Tracking hours for your employees, while simultaneously keeping them accountable on where and when they punch in and out of work, can quickly turn into an operational nightmare – without Geofence time tracking.
A location tracking app with Geofencing can help solve that issue by allowing you to set up a specific radius outside which your employees won’t be able to clock time. These tracker apps monitor the exact location of the device they’re on. Once the current location data monitored matches up with the verified location information you’ve specified, employees will be able to clock time on their mobile phones.
But which among the many real-time GPS trackers best fits your specific business needs? There are many different GPS location tracker options to consider.
To help you navigate this landscape, we’ve created an in-depth list that compares 7 of the best apps to track locations, along with their various tracking features and reviews.
Note: Buddy Punch is our own product, so we’ll discuss its capabilities as a real-time location app (along with its reviews) first. We’re proud of what we’ve built and glad to say we’ve been able to help 10,000+ businesses track time & location history for their employees while keeping them accountable, and saving time on payroll. Click here to learn more about how Buddy Punch works and sign up for a free 14-day trial.
Table of Contents
1. Buddy Punch – Best Geofence & GPS Tracking App
Most small businesses struggle with keeping their employees accountable. We learned this lesson ourselves after managing over twenty employees across 3 different locations, and in talks with some of the 10,000+ users we’ve been able to help since Buddy Punch’s founding.
It happens often: It’s hard to track and verify employee location when employees clock in for their shift. This is an issue with many field service teams such as construction, landscaping, and sales businesses (or any business where employees might work multiple job sites on any given day).
What this results in, invariably, is wasted time and money on the part of the employer: hours spent reviewing inaccurate timesheets and time cards, trying to fix mistakes, or catch time theft.
In short, a lack of accountability from your team is an unnecessary pain in the neck as a business owner.
This is why, when we set out to build Buddy Punch, an employee clock-in and clock-out time tracking app, one of our first priorities was to provide our users with a location services features. We’ll detail them in depth below:
With Buddy Punch’s user-friendly geofencing technology, you can easily create a virtual boundary where your employees can clock in and clock out of work, specifying which work site they’re supposed to be at for their shift.
To set up a geofenced area, all you have to do is set up a specified radius outside which your employees will not be able to punch in or out of work (as illustrated in the screenshot above). Buddy Punch will track the phone location of your employees (whether on Apple devices or Windows) to make sure the target device is within a geofence.
Then, assign employees to that geofence and, optionally, tag that geofence with a specific job code.
This isn’t Google maps – Geofencing uses a mix of Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and pairing directly to SIM cards inside your team’s Windows, Mac, or iPhone location, and constantly uses real-time tracking to see where the SIM is relative to the zone as long as you’re not offline.
Now, thanks to phone tracker tools such as GPS tracking and Geofencing working in tangent, whenever someone from your team punches in or out of work Buddy Punch will analyze their location and compare it to the geofence they were assigned to.
If they’re not within that geofence, our GPS time clock will show them an error notification, alongside a map of where they are currently, and where the Geofence they should punch in or out from is:
If employees are within the correct geofence, they’ll be able to punch without a problem, and that information will be automatically tagged with the appropriate job code by our system.
Another plus? Buddy Punch’s Geofencing works on cell phones with wi-fi, without draining battery life.
Comparing with Specialized Apps
Some business owners prefer to make use of free or cheap apps on the App Store made specifically for similar location tracking functions. For example, iPhone tracking apps such as Find My Friends or Life360 allow iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple Watch etc.) to be tracked by family members. Other tools like Glympse or Famisafe are considered some of the best iPhone family locator apps – integrating with phone numbers and saving locations to the iCloud.
But the downside of these tools is that that’s all they’re built to do. With something like Buddy Punch, you also have added features that help you keep track of what your employees are doing with their screen time. Are they on task, or are they surfing social media? Plus, even if your team members are treated like family, you’re not really a loved one. Using free apps designed for family location sharing might cross a personal boundary for your team members.
