You are viewing an archived version of this website. Go to home page.
Spoiltchild Design

Losing money time and again

Continuing on the Tuesday push initiative.
Managing designers is like herding cats, you can lead them… ooh! that’s shiny… sorry where was I?
As designers we tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to do something. I believe it is because we love what we do and as the saying goes time flies when you are having fun. I am sure if we were filling forms for a living we would be counting the minutes.

On a personal level that is fine. But professionally it will not do. It effects how long you think a job will take. Which has a knock on effect to delivery times and client relations. Cash flow gets hurt as well as what you are invoicing for at the end of the month. Your first instinct is that you must work harder to deliver on time and bring in more money. What you should be doing is working smarter.

This year Spoiltchild has been on a mission to focus and become better and more efficient at what we do. For the last six months we have been looking closely at our time and ways to track it better. We have tried paper, excel sheets, web apps and big sticks all to varying levels of success. What we have recently settled on is 1Time Tracking, a web based time tracking system.

I was pretty amazed at what I found when I began tracking my own time. As a manager of the team I got to see a realistic report of how much actual design time I have each week. A figure which was much less then I expected. Which would explain all the late evenings I was having to put in to complete the workload I was taking on.
But perhaps even more scary was what the team as a whole began to see. We were loosing out on a large hunk of money each month for work we were just not charging for. You got to see just how much little jobs and tweaks and were adding up to.

How it works is simple. You add in your clients and projects (or simply import all these from Basecamp as we did). Keep a browser window open through out the day with 1time open and record all your activity throughout the day. The big stick comes into play at the end of each day as 1time automatically send out an email reminder to each of the team if they forgot to record their time.

It sounds simple and it is however not every application out there manages to do it right. And trust me we tried a lot. 1time succeed in not getting in your way and providing you the information and options when you need them. It’s not perfect by any means. Having tried a few of the competing applications in this space there are some features I would very much love in 1time. First of those would be a desktop widget/timer. But overall 1time offers a fuller set of functionality then any I have tried and it better suited us as a design and development company. And Derek Organ, the main man behind 1time was nice enough to listen to my feature requests and let me know they are coming soon.

So thanks to 1time we are now:
Charging properly for the work we are doing.
Estimating our time better.
Getting a better overview of what we are all working on.
Have happier clients.
And a happier team as we can all manage to get home on time.

We stated off on the free plan to try it out. When we liked what we found we upgraded to a paid plan to give the entire team access.

  1. Thanks Alan for the post. We are working hard on the timer extenstion. I’ll update you as soon as we have one.

    Derek Organ    Jul 16, 08:50 AM    #