In this current economic landscape many small businesses are looking for ways to save money and increase productivity. Smaller and tighter budgets require us to be more frugal with our spending while still meeting our goals and expectations for the business. For web designers, developers, creatives, marketers and others providing a professional service and billing hourly, there is extra pressure to track and bill every minute of billable time.
It may seem counter-intuitive to sign up for a paid online time tracking service like Intervals, but the truth is that doing so will increase your revenues. How exactly? I can think of at least three ways, all based on our own experiences tracking time over the last nine years at Pelago.
Increase billable hours
Tracking your time using online software makes the tedious task more persistent in your day-to-day. By using web-based timers it’s as easy as clicking a button to start and stop timers. A few more clicks and the billable time has been applied to the client’s project. No more jotting down notes on paper timesheets. No more creating rows and filling in cells in Xcel. And no more writing down start and end times for every task performed.
The ability to juggle multiple persistent web-based timers increased our own billable hours by 30%. A good amount of the lost time that used to slip through the cracks of our previous time tracking methodologies was now being recorded. We went from an average of 5 billable ours per week to 6.5 (unbillable hours account for an additional one or two hours a day). Let’s assume an hourly rate of $100. We just increased our billable revenue by $150 per day, $750 per week, and $3000 per month. A company using the Intervals Top Shelf plan could make the $175 monthly fee back in one or two days.
Spend less time tracking time
The single biggest burden of using outdated time tracking methodologies, such as Xcel timesheets, is the amount of time it takes to track your time. We would easily spend at least four hours a week recording time into Xcel. When you add up that four hours with the other billable hours lost due to poor time tracking methods, you realize you are losing money due to inefficiencies. Removing barriers to tracking time smoothly and efficiently is an easy way to increase your billable hours and revenues.
Invoice and collect payment easily
Most time tracking solutions available online today (including Intervals) offer you some way to invoice clients for billable hours. It makes sense that invoicing and time tracking would be included in one application and makes it incredibly easy to collect payments from your clients. Whether you bill clients per project or on a monthly basis, a few clicks of the mouse is all that is needed to generate an invoice and email it. Collecting payments from clients is an important aspect of keeping consistent cash flow coming into a small business. The easier it is to collect money owed the easier it will be to regulate cash flow and reduce the number of ups & downs that can plague a small business.
There are some still convinced that tracking tasks and time in a moleskine journal or an excel timesheet is the best methodology for running a small business. If that’s what works for you than more power to you. But for the majority of us looking for time-proven ways to increase productivity and revenue across a group of people, web-based time, task and project management software is one of your best options. Find a solution that fits your style of workflow and give it a whirl. Getting comfortable with running your business online is the easy part. The hard part will be figuring out what to due with your newfound free time.