A Small Business Guide to Billable Hours

what are billable hours

Accurate timekeeping also helps law firms set proper pricing strategies and billing metrics. Hourly fees are still the standard model of work for lawyers and law firms. That said, it’s time to move on from the traditional time tracking strategies, to find a way to optimize the process.

Lawyers, along with other legal professionals, spend a lot of time on multiple tasks, each task usually relating to one client. As a result, it is most productive to charge clients based on their time spent working rather than charging them for each activity. In your law practice, there is nothing more valuable than your time. Although many law firms utilize a billable hours chart to calculate hours, this tool is limited and does not directly track time. Legal practice management software is far more effective in tracking all of your time – and then automatically calculating that time for you. Because tracking is done as you go , you won’t miss out on opportunities to bill. With just a single click, you can bill your clients for tasks and communications.

Track, record, and add up billable and non-billable hours

Non-billable hours are hours that a law firm’s client should not pay for. These include truly wise time investments such as continuing legal education, networking, and rainmaking, for example. Non-billable what are billable hours hours also include timekeeping , other administrative functions, and errands, for example. Accurate management of your billable and non-billable time as well as costs is the answer.

If you review missing time once a month, it is very easy to lose track of time . Many law firms have an accounting or billing person do a review or audit each Monday to track down any missing time from the previous week. When new lawyers https://www.bookstime.com/ and law students ask and do the math on “How many billable hours in a year will I be expected to work? It can seem very difficult to track that time, especially when almost every minute at work must be productive and profitable.

The disadvantages of non-billable hours

Instead, this is the money they pay to cover any extra expenses that may have accumulated on their behalf during the project. By making some small adjustments to your work schedule, you can enhance the number of billable hours you collect at the end of each day. Many industries bill their clients based on time, usually based on how many hours they worked. Ranging from law to advertising, several sectors of work use this form of charging a client. Before a business, agency, or freelancer starts working with a client, they must first come to an agreement on the rate charged per hour. Work of higher quality or precision, and done by prestigious or well-established businesses, tend to be more expensive.

  • In this case, the best solution to lower these non-billable hours is automation.
  • A time tracking policy can ensure time spent on non-billable tasks does not get out of control.
  • However, tracking the times you start and end tasks for each project as they happen will be more beneficial at the end of the month.
  • You’ll also be able to identify which clients or projects use more of your time than others and adjust your rates accordingly.
  • You can use cloud-based time tracking solutions that allow you to track your billable hours easily.

Run a successful, client-centered law firm, you need to prioritize your client’s experience. Have clear policies to explain rates and billing practices to clients from the start. Communicating clearly can help manage clients’ expectations regarding billing and payment. Sometimes clients may complain if you add non-billable hours to the invoice even though the hours were spent indirectly for the client’s benefit.

Calculating your billable hour’s percentage

However, you don’t want to spend too much time on creative accountancy to figure out what your revenue should be. However, it will impact the project’s overall timespan and how much revenue will be generated monthly. Let’s say that you have a software team of 4 full-stack developers, two designers, and one QA tester their work is billed differently. Additionally, you will know how long each person would take to complete a task or a project. In the client’s case, you can also identify what their cost is to you. It’s used by major companies as well as small-medium businesses like to optimize their business efficiency. Doing this will ensure you stay organized and help you understand exactly how much to charge your client.

  • Policies, training, and incentives are often created to improve the utilization of billable hours.
  • Identify and calculate billable hours for each task and project with ease.
  • These calls are tracked and automatically recorded as billable events, and your firm’s attorneys can also automatically capture text messages as billable events.
  • Track every minute you spend working on a client’s project to increase your billable hours.