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Customize Your Cost Rates

Cost rates can vary depending on the task: a staffer’s cost rate is higher for a programming task than an editorial one. Custom cost rates accounts for this.

You’ve set up a cost rate for each staffer on their Staff Dashboard. Think of this rate as the “rule:” it’s applied when staffers log time to any task. However, custom cost rates are the “exception” to the “rule.”

Jason’s custom cost rate is $100, when he logs time to the “website design” task, and $120, when he logs time to the “write report” task, both for project E5 Partners LLC. These custom rates override the cost rate you set up on the Staff Dashboard.

NOTE: Instead of “tasks,” your firm may refer to these units of work as “budget items,” “phases,” “work items,” or “engagements.” It’s easy to update the lexicon settings in BigTime to accommodate your firm’s needs.

This article will explain how to navigate to the custom cost rates feature and how to create custom rates for staffers.


Navigate to Custom Cost Rate Setting

First, we’ll navigate to the custom cost rate feature. Then, we’ll add some custom rates.

1. Click MY COMPANY...PROJECT LIST from your navigation bar.


2. Click on a project from your Project List, and the Project Dashboard for that project will populate on the right-side of your window.

3. Click on the RATES tab.


4. Click COST RATES.

We’ll add several custom cost rates for this project next.


Create Custom Rates for Staffers

Assuming you followed the steps above, your window should look like the image below. If so, continue on to create a custom cost rate for a staffer.


Let’s create a custom cost rate for a staffer to see what each field is and does. We’ll move left to right.


  • Staff Member: Click on the red triangle and select a staffer who you want to create the custom cost rate for.

  • Category: Click on the red triangle and select an appropriate category. Think of this field as the type of work a staffer does (eg, consulting, R&D, QA testing, and editorial).

  • Task: Click on the red triangle and select the task that you want to apply the custom cost rate to, such as “website design.”

  • Rate: Type in the custom cost rate you want to add.

  • Effective Date: Click into the field under “Effective Date” and a calendar will populate. You’ll want to select a date. This date tells BigTime when the custom cost rate will take effect. This field defaults to today’s date. So if you want the custom cost rate to take effect in the future, then be sure to make the change.

  • Prior Rate: Type what the original cost rate was for the staffer in this field. Any time logged before the effective date will apply the prior rate. The prior rate in our example above is $80 and the effective date is July 6, 2018. So any time logged before July 6 will use the prior rate, $80.

NOTE: If you’re adding a custom cost rate, be sure to add a “prior rate.” If you leave this field empty, then BigTime will apply $0 to time logged prior to your effective date.

After you add a custom cost rate, click SAVE CHANGES to save your work.

Click the REAPPLY RATES button to apply your current cost rates. You’ll only have to click this if a staffer’s hours have been submitted and you want the custom cost rates to apply to the submitted hours. If a staffer’s submitted hours have been invoiced, then the custom rate won’t update.


You don’t have to fill out each field to use the custom cost rate feature. In the image below, we created a custom cost rate for our staffer, Charlie, without specifying the category or task. When Charlie logs time to any task to this project, his custom cost rate is $70 effective on January 9, 2023.

NOTE: This feature won’t reapply rates for time already invoiced.


Finally, it’s important to note that you can create multiple custom cost rates for your various staffers. We can return to this window and adjust the rates and/or the details associated with the rates at any time.


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