Billable vs Non billable hours

What would you say is the average ratio of Billable vs non billable hours in a 40 hour work week?
Is it 50/50? 60/40 in favor of billable?

I’ve tracked this in my work and it’s around 25%. It was much higher when I started out because I was spending a lot of effort on client acquisition.

I’m not optimistic about the effect the pandemic is going to have on business. I’m figuring 75% of my labor will be un-billable for awhile. In the aftermath of the 2008 housing crash I lost about half of my contacts due to layoffs and cancelled projects. It took a lot of work to build that back up again, none of it billable.

As Mojo mentioned, it may depend on your current clients. If they’ve been existing clients, or if you have mostly retainer-type work, then your billable hours will be higher compared to someone attempting to acquire new clients.

Is that 25% nonbillable?

Yes. So on average, if I work a 40 hour week, about 30 hours of that are billable. For me, non-billable hours are used for accounting, invoicing, banking, taxes, quotes, computer maintenance, research, continuing education, self-marketing, client recruitment…


I this hope not to late or an old thread, but do I charge a client for sitting in his chair and watch him photoshop for an hour?

Yes, and if they want stand directly behind you and call out which brushes and colors to use, you charge them extra.

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Thanks for the reply, i really did nothing but sat there and watch,
he was trying to show off i guess.
I got paid before submitting an invoice, so we are good, (except for that watching him weirdness)

For my job my boss understands that much of what I’m doing is learning on the fly. He has put it on me to determine what % of working on a project is billable or non billable (learning). This has been increasingly difficult because I’ve started more heavily making websites which can get very complex.
Thoughts? Suggestions?

Many people who design/develop websites will specialize down to specific niches. They become fast at it because they’re using, for example, one CMS, one framework, one or two modifiable templates/themes and take on specific kinds of clients who need similar websites.

Often, that’s not the situation. Instead, a designer might build websites as part of a more generalist design job. When that’s the case, getting fast at building websites is nearly impossible since most of the time is spent figuring out how to do this or that, debugging why something or other isn’t behaving the way it should and researching the various add-ons, snippets of code, workarounds, and various hacks needed to make something work.

In other words, a generalist approach to web design and development is always as much focused on learning as it is on doing. The development side of a job like that always involves learning and figuring out things — it’s just part of the job. As such, it should be compensated as part of the job — at least within reason.

:thinking: I think the first one you described is what my company is aiming to do. Unfortunately for me they didn’t figure this out until I already had 3 websites put on my plate. Each one of a different profession/business haha.
Looks like I’ll be working the generalist approach until I finish these sites… at least I’m learning a lot! (And mostly getting paid for it) Thanks.

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