers’ use, comparing them based on features and pricing models. The purpose is, of course, to help you choose the right one that best fits your needs and expectations.
What should freelancers look for in a project management tool?
Let's break down the key criteria freelancers need to keep in mind when searching for a solution.
Affordable and flexible pricing
Most project management software is like Narnia. There's a magical world inside, but the price of going in is high.
Many solutions are designed for large teams of at least 20-25 people. That's why even the lowest-tier subscriptions include abundant features and access to multiple accounts. And they charge you for that.
The whole purpose of using a project management tool is to get rid of inefficiencies. You don't need collaboration modules or mood boards. And you most definitely don't want to pay for them.
The solution you pick must have a pricing model that's friendly for solo workers. When you're collaborating with or hiring other freelancers, it must give you the flexibility to add or remove accounts without compensation.
2 Automated invoicing
Freelance work relieves you from the burden of bureaucracy, but not from the most boring and repetitive task of all: invoicing.
Luckily project management tools designed for freelancers offer free invoice templates and allow you to turn your activities into invoices without a hassle.
They also ease recurring invoice management by letting you automate weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual invoices.
So, make sure you choose a solution that gives you more than just a space to keep your data. It must help you have greater control over your finances.
Read also: The Fundamentals Of Invoicing & Free Invoice Template
3 Easy and accurate time management
It's more than natural to lose track of the time you spend on a project, especially if you don't have a system in use for that.
Yet time tracking is crucial because it helps you get fair pay in return for your efforts. It's a good thing that you're ready to go the extra mile for your customers, but it's not charity work. Look for a tool that helps you trace back your activities and charge for them accurately.
Some solutions also allow automated budgeting, which automatically updates your budget every time you log your hours. This function makes all the difference in the world, considering how many separately delivered requests you can get in a single project, and how hard it can be to track all the time you spend going through them.
Read also: Deadline Management: How To Manage Time And Never Miss A Deadline
Top project management tools for freelancers
Among all the tools on the market, the 12 listed below are the most affordable, easy-to-use, and functional solutions we've examined. We’ve compared them based on their features, pricing, ease of use, and fitness to meet your needs as a freelancer.
Let’s dive deep in!
Rodeo is one of the few software solutions that is designed for individual use, with a perfect balance of excellent functionality, highly intuitive design, and a flexible pricing structure. It's an all-in-one project management tool that you'll get comfortable using immediately.
Rodeo comes with a comprehensive package of features that give you control over and visibility into your schedule and finances.
Time tracking: Rodeo’s easy time tracking module allows freelancers to accurately track the hours worked and get fair pay in return.
Manual time tracking is an option if you have only a few active projects going on at the same time. But when your workload gets heavier, manual tracking will eventually be a time-suck and a huge inefficiency.
Rodeo automatically updates your budget according to the time you enter, saving you the time you’d spend manually adjusting your budget each time.
Invoicing: Rodeo’s invoice templates make invoicing really easy even if you’re a solo worker. The tool automatically draws data from your time management module, which means you don’t have to calculate the time spent on projects from scratch.
Rodeo users also don’t bother themselves with creating recurring invoices repeatedly and sending them over to customers. The tool makes sure you’re receiving payments in full, by automating recurring invoices and sending them over to your customer when the time comes.
Budget: One advantage of using an all-in-one project management app like Rodeo is having the freedom to use a budgeting template, easily enter your hours, hourly rate and the resources used for a project, and have your budget proposal ready within minutes.
The tool also allows you to divide your project into phases and assign separate budgets to each. This means you’ll have no trouble observing where you stand at each stage and when you’ll be done, as well as staying within budget at every stage.
Estimate: To err is human, they say. Regardless of how detail-oriented and careful of a person you are, you’ll occasionally make some mistakes here and there.
Now, some mistakes might have a more negative influence on your relationship with customers than just misunderstanding a minor point in the brief. Like giving customers a horribly miscalculated estimate.
Literally, no one likes a bad surprise, especially in financial matters, right?
Well, Rodeo’s estimating feature converts your budget into an estimate in a single click. Removing all the manual processes and complications out of the way enables fault-free processes.
