As a Virtual Assistant how do I log my work time and what should I include?
When you’re a virtual assistant managing time is complex, it’s so important to know how you are charging your time. How do you know what elements of your time you charge for? Do you split our your travel and thinking time on your timesheets?
This is a question that gets asked all the time over on my Cashflow VIP Group so I wanted to provide you with an overview of 6 things you should consider when looking at how you charge your time.
Virtual Assistant quandary:
It’s 06:30 on a rainy Monday morning and you’re just boarding the train to London for a full day meeting with a client.
If it’s a two hour journey each way which means you’ve spent four hours of your day travelling. Is it time wasted? Can you recover the cost? What should you charge the customer? What about the time you spent preparing for the day? Are these things you have factored in to your quote?
Problem is, we sometimes focus on recording the time it takes to perform the work but don’t account for the hours that contribute to doing the work. Things like travel time, thinking time, set up time and so on.
In my last post, I reviewed the Top 5 time tracking software and apps for virtual assistants which are all pretty good apps for recording tasks activities.
Virtual Assistants, are you charging for your time or your expertise?
Do I need to log my travel time on my timesheet?
What does your contract say about travel and expenses? If your customer requested the meeting and it means travelling to visit them, then record that time. What have you already agreed with the customer and is it reflected in your contract? Will you be charging that time at your usual hourly rate? What if the travelling time is out of core hours?
Do you know how much time you spent preparing for the meeting?
Let’s suppose your client asks you to prepare a presentation. You think it will take about 3 hours to finish.
How much time have you spent thinking about it, getting the theme and branding right. In the back of your mind you’ll be having ideas about the best way to present the story or idea. Have you included the cost for that time in your quote?
When you track your time, you get to know how much planning time you need for each task which is going to be important when pricing your work. Overlooking the invisible details costs money.
Does your virtual assistant use a timer? How do you know they aren’t charging you for distractions?
Distraction is one of our biggest time zappers and often, the most efficient way to get something done is to set a time limit in which to complete a task. Using a mobile phone timer is a great way to focus your thoughts and energy by challenging yourself to finish before the buzzer.
Is it normal practice to request a timesheet from my virtual assistant?
It’s perfectly normal if that’s what you’ve agreed to. As a virtual assistant, just be mindful of how much time you could spend logging time especially in circumstances if you’ve agreed a one-off price for delivering a project. Here it may be better to provide a weekly progress update instead of a list of tasks and time taken.
Why you need to get a grip on your time
Knowing how you are spending your time will tell you if you are being productive and efficient. You will discover if you need to build in more time to fulfil a job for a client and see if there’s any gaps to explain in your contract or terms and conditions.
Put clear terms and conditions in place to confirm expectations for both parties and everybody knows exactly what’s expected. A well-written set of terms sets you above the rest for your customer service.
You’re building that trust relationship with your customer because your customer knows what to expect from you and it’s set out from the very beginning.
Let it go, or delegate
And if there’s something that’s not adding value, zapping your time and stopping you from being productive, think about delegating.
Now over to you – I’d love to hear your thoughts on
- What elements of your time do you charge for?
- Do you split out travel time and thinking time, or charge a single price?
- Is there another element of your time which is invisible that you charge for?
Drop your thoughts in the comment section below