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Getting Started with Harpoon

This article will walk you through creating your first project, tracking time for that project, and then creating your first invoice.

Creating a Project

A project in Harpoon is a way for you to group together a client's tracked time, invoices, estimates, and expenses for a single piece of work. For example, a web designer might create a project for their client’s Website Redesign. A photographer might create a project for their client’s Wedding Shoot. A marketer might create a project for their client’s Advertising Campaign. There are no strict rules for when to create projects. They’re simply a convenient way to group and organize your tracked time, estimates, invoices, and expenses.

To create your first project click on the green Create menu in the top right of your screen and select a new Project.

You’ll now be presented with the New Project form.

Fill out the New Project form as follows:

  • Project Name: Decide on a name for your project.
  • Client: You can either select an existing client, or create a new client on the fly. The client is the person or company for whom you’re providing services. To learn more about clients view the Clients support articles.
  • Status: The different statuses of a project are for your organizational purposes only. For the purpose of getting started make the status for this project Active.
  • Start and End Dates: These dates determine when the project will be blocked out on your Schedule. To learn more about the Schedule view the Schedule support articles.
  • Hours Budgeted: Provide how many hours you think this project should take. This might be a set number of hours you’ve agreed upon with your client, or it could just be a ballpark number of hours you’d like to stay within while working on the project.
  • Hours Budget Type: Allows you to determine how often you’d like your recorded hours progress to be “reset” when tracking against your budgeted hours. For example, if the project is an ongoing monthly retainer, and you’d like to budget 40 hours a month for the retainer, you can type “40” in the Hours Budgeted field, and select “Monthly” from the Hours Budget Type drop down.
  • Team Members: If you have multiple team members in your Harpoon account you can add them to the project here. To learn more about Harpoon for teams view the Teams support articles.

Save your new project and you’ll be presented with the Project Details screen for the project. This screen is where you’ll manage your tracked time, invoices, estimates, and expenses for the project.

To learn more about Projects and other related topics (e.g. Retainers) view the Projects support articles.

Tracking Time

Now that you’ve created a project you’re ready to track some time. You track time for your projects using Harpoon’s Timer. To create a Timer click on the green Create menu in the top right of your screen and select New Timer.

This will take you to the Timers screen where a new timer will be waiting and ready for you to use.

You can now use the Timer as follows:

  • Description: You can provide a short description of what you're working on.
  • Project: Select the project that you just created. This will cause your tracked time to be grouped/assigned to this project.
  • Task: Select the type of task that you’re working on for this project. To learn more about customizing these tasks view the Time-Tracking support articles.
  • Ticker: If the timer is running this field will automatically update with the current amount of time tracked. Or you can choose to manually type in an amount of hours (the timer counter must be paused to do this).
  • Start/Pause: This button allows you to start and pause the timer ticker.

Once you have some time on the ticker click the Log Time button on the Timer. The Timer should give an indication that your tracked time has been logged.

Tip: You can also track time directly on your Mac desktop by downloading Harpoon for Mac.

To view a history of your logged time-tracking entries go to your Time-Tracking History screen by clicking the "History" link at the top of the Timers screen.

Your Time-Tracking History screen is where you can view, filter, and organize all of your recorded hours entries. You should be able to see the entry you just logged in the list below the chart on this screen.

Nice work! You’ve successfully recorded your first time-tracking entry. To learn more about the details of time-tracking view the  Time-Tracking support articles.

Creating an Invoice

Now we’re going to create an invoice for the project you created above. Click on the green Create menu in the top right of your screen and select New Invoice.

You’ll now be presented with the New Invoice screen.

Invoices in Harpoon are very flexible in that they can be associated with a project (or not), and can contain a combination of manually added line items, recorded hours line items (tracked time), or recorded expenses line items. For the purpose of getting started we’ll associate this invoice with a project and add some recorded hours to it.

Fill out the New Invoice screen as follows:

  • Client: Select the client associated with the new project you created above.
  • Project: Select the new project you created above. This will group the invoice with that project, and allow you to add recorded hours and recorded expenses from that project to this invoice.
  • Invoice ID: You can leave this as the default.
  • P.O. Number: You can leave this blank, or add a number if you choose.
  • Issue Date: Use today’s date for the purposes of this tutorial.
  • Discount: This applies a percentage discount to the invoice. You can leave this blank.
  • Subject: This comes in handy when you want to summarize the contents of an invoice for your client. Leave this blank if you'd like.
  • More invoice settings: You don’t need to worry about these for the sake of this tutorial. To learn more about invoice settings view the Invoice support articles.

Now you can start adding item rows (the things you’re billing for) to your invoice. Fill out the first blank row as shown in the screen shot below (or really any way you’d like).

We’ll also add to the invoice the recorded hours you logged for this project earlier in this tutorial. To do that click on the Add Recorded Hours link.

You’ll be presented with a list of all your unbilled recorded time entries for this project.

Select the recorded hours you logged earlier in this tutorial, click Add, and you’ll see those recorded hours show up on your invoice.

Click the Save as Draft button at the bottom of the Invoice Details screen.

Congratulations! You’ve created your first invoice. You’ll notice your new invoice is still in Draft mode, ready for you to take any number of actions using the Actions panel on the right side of the invoice.

To learn more about the details of invoicing view the  Invoicing support articles.


Now that you’ve created your first project, tracked time, and created your first invoice, you’re ready to experience the real magic of Harpoon. For that you’ll want to browse our  Revenue GoalsSchedule, and Dashboard support articles. This is what really sets Harpoon apart from other invoicing applications, and we think you’re going to love the insight those features provide.

You’ll also want to take some time to customize your Harpoon account. Learn how to do that by browsing the  Settings support articles.

And if you have questions and would rather work with a real person feel free to shoot us an email:  [email protected]

Because you need more than invoicing. You need a plan for success.

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