Blocks of consulting support time can be managed by project tasks. Create new project tasks for each block of time you sell.
"Do what? How can tasks represent blocks of consulting time?"
At first, it may seem odd to use tasks for blocks of support. After all, tasks are for to-do lists, right? Sure, but they can just as easily represent long-term work you do for clients. Each task holds all the information about a block of support time you sell to clients. Perform the work, close out the task, and sell another. Scroll down to watch the video, then scroll to read a little more on the subject.
Here is what you'll see when you use tasks for support time:
- Every block of time will be listed under the project (or client) you're working for
- The numer of hours is displayed for each block
- Actual hours burned is displayed
- Remaining hours, and percent complete, along with a grahical status bar
- Employees get a pop-up when blocks are nearing completion
- Managers get an email notification when it's time to sell a new block
- You'll see every time segment logged against each block
- You'll know which consultants logged the time
- All support time can be used on invoices
"Now I get it. Sweetness and love!"
Why tasks are the perfect tool for support blocks
Why are tasks perfect to represent support contracts? Because you have independant records for each one. Consider these task fields representing each support contract. You'll see each contract in a single line in the Project Tasks view.
- Name: the task name reminds you of the support contract you've agreed upon
- Duration: the number of hours you'll support the client
- Actual: the number of hours you have already completed
- Remainder: hour left on the contract
- Percent complete: how much is done so far
- Cost values: The total cost, amount earned so far, amount remaining, and salary amounts you can compare to client receivables
- PO number: keep this in a Text field for each task
- Completed: check this to indicate you've finished that support block
"So that's our list of customer support blocks?"
"Yep, every one. Right there"
How do I know it's time to sell the next block?
You're going to want to sell the next support block shortly before each one is complete. You'll need a little time to agree upon terms, set invoicing milestones, and do the admin work before the new block goes live. In the meantime, the old block is still in force. You can mark the old one complete any time, but it's best to keep it in force for as long as possible, unless the new block is worth more to you.
So how do you know?
There are two ways:
- You could look at the percent complete column. When a support task is nearing 100%, begin the sales process.
- You could set the '% Task Warning" field to 75%. When you've entered that amount of time, a pop-up will come up. You'll also get an email notification from the timesheet. Youi'll know the contract is nearing completion.
"We're going to like this"
Consultants like selling blocks of support time to their clients. In other words, you sell a fixed number of consulting hours that clients can use any time.
- Clients like it because they call whenever they need help
- You like it for the guaranteed revenue
Did you know Standard Time® has a feature just for that?
Here’s how it works.
1. Create a task for the block of consulting time you sold
2. Set the hours you’ve agreed upon
3. Set a warning at 75%, or any other percentage
Now start a timer for that task. You’ll be warned when the block of time is nearly finished so you can go back to the client for the renewal.
Standard Time. The consultant’s best friend.
Download to try it.