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Kathy Creaner
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Hi

Congratulations on the contract.

I’ve been contracting for nearly 16 years now.

Firstly, clock watchers will watch your hours whether you’re on a daily rate or an hourly rate. Forget about clock watchers. If you’re doing the right thing, there’s nothing to worry about. Keep records for yourself. The detail doesn’t have to go into the invoice but it’s handy to have when you’re preparing your invoice.

Secondly, there’s usually a maximum weekly number of hours, beyond which you will probably require approval before invoicing. Find out if this is the case. Don’t take it personally. It’s usually required due to a combination of managing their budget responsibly and managing their OH&S obligations to their workers.

I’ll stop numbering now ….

You are likely to require a signed timesheet each week. Check that out with the agency. It’s a good opportunity to touch base with the person who has the authority to sign the timesheet. Sometimes it’s the only time you get to speak to them, even briefly, so see getting the timesheet signed as a positive.

If you don’t know whether to bill your time for an activity or not (e.g. you do some personal chores on the way to a meeting or you spend half an hour talking to colleagues) ask yourself “Did I do this because my client required it?” If the answer is yes, then it’s billable. Sometimes the activity is part-billable.

Make sure you discuss billing for travel time with your boss. If you’re starting from home they might be willing to pay for the time it would have taken for you to get from the workplace to the meeting location. Keep in mind that you’re not entitled to be paid for your trip to work at the start of the day and from work at the end of the day.

As for putting in 14 hours on a day etc, make sure discrepancies such as that are easily explained. (Refer to OH&S above) Sometimes it’s easier to operate an internal “hours bank” where you keep track of your real hours and apply the overs and unders. Don’t get yourself into a situation where they end up owing you lots of hours. They can’t pay you for work done after the end of the contract.

Once again, good luck with it all.

Kathy