When starting up a new freelancing gig or small business, billing hourly for your services is a good way to keep your workload and cash flow consistent. To get started, you’ll need a few steady clients and a good time tracking system. Once you’ve set out running, the next thing to figure out is what to bill. You are selling units of a limited resource called time, so the more of it you can account for, the better. There are three factors to consider when deciding how to bill for your time.
1. Billable types of work
2. Project management
Roughly 10% of your efforts on each project will go to project management, a billable type that can be difficult to track. Project management encompasses the time you spend keeping the project going; receiving and sending deliverables, assigning tasks, keeping tabs on subcontractors, and maintaining a vigilant watch over deadlines. Project management may not seem to have a direct impact on the final deliverables, but it is a crucial component and if you don’t bill for it you will bring down your overall billable rates by 10 to 20 percent.
3. Miscellaneous debris
A smaller percentage of the work you do will fall between the cracks. It is up to you to decide if you want to track and bill for it. For example, you may spend a few minutes each day corresponding with a client via email, providing your professional expertise in the process. If that time spent emailing adds up to an hour a week, a year will net you fifty-two hours of unbilled time. At a rate of $100 per hour, that’s $5,200 in lost time over the course of a year. At some point, the seemingly small things reach a tipping point and need to be billed. The tricky part is finding that point.
Good tips. I struggle with many clients who email like crazy. I have one who I don’t hear from for a couple of months and then I’ll wake up one morning and check email and sitting there all of a sudden are 10 emails sent in the wee hours of that morning…