Rates and Billing

Discuss setting rates and find billing resources and information.

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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
Hi All,

We have been discussing billing increments in another thread and I have discovered that my carry over from the corporate world is a novel approach to most in the VA world.

Working in legal and accounting (blah!) I had to do a time sheet every day, even as a PA (double blah!). These were kept in increments of 6 minutes. Our billilng policy was "every 6 minutes or part thereof", so if a task took 7 minutes, the client was charged 2 units = 12 minutes. Because I did this for so many years, it has now become 'normal' to me and I have been using this for my clients since I started this year. I didn't realise that it was more normal to round up to 15 minutes (doh!). I do find that the clients seem happy when I tell them and one commented that they thought it was reasonable compared to others - at the time I didn't understand why!

I use Time Stamp to record my time (since it is free) and even though you can set increments, it doesn't work well in that respect. If you have lots of interruptions such as phones, kids etc, the system rounds up on EVERY time you stop, not just at the end over the overall time sheet. So I just wait till I've finished the whole task and round up to the nearest multiple of 6 myself and enter that on my invoice.

Therefore, 1 hour = 60 mins = 10 units of 6 mins per hour. So, 45 mins work = .8 because 48 mins is 6 x 8, the next multiple of 6 that fits my time.

I also adjusted my hourly rate after I first started because I realised I needed something that divided easily into 6. I am currently UA$XX ph, so I can easily divide this into 6 or into 4 if the project is one that I might actually tell them I will charge in 15 min increments, such as designing a flyer (although I usually forget and just do the 6 min thing - again - force of habit).

Also - this works well in the invoicing system. I am using the QuickBooks Quickstart (again because it was free) and this way I can enter 1.6 in the units and my rate and it will correctly enter my fee.

I would be interested to see how this compares to others since I'm only a newbie to the whole thing, so would like to make sure I haven't set myself up with a dud system!

Cheers!
Marie
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
I've always done 5 mins and I know instantly that 5 mins is .08, 10 is .16 and so on of an hour. That's how I charge it in my bookkeeping program. Always done it that way so never thought about doing it any differently.
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
I bill just as Kathie does, 5 minute increments. I keep track of everything in Excel.
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
I bill in 15 minute increments and I use MyHours.
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
I bill to the minute. I hate myhours.com. It's really clunky. I've been using Excel until my new program is written (my husband is doing it for me). I'm hoping to be able to import my time into it for the May billing and run my invoices from it.
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
Thanks so much for posting this Marie - I've been thinking over my usual 15 minute increments lately, it worked really well and made sense when I was charging less, but as we've increased our rates I've become more and more concerned about billing 'fairness' to the client. Of course I do round down at times, so guessed that it 'evened out' but I want to get into a system where things are more exactly calculated and am going to check out TimeStamp as well as consider your 6 minute increments - thanks again!
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
I, too, am a law office refugee, so I do the 100th of the hour, i.e., 6 minutes = .1; 7-12 minutes = .2, and so on.

Sometimes I have to educate my non lawyer clients, but I just send them copies of my time sheets (I do it manually - I found Freshbooks, MyHours, and everything else I've tried too "clunky"). I have a master time sheet that I use every day, and then I just copy & paste to the client's time sheet & that's what I send with the invoice at their invoice time.
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Old 05-25-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
This is great information. I have been trying to decide how I would bill. I was under the assumption that it was norm to bill in half hour or hour increments. I think that the quarter hour increment is a lot more feasible.
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Old 05-26-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
Originally Posted by Dana Fortier View Post
I found Freshbooks, MyHours, and everything else I've tried too "clunky"). I have a master time sheet that I use every day, and then I just copy & paste to the client's time sheet & that's what I send with the invoice at their invoice time.
I agree Dana; I got so fed up last November that I asked my husband to write a program for me to do what I needed. As you get busier, you will probably find the cutting and pasting to be tedious. At least I am - invoicing for me is a chore. I'm really hoping things will be smoother with our program. We are probably going to post it as open source on Source Forge when it's done.
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Old 05-26-2008
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Default Re: Billing in increments - I use 6 mins what do you use?
Quote:
We are probably going to post it as open source on Source Forge when it's done.
Make sure you give us the heads up when you do
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