Timesheets are fine, they make more money

Naďa Šolcová
October 22, 2020

Timesheets, or filling them out, is not exactly the most popular activity among people in agencies. It’s a little better in the top management of agencies, but even so, some of them are unable to demand timesheets from their people. Before I focus on a theoretical defense of why we should like timesheets, I will try to mention a few reasons that could change that. Timesheets that are filled in correctly, are your business friend. But first, let’s look at two practical examples.

First example – “Barter”

The management of the shopping center which we have been cooperating with for some time once tried to force a fixed monthly fee on us. There would be nothing wrong with that if the proposal did not sound something like this: “We will give you 200,000 per month, and your team will be fully available to us at any time. Of course, there is no production in the price; it’s only hours.”
We tried to explain that this was a risky solution for both parties. Because the volume of work had not been defined in any way, we knew from past experience that sometimes the work was far more than compensated for by the fee, while at other times it was less.
The turning point in the negotiations came when we finally proposed something like this. “Well, if our team is fully available to you as you need for 200,000 per month, then we’ll pay you 200,000 every month and take what we want in your shopping mall that month.”
In the end, we agreed that we would work as required, the client would pay for all the actual hours worked, and we would send a list of weekly timesheets so that the client could regulate his budget in real-time. The positive news at the end of the year for us was that in total, we made significantly more than 200,000 a month, and the client was satisfied and wanted to continue working in this way.


Second example – “Leaflets Attack”

We once made a mistake and made an agreement with a client who planned to produce a very large number of leaflets every month. We agreed that we would charge a fixed amount of a few thousand for one leaflet for DTP work. The volume of the order was fulfilled, and there were so many leaflets that the creatives started to call the team “Leaflets Attack.”
The worst part was that the number of corrections, comments, and especially their submissions, were not submitted all at once, but gradually, which led to the fact that on each leaflet, instead of a profit, we suffered a loss according to the timesheets.
With accurately recorded hours worked during a few weeks’ time, we went to a meeting with the marketing director of their contracting department. It was one of the fairest meetings I have ever experienced. The client saw that the price increase was due to the lack of his team’s coordination. He paid us for the extra hours spent in excess of the original plan, and he promised that not only would they pay according to the actual time used, but that he would also make sure his team commented on the work more effectively.
This was due to the small number of corrections that had to be made. The client was satisfied with the price, and our people with the fact that they did not have to make corrections hundreds of times to one leaflet. It was a win-win situation for both sides.

Why the timesheets are not popular?

I think that timesheets are not very popular among people, because they have little communication about the benefits that the company and, ultimately, its team can benefit from filling them in correctly. When it comes to timesheets, a lot of people think it’s a control tool of what they’ve done. But why should it really bother those who work honestly? In the end, probably no one in the team wants those who do nothing and others do the work for them. Neither the boss nor colleagues.

Here are a few reasons why you might like timesheets. And these are reasons not only for bosses.

  • we know how much time was actually spent on the Job
    • if we have a good agreement with the client, all hours worked will be paid to us
    • and we can correctly price other similar Jobs
  • we know how much time has been spent on the Job at the moment (when the Job is still in progress)
    • we can modify the time demand, either by “slowing the team” or by negotiating a price increase with the client
  • we know how time demanding and profitable each client is and what the fee should be for him for hours worked in the future
  • we know how busy individual team members are and it allows us to know to whom we can add new clients or projects and to whom we cannot
  • we can clearly record and reward the exceptional performance of the best members on the team
  • over time, we will have an internal benchmark of the average time demand of individual workers, which allows us to perform better with deviations from this average

In short, timesheets help you make more money. More profit means better rewards for your team… That’s why you should like timesheets.


How popular are timesheets in your agency?

If you are not sure if you need to discuss the topic of timesheets with your team and support them with your people, try asking people to email you 1 – 3 reasons why to fill in timesheets. This will immediately show you how you are doing and whether or not further explanation is necessary.


What if I have nothing to report?

There is one more important personal thing about timesheets, and it is definitely about communication. If people fill out their timesheets honestly and according to what truly transpired, it can sometimes shed a light on whether or not someone is not fully occupied. People are generally afraid to admit that they have nothing to do, not once but repeatedly. However, in the right type of company, they shouldn’t be afraid to tell their boss this because it’s ultimately his responsibility that his team is adequately occupied and productive.


So, in a good company, there is always something useful about timesheets

Last but not least, it is important that people do not take too long to complete timesheets. It can cause your team to dread them and avoid correctly filling them out.

In Teamogy, you can fill in timesheets very easily and quickly, and it can even be performed in multiple places. Read more in the article “Timesheets easily and quickly.”



Naďa is a member of the management team for AD-IN-ONE Europe. She specializes in coaching and marketing communication. She is a certified coach of ICF and ČAKO and the holder of the Direct Marketer of the Year award bestowed by the ADMEZ Association. She has been involved in marketing for over twenty-five years and coaching for the last seven years. In her free time, she enjoys sailing and is an active fan of modern gymnastics, which she participated in during her youth.

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