Productivity Tips

Why you should track your time for you and your clients

My client wanted proof that I worked the amount of hours that I said I did…

What’s the best way to prove you worked for the amount of hours you said you did on what you were meant to be working on, on which day?

You are taking the time to record your time? Right?

There are lots of advantages to logging your time…

  • You can remember where the time went and review your productivity.
  • You have proof to show your client, if they do question it.
  • But you should be sharing your timesheets with your client anyway for a good transparent relationship.
  • Knowing how long something took, will help with making more accurate estimates in the future.
  • Invoicing for your time should now be super easy.

Of course you can use good old pen and paper, I’ve used notepad to track time when I was working exclusively for one client.  There’s always excel / spreadsheets.  Now though there are a lots of online time tracking apps and tools with lots more additional features and integration’s than you get with a simple spreadsheet.  All of which should increase the speed with which you can invoice clients for your time, saving you wasted time and maximizing your productivity.

Freelance Tips

What is the minimum amount of time I should charge as a Freelance Web Developer?

Your clients are calling you, emailing you, sending in small requests…

Can you change this? Can you change that?

Sometimes the changes are so small, barely 5 minutes that you feel guilty for charging your “valuable” clients.

Well you shouldn’t feel guilty! You are in business and you are selling your time and your clients are likely consuming your time with small requests if you don’t have a minimum amount of time to charge them.

So yes, yes you should be charging a minimum amount of time for almost all client engagement.  Make your clients aware, ideally up front and in your contract of what that minimum is, so that there aren’t surprises when they receive their invoices.

Always consider the amount of time it takes to read their emails, answer their calls, discuss / consider their request, find the place to make the changes, test the changes in multiple browsers, publish the changes and then respond or get back to the client, as well as tracking the time spent and creating and sending the invoice.  All in all, even though the actually technical change may take a few minutes, by the time you’ve done everything else, it could easily be an hour of your time that has gone by if not more.

If you don’t have a support contract or monthly retainer, I recommend that your minimum amount of time to charge is one hour.  Your client also knows your hourly rate, so they know the minimum charge to expect when they engage you.  This will help make the client think about what they are going to request, before they request it and consume your time.

Often in work places, I’ve found the human interaction takes many orders of magnitude longer discussing a change that is required than the actual change itself.  So track all that additional time and charge your client appropriately.

Freelance PHP

How much should I charge hourly as a PHP Freelance Web Developer?

How much should I charge hourly as a PHP Freelance Web Developer?

Working your own hours as a freelancer can be great with regular work coming in.

But you need to make sure you are making ends meet and covering your costs.

You might be considering switching from full-time paid employment to freelance or some part-time freelance on the side.

So how do you figure out much to charge for your time?

It all depends on your skills, the size of the job, the complexity of the job, your location, your overheads, whether it’s a new client or an existing one…

However you should re-think your approach, because in order to answer the question, it’s important to find out…

How much do you need to charge to be able to live (comfortably)?

What’s your time worth to you?

How much do you need to earn annually?  That’s your target! Figure that out and work backwards from there, divide by 52 to get the weekly rate, divide by the number of hours and days you want to work to get your hourly rate.

For example:

Desired annual income: $50,000

Giving a weekly income: $961.54 (50,000 / 52)

How many hours do you want to work in a 5 day week?

5 hours a day over 5 days gives you an hourly rate: $38.46 (961.54 / 5 /  5)

8 hours a day over 4 days give you an hourly rate:  $30.00 (961.54 / 8 / 4)

Use the above example to work out what you need to charge an hour to cover your needs over a year.  Do it now, if you don’t know what your rate should be.

If it comes out at a rate like $38.46 then round up to $40.00 and then double it to $80! As you need to cover your quiet periods as you are unlikely to working full-time all the time.

Figuring out how much you need to charge and how many hours you need to work is the important first step.

You can also charge by project for a fixed price.

Another option is charging by value, selling your value to your clients.

Not only will this provide value to your clients.

You will be able to maximize your own value in $$$

If you are interested in charging by value, I recommend the Double Your Freelancing course by Brennan Dunn. Try it out for free.