Doing freelance work is about the output or the number of hours worked. It’s very important to have proper work time tracking to ensure correct billing. This is not only for the sake of the freelancer but also to give clients assurance that they are paying the right amount for the service they are getting.
The following tips should help you properly track work time and bill clients accordingly.
Clarify What Work Time Is?
Time tracking does not simply mean counting the minutes or hours of being on a desk. It’s necessary to clarify and agree upon (with the client) what it is that should be tracked and billed. For this, it’s important to assume a client’s perspective.
The typical practice is that an hourly rate is being quoted but the finer details for this need to be discussed and negotiated with the client. Will the rates vary depending on the time of day? What constitutes an overtime or will the client agree to an overtime rate? Is there a certain level of output that should be expected within a certain time frame? All of these should be taken into account before any work time counting can be done.
Everything should be clearly stated in the contract. In some cases, the client may demand the use of a certain timesheet or work time-tracking platform. Examine if it works for you and as much as possible avoid being made to spend for the software. Clarify how to deal with specific instances that are bound to be encountered. For freelancer writers, for example, it’s important to agree upon the maximum number of revisions or rewrites.
Invest in Time-Tracking & Billing Tools
Fortunately, nowadays work time tracking has been made way easier by the existence of a multitude of time tracking software tools. These software tools however are not all made equal. Some are just better than others so you need to be careful in choosing one. You can pick a time tracking and invoicing solution that suits your needs. As much as possible, choose software tools that are more widely used since having more users usually means better updating, response to problems encountered with the software, and generally better features.
Also, find something that is flexible and customizable, something that can easily fit or be made to fit into your work setup. It greatly helps if the software you get can be resized and be made to persistently appear on screen so you no longer have to do clicks to view details on your time tracker. It also helps if you get something that has hotkeys so you can just press certain key combinations to initiate certain functions without having to bring the software’s main interface on screen. Moreover, choose something intuitive or easy to use. You certainly wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how the software you chose is supposed to work.
Choose Web-Enabled Software Tools
There’s just no reason not to take advantage of the many benefits brought about by the internet. It would be good to choose a time tracking software tool that can be easily accessed online. Better yet, find one that is browser-based so you no longer have to install anything. Browser-based or web-based time tracking apps are more convenient to use and are also significantly advantageous since they no longer require updating or patching. You just need your username and password to log in and use browser-based time tracking and invoicing tools.
Use Compatible Tracking & Invoicing Solutions
You should be able to seamlessly link time tracking data with your invoicing system. That’s why it’s important to choose software tools that are compatible or can be integrated with each other. If you are using different software tools for time tracking and invoicing, make sure that they can ultimately be linked with each other for the sake of efficiency and quick access to information. It would be too inconvenient having to manually copy or import data from your work time tracking software into your billing or invoicing software. If you are not going to use an invoicing software tool, make sure that the time tracking data can be easily produced and copied or imported to a worksheet so you can quickly proceed with the invoicing.
Keep Everything Clear & Simple
Lastly, it is advisable to make sure that your time tracking and invoicing systems, including the corresponding documentations, are clear and simple. The system of tracking work time data should be simply and clearly presented, since the information being compiled in the process are not only for your own use but also for the perusal of the client. For the invoice, on the other hand, be sure to include all the important details clearly and concisely. There should be no room for confusion or different interpretations on what is indicated on the bill. If you want accuracy and speed, avoid complicated systems or setups.