Zoho Projects vs Paymo: 2024 Comparison

Zoho Projects vs Paymo: 2024 Comparison

Zoho Projects and Paymo are two of the most popular project management tools available today.

But how do they stack up against each other?

Which one manages tasks better?
Which one helps you allocate resources more effectively?
Which one is more affordable?

Discover all the answers in our detailed comparison guide.

A. Project and Task Management

Get. Things. Done. 

You and every project manager likely live by those words.

It’s also the heart and soul of any project management software. 

This is why, before anything else, you must evaluate a tool’s ability to help you manage your tasks and projects.

Features to look out for:

  • Project structure: A simple, intuitive way to organize work and toggle through multiple projects, tasks, boards, etc. 
  • Views: Board, list, timeline, Gantt, and other types of views that let you visualize various types of information within each project.
  • Tasks & subtasks: Dedicated spaces offering the ability to drill down to the smallest level of actionable detail about each project item. 
  • Statuses: Effortless ways to communicate the exact progress of each task, board, project, etc.
  • Checklists: Quick to-do lists for each task so things don’t fall through the cracks 
  • Task templates: Easy-to-copy templates to create identical tasks at scale across multiple projects. 
  • Assignees: The ability to assign tasks, boards, or projects to individual team members, groups, or even teams. 
  • Priorities: A way to communicate the urgency level of each task, subtask, or project. 
  • Automations: Trigger-based (if X happens then do Y); ways to automate repetitive actions such as notifications, comments, status updates, etc.

1. Project Structure / Hierarchy

a. Zoho Projects

Transform your workspace with the help of a simple, user-friendly project hierarchy. 

Portal > Project groups > Projects > Milestones > Tasks > Sub-tasks

  • Portal: A centralized hub to manage projects, track progress, and communicate with team members.
  • Project groups: Organize multiple projects into a single project group for easy access.
  • Projects: A collection of milestones and tasks to achieve a specific objective.
  • Milestones: Short-term goals that let you break down projects and represent a key stage of progress.
  • Tasks: Actionable items that help achieve milestones and the project’s objectives.
  • Subtasks: Granular action items within each task.

Zoho_Projects_Project_Structure

 

b. Paymo

Keep your work organized with Paymo’s hierarchy:

Client > Project > Task list > Task > Subtask

  • Client: All the work for each client is grouped together
  • Project: All projects belonging to one client
  • Task list: A collection of tasks that need to be done to complete a project
  • Task: Individual work items within the task list
  • Subtask: Tasks broken down into smaller steps

2. Views

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offer several views for managing tasks and tracking progress:

  • Work Overview: Displays a comprehensive view of all tasks, projects, and milestones across a portal.
  • Project List: Presents a quick view of completion rates, task statuses, budget details, and more of all the projects.
  • Task List: A list view of all tasks, with columns displaying information such as task name, assignee, due date, and status. 
  • Issue List: Displays a vertical view of all issues, including their project, classification, status, severity, due dates, and more. 
  • Project Gantt: Showcases project and task timelines, schedules, and progress. You can view the projects on the right side and schedule information on the left.
  • Custom: Use filters to select specific criteria and customize your project, task, and issue views.
  • Kanban: Organize cards (tasks and issues) in columns to indicate statuses, priority, and modules. Click on the cards to view comments, files, and other relevant information.
  • Chronology Gantt: Visual representation of the timeline and the relationship between tasks to help manage task dependencies and overlaps.
  • Milestone Gantt: Get a hierarchy-based view of all the tasks that fall under a particular milestone, along with the due dates, overdue tasks, and other task details.
  • Calendar: A calendar-like display of your project, task, milestone, and issue deadlines on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Zoho_Projects_Views

b. Paymo

Paymo enables you to visualize your projects in five different ways:

  • List: For each project, you see a list of tasks with a brief overview of their details (E.g., due date, assignees, etc.)
  • Table: A more detailed view of tasks with information fields in columns
  • Board: A Kanban board view of tasks grouped by status
  • Calendar: Displays tasks on a calendar, showing their start and due dates
  • Gantt: A timeline of tasks depicting start and due dates, dependencies, and milestones

3. Tasks & Subtasks

a. Zoho Projects

A task in Zoho Projects helps manage simple and complex projects by breaking them down into actionable items. 