It’s much easier, safer, and productive to go the whole nine-yards and use an employee accountability tool with features such as Geofence and GPS tracking built-in, rather than choosing a tool that has this feature only.
All of that said, Geofences are not always the best employee tracking solution – at least not on their own.
Even if you have set up the best GPS trackers possible for your team, there is still the risk of your employees providing their Buddy Punch login information to their coworkers and having them punch in their stead. To prevent this from happening, we recommend you also use our Photos on Punch feature, detailed below:
When Buddy Punch’s Photos on Punch functionality is active, our app will prompt your employees to take a photo of themselves before being able to clock in and out of work. These photos are, in turn, all recorded automatically in both their timecards, and on the Buddy Punch platform.
As an employer or administrator, you can review all photos at once, or on a per-employee basis.
If you run a construction business, for example — using both our Geofence mobile app and Photos on Punch features in tandem will allow you to easily verify not only whether your employees are clocking from the right construction field or job site, but also whether it was actually them, and not a co-worker.
This gives you peace of mind, knowing that your company’s records are accurate.
Streamline Payroll with Integrations, Payroll Reports on Demand & More
Our time clock software helps small businesses do much more than just track time for their employees, record their punches, and keep them accountable.
When we set out to build Buddy Punch, we also wanted to create a platform that would let our customers forget about how complex, time-consuming, and, frankly, painful the payroll process can be.
We wanted, in other words, to put an end to the countless hours and dollars wasted dealing with the inaccuracies of manually running payroll.
To make that a reality, we built the following easy-to-use features and integrations:
You can run your payroll directly from Buddy Punch. This means you don’t need two separate platforms (one for time tracking and one for processing payroll).
By taking your team’s time records, along with any PTO they may have taken, and giving you a spot to add additional earnings like bonuses, you can accurately and quickly run payroll from Buddy Punch.
Payment can be issued via direct deposit – and your team gets a self-service portal where they can log in, add their bank info, and select their state and federal withholdings. Plus, Buddy Punch Payroll will automatically factor in all local, state, and federal taxes.
Or, if you have a payroll system you want to keep using, then keep reading to learn how to quickly integrate your team’s timekeeping records with your payroll provider.
With Buddy Punch, sending all payroll data to your chosen payroll provider is an effortless process.
We integrate with most of the top payroll providers, including QuickBooks, Paychex, Workday and several more pictured above.
Just log in to the Buddy Punch platform, navigate to our integrations section and choose your payroll provider.
Buddy Punch calculates everything needed to run payroll automatically.
As illustrated above, our Payroll reports include everything from the amount of hours & minutes worked per employee, to whether or not there was overtime.
Additionally, you can filter our reports by date range, and export them in the form of an Excel or CSV file with just a few clicks.
You can manage all your Time Off needs from within the Buddy Punch platform, whether you’re an employer or an employee.
Employees simply need to login to the app using their mobile devices (iOS, Android), desktop, or tablet to request both paid and unpaid time off, as pictured above.
Employers then have access to all those requests inside the administrator dashboard, and can approve or reject them according to their needs (as illustrated below).
Buddy Punch automatically generates “Hours Reports”, which can be segmented by ‘Location’, ‘Position’ or ‘Department’ — as pictured above.
Additionally, we offer a ‘Time Off report’.
We’ve also created a video that details this further, just in case this feature is particularly relevant to your business, and you’d like to know more about setting up codes that your employees can clock into.
Buddy Punch is set up so you can manage all time off accruals without breaking a sweat.
All you have to do is login to the administrator dashboard, and set up accrual rules, which are based on the amount of work hours, or on a specified pay period (including annual accruals).
What Our Users Have to Say About Buddy Punch
Buddy Punch is a lot more than just a geofencing app – and our customers have grown to appreciate the many features giving them full control over their employees. At the time of writing, Buddy Punch has 808 reviews on Capterra, a popular software review site, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars in both the general category and the Ease of Useand Customer Service categories.
