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  • Do you bill for creating invoices?

    Hello,
    My largest client is being a little difficult when it comes to tracking my time. I am working on 20-30 small projects under a retainer every month. She has decided now that she wants me to track my time for each job individually. In the past I have just tracked my time under one job and sent her my total hours. To break my hours down is taking a lot of my time.

    Would you charge your client for this time spent? Does anyone charge for their time creating invoices?

    Is there a link that discusses what should and should not be billed?

    Thanks

  • #2
    I would bill her, yes. Maybe not at the same rate that you bill her for design hours, but definitely bill her.

    What kind of small projects are these?

    Comment


    • #3
      If a client asks you for something and you spend extra time on it you bill for it. Not as much like undressedmonster said, but you d o bill for it. During the time you're making all the small invoices you can't do something else.

      The only time I probably wouldn't bill is when I do something wrong, pitch for a new job, networking and answer (short) questions from clients.

      Comment


      • #4
        Really? I wouldn't bill someone for paperwork, but if you can get away with it - sure! I guess in your billing you might call it account maintanence or something...

        You will need to make it clear to her that you estimate that it take you an extra 4 hours (or whatever) per week to do what she has requested and that she will be billed accordingly.

        The worst thing to do is to charge a client for something that they aren't prepared to pay for.

        Once my boyfriend got a poster laminated and mounted at this place that has a good reputation amoung businesses, but all students know to stay away. It cost a fortune, but it was a one off project and he thought he should do it right. Anyway when we picked it up it was wrapped in cardboard and they had added $10 to the bill for the wrapping. I don't think companies should add extra without telling a customer. What they quote should be what you pay. What if I had only brought enough cash for the orginal bill? I wanted to rip the wrapping off shove it down the girl's throat.

        OK...settle down...only $10...
        Last edited by Buda; 09-12-2006, 10:07 AM.
        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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        • #5
          Originally posted by budafist
          Really? I wouldn't bill someone for paperwork, but if you can get away with it - sure! I guess in your billing you might call it account maintanence or something...
          I wouldn't do it if I can't get away with it ofcourse, but in dallas76's case I would, because keeping up administration on 20-30 small projects is a lot of work.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's called 'overhead'. Bill it. Pretend you have to hire an accountant to do it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Pretend you have to hire a very old, very slow accountant.

              Under a retainer? I'm curious. What kind of rate hike from your straight freelance rate did you add? And do you know where the crossover point is (the one where the taxman considers the time committed to one client crosses over into the definition of employment).

              Comment


              • #8
                Charging for billing just seems dodgy to me....
                However, "padding" your work hours is just fine...

                ...read from that what you will.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When you figure that every time you make an ATM withdrawal at a machine that's not your bank's, your bank charges you and so does the ATM, it doesn't seem that out of line to charge for paperwork, since you're sending them something tangible. At an ATM, what actual people are involved in that transaction besides yourself.

                  Bottom line, it's time spent that you're not doing other work, so I think it should be billable. Admin costs money just like anything else.
                  "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, but everyone knows that banks are the spawn of the devil!

                    I hate how large corporations can do that kind of thing to you. I never agreed to it, but I need a bank right? If any direct debits bounce, I get an automatic $25 fine for it. I don't do it on purpose, but really, is there there $25 worth of work that needs to be done? I don't think so.
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Highly unlikely I agree Buda, especially with all the computerization and automation in place right now. It definitely stinks.
                      "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can't say I agree with the ATM analogy, but lemme clarify my standpoint here.

                        I do feel that a person should be compensated for time spent. However, I do not feel that anyone with half a brain should add a line item to an invoice that reads "Charge for how long it took me to invoice you" or any such euphonism of that statement.

                        Clients love to pick apart invoices, at the very best the client will ignore such a line item. At the worst the client will question it, dispute it and possibly refuse payment of that line item while destroying your credibility.

                        Thats an awful lot to risk for so little to gain.

                        If you want to be paid for the extra 10 minutes it took you to itemize your time fine...but pad your hours and "hide" the charge.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by activeseven
                          Clients love to pick apart invoices, at the very best the client will ignore such a line item. At the worst the client will question it, dispute it and possibly refuse payment of that line item while destroying your credibility.
                          Most people you work for are businesses too, so they know there must be overhead. Not billing that separately could also destroy your credibility, because they could think your billing invoice-hours under design rates or something. I find companies specifying their costs more reliable.

                          FYI: I pad the bills too, but my overhead is really small (part-time work on the side. On the side cause I'm a student)

                          Another question: do you ask money for meetings, travelling etc...?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by activeseven
                            I can't say I agree with the ATM analogy, but lemme clarify my standpoint here.

                            I do feel that a person should be compensated for time spent. However, I do not feel that anyone with half a brain should add a line item to an invoice that reads "Charge for how long it took me to invoice you" or any such euphonism of that statement.

                            Clients love to pick apart invoices, at the very best the client will ignore such a line item. At the worst the client will question it, dispute it and possibly refuse payment of that line item while destroying your credibility.

                            Thats an awful lot to risk for so little to gain.

                            If you want to be paid for the extra 10 minutes it took you to itemize your time fine...but pad your hours and "hide" the charge.
                            Well granted, the ATM analogy was a bit of a stretch.

                            In general, when I do freelance, I keep timesheets (I actually do this at work as well, keep a notepad just for the purpose, put my start and end times down, etc.).

                            But the fact that this is a retainer client seems to indicate that they're asking something extra now. I think it's merited to charge them at least something, perhaps a flat fee as an administrative cost?
                            "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I spend a lot of time doing stuff I'm not paid for. It's part of life.

                              I wish I could bill the bank when I have to wait an hour in line to deposit something.
                              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

                              Comment

                               
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