This transparency will help you communicate the requirements of a project to your customers easily and you won’t receive complaints from the customers' end.
Reports: You’re managing your own time and tasks, so only your decisions can pave the way for your success and growth. It’s a freedom that comes with a huge responsibility. Knowing what brings you sustainable income and growth, and where you need to direct your efforts is incredibly important as a freelancer.
The reporting function of Rodeo offers regular reports that help you optimize your processes. You’ll know in which conditions you perform the best, and get the best value in return. In different words, it’ll help you make data-driven decisions that boost your income and contribute to your growth.
Planning: Hate to break it to you, but note-taking apps or data sheets won’t probably be your best friend while trying to stay organized in the future. The need for some level of automation will emerge sometime soon, if not there already.
Not because you can’t handle planning manually, but because your time is too valuable for that. Think of your average hourly rate. There’s definitely a considerable opportunity cost of the time that goes to merely plan.
Project management tools for freelancers like Rodeo bring together the details of all projects that are active and closed. Leave aside the clarity of being able to trace the financial status of completed and continuing projects, you’ll be able to constantly monitor projects that are undergoing significant changes and adjust your schedule accordingly.
What customers are saying about Rodeo?
Bart Op ’t Hof, Project Manager at Eydenberg describes their experience with Rodeo:
“The biggest advantage is that it is designed in such a way that we can easily draw up budgets in a beautiful and user-friendly environment, the portal is easy to understand quickly. And to switch quickly. All this gives you an overview of the diversity of projects and customers. Sometimes you have 40 projects running. You can easily see these budgets in Rodeo.”
According to Sophie van der Togt, Head of Account at Dorst & Lesser, Rodeo really makes your work flow:
"The function that allows you to copy previous projects is super convenient for us. We have one-off projects here and there, but for most of our clients, we develop monthly campaigns. This means that we work through the same cycle with them every month. Each campaign starts with the data from the last one, which is copied to the budget and quote, for which you schedule tasks, on which you track time, and so on. Our monthly projects run super smooth thanks to the way these steps are connected because we continue the process with existing data. Restarting and closing a recurring project with Rodeo is so easy, from start to finish.”
Thanks to Rodeo’s flexible pricing model, you can get access to planning, time tracking, budgeting, invoicing, reporting, and estimating features with a monthly price of $29.99.
Most project management tools for freelancers have a tiered pricing structure. So when collaborating with fellow freelancers or other professionals, the pricing might not turn out to be so attractive anymore. Because even if the starting price seems affordable at first, you have to pay significantly more to get access to useful features. In the end, you pay much more than you were initially willing to pay.
Using Rodeo, on the other hand, you can manipulate your budget to meet your changing needs. Say, for instance, you’re partnering up with colleagues for a big project. By adding $8.99 per user to your billing, you can immediately activate their accounts. When the project is completed, you can remove their accounts and return them to your regular billing.
To help you confirm that Rodeo is the right solution for your needs, click here to claim your 14-day free trial—completely commitment-free.
Monday is another all-in-one project management tool for freelancers that come with a wide range of features and customizable modules. The tool can be of great help in streamlining your processes by automating your workflows and integrating them with the tools you’re using.
Yet the comprehensive scope of its features can make the tool unnecessarily complex for individual use sometimes.
Read also: Top 25 Monday Alternatives to Try
- Kanban Boards
- Gantt Charts
- Workflow Automation
- Collaborative Spaces
- File Sharing
There’s a free version, but access to features is very restricted. None of the automations, budgeting or reporting functions are available in it, only boards and templates are included. Paid plans are priced like this:
Basic: Includes an unlimited number of viewers, 5 GB storage, and access to a dashboard of 1 board. $10 per user/month.
Standard: Includes Timeline, Gantt, Calendar views, guest access, basic limited automations, and access to a dashboard of 5 boards. $12 per user/month.
Pro: Covers all the features in the Standard View, plus access to more advanced automations, private boards, and a dashboard of 10 boards. $20 per user/month.
