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how many hours billable work do you do?

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Trevor Ward
how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 29, 2008 at 2:28:14 pm

I have a small company and do a lot of work-for-hire jobs where I'm paid based on the number of billable hours I'm able to charge customers. meaning, checking emails, contacting new clients, installing software, etc. are not billable. Besides the fact that it's pretty difficult to churn out creativity 40 hours a week, I know I don't "work" 40 hours a week. I figure I average about 20 hours a week. Just like to know how much people work. Even if you're on salary, you still are probably only working a portion of your work-week as "billable" on projects. You spend other time on the cow forum or getting coffee.

-trevor ward
Red Eye Film Co.
http://www.redeyevideoproductions.com
orlando, fl


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Simon Roughan
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 29, 2008 at 3:03:41 pm

When Im getting coffee, the customer is paying for that too...



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Craig Seeman
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 29, 2008 at 3:27:14 pm

IMHO, if one is a small business in which one must wear many hats, one should have a business model which is based on 20-25 hours of paid work rather than 40 (unless you thinking working to burn out is a productive business model).

Depending on that hats you wear you need time for:
Marketing
Sales
Equipment Maintenance
Education/training
Accounting
Evaluating potential purchases

Just to name a few things off the top of my head. Keep in mind that 20-25/hrs must cover the cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment and software, office supplies, housing, food, utilities, insurance (both health and business), investment in business growth, personal luxuries to keep you sane an motivated.

I won't claim I'm successful at managing all the above but that's the goal. Set your rates too low and your setting yourself up for a failed business or burn out.



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Todd Terry
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 29, 2008 at 5:13:03 pm

There are five of us in my little company.... three of us full-time and two others who are technically contractors (the art director and a producer) who are not here all the time...

I'd say on average we probably bill about 60-80 hours a week, depending on what's happening. When everyone is in house, usually multiple suites are cooking at once... but if a big location shoot is going on often everyone is out of house on that, so it's harder to bill as many edit hours (one of the several reasons that shoots are more expensive per hour than edits).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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grinner hester
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 30, 2008 at 1:14:18 am

I've averaged billing 30 hours a week for the last 3 years.
I'm probably working close to that these days. Working from home has cut hours in half.



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Kris Merkel
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 30, 2008 at 3:21:43 am

I cut a 30 min. program every week and bill 30 to 40 hours depending on the complexity of the edit. I figure that anytime I am in my edit suite or at my desk doing business related activities, I am on the clock. This also includes delivery of the material and any production work I do at the clients office. I only charge 1/2 time for renders and compression passes. Ocassionaly I will throw in some Value Added "WOW" to keep my shows at the top of the pile. It helps for job security but mostly for self indulgence.


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Todd Terry
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 30, 2008 at 3:34:20 am

[Kris Merkel] "Ocassionaly I will throw in some Value Added "WOW""

Indeed, sometimes the "value-added wow" is worth it, even if you can't bill for it.

We recently did an industrial, and the client's budget was about $15K shy of what they actually wanted would have cost... so we pared down the project and did a lot of cost-cutting to get it within their budget. But in the end we actually added back quite a few of the elements that we cut (those that cost only our time) simply because they are a great client and we want to keep them happy... but also because our reel was a bit lacking in this exact type of project.

In this case giving away a few billing hours helped them quite a bit... and helped us a lot more as well.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mick Haensler
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 30, 2008 at 1:51:05 pm

My model is based on 20-25 hours billable on an average. Some weeks more, some less. I have to say, with this model, I have a sane life for the first time in over 10 years. I'm putting out a better product because I'm not burnt and I have the mind and time space to really listen to my clients. Life and business are good!!!

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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grinner hester
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on May 31, 2008 at 3:13:23 pm

there is the secret to freelance life.
The hours we have chosen are simply insane. I know you all know what I'm talking about. Because we can go two weeks without a gig, it's hard, we sometimes feel impossible, to turn a gig down. Because life comes n peaks and vallies, this means we go from those 2 weeks of unemplyment to not seeing out families in a flash and if not kept an eye on, too dang much.
My first year on my own, I had the world to set on fire. To properly torch it, it required about 80 hours a week of my time. Man, it was prosperous. I paid off an edit suite in a year while overcoming a non-compete lawsuite and juggling an outragous rent. Because I built things so that these hours were truley required, I did it without a thought and within a year or two, even with no fires to put out at work, I was finding it hard not to go in on the weekend. With a concious effort to reduce my hours and a struggle to do it, I had indeed become what they call a workaholic.
I found placing other requirements on myself to be the answer. It started out by us creating family night that I simply would not miss for any reason. For the first time ever I was telling clients "sorry, gotta go." at least once a week. That turned into my getting a life. I became a soccer coach, a cub scout leader, a teacher and ironicly, felt free enough to create more labors of love than I ever have. I cut my income into about a quarter of what is was. I cut my hours in half. I cut the strass into a wee small fraction and that and time with my peeps is what I purchased for that income hit.
money very well spent. I don't live to work. I don't even work much to live now.
I'm a bare-footed, middle-aged fella with a sideways grin. I make my own schedule and therefor, forfit the right to ever gripe about it. Aint much to gripe about. Think I'm gonna go biking today.



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Mick Haensler
Re: how many hours billable work do you do?
on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:26:53 pm

[grinner hester] "I'm a bare-footed, middle-aged fella with a sideways grin. I make my own schedule and therefor, forfit the right to ever gripe about it. Aint much to gripe about. Think I'm gonna go biking today"

Can I get an amen? I'm with ya Grinner.

A recap of a recent conversation with my mother in law.

HER: You know Mick you must work very hard when you first start a business. You must be prepared to put in long hours and take all the work you can get.

ME: Why?

HER: Because that is how you succeed you see.

ME: Says who?

HER: OH!! All the books on business tell you so. It's just how it's done

ME: How do you know?

HER: I have many friends who have been extremely successful in their businesses and they will tell you THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE.

ME: I would like to speak with them

HER: You can't

ME: Why not?

HER: They're all dead

ME: Case closed




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Steve Wargo
Billable hours?
on Jun 1, 2008 at 4:46:23 am

I knew I was forgetting something.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Nick Griffin
Re: Billable hours?
on Jun 4, 2008 at 8:45:21 pm

I probably average in the low 20's, but to get all the admin done a work week is closer to 60. That said this prompted me to look up an especially busy week last month and billable hours for a 7 day period added up to 35.585 -- 35 hrs 35 minutes. And yes, that was a week I had little time for the COW.


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