Billing Rates From Barcodes

Employees may have different billing rates for each client. And when employees scan work orders on the manufacturing shop floor, you want the correct billing rates applied. In other words, clients should be billed appropriately for each employee or kind of work performed.

Your welders likely bill out at different rates than your project managers. Maybe machinists and metal workers bill differently than material handlers. The point is, custom and bespoke work orders can use a mixture of billing rates. Those rates depend on the kind of work that goes into the job.

When you finally run the client invoice, you’ve got appropriate rates for everyone who contributed. And there’s nothing special you or your employees need to do. Just set up the rates once, and you’re good to go. Now employees just scan work order barcodes when they start and stop the job.



Define Invoice Milestone

Invoice Milestone: what is that? This video helps to explain that question. It’s actually a pretty simple concept. You sign a contract where the client pays you at agreed-upon intervals. Those intervals are called milestones. That is the only time you can bill the client.

Define Invoice Milestone: A date when a client has authorized a certain billable amount to be invoiced.

You agree to a fixed bid for a project and the dates when you’re allowed to bill the client. The client knows what to expect, and you know when you’ll be paid, and both parties know the exact amount it will be. Often the terms of these fixed-price contracts are one-third up front, one-third in the middle, and one-third at the end.  These kinds of deals are signed all the time. So Standard Time® supports them with invoice milestones.

You set up the invoice milestones for a project in advanced. You determine exactly how much each milestone is to be charged. And then you get email notifications when they are coming due.

Sometimes invoice milestones are a percentage of the total. Other times, they are fixed amount. And finally, they are sometimes just a date range that includes all the time and materials for the job.

Watch the video and give this a try on your next project.

Track Time for Computer and Networks

My job is to maintain a computer network. Sometimes I get so frustrated with people breaking everything! But I love it and the network runs smoothly because I’m a rock star!

If it weren’t for me, and guys like me, there would be no network, except in research labs. We’re the guys that connect your servers to the web, connect your workstations to the servers, and install all your crazy apps. We make it happen.

And keep it all running.

We track our hours with Standard Time®. That’s where your client invoices come from. Those line items were tracked on an iPhone, sync’d with the cloud, verified on a desktop, and printed from the Web. I hooked all that up in an hour, and started tracking my time for you. ST has to be one of the best and easiest to use. Ask me about it some time. Maybe you can use it too.

Quick Questions: Billable and Non-Billable Time

When you’re a consultant, you log billable hours. No big secret there. But you probably also log non-billable hours for internal or administrative non-project work. After all, you want to keep track of all your time, not just the client billable hours.

Each time log in ST has a checkbox for “Billable.” That let’s you select between client work, and internal work. Actually… you might perform non-billable work for a client, so this checkbox doesn’t clearly designate non-client work.

To clearly differentiate between client and non-client work, you should create a “client” for your own company. Any time you log internal hours, consider using your own company for that time. Set up internal admin projects that are assign to your own company. Create non-billable tasks for those admin projects. When you log time to those tasks (under those admin projects) you’ll be logging time to your company. The “Billable” checkbox will be unchecked, plus the client will be your own company. That fully resolves the internal-verses-external client question.  It also means that client invoices will never contain your internal time and expenses.

Animated: Why Consultants use Standard Time

Consultants can use Standard Time® for their business. It is a great tool for client invoicing, task lists, project management, graphical timesheets. Use Android or iOS for the road and many other features. Check it out!

Consulting is a precise business. Customers must be happy, or they won’t come back for more. Rates must be reasonable and appropriate. And projects must be managed so status is always available for customers.

That is why consultants love Standard Time.

It does all these things without complaint.


Whiteboard: Customer Login and App

Is the client asking again? What’s the project status? What tasks are you working on? Is that big task complete? How about the other one? Do you think you can finish by July? No? How about August. September?

Every day, since January!

Why not let the client check project status without asking. The following video shows how.

