As a consultant or freelancer, you know that time is money. And to maximize your profits and streamline operations, it’s essential to track billable hours accurately and efficiently. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right solution for your business?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using a billable time tracker and provide tips for selecting and implementing the best one for your needs. From improving invoicing accuracy to simplifying workflow processes and client communication, a billable time tracker is invaluable for any consultant looking to take their business up a notch. So let’s get started and find out how this powerful tool can help you optimize your profits and make the most of your time!
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss:
- What is Billable Time?
- How Does Billable Time Differ from Non-billable Time?
- Benefits of Using a Billable Time Tracker
- Top Features of Billable Time Tracker
- Best Practices for Using a Billable Time Tracker
- Best Billable Time Trackers for Consultants and Freelancers
- Wrap-up: Step-up Your Freelance Business with the Right Billable Time Tracker
What is Billable Time?
Billable time is the hours spent working on client projects that can be charged to your clients. As a consultant or freelancer, you must accurately track the time spent on their projects to bill them correctly. This includes research, meetings, writing, editing, design, and development – depending on your industry and specialization.
How Does Billable Time Differ from Non-billable Time?
On the contrary, non-billable time encompasses hours spent on administrative work, marketing, and training that cannot be charged to customers. While these are necessary for running a business successfully, it is crucial to differentiate between the billable and non-billable time when calculating hourly rates and budgeting.
By tracking each category of time separately, you can better understand your business’s expenses and revenue, allowing you to make informed decisions about pricing, workload, and growth. A billable time tracker is the ideal tool for this – let’s find out how it works!
Benefits of Billable Time Tracking
Billable time tracking has many benefits for consultants and freelancers. We’ll discuss the most important ones here.
1. Ensuring the Right Earning
One of the main benefits of using a billable time tracker is that it prevents you from under-charging or over-charging for your services. By tracking billable hours accurately, you can ensure that clients are billed fairly and that your team receives the right compensation for their work.
As you can easily share the tracked time data with clients, it eliminates any problems of under-billing or over-charging. This helps build trust between you and your customer, leaving them satisfied that they are getting the best value for their money.
2. Improved Invoicing Accuracy
Invoicing is an important part of any consultant or freelancer business. But it can be difficult to generate invoices if you don’t track billable time accurately. This means the client may end up paying more than they should, or you might even forget to invoice them for some hours worked.
You can easily generate accurate and timely invoices with a billable time tracker. This helps maximize your profits while ensuring a smooth payment process with clients. You can also set up automated invoicing and payment systems to save time and optimize cash flow.
3. Accurately Tracking Non-billable Time
A billable time tracker helps you track billable hours and non-billable time. This is important for any consultant or freelancer who offers services on a per-hour basis.
Non-billable time includes administrative tasks, marketing and sales efforts, research, etc. Accurately tracking these hours allows you to ensure that your team receives fair compensation for their work and makes it easier to manage expenses and profits.
If your non-billable hours for a specific client go high, you can easily adjust the pricing or look for additional resources. This helps make sure that your business is profitable and sustainable in the long run.
4. Simplified Project Management
Using a billable time tracker can help simplify project management and streamline your workflow. It makes it easy to track progress across multiple projects, resources, and tasks over any period. This helps identify bottlenecks quickly and make more informed decisions about resource allocation.
The data collected by the tracker also helps you plan future projects better and efficiently allocate resources. This makes it easier for consultants to deliver on-time results without compromising quality or incurring additional costs due to delays or unplanned expenses.
5. Smooth Communication with Clients
Communication is vital to any successful consulting business. And a billable time tracker can help you manage client interactions more efficiently.
For instance, it allows you to set up notifications when clients need to be billed or reminded of upcoming deadlines. This saves time and ensures that communication remains smooth throughout the project lifecycle. Furthermore, it provides visibility into work progress so that both parties are always on the same page.
6. Centralized Data Collection and Storage
Another major benefit of billable time tracking is centralized data collection and storage. This makes it easier to keep track of all your projects, tasks, and resources in one place.