Tasks provide information on: 

  • Task descriptions
  • Assignees
  • Tags 
  • Due Dates and Time Estimates
  • Checklists
  • Attachments
  • Comments

Zoho_Projects_Tasks_Subtasks

b. Paymo

Break tasks into granular subtasks to indicate the steps needed to complete a task.

Fill out the details on tasks to provide assignees with all the information they’ll require, such as:

  • Task name and description
  • List of subtasks
  • Link to the project and task list
  • Start and due dates
  • Assignees
  • Billing type
  • Time estimate
  • Billing estimate
  • Invoice status
  • Time budget alerts
  • Priority
  • Status

4. Statuses

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offer statuses to help users track the progress of projects, tasks, and issues. 

Create custom task statuses that suit your project workflow under the ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ categories.

Milestones in Zoho Projects have their own status categories like Active, Completed, and Archived.

When you complete all the tasks under a milestone, the tool automatically updates its status. Similarly, following a milestone status update, project status can also be updated automatically through custom functions.

Zoho_Projects_Statuses

b. Paymo

Paymo includes the following default task statuses:

  • Active
  • Proposal
  • On-hold
  • Canceled
  • Completed
  • Archived

You can create custom statuses in the company settings menu, which apply globally.

Additionally, Paymo allows you to set up workflows for specific projects. The default workflow contains To Do, In Progress, and Complete. From the company settings, you can establish new workflows with custom statuses.

5. Checklists

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects doesn’t offer native checklist features.

b. Paymo

Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for adding checklists to tasks and subtasks.

6. Task Templates

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers ready-made task templates. Even better, you can make your own custom template to perfectly suit your project.  

Each template can retain information, such as:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Checklists
  • Tags
  • Assignees
  • Priority
  • Attachments
  • And more

Zoho_Projects_Task_Templates

b. Paymo

Paymo offers project templates, which are useful when multiple projects share the same task lists and structure.

However, you can’t templatize individual tasks on Paymo.

7. Assignees

a. Zoho Projects

Assign projects, milestones, tasks, and issues to individuals and teams in Zoho Projects.

b. Paymo

Add assignees to projects, task lists, and tasks.

8. Priorities

a. Zoho Projects

With Zoho Projects, you can set tasks to None, Low, Medium, or High Priority levels. Plus, use different colors to represent priority levels.

b. Paymo

Indicate the urgency of a task by setting the priority to one of the default statuses — low, normal, high, or critical. Paymo doesn’t offer custom priority statuses.

9. Automations

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects’ automation features include: 

  • Blueprint: Design workflows and automate routine tasks, like setting task statuses, creating custom task fields, and adding assignees.
  • Workflow rules: Use conditions to auto assign tasks, update fields, send alerts, and add webhooks.
  • Custom functions: Reassign issues, notify stakeholders via SMS, or send client updates automatically through custom rules and conditions. 
  • Webhooks: Automate HTTP push alerts from Zoho Projects to third-party applications.
  • Business rules: Use conditions to automate issue management processes, like assigning issues to a user and changing issue severity.

Zoho_Projects_Automations

b. Paymo

Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for setting up automation rules.

However, it does have some time-saving automation features, including:

  • Automatic recurring tasks
  • Automatic time tracking
  • Auto-scheduling (to adjust dependent tasks when dates change)

B. Time Management

Time is money for a reason. 

The right software can be the difference between pinching pennies and raking in the big bucks.

Effective project management software offers effortless time management features to help you befriend the clock. 