ClickUp markets itself as more of a productivity app, offering a wide range of integrations that covers everything from CRM to email marketing.
One downside of the tool is that it can get too complicated if you’re not looking to explore all aspects of your productivity, and just want to organize your work.
Related: Top 20 ClickUp Alternatives to Try [Free & Paid]
- Task Management
- Goal Tracking
- Wide Range of Integrations
- A Variety of Views
- Time Tracking
ClickUp's free plan is perhaps more useful than any other freemium plan out there. You can create unlimited projects and spaces, and add as many users as you want. Gantt view and some basic automations are also included, but most of their functions are still behind the higher tiers. And it also limits the storage to 100MB.
Unlimited: Includes unlimited storage, dashboards, a good variety of integrations, several views, and the resource management module. $9 / per user / month.
Business: All that’s included in the Unlimited plan but in advanced versions such as more functional in workload management, automations, and goal tracking. $19 / per user / month.
Business Plus: Adds more collaborative elements to the shared spaces onto everything included in the Business plan, allows for more customization and offers more advanced automations. $29 / per user / month.
Trello is easy-to-use project management software with a simplistic design and a very useful task management module. Using Trello, you can seamlessly monitor your tasks from separate boards, share files and instructions via cards, and invite your guests to those boards.
Related: Top 22 Trello Alternatives for Project Management [Free & Paid]
- Kanban and List Views
Trello’s free plan includes up to 10 boards, unlimited power-ups, and storage of small files (10MB/file). The tool has a tiered pricing model for the paid plans:
Standard: This is the most affordable plan the tool offers more advanced versions of the features included in the free plan. This one grants you access to unlimited boards, more functional cards, unlimited storage of larger files (250MB/file), and so on. Plus, you’ll get to invite single-board guests. $5 per user/month.
Premium: In addition to what’s offered in the Standard plan, the Premium plan includes a dashboard, timeline, map and calendar views, and admin & security features. $10 per user/month.
Enterprise: The enterprise plan includes everything you get in the Premium plan, plus unlimited workspaces, enhanced permission settings, public board management, and multi-board guests. Contact the team for a quote.
Very similar to Trello, MeisterTask is one of the easiest project management tools for freelancers, also inherently limited in functionality.
While offering great ease when monitoring all tasks from a single dashboard, the tool might fall short of helping you in other aspects of project management. Like budgeting, invoicing, and similar other features that are truly helpful for freelancers.
- Kanban Board
- Timeline View
- Time Tracking
MeisterTask offers a free plan in which you can manage up to 3 projects, get unlimited account access, and use customizable boards. This plan only allows file attachments of small sizes (up to 20MB/file).
Pro: The first-tier paid plan gives you access to manage unlimited projects and multiple accounts, and offers basic automations, stats, and reports. It also allows you to attach files up to 200MB/file. $8.25 per user/month when paid annually.
Business: You’ll get everything in the Pro plan, plus a timeline view, activity exports, and security restrictions. $20.75 per user/month when paid annually.
Enterprise: Using the Enterprise plan, you’ll get an account manager, onboarding assistance, and custom security review, on top of what’s included in the Business plan. Contact the team for a quote.
Paymo is another tool that’s designed specifically for creative teams and freelancers that work on abundant complex projects simultaneously. It has invoicing and estimating functions, which you won’t come across in your everyday project management software.
The tool also sends you notifications on demand, which can be incredibly useful for solo workers who don’t have a checking mechanism, like supportive teammates, to make sure they’re on track.
Read also: 15 Paymo Alternatives to Try [Free & Paid]
- Time Tracking
- Kanban Board
- Gantt Chart
Paymo’s free plan allows you to manage unlimited projects, yet largely limits the number of tasks, templates, time entries, invoices, reports, and so on.
Small Office: This plan lifts the barriers in front of unlimited access to all the limited features included in the free plan. $11.95 / per user / month.
Business: The tool also has a plan designed for large teams, where you get access to everything in the Small Office, plus Gantt Charts, Employee Leave Management, and top-tier support from the Paymo team in onboarding and training, as well as remote assistance. $18.95 / per user / month.
