Best Practice - Handling Freelancer Time
We are often asked how to best handle your freelancers within fp. Based on our experience, we recommend one of the three options below.
Option 1 - Treat the freelancer like a vendor, or third party (external) expense
Much like you would handle a printing expense on your work in fp., you can handle freelancer work. If you also integrate your fp. system with QuickBooks, you would also sync the freelancer as an external expense to your QB system.
First, you'll need to be sure the freelancer is in your fp. system under the Companies module. Follow the steps to Add a Company, being certain to mark the freelancer in the Company Type field as either a Supplier, Vendor, Freelance or Partner. They will need to be this company type in order to pull properly to the External Expense form.
If you wish to add Freelancer, Partner or any other options to or from the Company Type list, do so under Admin > System Set Up > List Maintenance
Add a Contact to the Freelancer Company with the person's name as well. This way you can capture information like an email address, or personal contact numbers.
When building estimates that include the freelancer's time, enter the price the freelancer has quoted for you into the Cost field. In this case, Natasha has told us she will do the photos for $500, which we're marking up by 25% for the estimate. We now have $625 estimated for the photography portion of this potential work.
So assuming we do land the Job, and have been working away on it for a few weeks. Our freelancer Natasha has given us her invoice for the photographs. From the Financials tab of the job, and on the row for Photography, click the + button.
We'll land on the External Expense form, with much of the data populated for us already. What you'll want to do is now:
1) Enter the name of the Freelancer.
2) From the Invoice from the Freelancer, enter the number of hours, and their hourly rate. In this case Natasha's invoice was for 6 hours, at a rate of $80/ hour.
3) Optionally use the Total Override field to control the amount you Bill to Job.
Click Save when ready.
Navigating back to the Financials tab for the job, we can see the 6 hours of freelancer time, for a cost of $480. Clicking the name/date of the Expense will take you back into the detailed view, from which you can make changes as needed.
You will have the option to not include it on the Invoice as needed, by simply un-checking it on the Invoice page.
If the freelancer expense is not on the estimate/ job, but still needs to be created, you still add it on. Just choose Expenses from the main navigation bar > External > Add Expense. .
You will then land on the same expense form as in the steps above, but not have any information pre-populated. We do recommend you edit your estimate to include freelancer work, rather than create an expense without estimating for it
Option 2 - Add the freelancer as an individual staff user to your fp. system
If you'd like your Freelancer to track time in your fp. system, they will need to be added in as a user. If you integrate your fp. system with QuickBooks, using this method would mean there would be no Freelancer expense to sync over. As such, when the Freelancer invoices your agency, you would enter that only into your QB system, and pay the Freelancer from there as a Vendor. You can use fp. to compare the hours the Freelancer tracked, to the invoice they give you later.
In order for your Freelancer to be able to track time in fp. they would need staff level access. Using this option, instead of adding the Freelancer as a Company to your system, you would add them as a Contact under your own Office, being sure to mark them as "Staff."
You can give your freelancer a license/ seat to access fp. by either (A) contacting us and having us add an additional license/ seat to your account for a small monthly fee or (B) switch out a current staff user, who may no longer need access, and give their seat to the freelancer.
Once you add the freelancer as a staff user, you'll need to give them a level of system access via Permissions. We'd recommend you give the Freelancer the Basic Permission Set or something similar. Most likely you will just need the Freelancer to login to fp. to track their time.
Send the Freelancer their login credentials, and let them know what your expectations are regarding how often and to what level of detail they record their time. Natasha can then login, customize Dashboards, Pin Notes, see Jobs, and see Tasks Assigned to her. She can also track time.
Once Natasha's time is in fp., it can be billed back to the client as part of your Actuals, or just monitored to ensure it does not exceed your budgeted time. You can pull reports on this time in the Timesheets module, or see the time at the Financials level of any Job.
Option 3 - Add a license to your fp. system to be shared by more than one freelancer
If you have several Freelancers, and do not want to give them each a seat/ license in fp. you can choose to have them all share a single seat. As above, this seat would still need to be set-up, but rather than naming the user with a traditional first name/ last name, we could name them as Freelance Users, or Freelance Staff - or something else you deem better.
Again you would need to make sure this user is marked as the Contact Type "Staff."
You can then add this new user to the Admin area, and create a Username and Password.
Give the user a set of permissions, so that they can login and track time. The Basic User Set is recommended.
Send the Freelancers their login credentials, and let them know what your expectations are regarding how often and to what level of detail they record their time. You might want to suggest something like having the Freelancer note their name or initials in the timesheet details, as this is a shared seat.
Once Freelancer time is in fp., it can be billed back to the client as part of your Actuals, or just monitored to ensure it does not exceed your budgeted time. You can pull reports on this time in the Timesheets module, or see the time at the Financials level of any Job.