“There’s an app for that” – a clever slogan backed by absolute truth. There really is an app for just about everything. Even things that don’t matter. Like a game that awards points for leaving your finger on the screen, and an app that vibrates your phone while displaying an image of an electric razor.
By 2012, more than 400,000 apps were available in the Android app market, and it’s hard to imagine all of them being useful. Many apps appear useful but fall short of advertised promises. With so many duds in the marketplace, it’s refreshing to discover apps that add value to daily life. While there are plenty of apps that shine, this article covers a newly released app called GigEconomy that supports freelancers in getting paid – something many freelancers struggle with.
For a complete understanding, SetApp provides a detailed explanation including screenshots of GigEconomy in action.
Time tracking is crucial for all freelancers
Tracking time spent on a project maintains transparency between you and your client. It also enables you to hold clients accountable if you need to pursue remedies in court.
Time tracking equals fairness. If you charge $50/hour, and the project takes 100 hours to complete, it’s fair to bill the client for $5,000. If you didn’t track your time, a 100-hour estimate might not be accurate. Estimating time worked always gives somebody the short end of the stick and defeats the purpose of having an hourly rate.
Flat-fee freelancers should track time, too
Tracking time isn’t just for hourly freelancers. When you bill a project as a flat fee, tracking time gives you a realistic idea of how long it takes to complete your projects. For example, say you agree to charge a client $2,000 for a project that ends up taking 166 hours to complete. Congratulations, you’ve just earned $12/hour! You probably didn’t become a freelancer to earn a fast food wage. Tracking your time will give you the reality check needed to reevaluate (and raise) your fees.
GigEconomy – not your average time tracker
GigEconomy is an app that tracks time worked, but it’s not your average timeclock app. You can create individual instances for each client you work for, and define variables like hourly rate and tax rate. Then, when you’re ready, GigEconomy will automatically compile a professional invoice based on time you’ve tracked for each client. When your client pays up, you can mark invoices as paid right inside the app.
Before finalizing an invoice, you can add time manually or include extra expenses like supplies and software.
Time tracking forces you to set boundaries that get you paid
If you struggle with getting paid, tracking your time will inspire you to change how clients are required to pay you. For example, say you complete a project in 60 hours at a rate of $50/hour for a total of $3,000. Imagine sending an invoice and having to wait several months to get paid. In the meantime, your client has endless excuses, and you keep following up because your bills are overdue. Imagine that tracking the time you’ve spent making payment requests and sending new invoices reveals you’ve spent ten additional hours chasing that payment. Now your project has taken 70 hours to complete, and your hourly pay has dwindled to $42.
On smaller projects, the numbers look grim. For instance, a 10-hour project billed at $20/hour would cost $200. Spending an additional five hours chasing your payment slashes your hourly pay to just $13.
Seeing the reality of how much time you actually spend on a project will force you to charge clients differently. Perhaps it really is better to charge 50% up front, 25% on an agreed upon date, and the remainder within 30 days of completion. You may want to start charging late fees, too.
Professional invoices make clients take you seriously
Freelancers have an unfortunate reputation for being unprofessional. That’s not always true, but it’s a widely held perception, and one way to combat that perception is to create professional invoices.
No matter how great you are in Excel, your programmed spreadsheets will never look the same on a client’s computer. GigEconomy’s invoices are professional and accurate, which makes clients aware that you’re serious about your business, your billing process is fair, and you are trustworthy.
GigEconomy is available exclusively through Setapp and is currently available only for Mac.
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