You can override the base rate for a project with custom billing rates. This article is all about custom billing rates: what they are and when to use them.
Before we get into the details, let’s define some terms:
Base Rate: Think of base rate as a “rule” that applies to a specific project. Here’s an example, “Staff, Rate A” is the base rate for our project, ABC Studios. When a staffer bills to this project, they’ll be billed at Staff Rate A—unless there’s an exception, which is explained next.
Custom Billing Rate: This is the exception to the base rate “rule.” Custom billing rates override any base rate. For example, our staffer, Charlie, has a staff base rate of $100. But he has a custom rate of $300 when he logs time to ABC Studios. Every time Charlie logs time to ABC Studios, his custom rate ($300) will automatically override the base rate ($100) for this project (see image below).
Types of Custom Billing Rates
There are several types of custom billing rates. You can create them based on:
- Staff Members,
- Categories (also called labor codes), or
You can also use these categories together. For example, we can create a custom billing rate for Jason (staffer) who’s doing consulting work (category). We can add as many custom rates as we’d like.
Keep in mind: A base rate that’s contingent on a column, like categories or task, must also be in the timesheet in order for the rate to calculate properly. For example, if you define a category for your custom rate (see image below), you also need to have “categories” appear in your timesheets.
NOTE: Instead of “tasks,” your firm may refer to these units of work as “budget items,” “phases,” “work items,” or “engagements.” And instead of category, your company may use “labor codes.” It’s easy to update the lexicon settings in BigTime so that the verbiage is firm-relevant.
We’ll explain the different custom rate options next.
Custom Rates: Staffer
A staffer may have a different billing rate than the base rate that’s been established for a project. For example, Charlie has a billing rate of $300, which is higher than the project’s base rate ($100). This is a scenario when you’d make custom billing rate for a specific staffer. Then, Charlie's custom rate will override the project’s base rate.
Custom Rates: Categories
You can create a custom billing rate based on the type of work that’s being done for a project, like consulting, editorial, or R&D. You’d do this when a type of work, like consulting, has a different billing rate than the base rate that’s been established for the project.
In the image below, “consulting” has a higher billing rate than the base rate established for this project, which is why we created a custom rate for it. This custom rate will be applied regardless of who selects it. In other words, any staffer for the ABC Studios project who does consulting work will have billing rate of $300.
Custom Rates: Tasks
You can also create custom billing rates based on tasks (units of work) you’ve created for a specific project. Custom billing rates based on tasks is a way to break projects into different parts and charge specific rates for each part. For example, we have a $200 rate for the “research” and $350 for “implementation.”
In the image below, “Blog Post” has a rate of $50.
Custom Rates: Use Values From Multiple Columns
You can create a custom billing rate that includes multiple categories, which will make the rate even more specific. For example, create a custom rate for a specific staffer and category.
In the image below, anytime Charlie (staffer) bills to consulting (category), his billing rate will be $150. However, whenever Charlie bills to any other category, the project’s standard base rate ($100) will apply. Put another way, if every rate criteria is not met, then BigTime falls back on the base rate.
NOTE: The most specific rate always gets applied.
TIP: What Happens if I Leave a Column Empty?
If you leave a column blank, that means the rate applies to everything and everyone in the picklist for each category (staff member, categories, or task).