I’m going to discuss milestone billing. In other words, billing clients by milestone rather than just with a date range. A lot of companies will bill time and materials based on a date range from beginning of the month to end of the month or so on. But you might also do billing on a milestone basis. Like 1/3 up front, 1/3 at beta or in the middle and 1/3 at the end. That would be the topic of this video.
I’m going to start by going to the tools menu and choose projects. Milestones are done on a project by project basis. One project may have some milestones; another project may have completely different milestones and for a third one would have none at all. I’m going to click on a number of different projects just so we can bounce back and forth and take a look at those. Click on this project and if you look down in the list of properties you’ll see this billing milestones field. This one has four milestones. Click another project you can see that it has three milestones. These are completely different projects, different clients and we’re going to look at how the milestones are set up. So you can get an idea how to set those up on your own system.
Going here to this first project you’ll see four milestones. Click the … and that opens up a dialog box to see those milestones. These again are on a project by project basis. These milestones are for this project only. We’ve got three different types here although you see four. But the first one you see is time and expenses by date. This happens to be December, so you see December 1-31. That would be that month. All the time and materials collected for that month would then go into this milestone. Clicking on March you see the same thing there. These are basically the same time and expenses by date. If I click on this one now we’re looking at a percentage of projects. We see this field here has changed to percentage of project. If I click the drop down you’ll see the three different types; percentage, fixed amount and time and expenses by date. You get to choose the kind that you want. In this case it’s a third of the project; you’ve got 33.333 that ends up taking the amount from the project and cutting the third of that for the invoice. The last type is fixed amount. You see this drop down, fixed amount is chosen type in a number here and it’s going to bill that much.
There’s some other fields in here you fill in like the description. Most of these are not used on the invoice but some are. You’ve got the milestone date here that you could use. Some fields here related to the billing type. You also have some fields for customer acceptance. When the customer accepts the milestone and counter signed by an employee. When you talk about a third of the project you’re looking at a third of the amount that is shown in the projects. If you go down to the budget section you see this estimated cost, it would be a third of that. That would be one look at the milestones. Click another project here and we can see this one has three milestones. In this case we have a third at signing, a third at beta and a third at completion. They’re all set up as a third of the project.
Let’s get out of this and go over to the inset menu choose new invoice. So when I create an invoice I do have to choose the client and project and then you can optionally choose a milestone. If I clicked here and chose a third of the project that is going to show the sub-total based on that. If I chose fixed amount remember the 10,000 here. The milestone you choose is going to find the time and materials for that date range or it’s going to cut the amount by a certain percentage or it will just use a fixed amount. When you’re adding new invoices that is how you’re going to use those milestones.
Let’s just go back through this real quick. Tools, projects click on a project. Go to the billing section you’ll see the billing milestones. Back through to insert, new invoice then you’ll see the milestone field here. That should help you set up milestones for project billing.
Did you know that you can change the colors that are displayed for the projects in Standard Time®? Here’s a list of the projects along the left hand side of the timesheet. Obviously some of these are colored and if you switch over to the project tasks tab you see the same colors here. Instead of these wide blue bands, using the blue color, you see that these have some special colors. Consider possibilities where you might like to use color; like project status, for instance or priority. You might have a project that has no project proposal yet, it is just getting started. You set that to a certain color or you’ve got a proposal, the client has not yet accepted that. Or you’ve gone into beta or finished out the project. Different colors could signify different status of the projects.
Pretty easy to set these. If you go to the tools menu, choose projects, click on a project. You’ll have a section called extras and that may be expanded or collapsed, depending on your view. Click the plus symbol to expand it, you’ll see the color field, click … then you can set the color right here. Turns out that those colors are also used in the Gantt chart. Here you see the Gantt chart and you’ve got colors used for the task bars. You can even override those colors on a task by task basis. If you open up this task you can see the color field for the task and that would override the color for the project itself.
Easy to do this. You can set the colors to signify any status you’d like or priority, however you like to use these. You can also set the color back to the default. The default is this blue color. If I go back to tools, projects let’s choose the administrative project. We’ve got this orange color; click the … choose black, click OK. You see changes to default color, when I click OK now it has changed back to the blue. Easy to do. You can set these colors to anything you’d like. That may help you in some way.
Boss: You buried a front loader and left it there till spring? That was on rent for 50 grand a day.
Foreman: It may still be there but whatever… We needed something to fill the hole.
Boss: I gave you Standard Time® for your projects. Did you track your time and budgets?
Foreman: I gave everyone a 10 week paid vacation and brought in another crew. But a shoring box collapsed on them. So I hired more to replace the cripples. Now we have jousting matches with the boring machines.
Boss: Are you still using the track hoe as an amusement ride?
Foreman: The guys all love it. It got 900,000 views on YouTube.
Owner: I wish I had 50 foreman like him. He brings in snake charmers and everybody loves it when they get bit.
Boss: Are you crazy? Standard Time says your project ends in 2085 and it’s 19 Trillion over budget.
Owner: What’s Standard Time?
Boss: Your project software. Look at your computer. Standard Time www.stdtime.com
Owner: Relax its all government funded anyway.
Boss: He says you can bring in the circus entertainers anytime.