For example, you can quickly access a comprehensive overview of the amount of time spent on each task or project. This helps you identify areas where efficiency can be improved and allows for more informed decision-making when it comes to resource allocation and budgeting.
7. More Control over Personal Workflow Management
In a traditional office environment, you can expect guidance from your boss or manager on how to manage your time. But as a freelancer, you need to be proactive in managing your own workflow and progress.
Billable time tracking gives you more control over your personal workflow management, helping you keep track of the hours spent on each project. This allows for better organization of tasks so that you can focus on high-priority projects first and ensure that all deadlines are met.
Billable time tracking also helps identify any problem areas where efficiency needs improvement – allowing for quicker resolution and improved performance in the future.
Top Features of Billable Time Tracker
When choosing a billable time tracker, it’s important to look for features that meet your specific needs as a consultant or freelancer. Here are some of the top features to consider:
1. Time Tracking
The most basic and essential feature of any billable time tracker is the ability to track your hours. This allows you to easily see how long it took for each project, which tasks are taking up the most time, and if you’re billing accurately for your work. Most trackers will also allow you to set up reminders or timer notifications that can be used to keep yourself on task and ensure that all of your billable hours are correctly tracked.
Some advanced time trackers also let you monitor and track activity levels such as keystrokes or mouse clicks in addition to time. This can be incredibly helpful for those who need to ensure maximum productivity on the job and is especially useful for freelancers or consultants that are billing by the hour.
2. Timesheet Creation and Invoicing
A timesheet is an essential document for any consultant or freelancer. It helps keep track of your hours and provides clients with a detailed record of your work. A good billable time tracker should allow you to easily create timely timesheets and invoices to get paid for your work.
Most trackers will also offer automated payment options, allowing clients to pay directly from their accounts without manually processing payments each month. This streamlines the invoicing process and makes it much easier for both parties involved in a project.
3. Reports and Analytics
One of the most valuable features of an excellent billable time tracker is the ability to generate comprehensive reports and analytics. This allows you to gain insight into how efficiently your projects are being managed and make any necessary adjustments that can help boost efficiency or productivity.
Reports can also inform future decisions on resource allocation, project scope, timeline estimation, budgeting, and more. In addition, they provide an easy way to track progress toward goals and ensure that clients remain informed about their project’s status.
4. Cloud Backup
Cloud backups are essential for any business that relies heavily on digital data. A billable time tracker should provide an easy way to store and manage files in the cloud, so you can easily access them anywhere. This helps ensure your data is safe and secure, even if something happens to your local computer or device.
Cloud backup also helps you make accurate estimates and invoices on the go without having to worry about losing or damaging important documents. This eliminates much of the hassle associated with managing digital records and helps you easily keep track of all your billable hours in one place.
5. Mobile and Offline Compatibility
A billable time tracker should be easy to use from any device, regardless of whether it is connected to the internet. This helps you track your hours on the go and ensures that all of your data is easily accessible in one place. It also allows you to make changes and updates quickly without waiting for a connection.
Many trackers also provide mobile-friendly versions, so you can easily access them from smartphones and tablets. This helps you stay productive no matter where you are and makes it easier to manage invoices and estimates away from your desk.
6. Automation and Integration
Automation and integration are two other essential features of any billable time tracker. Automation enables you to streamline processes and ensure that tasks are done on time every single time. This is especially helpful in invoicing as automation can help ensure accuracy, speed up payment processing times, and reduce the amount of manual work required.
Integration with third-party services such as accounting software or CRM systems can also benefit consultants who need to keep track of multiple projects simultaneously. This helps create a unified view across all your data sources while eliminating redundant manual entries. With the right integration, you can quickly and easily see how much time you’ve spent on a particular project or client at any given moment.
7. Add-Ons & Customizations
It’s unlikely that any billable time tracker will have every feature you need right out of the box. That’s why looking for one that offers add-ons and customizations is essential to tailor the application to your needs. This could include features like integrations with other software packages or services, additional reporting capabilities, or custom invoicing options.
By taking advantage of these extras, you can ensure your tracker is optimized for your business and maximum productivity.
