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How to keep track of time when you do bill hourly

Billing your clients hourly may be your preferred choice of getting paid for your work as a virtual assistant. Some projects can last longer than originally anticipated, making an hourly rate a benefit to your business. So long as you give an accurate estimate of the job upfront, most clients are okay with this form of billing. Learning how to properly log the time you spend on each project is important for an hourly rate to work in your favor.

Time tracking software may be the best way to record the time you spend completing your virtual assistant tasks. These programs allow you to input the time you begin working on each project, as well as the time you stopped working. It will then automatically calculate the total amount of time it took you to complete a task for a client. This will allow you to accurately bill the client for the work. A common program used for this task is FreshBooks.

Some virtual assistants prefer to create a simple spreadsheet to keep track of the time when billing their clients hourly. This is a free alternative to the programs out there that will track your time for you. The document can be set up to calculate the full amount of time it took on a project by adding together each time entry you made.

Microsoft Excel and Open Office are two programs that will allow you to create a spreadsheet to record your time.

The important thing to do is make sure you are consistent with the time tracking. You can choose to charge by the second or by the quarter hour, but just make sure you are consistent and find a way that works for you. Be up front with each new client about how you keep track of time and likely there will be no issues.

About Stephanie Watson

Mom | Wife | Virtual Assistant | Content Strategist
Stephanie has been working from home for over 20 years as a virtual assistant, template bender, and content writer. She's currently transitioning to business coach. You can learn more about her at her website http://www.barrypublishing.com.

Comments

  1. Sammi Henson says:

    Besides Freshbooks, there are a number of Time Tracking solutions available on the internet. As an employer of several virtual assistants, I found it challenging to make sure that they work as what they claimed. Virtual assistants’ work are mostly small and continuing tasks which cannot really be paid on a project basis, therefore, tracking time for hourly pay is a must. After trying out several software, I found Worksnaps (http://www.worksnaps.net) is the most useful. It not only allow me to collect the time spent by my virtual assistants, but also let me verify the time. How the software works is that it captures the work activities (including sample screenshots, application used, keyboard/mouse stats etc) to make sure that they are working on line and working on the assigned things. This way, I can be assured of the time spent on my tasks and pay them without any haggling. Of course, not all time spent are online, but with Worksnaps I can mostly get the unknowns out of the way.

    • I agree that there are a lot of time tracking tools that can be use when tracking time it is only depends on what we need most in choosing these tools. At work we use this time tracking tool that is also a good alternative to RescueTime. Using this tool it tracks time accurately on different tasks where I list my entire task and allows me to organize it depends on priority level. I also use it to set an amount of time to do each task so that I won’t waste time. For more information about this time tracking tool that I use check it here. ( http://www.timedoctor.com/blog/2010/07/25/how-is-time-doctor-different-than-rescue-time )

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