Charging by the Hour? Best Practice for Time Recording

Virtual Assistants often work on an hourly basis and charge a per-hour rate. Therefore, they must have efficient time recording tools and systems in place to ensure they are capturing all the work completed.

Having worked in a time recording capacity for a number of years, here's my best practice tips:


Charge your time in the moment

This means, charge your time while you're working, rather than manually adding blocks of time to your recording system after the work has been completed. Often when added manually, we forget how long we've spent on a task and record time inaccurately.

Record one client at a time

Try not to jump between different clients while time recording and instead, focus on one client at a time. For example, spend 2 hours recording work for Client A, and then spend another 2 hours recording work for Client B. You'll be much more productive this way.

Over quote, rather than under quote your time

This doesn't mean quoting 20 hours when you know the job will take 10 hours to complete. I mean, give yourself room for unexpected challenges and additional client requirements. It's better to overestimate the time it'll take you to do tasks, rather than underestimate and end up doing 2+ hours more work for free.

If you manage to finish a job with quoted time remaining, offer some additional support. This will demonstrate how efficient and proactive you are.

Record email correspondence, when applicable

Billable time is often lost when corresponding with clients by email or phone. For example, going back and forth to clarify project details can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the conversation. 

If you feel you've spent significant time on the phone or email during the week that wasn't accounted for, consider adding 30 minutes to your time recording at the end of week as 'general admin'.

As Virtual Assistants, we don't have the luxury of being paid for just 'being in the office', like we would if we worked for an employer/company. Therefore, all time spent on client work should be billable and taken into account.

For further guidance on time recording, including how long certain jobs/tasks take to complete, check out The Virtual Assistant Toolbox.