2. Track all your time, both billable and non-billable hours
It is important to keep track of all our working hours, whether billables or not. To begin with, the activities
that you do not bill are as important as the billable ones. Moreover, if we think about it, we'll realize that
without them our business will not go well at all. Namely, what do we usually do in our working but non-billable
- Looking for new customers
- Estimates (preparing, presenting)
- Business meetings
- Networking with collaborators
- Various business meetings
- Administrative activities
However, we should really pay attention to the amount of time allocated to these activities. Also, especially to
the ratio between the two types of hours. Otherwise, we may risk spending more time in planning and organizing
than actually working. Therefore, if we track all our time we will be able to notice any possible flaws in our
time management. Consequently, we can take the necessary measures promptly.
Regarding our billable hours, a clean record will also make our work easier. In particular, this will be visible
when we prepare the invoice for our clients. Certainly, billing day won’t be a burden anymore. In fact, we will
know exactly what we did, for how long. More than that, we will also have the possibility to present this to our
client. Besides, time tracking helps us to know at any time how we are progressing with the work. Accordingly,
we will know if we are on track or we have to adjust something along the way.
3. Issue the invoice and attach the Detailed timesheet
So, billing day is here! OMG or YAY?
If you use a time tracking solution then it will definitely be yay! Especially because all you have to do is
select the data for the period for which you are billing. Therefore, in a second, you will have everything you
need for your invoice. In addition, the great advantage is that you will be able to attach to the invoice a
Detailed timesheet. Equally important, you can do that without making any additional effort. In short, just
export the data and send it to your client.
As we have already said, transparency is paramount in business relationships that are based on time
particular, this fact will be noticed when the due date comes and the client will pay without any problem. Above
all, because it comes naturally when people know exactly what they are paying for.
You will have to get to the same result even if you don’t use a time-tracking program. But, it will definitely
you longer. And you already know how important time is to you and your business.
- Firstly, gather all the records related to the activities done for that project
- Secondly, try to remember as accurately as possible how much time you spent with each one
- Thirdly, calculate the total number of hours
- Fourth, calculate their value
- Five, check that everything is correct
- Then, issue the invoice
- Next, prepare a detailed list to attach to the invoice
- Finally, send the documents to the client
time tracking solution for a complete circuit from
estimates, planning, and tracking time, to preparing billing data.
Invest in your productivity
Time planning and tracking solution for freelancers and small business owners
Problems that may occur with hourly billing
The time billing
system was created for greater transparency about the services that were being charged.
However, in certain circumstances, this system may be evaluated as inaccurate or incorrect. In particular, these
circumstances represent basically ethical issues. But, these problems can be easily avoided if certain
principles of time billing are respected. To illustrate, here are some examples of possible issues and proposed
From your client
- The client's reluctance to comply with the project completion date
- Clearly establish from the beginning the time intervals of project development. First of all set both the
start and end dates, as well as intermediate milestones. Also, send the client a copy of the Detailed
planning. Therefore, everything will be clearly established from the beginning. As a result, knowing what to
expect, he will be much more relaxed and the whole collaboration will go much better.
- Distrust about the duration you appreciated as necessary for the project. Or, maybe on how you
the time on various sections of it
- Include in Estimated all possible details by allocating to each activity and each task the corresponding
time interval. As a result, this will make it much clearer for him to understand what steps to take to reach
the result he wants. Therefore, he will appreciate the time needed more objectively.
- Doubts regarding the data included in the total of the invoice
- It is preferable to avoid such situations or, if they do occur, to clarify them immediately. For example,
keep the client up to date with the entire evolution of the project by sending him intermediate analytical
situations. Equally important, accompany the invoice with a detailed timesheet. In particular, these should
include everything that would interest him about how you arrived at that total value of the invoice.
- Fear of hidden financial surprises
- Clearly state what your rates are, what you will bill, and at what price. Even more, estimate and present
some of the unforeseen things that may occur and discuss them with your client. As a result, the more
transparent you are with this information, the more you will gain the customer's trust.
- The inability to estimate long-term costs
- Evaluate the entire project and establish certain conditions for long-term collaboration. For example, you
can break the project into sections and estimate them separately. In this case, it is advisable to take into
account the correspondence between the sections. Also, some of the unforeseen situations that may arise.
Keep in mind when considering time billing
A time tracking software is extremely useful when billing by the hour.
First of all, because an accurate time billing involves total control of the time spent on each particular task
of the client project.
For a billing by the hour type of business, there are many time-tracking options to choose from. Especially, it
is important to find the one that best suits the specifics of your business. IIn particular, it would be good to
choose one that gives you as many tools and functions as you need. Otherwise, you may have to use additional
software for each step of the way.
Time management is very important in this type of business, from planning to reporting. Therefore, it would
definitely be beneficial if the To-do list is included in your time-tracking software. In other words, planning,
time tracking, and excel export for the related reports can be carried out all in the same place
An accurate time billing helps increase respect and trust among partners. Therefore, it improves collaboration
and implicitly revenues. It is both in the interest of the service provider and beneficiary that this process is
being conducted correctly and in a timely fashion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Economist with a degree in Marketing and International Economic Affairs.
Mariana is passionate about efficient time management in business. Therefore, she shares with our readers and our team
members her knowledge and experience in this domain.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Data Retrieval: Labor Force Statistics (CPS), Labor Force Statistics from the
Current Population Survey, Data extracted on June 16, 2020 (12:14:36 PM)
- BLS, Economic News Release, Average hourly and weekly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted, accessed on 17.06.2020
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 National Occupational Employment
and Wage Estimates United States, accessed on 17.06.2020