With the right one, expect to keep all your tasks running as scheduled and meet your deadlines with ease. 

Features to look out for include:

  • Due dates: Communicate expected delivery dates.  
  • Time estimates: Make capacity decisions based on how much time each task or project is expected to take. 
  • Time tracking: Measure productivity with accurate time consumption data for each team member. 

1. Due Dates

a. Zoho Projects

Add due dates to milestones, tasks, and subtasks. The tool also lets you set due dates directly from the list views and dashboards.

b. Paymo

Set task due dates and time budgets and set up alerts for when you’re approaching deadlines.

2. Time Estimates

a. Zoho Projects

Time estimates are called Work Hours or Planned Hours in Zoho Projects.

Add Work Hours to indicate how long a task should ideally take. You can use the Planned vs Actual charts to assess the actual time taken, helping you measure and improve productivity.

b. Paymo

Set time estimates for tasks. Additionally, if the billing type is time-based, you can set a billable rate and calculate the estimated billable amount.

3. Time Tracking

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers time-tracking features for users to record time spent on different tasks, generate invoices, and bill clients. 

You can either log in time manually using timesheets or start task timers to record hours automatically.

b. Paymo

Paymo offers six different avenues for tracking time:

  • Web timer: Select the project and task you’re working on and use a timer to track time in the web app.
  • Manual: Add time directly to tasks by inputting a duration or time interval of work. 
  • Bulk function: Input time entries for an entire week on a timesheet.
  • Desktop Widget: Track time or manually add time from the Paymo tracking widget for desktop.
  • PaymoPlus: Receive an automatic record of your activities for the day, and map them onto time entries at the end of the day to sync them with Paymo.
  • Mobile app: Track time or add it manually via the Paymo mobile app.

C. Reporting

What you can’t measure, you can’t improve. 

Reporting and analytics features can help you track real-time progress, monitor key metrics, and sniff out bottlenecks like a detective.  

Armed with these insights, your team can stay ahead of the curve no matter the situation. 

Expect better resource management, superior deadline compliance, and a more focused and decisive team.

Features to look out for include:

  • Goals and milestones: Record targets for the whole team to see and work towards.
  • Dashboards: Visualize data from all corners of the team into a user-friendly, interactive interface.
  • Gantt charts: Keep your plans flexible with Gantt charts that allow you to adjust timelines based on changing resource availability and task completion ratio. 

1. Goals & Milestones

a. Zoho Projects

Milestones in Zoho Projects are goal-based targets consisting of task lists and tasks. Completing these should take you closer to the project objective and help assess the overall project progress.

Additionally, you can duplicate milestones from one project to another and automate them through blueprints.

b. Paymo

On Paymo, you can set milestones that are dates by which you want the associated tasklist to be resolved. You can also set reminders for upcoming milestones.

2. Dashboards

a. Zoho Projects

The Zoho Projects dashboard is composed of different widgets, such as Task Progress Chart, Timesheet Summary, Team Status, and more. It lets you view:

  • Progress of work items
  • Performance indicators
  • Reports and summary charts
  • Pipeline work item indicators

Zoho_Projects_Dashboards

b. Paymo

The Paymo dashboard displays real-time graphs and information from across clients, projects, and tasks.

You can customize the dashboard by activating, deactivating, and reordering various plugins, which include:

  • Finance plugin: A graph of sent vs paid invoices for a period
  • Time plugin: Displays time tracked by you, the whole company, or team members you manage, depending on your company role
  • Billable vs non-billable plugin: Shows a pie chart of billable vs non-billable hours tracked
  • Milestones plugin: Displays upcoming and overdue project milestones
  • Active timers plugin: Shows which team members are working and what they’re working on in real time

3. Gantt Charts

a. Zoho Projects

Along with a Global Project Timeline Gantt, Zoho Projects provides two Gantt chart types: 

