In most of my freelance/contract work, I've been hired to work on a team of other contractors or temporarily as part of an in-house team. The company hiring me has always taken care of the project management end of things.

I am just starting a bunch of project-based work as a solo contractor for a company with almost no in-house resources... definitely not a project manager or anyone even close to that role. I'm not doing anything even close to what an actual project manager does, but I am creating schedules & project plans and setting up a Jira-like environment to track tasks, bugs, enhancements, etc for the various projects they've got me working on that is accessible to the stakeholders in the company that has hired me, which does take some time.

I'm conflicted regarding whether or not to bill separate hours for these types of tasks... especially since I have nowhere near the skillset (as it pertains to PM) of an actual Project Manager... and aside from demanding feedback and content from the company execs, I'm not managing anyone other than myself. I feel like in past situations I may have seen it added in as a line item on the final invoice as a percentage of the total hours, which kind of makes a bit more sense to me in this scenario. Is there an industry standard here?

2 Answers 2


I'm conflicted regarding whether or not to bill separate hours for these types of tasks... especially since I have nowhere near the skillset (as it pertains to PM) of an actual Project Manager

You should be billing for all of your time and for all of your work. It doesn't matter whether or not you're a "real" project manager and it doesn't matter if you call this work project management or something else. It's work you are performing for the client and you should bill for it.

I'm not a network engineer but if I install a network switch, router, or firewall for a client then I bill the client for that work because it is work I performed for the client and I should be paid for it.

Is there an industry standard here?

Yes. The standard is that you should be paid for all of the work you perform and for all of your time. There isn't a for-profit company in the world that is in the habit of giving their products and/or services away for free, and you shouldn't either.

  • thanks for the input. So when you invoice a client, you include a line item for project management? billed hourly or as a surcharge based on total hours?
    – Daveh0
    Jul 22, 2019 at 3:08
  • I bill hourly. I would add it as a line item for Project Management. It doesn't matter if you are a Project Manager or not. If that's what you call this task then call it out as such. I'm not a groundskeeper but if I mow my clients lawn I'm going to bill him for groundskeeping... to make a somewhat absurd analogy.
    – joeqwerty
    Jul 22, 2019 at 11:41

I would agree with joeqwerty in that you should bill for all of your work. I don't believe however it would be necessary to draw it out as separate billable time for "project management". I personally bill under single categories of consultancy - if clients have questions about my specific working (very rare if they are happy with the output) I always have my own time management workings available to explain where my efforts have been focus.

Your time/consultancy is all to be paid for regardless of your speciality and with their lack of PM resources clearly the expectation is that you manage this yourself; there's no need to separate it, how much time you spend on this vs everything else is secondary - so long as they feel the finished product is value for money.

It's another example however of being very upfront and thorough when agreeing a scope of works. If you're used to having schedules prepared for you then fine but you should clarify this during bids to avoid confusion and potential delays.

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