How do I track my project rates, quotes and income?
With a little organization and planning, you can get as much satisfaction from quoting, invoicing, recording your expenses, analyzing your marketing efforts, and tracking your professional development as you do from editing or proofreading.
Setting rates and calculating quotes
With that in mind, I’d suggest asking yourself a few questions about how you currently quote—or how you'd like to quote, if you don't have much experience yet. There’s no one way to price a project, so think about what will work best for you:
1. Do you have any “absolute” amounts?
2. How do you estimate your working speed for each project?
3. How do you come up with a per-project quote for your projects?
4. What role do your clients play in setting rates?
Income: Record everything
Whether you’re using Excel or investing in online accounting software, for each project I’d suggest recording:
- The amount you quoted, and the amount you agreed on (if you reached an agreement);
- The project timeline;
- The scope of the work (e.g., copy-editing a 90,000-word crime novel); and
- Any other information about the project that you’d find it helpful to analyze.
For the projects you did work on, make a note of when the invoices are due so you can chase any late ones, and record your payment dates to keep track of your monthly earnings for tax and personal budgeting purposes.
This data is your foundation, and from it you can:
- Generate summaries of how much you earn from each client or from each editorial service you provide;
- Track what percentage of the quotes you provide result in paid work for you; and
- Spot trends, such as more “yeses” from potential clients when you quote a per-word rate versus a per-hour rate.
Bottom line: Mindful quoting and income tracking make empowered editors
More articles in this series
Check out Part 3, which addresses recording and analyzing the personal side of your business: tracking your work-life balance and your continuing professional development (CPD) activities.
Check out Part 4, which addresses tracking the time and money you invest in your business: the business expenses you declare at tax time and your marketing activities.