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Feature Requests

Fixed Cost Projects

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  1.  
    Our company does mostly fixed cost projects rather than time and materials, how can I account for this in Intervals? My specific concern is that I haven't been able to figure out how Intervals would calculate a correct Actual Bill Rate. For example, I have a fixed cost project of $10,000. The bill rate on each work type is $100. If 200 hours are billed to the project, I would expect the actual bill rate to drop to $50, but I don't see that happening. How can I account for this?
  2.  

    The hourly rate calculations within Intervals rely on the "Estimated Work" that has been entered for a project, the actual work that has been done, and any payments. For payments, if the invoicing functionality is being utilized the payments are most likely being entered as well. If invoicing is not used, payments can be directly applied to the project. This functionality exists primarily to calculate hourlies.

    For one of our projects, here is what the project dashboard displays:

    Estimated hourly rate: $138.21
    The estimated hourly rate is based on the estimated work that has been set for the project. It is calculated by totaling the estimated work and dividing by estimated hours.

    Actual hourly rate: $140.06
    The Actual hourly rate is based on actual work performed under this project. It is calculated by totaling the actual billable work done, divided by billable hours.

    Actual dollar per hour: $105.04
    The actual dollar per hour is computed by dividing your total payments (minus any fees) by all billable hours entered for this project.

    Interpreting these numbers tells me that the estimated work that was entered at the beginning of the project and the actual work that been done are very similar. The hourly rates are pretty close ($138 vs. $140). The last number (Actual dollar per hour) factors in payments. This number tells me that if we do not get paid again for this project we will have been paid at $105 per hour. Since it is lighter than the other two, most likely the client needs to be invoiced. The actual dollar per hour is the bottom line number.

  3.  
    Great Description Michael. I never understood this part. Now I get it.
  4.  
    I'm still figuring this one out as well. On my fixed cost projects, I receive a percentage up front and enter it in as a payment. I don't usually track hours spent on the project since I'm not billing hourly, but do I need to in order for intervals to work for me? At the end of the project, I simply need to invoice the client for the remaining percentage of the overall cost.
  5.  
    We recommend entering estimated hours and hourly rates for flat bid projects. This is a great reality check to see if the flat bid was big enough and this knowledge can be used for future bids to see if your margins are good or if the big should be increased. Since we primarily do custom development we actually abandoned flat bids altogether because our tracking showed us that each project varied too widely. Now we estimate hours and the total amount and provide a plus or minus 15% range on our contracts. This allows us to not worry so much about keeping the contract under budget but sets up a precedent where our customers know they are buying hours and the scope can change. If your projects are very repeatable and your margins are good this would not be necessary, but it has been a huge improvement for us.
  6.  
    My reason for using flat bids, is based on value instead of labor. For instance, a cutesy photo blog design for a stay at home mom isn't worth as much as the SEO optimized marketing blog theme for the big fortune 500 company. My fear would be, that once I've tracked my hours, the client would come in and see that based on an hourly rate, they were charged a few hundred dollars more, and then they wouldn't understand.
  7.  

    This ties into the plans we have to overhaul the Executive User quite a bit. The term "Executive User" will be removed. Instead you will be able to add multiple contacts to clients and grant them more granular access control.

    1. Can this contact login yes/no
    2. What can they see and do? (have a series of checkboxes - Upload Documents, Submit Work Requests, Make Comments on Tasks, View Invoices, View Financial Information, View Time, etc.)

    We think this will be more powerful and easier to use than the current Executive user.

    The reality of Executive type of users is that they do typically vary greatly depending on the client, relationship, history, etc. On the Pelago side of our business we would definitely customize our client access.

  8.  
    One thing that I (as the owner of my own company) would like to be able to do, is to receive a copy of all correspondence on given Tasks, but only about 5% of the total Tasks that we're working on. I could add myself as an Assignee, but that seems to blur responsibilities then, as we try to make it clear who is "responsible" to work on a Task by having it Assigned to only one person. I don't think that any of the changes described above would help either (I really just want a "CC" field for a given Task), but thought I'd ask here anyway. Thanks ~ Scott
  9.  

    Michael,

    That sounds ideal. At the moment, it get's complicated when i have to add in a client, and an executive user. It seems redundant to me. Plus the controls over those contacts will be great so that i can take the separation between tracking my workflow, and keeping them up to date with the information i choose to share.

    Awesome! Are ya done yet? :)

  10.  

    We also do most of our work on a fixed bid basis. It's important to our customers to have visibility on the project plan, but the fact that this gives them information on actual time worked makes it very awkward for us. If we take less time than estimated for the project, they see this immediately and feel overcharged. Any changes in this regard would be helpful.

    There is another conceptual problem when doing fixed bid work. The progress meters are totally geared to T&M work. Example - a two task project (for simplicity). Task 1 is estimated at 50 hours; task 2 estimated at 50 hours.

    Right now, if task 1 took 90 hours, then the progress bar shows that the project is 90% complete.
    It does NOT have any easy way to show slippage - that task 1 went almost 100% over budget...

    So I'll really be looking for this any any other ways you can support fixed bid projects.

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