The Top 10 Things You Don't Bill For But Should

We've said it before and we'll say it again: When you under-charge, everybody loses. You have to take on projects you don't necessarily want to. You can't find enough time to relax, to recharge, to learn new things, to get out there and find great work that'll make you shine.
ToGa Wanderings cc
So what's the cure to a freelancer's disease? Raising your rates! Trust us, we know that the idea of charging more is scary. You're not alone. We've had those same nagging thoughts in the back of our heads too. "What if they leave me? I'll be broke!" "I can't afford to lose potential business." "Clients already push back on my hourly rate. They'll never go for an increase in price!" What if there was a way to get extra money, for free? Sounds like a crazy concept. Like we've had one too many "special" eggnog drinks this December. But the truth is, you can! Raising your rates doesn't just mean charging a higher hourly rate. It means charging for your expenses and charging for all of your time that you used to serve your client. Chances are, you're not billing for things you can and should be billing for (most people don't). So we've put together a list of the Top 10 Things You Don't Bill For But Should to help you get the ball rolling and get those rates up.
  1. Consultation calls
  2. Contract prep
  3. Thinking up & writing proposals
  4. Travel costs (milage, parking, even time to get from point A to point B!)
  5. Mailing, faxing, copying fees
  6. "It's perfect! Just one more thing.."
  7. PayPal fees (or other fees you incur when a client pays your invoice)
  8. Time spent answering "little" emails and "brief" phone calls
  9. Sales tax, if your state is charging you for it
  10. The time you spend having those brilliant ideas while on the toilet
We're not saying you have to come right out and say that you're charging for "toilet brainstorming". Call it what you want, but you should bill for that time. And all the other things. You already spend time on contract prep, consultation calls, and drafting up proposals. Why not itemize that work on your invoice? Those fees that come with having clients, they're not going to pay for themselves. Why not work them into your new, increased hourly rate? You may not know it, but you already have the tools to charge what you really deserve without feeling like a money-hungry dirt bag who'll lose all their clients. Undercharging hurts everyone (yes, even your clients). Charging for your time, and your expenses, now that'll results in a healthier, happier, more relaxed you. And that means better work for your clients. That's what we call a double whammy!
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