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  • Timesheets? Hours worked?


    All right. This may be a really stupid question, but I am completely stumped on this one. I only had one Visual Communication Business Class during my time at school, and the following question was never really answered. This is regarding freelance:

    When working for a client, if keeping a timesheet, how do you prove that you actually worked X amount of hours on project Y?

    I mean, let's say I design an identity for a new Art Gallery. Let's say that I keep myself a timesheet and that I work a solid 70 hours (all together) on creating this identity. When I send out an invoice, how does the client know that I actually worked 70 hours?

    This question applies to any profession where they bill by the hour. I mean, is there just a system of trust or is there something else that should be done in order to prove that you actually worked for that long? I'm confused.

    Thanks in advance for any replies!

  • #2
    You should have a contract up front with a stated estimate of time to be spent on a project (when working hourly). Before you exceed that estimate you have to ask the client's permission and execute a change order or amendment to your contract and have it re-signed by the client.


    • #3
      I figure out approximately how long a project will take and figure out a flat rate.
      I then present the customer with that information and then I explain to them that since I am designing the piece from scratch and that there will probably be alterations to the project that they will be charged hourly for their "problems".
      If it's a case where they don't know what they want, I figure at a different rate and pad some extra time in the project.
      Most people are willing to accept this. Some people are real cheap skates and they want the world for next to nothing.

      I had to work with a customer that wanted final pieces of a project before he placed his order. He wanted foil embossing and spot colors and special stock. Then when he finally got the cost of what the project would be (after telling us to order one die to be made so he could see how that would look) he flipped and didn't even want to pay for all of the time I had invested into getting the project to the point of making proofs and dies. I think I had about 60 hours in the project.


      • #4
        Spec work like that will kill you.
        50% up front.


        • #5
          It is a system of trust but probably a good idea to give your client a breakdown of what was done in that time.

          If a job is going to take more than 4 hours, I always give the client a breakdown of what is going to be done example: original illustrations 3 hours, design 2 hours, etc.

          It also helps for you to see what part of your process is taking up way too much of your time so that you can find someone else to do it faster or do something to fix the time wasting bit for future jobs.
          It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses. All have been very helpful!


            • #7
              For some projects, depending on the client, you will want to pad the PIA factor. Pain in the ass clients will bug you about this, or that until the project is done. This commonly adds a couple hours to the overall project. Hard to tell how the clients going to act when you first meet them. However, if they call you a few times for the proposal or details then they will probably call you many times through the entire process as they "think of something" or "direct you" to how they want it.

              We keep time sheets of everything and estimate out the quotes. Timesheets will also help your future jobs as you will get a better idea on how long things take.


              • #8
                Anyone every type in PIA in their invoicing?

                I wish we had PIA charges. Got a client that calls after every email so she can read the email out to me to make sure I understand....
                It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


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