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How To Use the Retainer Invoice Calculator

When you use BigTime to create and send invoices to clients, you'll have access to a library of calculators that can tally invoice amounts automatically based on your chosen criteria. One of these calculators is the retainer invoice calculator, with which you can bill clients a fixed amount on a recurring basis for project work. If you plan to charge your clients the same amount on every invoice, rather than a fluctuating amount based on hours worked, you can use this calculator to create invoices with the same retainer fee every time. 

Before you can start using the retainer invoice calculator, you’ll need to import it from BigTime’s invoice calculator library. After you’ve successfully done so, follow the steps below to set up and use the retainer invoice calculator.


Setting Up The Retainer Invoicing Calculator

1. The retainer invoicing calculator is set up at the individual project level, so you’ll first need to navigate to your chosen project by going to MY COMPANY…PROJECT LIST and clicking on the name of your project.

2. In your project details screen, click the DETAILS tab and scroll to the bottom of your window. If you’ve already imported the retainer invoice calculator from BigTime’s calculator library, you’ll see a custom field at the bottom of your DETAILS window labeled RETAINER.

In this field, input the fixed amount you plan to charge on each invoice. Time entries can be included as line items on retainer invoices, but they won’t contribute to your invoice’s total. Expenses, however, will be added as their own separate charges, which will be added to the total determined retainer amount. As an example, a retainer invoice with a retainer fee of $5,000 and $200 in expenses will total to $5,200.

4. Once you’ve set your retainer amount, click SAVE CHANGES to apply your changes.

Now you’re ready to start using the retainer calculator to invoice for your project.


Using The Retainer Calculator for Invoicing

The workflow for creating an invoice using the retainer calculator is simple. First, follow the steps to begin creating an invoice like you normally would. Navigate to INVOICING…OVERVIEW and click the CREATE INVOICE button.

Then, select the project you previously added a retainer fee to.

In step two of the invoice creation process, you’ll select the calculator you’d like to use for your new invoice. Scroll down and find the option labeled RETAINER and select the bubble next to it. Click NEXT to continue to the invoice finalization window.

Now, you’ll see the line items for your retainer invoice as well as the total for your invoice.

The retainer fee line item fields will be locked. This is because those fields are determined by the amount you previously added in your project details screen. However, you can still make changes to your retainer fee amount in this screen. Look to the sidebar in the left side of your screen and you’ll see a field labeled RETAINER. Typing a new value into this field will change the amount of your retainer fee for your invoice. It will also change the retainer fee amount at the project level, meaning your new value will be applied to any future retainer invoices created for that project. 

Remember, your retainer invoice amount won’t count time entry fees, but if you have expenses logged for a project, those expenses will be added as their own line item and will be combined with the retainer amount to calculate the total invoice amount.


You can also create a WIP invoice with the retainer invoicing calculator. To do so, click on the WIP tile, and then click the hyperlinked amount in the WIP column that you’d like to invoice for.

In the pop-up window, click on the arrow next to the CREATE INVOICE button. Then, select CREATE RETAINER INVOICE from the picklist that appears.

This will take you to the invoice finalization window, where you can make changes to line items as necessary. Once you’re finished editing your retainer invoice, click the FINALIZE button to complete the process.

You now have a retainer invoice that you can send to your clients.

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