  • Chronological Gantt: View tasks by order of occurrence
  • Milestone Gantt: View tasks by order of Milestones

With Zoho Projects Gantt charts, you can:

  • Create Gantt charts that support four types of task dependencies Finish to Start, Start to Start, Start to Finish, and Finish to Finish.
  • Add new tasks and details like task description, owner, and due dates.
  • View and edit important task information, such as the owner, progress percentage, start and end dates, and a list of all predecessors and successors.
  • Share Gantt charts via email or export them in PDF files.

b. Paymo

Paymo automatically displays all tasks that have a start and end date in the Gantt chart view, where you can:

  • Drag to adjust dates and duration
  • Change the view to show days, weeks, months, or years
  • Create dependencies between tasks
  • Click on tasks to see an overview of details

D. User Management

Software, features, and other tech things aside, the real heroes of any project are your team members. So make sure to pick the kind of project management software that puts them front and center!

How do you do this?

Look for software that knows what different team members need and helps you deliver the right experience. 

Features to look out for include:

  • User groups: Create internal teams representing various departments, functions, or projects. 
  • Permission levels: Grant different access levels depending on the users’ information requirements and the company’s security concerns. 
  • Guest users: Invite team members from other companies/teams to collaborate with your team without compromising on confidential data. 

1. User Groups

a. Zoho Projects

User groups in Zoho Projects allow you to group portal users into different teams for better project resource management. 

Create a user group under a team and add them as followers to tasks or issues. You can assign a team lead, associate teams to projects, and @mention them in comments. 

Plus, manage team communications through a single email alias to notify multiple team members together about project updates.

b. Paymo

Paymo doesn’t offer any native features for creating user groups or teams.

2. Permission Levels

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers three levels of profile permissions: 

  • Portal Level: Applies only to project users. You can’t assign portal-level permissions to client profile users.
  • Project Level:  Applies to user profile and client profile users. Client profile users can access just forums, pages, and events.
  • Module Level: Applies to both user and client profiles. It offers various permission categories:
    • View
    • Add 
    • Edit
    • Delete
    • Reorder

The module level permission categories can change depending on milestones, task lists, tasks, issues, and timesheets. For example, a task list has a reorder permission category, while a milestone doesn’t.

b. Paymo

Paymo offers the following user privilege levels:

  • Admin: Has access to financial information, client data, company settings, company-wide time data, team scheduling, and PTO 
  • Project manager: Can add, manage, and view time entries, time reports, and schedules for the projects they’re assigned to
  • Regular user: Can add tasks for themselves, view task details, and discuss tasks they are assigned to

3. Guest Users

a. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers just read-only access to guest users. 

Read-only access users cannot add, edit, or delete any entities in Zoho Projects. You can assign them to tasks, issues, and milestones with view permissions.

b. Paymo

You can invite external people to view a project on Paymo as a guest user.

They will be able to:

  • View projects, tasks, time reports, invoices, and estimates you share with them
  • See upcoming milestones
  • Contribute to discussions on shared tasks
  • Add tasks (If granted the user privilege by an admin)

E. Collaboration

In project management, collaboration and communication are like a ballroom dance — if everyone isn’t in sync, you’re just stepping on each other’s toes!

A project manager should encourage their team to be on the same page regarding everything happening on the project. This could involve regular meetings, periodic status updates, shared checklists, etc. 

But things can get tricky when you add different team structures (remote, hybrid, distributed, etc.). 

The trick is to balance ‘informing everyone’ with ‘over-communicating.’ 

The solution is to forge a shared space where the whole team can contribute without hampering individual productivity. Picking a suitable project management software is the first step toward achieving this goal. 

Features to look for include: 

  • Comments: Simple ways to send feedback or discuss a task or project. 
  • Threads: Keep all relevant comments in a single thread. 
  • Tagging/@mention: Mention a team member on a task, in comments, or in any shared space to notify them. 
  • Sharing tasks: Share tasks with relevant team members for efficient collaboration.
  • File management: Attach and store files, create and annotate documents, etc., for ready access to project documentation. 
  • Notifications: Customize how team members receive notifications.

