Top 5 Reasons To Use
Minimum Billing Increments
What are Minimum Billing Increments? In short, your tiniest time "package." Most consultants & freelancers in the creative industries bill in 15 minute increments. That means if a client calls you for a 5-minute discussion, you'd bill them for 15.
5 Nothing ever really take a few minutes. By themselves, small tasks and "just one quick question" requests seem harmless. In fact, it seems hardly worth it to track small tasks, such as answering an email or making notes after a consultation call. But have you ever noticed how they travel in packs? A task may look like it'll take just 2 minutes… but how often does it actually take 15, 20, or even 30 minutes, when all's said & done?
So that you earn the amount you deserve.
Even when tiny tasks are truly tiny (and not, in fact, task icebergs), they add up. Small can be annoying to track, without a great time tracking tool… and that means you can't know how much of your precious time is being eaten up by these tiny little Time Termites over the length of your projects.
Fact: if you're not tracking even the small stuff, you're leaving money on the table, guaranteed.
To account for time spent switching from task to task.
Task switching sucks… it sucks time. (And productivity!) While we all think we can multitask, all the research shows that multi-tasking and task-switching takes a terrible toll.
Even if a task takes only 5 minutes, you lose up to 30 minutes of "flow" when you're switching modes, or get interrupted. Minimum billing increments help compensate you for this problem. Imagine this billing buffer as your Freelancer Life Line.
Minimum increments can also help train your client to batch their tiny requests, so you you don't suffer death from a thousand tiny cuts.
To help clients better understand your value.
The #1 sign of a bad client relationship? When they don't respect your time and your personal & professional boundaries. But that doesn't mean the client is bad. It's easy for even good clients fall into this bad habit, without the proper expectation setting, education, & reinforcement.
When you don't track all those extra little bells and whistles, your client has no idea how much work your results actually take. And when you jump to make every little change, right when they ask, they get the sense that you'll always be available and you have no other clients to take care of. Ergo, they undervalue your time… that one thing you can't get any more of!
Track all the little bits of work you do, then show your client the "big picture" on an invoice, and they'll understand much better the value you're providing them. (And educate them about minimum increments, and how to get the best value for money by batching their requests!)
To break freebie-giving-freelancer habit.
Maybe you're thinking, "What?! I wouldn't charge for 5 minutes!" right now. If so, you're not alone.
This is a super common mistake… don't feel bad! But please do consider our advice.
Remember that your clients hired you because you're good at what you do. Your clients trust you and want to benefit from working with you; they want the best results you can deliver.
When you give away your time willy-nilly, when you fail to use a minimum billing increment to track your time, you're lowering your own pay rate. And that means you'll earn less, have to take on more clients for the same amount of income, and that means you'll have less focus & attention & energy for each client.
You can't do your best work if you're overworked. Everybody will be pretty miserable in the end. And that's not doing anyone a favor! That's how freebies can hurt.
The Bottom Line
P.S. Don't know what your minimum billing increment is? We designed our time tracking software, Freckle, to help you figure it out. Freckle makes it quick and easy to customize your billing increments depending on your client and project situation.
At Freckle Time Tracking, we believe that everyone wins when freelancers like you charge what they're really worth. So for Freelancember, we've lined up lots of great gifts to help you do it! Keep checking back.Feeling guilty for not tracking your time? Freckle can help!