[thelist] Billing Increments

Bob Meetin bobm at dottedi.biz
Mon Jan 11 19:06:00 CST 2010

Matt Warden wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 2:50 PM, Fred Jones <fredthejonester at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I, for better or worse (probably worse), end up having a lot of very
>> small time increments as I answer an email here, make a small fix to a
>> site there, add a page for a different client etc. I have always just
>> billed what the Hamster says, but I am wondering now if I should make
>> a minimal increment. I definitely lose a bit of time switching
>> projects. Sometimes it's really just a second or two but other times
>> it's a lot more than that. I was thinking to make a minimum of 15 min.
>> per day. Then if I do 2 or 3 little tasks for a client, each taking
>> only 2 minutes, I would bill them for 15 min. for that day. We can
>> code a script to do this calculation automatically based on Hamster's
>> SQLite file.
>> Interesting to hear what people have to say on this subject of time and billing.
> I think calculating in increments could get a little silly. Depending
> on the kind of work you do, you could end up billing 14 hours for an 8
> hour day. I think it's perfectly reasonable to round to the nearest
> half hour on a per-day basis (as in, add up the time for today and
> round to the nearest half hour, but if you answered two emails at 10
> minutes a piece, that is rounded to a total of 30 minutes not 1
> hour!)
I also think it's tough to get down overly specific. If you chart for 
every minute worked then you will need a timecard a mile long. Do you 
check out every time you glance away and check/respond to a non 
job-related email message? Stand up and move your limbs? The time you 
take charting becomes part of the equation. What's the average 
efficiency of the worker bee, perhaps 30-40% time at the job applied to 
the job? I once worked in a steel mill where they had testers who ran 
one test per hour and spent 55 minutes of every hour in the cafeteria. 

Like what Matt said, it's got to be reasonable.

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