Flow is like all the functional project management tools for freelancers out there, but without a fuzz. It has a minimalistic and intuitive design, moderate functionality, and a fair price.
If basic features resolve your problems and meet your expectations, then this could be your tool. You can also use its Android and iOS apps.
- Timeline, Calendar, Board, and List Views
- Resource Management
Basic: This plan includes some main features and basic integrations. $8 / per user / month.
Plus: Everything in the Basic plan with more advanced features and more control over the tool, plus API access. $12 / per user / month.
Pro: This one includes everything in Plus, plus access management and VIP support. $18 / per user / month.
Smartsheet is a straightforward project management tool that offers visibility into tasks via real-time traction, historical data, notifications, and alerts. The tool is rather simplistic but not as functional as your sophisticated project management tools for freelancers.
Read also: 18 Best Smartsheet Alternatives [Free & Paid]
- Grid, Gantt, and Chart views
Pro: The smallest plan comes with unlimited sheets and dashboards, Grid, Gantt, Card, Calendar views, and pre-built automation rules (up to 250 automations/month). $9 / per user / month.
Business: The second plan grants access to unlimited collaborators, sheets, and automations. $32 / per user / month.
Enterprise: Everything that is included in the Business plan, with more customization, advanced automations, better insights, and better support. Contact the team for a quote.
Hive is a project management tool designed for the use of freelancers that often collaborate. The software is almost like a combination of Evernote, Slack, and Asana, using which freelancers can socialize and communicate their needs thoroughly when collaborating on a project.
Read also: Top 13 Hive Alternatives in 2023
- Project Management
- Time Management
- Collaboration Spaces
Hive has a free Solo Plan that offers access to all the task management features and limits the reporting features. You can use up to 2 accounts with the Solo Plan.
Hive Teams: This plan comes with all that’s included in the Solo plan, plus reporting features and more integrations. $16 / per user / month.
Hive Enterprise: Nothing significantly different from the Hive Teams, but with access to more accounts. Contact the team for a quote.
Thrive is perhaps one of the most solo-friendly project management tools for freelancers, designed specifically to cater to the needs of freelance work. It works almost like an assistant, making sure you’re on track in every area from task management to invoicing.
- Project Management
- Time Sheets
- Business Intelligence
Solo: Subscribers get every feature listed above and use one active account. $19 / per user / month.
Team: It’s the same with the Solo plan, but with unlimited accounts. $20 / per user / month.
11. Citrix Podio
Podio is a project management software by Citrix that facilitates collaboration and some level of automation. The tool offers a detailed view of every task, creates private workspaces, and integrates with form and survey apps.
Source: Citrix Podio
- Task Management
- File Sharing
The free plan includes five users and provides task management and workspace features.
Basic: All that’s included in the free plan, plus a user management module and unlimited external users. $9 per user/month.
Plus: This plan offers the features in Basic Plan and adds light user roles, automated workflows, and read-only access. $14 per user/month.
Premium: The Premium Plan comes with the extras: visual reports, contact sync, interactive sales dashboards, and more advanced workflow automation. $24 per user/month.
12. Toggl Plan
Toggl is an intuitive tool that helps you prioritize your work based on its urgency to deliver projects on time. The software offers a variety of views and enables you to create customized workflows.
Toggl is very easy to learn, meaning you can get things organized from day one.
Also read: The 14 Best Toggl Alternatives
- Time Management
- Task Management
Toggl Plan has a free plan for freelancers that includes unlimited private projects, but access to features is limited.
Team: The Team plan grants you unlimited team timelines and plan boards, visual workload management, and sends you notifications. $9 per user/month.
Business: Everything in the Team plan, plus you get to invite workspace guests, export project data, and receive support. $15 per user/month.
The bottom line is that tools with complicated structures and abundant features are not what you need. As a solo worker, you need a solution that’ll become your wingman, assisting your goals without requiring effort from you. Choose a tool that is affordable, intuitive, and smartly functional.
Ready to give Rodeo a try? Click below to redeem your free trial with no strings attached.