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Setting Up Billing Rates

If you've never created an invoice for a particular project/client before, you will need to set up that project's billing rates before you invoice. To do so, you must open up the project's dashboard from the MY COMPANY...PROJECT LIST page. Once you open up the RATES tab from your project's dashboard, you will see a screen that looks similar to the one shown here:

To customize the name of your billing rates (IE: “Standard”), adjust your company's lexicon.

Base Rates

Think of a base rate as the "standard" (firm-wide) rate-card that you are using for a project. Custom rates then are exceptions to the rate-card. In the example above, we are using the "standard" staff rate on this project, but we have created two exceptions to that rule.


Using Staff Base Rates

When your billing rate is based on the person doing the work, you are using a "staff rate". Every staff member in your system can have up to five base rates defined for them. On the page show above, you can then choose one of those five rates as your "base" rate for this project.

To learn about how staff billing rates work, check out this video.


Using Activity Base Rates

If the rate you bill at is based on the labor code you select when you log the work (no matter who is actually doing the work), then your base rate would be one of the activity rates. Just like staff members, each labor code in your system can have up to five billing rates attached to it. Then, on the page featured above, you can choose one of those five rates for this project's base rate.

To learn more about billing rates at an activity level, check out this video.


Using a Flat Base Rate

If you charge a flat rate per hour, you can also select that option from the base rate picklist. If you select this option, you will be asked to specify which flat rate you would like to use. In the example below, a flat-rate of $225/hour has been selected for this project.

Note: Learn how to update a bill rate, without affecting all of your prior rates.


Common Billing Rates

Your RATES window will also allow you to set common billing rates for your project. Common billing rates can be set and then shared across multiple projects, and it's required that you set one up if your firm plans to use BigTime's multi-currency for invoicing features. If you have a rate you'd like to apply to more than one project, you'll first need to create a new rate card for it by clicking the ADD/EDIT COMMON RATE CARDS button.

This will take you to a new window where you can add details about your rate card such as its name, associated staff member, category and currency. To learn more about the actions you can take in this window and how to create a common billing rate card, take a look at this article.

After you've created one or multiple common billing rate cards, return to your main RATES window and and click the GRAY ARROW in the SELECT COMMON RATES field. All the rate cards you created will appear in a picklist, and you can choose the one that you'd like to use for your project.

Custom Rates

In addition to the base rate and common billing rate, you can also set up an unlimited set of custom rates for each project in the system. Think of custom rates as over-ride rates that can be set up by labor code, staffer, task, etc.  

In this example, we've set up exception rates for two circumstances:  

  • We created a custom staff rate. Any time that Charlie Brown bills us, we will be billed at $325/hour.
  • We created a custom staff/labor-code rate. Any time that Linus Van Pelt bills to "architectural design", we will be billed at $75/hour. Note that whenever Linus bills to ANY other labor code, we will be billed at his "normal" rate.

Using Custom Rates As Your Default Rate

Some firms prefer to set up all of their rates as custom rates, since it's easy to copy those custom rates from project to project. In the example shown here, we've set up a custom rate for each of the five staff members on our project team.


Then, if you would like to copy these custom rates from one project to another, you can do so using "copy rates from another project" link (above the custom rates table on this page).


Keep in mind that you will need to adjust that custom rate if your "base" rate for any of these employees changes. You'll also have to update the custom rate table if you add a new staff member to the project.

If you want to learn how to apply flat or custom rates to staffers, jobs, or tasks, check out this video.


Using a Base Rate Instead

Using a base rate is much easier. Instead of creating custom rates for a project, you can create base rates in the staff area, thereby accomplishing the same goal and maintaining these rates in one location. Imagine a scenario where the following five staff members have their rates set up as follows:

Staff Member Standard Current 2015
James Bond $395.00 $300.00 $275.00
George Lopez $195.00 $150.00 $150.00
Megan Bernard $125.00 $125.00 $100.00
Thomas Edison $175.00 $125.00 $95.00
Roger Rodriguez $195.00 $175.00


In this scenario, since we've listed each of our staff members and given them a rate, we can set our "base rate" on the project to the "standard" rate.

Note that you can still set up custom "over-ride" rates, but those custom rates would be exceptions; everyone else would simply bill at their "current" rate.

By setting up rates in this way, you can manage rates in the staff list, and you don't have to edit/maintain them in every project unless you create exceptions in a project.

Billing Rates: Basic FAQs

  • Can I set up all of my projects to use the same base rate? There isn't a "default" base rate in BigTime, but the system is smart about selecting a base rate when you create a new project. It will use the base rate from other projects for the same client (or from the last project you entered) to set the base rate when a new project is created.
  • When are billing rates applied to time? Typically, a billing rate is applied to each entry as it's entered, then that rate is updated when you submit your timesheet. BigTime ensures that billing rates are updated to the current rate before each invoice is created.
  • If I adjust a project's rates, will invoiced time be adjusted? No, once time is linked to an invoice, the billing rate is frozen. You would need to click the "update rates" link on a specific invoice in order to update the billing rates on time attached to that invoice.
  • Can I update rates manually? Yes. There is an update rates button on the INVOICING...OVERVIEW page which will update the billing rate on ALL unbilled time in the system.
  • Are billing rates required if we don't bill in BigTime? No, billing rates aren't required, but they are extremely useful for reporting- even if all of your projects are fixed-fee or if you create invoices in your accounting system.
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