There are two ways: 1. Let the client log into your project portal. They will see every project you’re doing for them, and the current status. They will see every time log and expense logged to a selected project. And 2. Let the client download ProjectBot from the Google Play Store. They can see all the same status down on their phones.

Quick Questions: Milestone Invoicing

Projects are often billed on a one-third, one-third, one-third method. Meaning that you bill 1/3 of the total amount up front, then 1/3 somewhere in the middle, and then finally 1/3 when the project is delivered.

Here’s an easy way to do that. Scroll down for the video

You just set up a milestone configured for a percentage of the project amount. Let’s say the deal is for $30,000. The milestone is set up for 33.333%. Multiple $30,000 times 33.333% and you get $10,000 (rounded up).

Each of the three invoices can use the same milestone. That makes fixed-price billing easy.

Whiteboard: Blocks of Support Time

Are you a consultant? Do you sell blocks of support time to your customers?

Then this video is for you. Scroll down to watch.

You should consider using project tasks to represent blocks of support time you sell to clients. Here how they work:

  1. You create a project task to represent the block to time
  2. Set the ‘Duration’ to the number of hours you sold
  3. Set the ‘Percent Warning’ to 75%
  4. Set the ‘Percent Error’ to 100%
  5. Assign the task to consultants who will be logging hours
  6. When the 75% limit is triggered, you will get an email
  7. Go back to the client and sell the next block
  8. When the 100% limit is triggered, you won’t be able to log any more hours

Sweetness and cool.  🙂

Whiteboard: Customize Client Invoices

While sending out invoices to clients why not customize them? Start with your logo. Then update the fonts and colors to your corporate style. Add some graphics and colored text blocks

The Standard Time® invoice templates are simple RTF documents. So all this is easy in MS Word. Once you have your client invoice the way you like it, all your new invoices will use that new format.

Interview: Customize Client Invoices

Make invoices your own with Standard Time®. Put your company logo, company style in every invoice sent out to clients.

Scroll down to watch the video

Invoice templates in ST at simple RTF documents.  That means you can edit them any way you like.  Open them in your favorite word processor and go to work!  Add your logo, motto, corporate colors and style.  Add anything you like.  When you’re done, save it in the Invoices\Templates folder.  Now you use it in ST.

Place these tags in your document to serve as placeholders for data.

[INV_NUM] Invoice number
[INV_SUBTOTAL] Total, before taxes
[INV_TOTAL] Total, after taxes
[INV_TAX_RATE] Percentage of tax on goods and services
[INV_TAX] Total taxes
[INV_DATE] Date the invoice was produced
[INV_PO] Purchase order number
[INV_TERMS] NET30, or other payment terms
[INV_DUE] Due date
[INV_REP] Representative
[INV_PROJECT] The project this invoice was billed against
[INV_SUBSYSTEM] The subsystem this invoice was billed against
[INV_USER] The user the time and expenses belonged to
[INV_NOTE] Note to display on the invoice
[INV_STARTDATE] Starting date range for time and expenses
[INV_ENDDATE] Ending date for time and expense records
[INV_TASK_DETAIL] A pre-built block that describes all the time logs
[INV_EXPENSE_DETAIL] Pre-built block of expense records
[INV_TAXID] Federal tax id of the consulting firm
[INV_ADDRESS] Address of consulting firm
[INV_CLIENT] Client name and address, displayed anywhere you like
[INV_TASK_TOTAL_ACTUAL] Total hours for all time logs
[INV_TASK_TOTAL_CLIENT] Calculated time log cost to client
[INV_TASK_TOTAL_SALARY] Calculated cost to consulting firm
[INV_EXP_TOTAL_AMOUNT] Total expenses
[INV_EXP_TOTAL_DISTANCE] Total distance for all mileage records
[INV_TASK_] Prefix for any time log field
[INV_EXP_] Prefix for any expense field
[INV_EMBED_RTF:] Prefix for embedding a report into the invoice