Here are three reviews that highlight not only why Buddy Punch is a great time-tracking app with Geofencing, but a great time tracking app all around:
While we’ve covered Buddy Punch’s GPS tracking devices, Photos on Punch, and most of the payroll features in this article — that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Thanks to our compatibilities, You can text messages (or push notifications) to Apple iOS and Microsoft Android devices, set up job codes, and let employees take some level of control over their own schedule to automate your workforce management through delegation.
When we set out to build Buddy Punch, we wanted to create a software that would help with any and all challenges a small business might face when attempting to track accurate time for their employees, including:
- Multiple Punch and Login Options
- Overtime Calculations
- IP Address Locking
- GPS Tracking
- Time Card Approval
- Adding, Editing, or Deleting Punches
- Facial Recognition
- Drag & Drop Scheduling
- Repeating/Recurring Shifts
- And much more!
Pricing is flexible – there’s a monthly fee that varies depending on which functionalities you want to make use of.
Interested in Learning More?
If you’d like to learn more about Buddy Punch’s key features, including Geofencing, see our recorded demo:
If you’d like to request a demo for yourself, click here. A person from our team will be happy to show you the ins and outs of the Buddy Punch platform and answer any questions you might have.
You can also get started today without a demo and sign up for a free trial of Buddy Punch here.
Another great time-card app with Geofence functionality is QuickBooks Time, formerly known as TSheets.
Other than Geofences, their key features include:
At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time has 6102 reviews with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Two reviews that highlight how QuickBooks Time helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
The third time-tracking app with geofencing in our list is Hubstaff.
Hubstaff helps businesses track time and keep their employees’ accountable through features including:
- GPS Location Tracking
- Online Time
- Employee Time Tracking & Absence Management
- Employee Productivity Monitoring
- Automated Payroll & Invoicing
At the time of writing, Hubstaff has a total of 1344 reviews with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Two reviews that highlight how Hubstaff helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
Fourth on our list is Connecteam, another great geofence time clock app.
Their features include:
- Employee Time Clock
- Checklists & Forms
- Employee Task Management
- Employee Training
- Employee Communication
- Employee Scheduling
At the time of writing, Connecteam has a total of 219 reviews with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Two reviews that highlight how Connecteam helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
Another highly-rated time tracking system (functional as both an iPhone tracker and Android tracker) with a geofence feature is Clockify.
Other features they offer include:
At the time of writing, Clockify has a total of 4374 reviews with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Two reviews that highlight how Clockify helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
Homebase is sixth in our list for best geofence time tracking services, thanks to features that include but are not limited to:
At the time of writing, Homebase has a total of 896 reviews with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Two reviews that highlight how Homebase helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
Last in our list is TimeCamp, another great time tracking software with features including:
- Timesheet Approvals
- Attendance Tracking
- Time Tracking
- Fully Automated, Real-Time Time Tracking
- Productivity Tracking
- Easy Invoicing
At the time of writing, TimeCamp has a total of 577 reviews with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Two reviews that highlight how TimeCamp helps small businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable are:
Note: We’re proud of what we’ve built at Buddy Punch, and glad to say we’ve been able to help 10,000+ businesses track time for their employees while keeping them accountable, and save time on payroll. Click here to learn more about how Buddy Punch works and sign up for a free trial.
For more information about Buddy Punch and our time tracking tool, check out our posts on:
- Buddy Punch Pricing (with Plans for Every Business Size)
- 8 Best Mobile Apps for a Time Clock
- 9 Best Apps to Track Employee Attendance and Time (In-Depth Post)
- How Your Time Management System Can Impact Your Profitability
- 8 Best Mobile Time Clock Apps and Software
- 5 Best Construction GPS Time Tracking Apps & Software (In-Depth Look)