1. Comments, Threads, & Tagging

a. Zoho Projects

In Zoho Projects, users with comment access can add comments and @mention to tag members in project documents and tasks.

Additionally, you can hide comments from clients by marking them as internal comments.

b. Paymo

Comment on tasks and assign comments to notify specific users on Paymo. 

Alternatively, you can comment at the project level by adding a discussion in the Discussion tab.

2. File Management

a. Zoho Projects

Attach documents and images to projects, tasks, and comments for real-time collaboration and task management in Zoho Projects. 

To start discussions on the attached documents, just click the ‘Add Comments’ field on the right side of the file name.

b. Paymo

You can upload files to tasks from your device or Google Drive. You can also add files in comments on tasks.

All files for a project will be available in the Files tab.

The maximum file size is 2GB, and the following file formats are allowed:

  • .doc
  • PDF
  • .csv
  • .xml
  • .png
  • .jpg
  • .psd
  • .cad
  • .zip
  • afd.esign
  • .afpub
  • .afphoto
  • .dwg
  • .cdr
  • .rvt
  • .rfa
  • .blend
  • .fbx

3. Notifications

a. Zoho Projects

View all Zoho Projects notifications on a single page. You can also select the projects for which you want to get notifications. 

Plus, set up email alerts to automatically notify users about certain actions, like changing a task’s status.

Zoho_Projects_Notifications

b. Paymo

Paymo can send in-app and email notifications to assignees for activities on their projects and tasks.

Each user can change their email notification settings to select which activities they want to be notified about.

F. Customer Support

Individual users in smaller teams often face a steep learning curve with most project management software. 

In their case, having access to responsive support executives and a wealth of helpful resources can make a significant difference, turning a frustrating experience into a positive one.

However, customer support is just as crucial for larger teams. 

Even if these teams initially received thorough onboarding and training, their needs and use cases tend to evolve over time. Continuous and adaptable customer support becomes essential to address these changing needs effectively.

With adequate customer support, you can:

  • Derive maximum value from the app with the help of professional guidance whenever required
  • Ensure your team is making full use of all the features you’re paying for
  • Learn from case studies of other teams using the same software
  • Expand your use cases with time
  • Learn about the features your team uses the most and avoid spending on those you don’t need
  • Solve minor issues on your end by going through help resources
  • Get hands-on support when you get stuck
  • Keep a record of all your complaints and feedback for the platform to aid future buying decisions
  • Send feedback to the app’s developers so they can design the features you most desire

Features to look for include: 

  • Detailed knowledge bases and documentation to aid DIY solutions to common issues
  • Case studies, templates, guides, and other resources
  • Easy access to resources for all types of users — free or paid
  • Async support executives to cover for the time difference
  • Live agents who can respond via chat or phone 
  • Screenshots and recordings to display how the tool works
  • Translations to resources in other languages, if needed

Zoho Projects

  • Knowledge Base: Information about features and its usage
  • FAQs: Answers to questions about the tool
  • Projects Community: A community of Zoho Projects users
  • Video resources: Interactive Zoho Projects tutorials
  • Customer support: Email, live chats, and phone

Paymo

  • Help Center: A collection of written tutorials about how to use Paymo
  • Customer Support: Fill in a support request form to get help via email

G. Platforms Supported

Distributed and field teams might not always be armed with laptops or computers. 

But that doesn’t mean productivity has to stop.

With a mobile-friendly project management tool, the workflow keeps humming along, turning those smartphones into mighty workflow tools.

More reason to look into this?

If your company follows a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, your team members need the freedom to switch between various devices. 

