Best practice for invoicing when working onsite

Most of the freelance projects I take on involve working remotely, for a fixed price. I’ll then take a deposit before starting work and invoice for the rest on completion.

However on occasion I find myself working at clients’ offices for a day rate and I find billing a little more tricky.

In the event that there’s any dispute over how many days work I’ve actually done, how do I prove it?

And would it be acceptable for me to invoice every week? As I feel most places expect an invoice once per month, but I dont like the idea of doing an entire month’s work up front without having had any form of payment.

Might it be worth taking a deposit upfront like I do with fixed-price / remote projects?

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Are you working on site as a contractor or an employee?

As a contractor

Then you should have an agreed upon contract. Our contractors are paid on our regular payday, which is every other week.

As for hours worked, they use our timeclock system.

When you’re working at a client’s place of business, it ought to be obvious how many hours you’ve worked since you’re there. I’d still write it down, though, in a book or spreadsheet. I’d also make myself visible around the office rather than retreating all day into a corner somewhere. You might want to check in with the appropriate person and check out with them again when you leave — nothing formal — just a quick “good morning,” or “I’m off for lunch for an hour” or “see you tomorrow.”

I wouldn’t invoice every week. You need to consider the client’s time as well as your own. It takes their accounting people time to record everything, balance books, write checks, or fill out electronic deposit forms. Ask them what they prefer, then do that. If you’re living week-to-week for a must-have paycheck, you need to re-examine your spending habits, then save a little up to carry you over from month to month.

Thanks for the replies.

I’m happy to use the clients’ time tracking systems, but I find not all of them have one. I also find some agencies are really small, just a handful of people, so wouldn’t really need to check-in with anyone exactly.

It just occurred to me that there might be times where there is some sort of dispute over how many days I’ve worked during a particular month (if the client has no time tracking). So I’m thinking I’ll email them a timesheet at the end of each week for their records.

Bear in mind I’ve not actually had this problem before, and most of my projects are working remote and to a fixed price… but I’m always cautious with new clients due to the kinds of unorganised people I’ve been unfortunate to work with in the past.

Maybe ‘contractor’ isn’t the right word for me to use here actually, I’m more referring to just the odd few days here and there. Not so much an agreed amount of time e.g. ‘5 days per week for 2 months’

This should suffice, I reckon. Maybe also list what projects you’ve been working on, which in turn can be used by them to bill their clients.

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