Homebase Review: Our Honest Review Uncovers Pros and Cons
Last update on:
Jan 5, 2024
Free software can be alluring, particularly for small business owners on a tight budget. But, you might think, ‘Why use a paid app like Timeero when there’s Homebase?’ In this Homebase app review, we’ll dissect the free app and give you the lowdown on how it works.
We don’t vouch for free apps because, more often than not, they come with usage limits — Homebase's free version is no different. We also put the paid version under the microscope and compared it to the best time-tracking apps.
Homebase’s ease of use impressed us, but the lack of key features such as GPS location tracking blemishes its performance. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so read on for the nitty-gritty details about Homebase's pros and cons.
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When we test apps, we push them to the limit to expose potential shortcomings. We did the same with Homebase, and this review answers the question: how does Homebase work?
1. Time Tracking
Time tracking is Homebase's forte, so we expected the app to perform exceptionally well. Unfortunately, the performance didn’t hit the heights we anticipated — there were highs and lows.
Setting up your team on Homebase is a cinch. You only need to create employee profiles, set permissions and send email invites. Once employees accept the invite and complete the setup, tracking time on the web, Android, or iOS is child's play.
To track time, the employee only needs to click on the ‘clock’ icon, select ‘confirm clock in,’ and that’s it. If the employee is within the designated job location, Homebase will let them clock in without a fuss.
Homebase lets you set a geofence radius as small or large as 150 feet, one block, or five blocks. We chose a closeby mall as our mock job site and set the geofence to 150 feet.
We tried clocking in just before we reached the job site. As expected, Homebase didn’t let us clock in. Instead, the app displayed the error message “You’re 316 meters from the business location, which is too far away to use the time clock.”
However, once we entered the geofenced area, we clocked in without a hitch, which exemplifies Homebase’s ability to prevent offsite punching.
Sadly, the app didn’t alert us when we entered the geofenced area, and that’s a drawback. If an employee is on an unscheduled shift, the accuracy of timesheets is down to their ability to remember to clock in. That isn’t good because a 15-employee company leaks 172.5 hours per year due to employee forgetfulness.
We simulated a situation in which an employee forgets to clock out before leaving the job site to see how Homebase behaves. Unfortunately, we couldn’t clock out, and we had to go back to the mock job site to clock out. That’s not always the case, though.
Homebase App Review: Auto-clock Out
If an employee forgets to clock out while on a scheduled shift, Homebase will clock them out automatically. For example, you can set the app to automatically clock employees out 5 minutes after their shift ends. However, we recommend using this feature with caution to avoid contradicting your overtime enforcement.
Alternatively, you can notify employees and allow them to add forgotten clock-out times. In this case, Homebase sends a notification to the employee and prompts them to reply with their clock-out times. The app will then save the details to their timesheets, improving the accuracy of their hours.
In addition, the app has a feature to prevent employees from clocking in early. Plus, if an employee is running late for a scheduled shift, Homebase gives the manager a heads-up.
When it comes to preventing buddy punching, Homebase is somehow effective. By default, the app takes a GPS location snapshot each time an employee clocks in or out.
As you can see in the image below, the app took a screengrab of our clock-in location, represented by the red pin. The pin is not within our mock job site, but if employees know such a feature exists, they will gradually refrain from clocking in outside the job site.
In addition, the Homebase tablet time clock takes a photo of employees as they clock in, take a break or clock out. The only issue is that it does not compare the picture with what is in the employee profile. As a result, it doesn’t determine whether there is a facial mismatch.
It only attaches the employee’s photo to their timecard, making it possible to catch potential buddy punchers when auditing photo validation on the timesheet page. Just bear in mind that the photo validation feature is available only to paid users.
When you click the ‘who’s working’ button, you get a 360-view of your workforce. In addition, you can click on each employee for granular details such as how long they have been working. The app also uses breadcrumb technology, allowing you to trace employee movements throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Homebase GPS tracking functionality is on the back burner. In other words, you can’t tell your employee's whereabouts. Instead, it only shows the clock-in and clock-out locations, opening the door to unethical practices, such as employees running personal errands during work hours.
Homebase claims to support an offline mode, but our test results suggest otherwise. During our test, we switched off the internet connection. The app served the error message “can’t connect, please check your internet settings.”
We needed no other evidence that the offline mode doesn’t work. If you have employees working in remote areas, you’re better off using other apps; or labor leaks will soon be a norm.
Furthermore, if your internet connection is unstable during peak hours, you may encounter difficulties. For example, if it drops during clock-in or clock-out, an unreliable offline mode may introduce inaccuracies throughout employee timesheets.
3. Employee Scheduling
Homebase makes up for what it lacks in employee location tracking with a robust scheduling module. The scheduling tools work differently, though.
An employee scheduling software such as Timeero gives you the days of the week and time slots. When you create a shift in a time slot, you can assign it to an employee or a group. This is an easy way to schedule multiple employees all at once.
Homebase provides a list of employees along with their corresponding availability. When clicking on a day, you can set when the employee shift starts and ends. You can also use color codes to mark employee schedules and leave shift notes (such as instructions or guidelines).
The auto-scheduling, common shift, and team availability features stood out for us. When creating effective work schedules, the auto-scheduling tool considers employee availability, time off requests, and shift preferences. Plus, with the common schedule tool, you don’t have to build shifts from scratch. Instead, you can select a common schedule from available templates and apply it to multiple days.
The team availability tool gives you a bird’s eye view of your company's human resources. This helps you identify potentially underworked or overworked employees in your workforce. You can tweak the schedules to balance employee workloads.
Homebase also supports shift trading to minimize absences. Allowing employees to trade shifts and find cover takes repetitive tasks off your plate. It also promotes team cohesion and maintains correct staffing numbers at all times.
When you build a schedule and hit ‘publish,’ Homebase asks you to choose who you want to notify. You can notify everyone on the team or employees responsible for the shift.
Regardless of the option, the app sends an instant notification via mobile and email to loop everyone in on shift changes and updates.
4. PTO Tracking
Homebase time-off tracking functionality enables you to create a paid time-off (PTO) policy that streamlines the approval process.
The policy specifies the maximum number of time-offs allowed per day. Let's say you allow a maximum of five time-offs per day, which has already been reached.
Employees who request time off will get an error message ‘Too many people have requested this day off. Please contact your manager directly.’ The employee can then choose another day for their time off request. This policy helps retain the correct staffing numbers to keep operations running smoothly.
You can also configure the app only to accept time-off requests that are submitted a certain number of days in advance. Again, this can help mitigate understaffing issues.
Homebase allows you to create and enforce overtime rules. However, unlike Timeero, Homebase does not allow you to implement standard overtime rules such as the California Overtime law with a single click. Thankfully, it lets you create custom overtime rules to comply with your state's requirements.
Once you have set the base pay, Homebase will do overtime calculations automatically and reflect the figure on the employee’s timesheet. You will also get a notification when a team member approaches 40 hours a week or when an employee hits overtime.
5. Homebase Team Messaging
Beyond the essential messaging tools, Homebase's robust messaging system helps create well-connected teams. We linked the messaging app to Slack as it lets employees maintain one-on-one interactions, such as when finding shift covers.
You can use pre-existing channels such as all managers, the entire team, and celebrations, or create a custom channel to suit your needs. In addition, Homebase has ‘shoutouts’ and ‘announcement’ channels”.
During our testing, we found that messages were delivered in real time, and we got an instant notification on our mobile device for each message. You can also choose to receive email notifications or text alerts for each message if you are in an area without internet coverage.