With support for all types of apps, you can:

  • Ensure uniform access irrespective of device type
  • Save on the cost of buying the same types of devices for the whole team
  • Give all team members a chance to log work from anywhere, anytime

Features to look for include: 

  • App support for the latest Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions.
  • Maximum coverage for all key features across devices

Zoho Projects

  • Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge
  • Desktop: None
  • Mobile: iOS, Android

Paymo

  • Browser: Firefox, Chrome (Desktop and Android), Safari
  • Desktop: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Mobile: iOS, Android

H. Pricing

Whether you have deep pockets or shoestring budgets, there’s project management software out there for every kind of organization. 

But the confusing combination of features and numbers on pricing pages can make it difficult to choose. 

Here are some easy tips for starters.

If you plan on buying the software subscription for just yourself or a small team that’s not likely to grow rapidly anytime soon — stick to the free plan as long as possible. Or pick the cheapest monthly subscription possible. These should cover most of your feature requirements comfortably in most cases. 

However, if you expect to hire rapidly and grow to a sizable number, go for a plan that grows with you — ideally with a per-user rate that doesn’t add up exponentially. 

Finally, most software offers flexible enterprise plans that let you cherry-pick your favorite features into a custom package. If you’re part of such a team, it’s best to contact the sales team and get the best deal possible. 

Zoho Projects Pricing

Zoho Projects offers the following pricing plans:

  • Free: Upto 3 members, 2 projects, 5GB storage 
  • Premium ($5/user/month): Unlimited projects, 20 project templates, 100GB of storage space
  • Enterprise ($10/user/month): Unlimited projects, 30 project templates, 10 read-only users, 120GB of storage space

Paymo Pricing

Paymo’s pricing plans are structured as follows:

  • Free: Unlimited users, five clients, 10 projects, and 1GB storage.
  • Starter ($9.90/user/month): Everything in Free, plus unlimited clients and projects, calendar and Kanban views, and 5GB storage.
  • Small Office ($15.90/user/month): Everything in Starter, plus recurring tasks, project templates, and 50GB storage.
  • Business ($23.90/user/month): Everything in Small Office, plus Gantt chart view, employee scheduling, priority support, and 500GB storage.

I. Best Suited To

Picking the right project management tool is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. They must be a snug fit but also leave you some wiggle room to get comfortable! 

In other words, the tool you pick must fit all your current needs and grow alongside your future requirements, too. 

So make sure you’ve covered all bases in your research when picking project management software for your team. 

One way to do this is to check what types of teams your choice serves best. 

For instance, what works for a small software development team might not suit a large marketing agency. 

When hunting for a PM solution, it’s vital to match the tool’s features and use cases with your team’s workflow. Tailor your search to find a tool with all the necessary features to manage your tasks and boost productivity.

Zoho Projects Verdict

Zoho Projects is a no-brainer for teams that want a feature-rich project management solution at an affordable price.

Here’s what makes Zoho Projects shine:

  • Comprehensive project management tools with impressive automation capabilities that cover everything you need, from task management and time tracking to reporting.
  • An intuitive interface with user-friendly features like drag-and-drop actions and dashboard customization. 
  • Robust collaboration and communication tools, like feed and chatrooms, that facilitate smooth teamwork.

However, Zoho Projects’ reporting features might not be extensive for larger teams and bigger projects. For example, it has a limited dashboard functionality, making it difficult to add client information or arrange tasks and projects. 

Additionally, only Enterprise users have full access to reports like Gantt charts and resource utilization charts.

Paymo Verdict

Paymo presents a modern and user-friendly interface with a solid set of project management features, offering a comprehensive solution for users.

However, it’s missing some features that are industry staples, like automation rules, task checklists, user groups, and task templates.

Also, some important views and tools are only available in the higher-priced plans. For example, the Gantt view is only in the Business plan, and project templates are not available in the free and starter plans.

In the end, Paymo could do with some advanced and unique features that would make it stand out from the big names in the project management space. However, it covers the essentials for effective project management and provides a free plan, making it worth a try.