How to Track Your Time and Increase Your Web Design Income
By Conrad Feagin
Let’s say you’re getting to the point where you’re a whiz at quickly building quality websites. That’s the fun part of web design.
However, if you want to increase your income, you have to look at web design as a business. And, pricing is an important part of that business.
There’s no easy answer for how much you should charge for web design projects, but the first factor you have to consider is how long it usually takes you to complete a website.
Do you even know?
Unless you actually log your time, you’re simply guessing.
When you sit down to work on a project, look at the clock and mark down the time. Log out when you break for lunch. Don’t forget to log back in when you begin work again. That sounds pretty simple, right?
Of course, you’re probably juggling more than one project at a time.
You may work on one project for a short while, then realize you need the client’s logo and other information to continue. You send a reminder e-mail to that client, then turn your attention to another project.
Then, you’re interrupted by a call from yet another client and spend some time answering his questions.
Writing down that you worked three hours before lunch isn’t helpful.
You must keep track of how much time you spent on each of the various projects. Yes, that makes it a little trickier.
If you’re getting a lot done, you don’t want to break your creative flow to log transitions from one project to another. If you’re on a tight deadline, the last thing you want to do is add another task to your day.
Well, check this out:
Getting $500 for one web design project may sound like good money. If it took you 5 hours to complete the project, you grossed $100 per hour, but…
If it took you 10 hours, you made $50 per hour…
If it took you 20 hours, you made $25 per hour…
If you misjudged how complicated a project would be, how much time you’d have to spend on the phone with the client or if they wanted to make more changes than you planned for, you might end up putting 70 hours into the project – and you wouldn’t have even made minimum wage.
Now that $500 doesn’t seem so sweet. That’s why you must keep track of your time.
Once you have completed a time log for your web design project, you’ll be able to see how much time it really took you to complete the project and how much you’re making per hour.
Then, you can use the data to decide how much to charge on your next web design project.
Right now, take the first step to having a profitable business as a web designer: keep track of your time.
Here are 3 free tools you can use to start tracking your time now:
1. Toggl is time tracking software you can use anywhere – on your computer or phone. They have a free plan and it takes less than a minute to sign up and start using it.
2. Harvest is very similar to Toggl. It also has a quick signup, mobile version and a free plan. Although, their free plan limits the projects and clients you can track.
3. Colorhat also has a free option and it allows you to track your time, manage projects and send invoices.
Of course, you could always use something as simple as a pen and paper. The point is that you know how much time you’re spending so you can price your projects correctly.
To learn more about setting up and running a profitable web design business, like pricing your services, managing your time and getting top-notch clients, sign up here: