Logging unbillable time

In any business where you sell your time, it’s absolutely critical to know how much time you spend that you  can’t charge for! When you track time that you can't bill for, we call that unbillable time.  At Freckle we think that unbillable time is just as important as billable time.  So we created a little something we like to call, unbillable tags.

What are unbillable tags?

Unbillable tags are special tags that help you mark your time entires as unbillable.

They look like any other tag—hash sign ( #) at the beginning, no spaces — except that unbillable tags are followed by an asterisk (*) and they make the entire entry unbillable.

Creating unbillable tags

There are two ways to create an unbillable tag:

  1. Write the tag in your TAGS OR DESCRIPTION field (last field), like any other tag, but add an asterisk (*) to the end of it.
  2. You can also edit an existing tag to make it unbillable by adding an asterisk (*). Just remember, that will affect all existing entries with that tag!

These are examples of unbillable tags you might like to use/create.

  • #invoicing*
  • #initial-consultation*
  • #pre-sales*
  • #internal*
  • #consultation_call*

Getting the most out of unbillable tags

You can track your unbillable time in a few different ways with Freckle.

With one approach, you may have several tags which define different types of unbillable activities, for example:

  • #initial_consultation*
  • #invoicing*
  • #marketing*
  • #travel*
  • #pre-sales*

With this method, you can be very  specific about what type of unbillable time you are tracking, in one go. You’ll have an easier time seeing how much time you spend on pre-sales and initial consultations and you'll be able to better track your return on investment.

Using many different unbillable tags helps you keep track of unbillable tasks that  eat up your time, so you can patch up holes that are sinking your money ship!

With the other approach, you take advantage of the fact that a single unbillable tag “taints” the whole time entry and causes it to be unbillable. You might have only one or two tags that indicate an entry is unbillable, and use those in every case.

Then you can log a time entry like this:

  • #wireframing #internal*

This approach is best if you like to keep your use of tags to a minimum, and  especially if you have cases where the same work (e.g. wireframing) could be billable—or it could be unbillable.