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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast Gods Lonely Man's Avatar
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    Question Charge for meetings/calls/emails?

    I recently got hired as freelancer programmer for a webdesigncompany. We have agreed on a hourly rate.

    Should I also charge then for the time that I spent meeting/talking on the phone, writing emails (concerning project statuses) that sort of thing?
    I have no capslock and I must scream....

  2. #2
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    You should charge for all the time that you legitimately spend on projects otherwise you will never make freelancing pay.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  3. #3
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Yes, charge for everything.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    In my contracts, I normally state that the first xx hours are included. Afterwards, I charge accordingly. You could have used that "meeting" time to snatch up another client or finish another job.

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    Yes.

    The only exception I make, is that if its a more neighborly/friendly kind of emails where its a rapid fire response or its the third email in a conversation and the business is already done and you're starting to chat about your weekend plans or something like that.

    And, if a customer buys hosting from me, I throw in 15 or 30 minutes of free time every month that they can use for anything. But I do use the timer in Freshbooks to account for that time, and after the free time is over they get billed the hourly rate.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard holmescreek's Avatar
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    Charge for everything, even consultations. With high gas prices you can't afford to run around everywhere -- then the potential client decides not to go with you. In addition, any ideas that you may give them during the consultation, they could easily hire a different company and provide them with your ideas.
    intragenesis, llc professional web & graphic design

  7. #7
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summer9 View Post
    Yes.

    The only exception I make, is that if its a more neighborly/friendly kind of emails where its a rapid fire response or its the third email in a conversation and the business is already done and you're starting to chat about your weekend plans or something like that.

    And, if a customer buys hosting from me, I throw in 15 or 30 minutes of free time every month that they can use for anything. But I do use the timer in Freshbooks to account for that time, and after the free time is over they get billed the hourly rate.
    I agree that there should be some degree of discretion in billing. For example, I bill on a 15 minute minimum but if a client calls with a 45 second question I'm not going to bill for that. Likewise, an occasional email or trivial thing won't get me billing. I don't expect my lawyer to bill me for a 30 second email and I'm not going to bill him like that either.

    A way to handle this is: try to consolidate e-mails and return phone calls associated with a particular client into batches. In other words, if I get 3 emails from a client over a 4 hour period, I'll usually ignore them until I'm ready to settle in and answer/handle all of them - then I can usually throw out a legit 15 minute billing entry without worrying about it.

    If you check your email every 5 minutes you will have a hard time being effective when billing hourly. After all, if you are on the clock for one client you shouldn't even be checking email from other clients. Focus is key!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard LiquidReflex's Avatar
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    I knew a designer that said "any time I spend even thinking about a client is counted as billable hours". While I wouldn't go to that extreme, if you are working with a client you do need to bill for time spent on their project.

    A client can easily chisel away at your available time if you let them. As others have stated, if a client calls once and has a quick question, I probably wouldn't bill them for the 2 minutes ... if they call 5 times with various 2 minute questions, then I'd be billing them for time spent. They need to understand that your time is valuable as well. If you give them a lot of free advice or attention, they will expect that every time.

    It's better to bill them for communication time up front and give them a break once in a while than no billing it up front and then trying to tack it on at a later time when it gets out of hand.
    Kevin Hauge : Modern Leaf Design : Follow Us on Facebook
    Client Axis v.08 - client / project management script

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Use discretion, if you take a 2 minute phone call and the rest of your hour was spend on non-client related tasks, I probably wouldn't bill that. However, any 10+ minute block of time that I work for a client, no matter what I'm doing, is billed.

    When we run billing reports, I occasionally decide not to bill an entry or two... but 95% of all correspondence, meetings and project management is billed.


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