You’re a business owner who spends a great deal of your own time working with clients. You move from one project to the next. You are constantly thinking about and moving forward on projects, but you don’t always track the specific number of hours you work on any given project. Why is this important? If you are getting the project done on time and your client is happy, why should you add the step of tracking your hours? What you may not realize is that you could be giving yourself away by not doing so.
What Does Your Contract Say?
Many architectural or engineering contracts will include a specific number of estimated hours for the project. If this is present in the contract you signed and you cannot document the hours worked to the client, concerns can come up. Your project could be put on the line as a result. You may not have encountered this yet, but it could be a clear reason why a project fails later.
How Much Are You Earning Per Hour?
Many architects and engineers offer by-the-hour rates to clients. This can be a very good thing. You know your hourly rate. Yet, when you are working on a project that is not paid by the hour, how much are you actually making on it?
It’s quite common for individuals to see a project as a total investment and payday. Yet, that project may not be as lucrative (or even worthwhile) if you are spending too many hours on it. For example, your project may pay a specific fee at completion of various milestones. If the project is difficult, you could be investing so many hours that any hourly rate is virtually nothing. Is the project really worth your time?
Prove Your Worth
Even those with fantastic clients often find themselves dealing with delays and budget overages. The client wants to know why. If you have done the work of tracking your hours, you have a very clear description of the reasons. If a project is going to overrun the budget and you need to get more compensation for your investment of more labor, you need to clearly show the client why this is the case. If you can pull up a record of the hours invested, you can easily demonstrate this need.
If you have not done so yet, now is the time to invest in time management and tracking software that makes the entire process of tracking your project hours easy to do. It does not have to lead to more time invested in paperwork. It can be done digitally from any location too. The key is to find a software program that achieves your goals and simplifies time tracking.