Qs about the business of being a consultant

10 Jan 2011 - 12:03pm
5 years ago
1 reply
1920 reads

With the new year, I'm thinking a need to get some better systems in place with regards to running my own interaction design business. Some questions for those who are consultants/freelance/solo practitioners:

- assuming you are on a long-term job, what percentage of your available working hours are billable? What is a good target? (I work from home and I always seem to spend some of my working hours doing laundry, etc.)

- what software do you use to track your hours?

- what software do you use to bill your clients and keep track of paid and unpaid bills?

- do you bill for time spent tracking hours and billing?




10 Jan 2011 - 10:58pm
Justin Davis

Sheri -

For me, the amount of billable hours I can generally expect a week are probably 20-25, assuming a 50-55 hour week. With that said, I don't bill hourly - only by project rate (for some great thoughts about the reasoning behind this, check out Whitney Hess's pricing policy).  Thus, I don't track my hours via software.  I'll generally schedule each day before getting started, which helps me estimate how I'm doing on the design vs. biz admin hourly ratio. 

For billing, I use Blinksale. It's easy, cheap, and quite effective for what I'm doing.  I've looked at more integrated systems like Quickbooks, but frankly, the level of complexity introduces management overhead into my operation that I can't afford at this point (nor can I rationalize from a cost/benefit standpoint).

As for your last question, that's pretty much answered by my previous response. Because I don't bill hourly, I don't itemize out those costs to the client.  If I were tracking hourly, I still probably wouldn't - as a business owner, I take on a certain degree of responsibility (resource-wise) for managing the overhead of the project (billing, scheduling, etc.).  Just my take on it. 

Hope that helps!

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