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Is it ok to have 40 billable hours per week? Would it seem weird if I bill 40h per week? Most freelancers I read online report 5-6 billable hours per day. What is the standard practice?

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To be honest, I don't understand the quandary here.

If you are working 40 hours a week, invoice for 40 hours a week for a client. If you are not working 40 hours per week for a client, invoice for the time you are working.

Or are you asking if it's okay to invoice for 40 hours when you aren't actually working 40 hours? If that is the actual question, then no - again, invoice for the time you are working.

Note that the time you spend managing your freelance business, i.e. handling client emails, sending invoices, responding to inquiries, etc. is not time you should be invoicing clients for. That time amounts to a business expense for you and never a client expense.

  • What about the time spent to email that specific client? Or providing estimates for that specific client? Does that account as billable hours and if yes, should I specify this in the contract? – James Kroning Sep 11 '17 at 19:18
  • General emails are merely client relations and not billable. Emails related to a project may be billable. It depends upon the content. Quite honestly I've never even considered billing anyone for emails - it seems like overkill and would be clearly trying to squeeze every last dime out of a client. – Scott Sep 11 '17 at 20:45
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If you are working on-site with a client, the U.S. standard is 40 hours. If you are working offsite:

  1. If your FULL workday tracks along with the regular workday of a client's internal staff, bill eight hours. Day to day, subtract any "irregular" blocks in which you're not working (running errands, doctor's appointments, etc). This is usually acceptable.
  2. If you're doing piecemeal work offsite, bill for the time you're working.

With all these, you may choose to round to hour, half-hour, or quarter-hour increments. However, in any case where you're actually working over 40 hours, bill for ALL the time worked.

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If you are freelancing on an hourly rate then the aim is for every hour you work to be billable. If you work 40 hours, then bill it. If you work 60 hours then bill that, although make sure you can justify it and that your client is ok with you racking up more than a standard weeks hours on the project. They may well have budgeted for a normal working week.

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