6. Reporting and Integrations
Homebase offers different reports to help get to the bottom of labor costs and sales in your company. You can choose to generate reports such as:
Labor Cost Summary
Scheduled vs. Actual Clock-Ins
Scheduled vs. actual hours
Hourly Labor Costs
Labor By Role
Regarding integration, Homebase supports API integrations for all-in-one plan subscribers. It also integrates with point-of-sale (POS), payroll, and accounting solutions. Some notable integrations include:
Homebase also integrates with job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter to expedite job posting and onboarding of new hires.
7. Homebase Pricing
You’ve already seen what’s in it for you with Homebase, but how much do you pay to get these features? Let's take a deep dive into Homebase pricing.
Free Trial and Free Plan
There’s a 14-day free trial, which gives you a first-hand feel for all Homebase features.
If the free isn’t enough to tinker with Homebase, make the most of the free forever plan. However, the free plan is limited to one location and offers basic time tracking, scheduling, messaging, and hiring features.
Time clock software usually charges users on a per-user basis. Homebase charts a different course and charges clients per location. This means you can manage an unlimited number of employees per location.
The Essentials plan costs $20 per month per location and offers basic plan features plus team communication and performance tracking. However, if you need to track labor costs and manage time-offs and PTOs, you must subscribe to the Plus plan, which costs $48 per month for each location.
Lastly, there’s an All-in-one plan. The plan has everything Homebase offers, including advanced HR and hiring tools, and costs $80 per month per location.
8. Homebase Customer Support
Homebase support is within reach on the mobile app and web dashboard. If you fancy self-service options, the knowledge base will come in handy.
There are plenty of onboarding videos if you encounter problems using Homebase. You can also contact support through live chat, email, or phone if your issue requires a human touch.
Homebase Review: Does it Fit the Bill?
Our Homebase time clock review has shed light on how the app works to help you make an informed decision. To recap, Homebase may be suitable if you only need a basic tool for tracking time.
If accurate tracking of employee hours and locations is a top priority, consider using a more powerful tool such as Timeero.
Timeero: The Smarter Homebase Alternative
Let us take a closer look at Timeero’s unique time-tracking capabilities and why it may be a better choice than Homebase.
Mileage Tracking: Every business mile you track reduces your taxable income by 67 cents. For example, if you track 10,000 miles, you can deduct $6,700 from your taxable income. Timeero uses motion detection technology to ensure that mileage reports are accurate and comply with IRS standards.
Facial Recognition: Timeero’s facial recognition feature takes a photo of employees when they clock in or out and compares it to their profile photo. If there is a mismatch, the app flags the time entry and notifies you immediately.
GPS Employee Tracking: If you have field or remote teams, you don’t have to make frequent trips to the job site to ensure all hands are on deck. Click the ‘Who’s working’ button to see where each employee is and how long they have been working.
Route Replay: If you have a mobile workforce, Timeero’s route replay feature allows you to recreate the routes taken by employees while they were clocked in. In addition, breadcrumb tracking provides detailed timestamps and can help you determine how long a sales agent spent with a customer.
Homebase is a time clock, meaning its function is majorly tracking time. Of course, the app tracks employee clock-in and clock-out locations, break times, and time-offs. It has other vital features such as payroll, scheduling, and team messaging.
What Can Managers See on Homebase?
Managers can see many things related to how employees spend their work hours. For example, they can see clock-in and clock-out times, employee breaks, hours spent on projects, overtime, and more. In addition, the app allows managers to create and modify schedules, handle time-off requests, assign shifts, and more.
How Does Homebase Work?
Homebase allows employers to track time accurately. To do so, the app takes a snapshot of employees’ clock-in and clock-out locations as they punch in or out. It also uses geofencing to prevent off-site punching and takes photos of employees as they clock in from shared time clocks to mitigate buddy punching.
Want to try Timeero before forking out the cash?
No problem — subscribe for the free trial today and test all the features for 14 days without paying a dime.
Samson is a mathematician turned content marketer specializing in SaaS and Tech content. He focuses on the practical aspects of software systems while keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge principles to create informative and engaging content. When he’s not writing, Samson spends time playing or watching soccer.