Best Project Management Tool For Agencies With Ongoing Clients (Visual Budget Tracking: Paymo Review)

If your experience is anything like mine…

As the owner of a digital marketing agency I have made me and my team go thru the hassle of adopting many different project management systems thru the years.

From Basecamp to Liquid Planner and many in between there was always a key element missing in all the systems we tried that had a huge impact on our bottom line: none of them were truly effective at keeping budgets under control.

Most of our projects are ongoing as we mostly focus on managing the web presence of clients month to month. Paymo has proven to be a great find that allows us to make sure the right time is allocated for each client every month.

Now, we finally have a simple, visual way to track project budgets for both one time and ongoing projects that keeps us in the green!.

Visual Tracking of All Your Project Budgets

When creating a project you get 2 really cool settings that made all the difference in the world to us:

  1. Option to pick a “flat rate” billing method. So I would enter $2,000 if I charge a client $2,000 a month for the monthly service.
  2. Option to set budget hours and send an email alert when a threshold you specify is reached, for us 90% of the project budget. In our example we would set it to 25 hours.

This is great for one time projects like building a website but especially amazing for ongoing projects where we would create a project for each period.

Now I can now exactly where we are at when it comes to project budget and also get a quick view of where we stand on average throughout the months to compensate budgets based on the demands of each period.

Here’s an example of a view of a client that covers all the periods so far:

Green, Orange and Red! A good mix that evens out to a balanced and profitable project!

Easy Time Logging and Monitoring

All of this cool project budgeting means nothing is that is not logged each time a task is tackled and that is another aspect where Paymo excels with good practical options:

  1. Built in Widget

2) Easy adding of time to tasks

I love the quick way to get to a project task and add time manually by picking time blocks

Easy Monitoring of Individual Timesheets

In an agency time is our inventory and whatever time is not logged is basically inventory lost! As the team leader checking to make sure all team members log time daily can be a hassle but not with Paymo!

I use a “live report” that I named “Team Logged Time Yesterday” preconfigured to report on time logged per team member broken down into projects and tasks. These live reports have a link that I bookmarked and check on every morning.

Great Progress View

Not only you can easily make sure all time worked is actually logged, but with this report you know with a quick glimpse where the time went, which projects and tasks where actually worked on.

See an example here:

You can also use live reports to let clients or investors get a live update on project.

Project Workflows and Task View Modes

Another great feature is the ability to define different sets of project workflows that you can pick in each type of project. We use one mostly for the marketing projects and another one for our internal development projects.

You can use different task view modes at the project level

Board view:

Simple View:

Table view:

Gantt view:

Project Templates

This is another great time saving feature we use at our agency to streamline the creation of ongoing projects for each period with the base tasks that are always there like reporting.

It helps us follow a process, and the best part is that we can create a template for each client so the base tasks can be different for each type of ongoing projects.

One time projects like a website redesign have their own project template with all the task lists and tasks outlined following our process.

Slack Integration

As much as I love to use software to make my operation more efficient saving time and growing profits without additional human beings on payroll, I hate to have to login into many different systems across the day.

With the slack integration I can easily add tasks to projects without getting into Paymo. We have 1 Slack channel per project/client and each channel is linked to the Paymo project.

I just type “/Paymo add” and voila!

Plus, you get updates on completion and more in a Paymo channel in Slack.

Team Scheduling

There is also a “team scheduling” section to allocate resources and plan out what day each task will be worked on.

It basically creates a visual timeline of the workload for the team allowing you to see who is over or underbooked.

Billing System

It comes with a billing system that we don’t use, that allows you to use timesheets to create invoices and even includes online payments with all major payment processing companies (Stripe, Paypal,

I prefer to use Freshbooks since we do flat retainer billing for most of our work and keep a credit card on file to process autopay each period.

Recurring Tasks

We don’t use recurring tasks because we create a project for each recurring period but if those are a requirement for you, Paymo has them.


Great Fit for: Agencies and companies with flat based projects that understand the importance of budgets and how they affect profit

What I Love: Visual budgets, budget alerts, good interface, slack integration.

Pricing: Reasonable, good value, pay per user, free plan and trial available

Support: Very good, great response on chat

Development: Good pace of new features being added  and bug free

Integrations: Not a lot, but Slack is in the house!

Wish it had: A way to save filtered views within the app and with external urls for bookmarking, ability to pick default task view mode per project, time doctor integration

Customization: Project statuses, workflows, task views

Mobile App: it exists and is actually useful. I use it mainly to log time on meetings out of the office.

David Serna

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