8. Project Management Tools
Having project management features integrated into your billable time tracker simplifies the entire process of tracking hours and helps you remain organized while staying within budget. This makes it much easier to keep clients happy by delivering quality work on time without overcharging them or missing out on potential profits due to inaccurate estimates.
Project management features might include:
- The ability to create projects and assign tasks
- Calendar views for tracking progress against deadlines
- Team collaboration tools like chat, communication, or document sharing
- Gantt chart view for visualizing project timelines and dependencies.
Best Practices for Using a Billable Time Tracker
While using a billable time tracker is essential for any consultant or freelancer, it’s also important to understand how to use it effectively. Here are some best practices for using a billable time tracker:
- Track billable and non-billable hours separately,
- Create detailed reports for clients,
- Use timesheets to track employee performance,
- Leverage automated features to save time,
- Stay organized by categorizing projects and tasks,
- Set reminders to stay on top of deadlines,
- Keep track of expenses related to projects,
- Integrate with accounting software for easy invoicing.
Best Billable Time Trackers for Consultants and Freelancers
Now, look at some of the best billable time trackers for consultants and freelancers. Remember that each solution offers different features, so do your research and select one that best fits your needs.
1. Day.io – Best Billable Time Tracker for Freelancers and Consultants
Day.io is a comprehensive and intuitive time-tracking solution ideal for freelancers and consultants. It offers an automated time-tracking system that lets you quickly enter client information, project details, and other data with just a few clicks. You can set up recurring invoices, so your clients are automatically billed each month or week on the same day.
The app also includes an intuitive dashboard to view detailed reports on your project’s progress in real-time and get insights into how much money has been earned. Day.io also integrates with collaboration tools like Slack, Zapier, Monday, ClickUp, Asana, Jira, and more to help you stay connected with your team members and clients.
- Manual and automated time tracking with biometrics and GPS authentication
- Cross-platform and mobile app compatibility
- Timesheet and project tracking with comprehensive time and project data
- Multiple task handling for each project and client
- Overtime and extra hours customization
- Cost and billing estimation and budgeting
- Digital signature management with industry-grade security protocols
Project time tracking starts from $6 per user/month.
2. Timeular – Automated and Simple Billable Time Tracker
Timeular is an excellent and easy-to-use billable time-tracking app that helps you track your tasks across multiple projects with just a few clicks. With Timeular, you can drag and drop entries, assign colors to tasks, sync data across multiple devices, and categorize unlimited time entries with tags and mentions.
Timeular is available on macOS, Linux, Windows, Android, and iOS with integrations for Zapier, Jira Harvest & Toggl as well as an API to build customized workflows.
- Assignment and customization of activities
- Time tracking on any device, with the ability to sync data
- Keyboard shortcut time tracking and export capabilities
- Insights and reports for viewing where time is spent
- Drag and drop billable hour entries
- Personal: $9 per user/month
- Personal Pro: $14 per user/month
3. Dovico – Excellent Time Tracker for Small Team of Freelancers
Dovico is an efficient cloud-based time-tracking platform designed to help small teams of freelancers manage their project costs and labor. It has a user-friendly interface with structured entry fields for employees, clients, projects, pay rates, and overtime pay rates.
The platform also offers useful features such as employee time tracking, timesheet management, expense management reporting and notifications, and mobile time tracking with multiple billing rates & currencies supported.
- Time tracking for clients, projects, tasks
- Full-featured timesheet management
- Labor costs and expense management tracking
- Accurate billable/non-billable hour monitoring
- Real-time reporting and notifications for employees
- Vacation/time off monitoring, as well as mobile time tracking
- Basic: $10 per user/month
- Professional: $17 per user/month
Wrap-up: Step up Your Freelance Business with the Right Billable Time Tracker
A billable time tracker is a smart and essential tool for any consultant or freelancer who wants to maximize their time and profits. If you’re looking for a powerful and user-friendly billable time tracker, we recommend checking out Day.io. With Day.io, you can easily track your time, generate professional invoices, and get detailed reports and analytics on your time usage and profitability.
So don’t wait any longer; try Day.io today and see how it can help you optimize your time and profits as a consultant or freelancer. Your clients and your wallet will thank you!