Posts Tagged ‘save time and money’

How to bill out your time

June 4, 2015

One of the first things new clients ask is ‘how do you charge out your time?’ so I thought I would write a blog post on this.

I have also created a video blog here

There are several ways in which we bill out our time here at AM PM PA.

  • Hourly rate
  • Daily fee
  • A set project rate
  • Monthly retainer

The other option would be on a part-time self, employed contract, but we generally don’t do that as most clients don’t want us as an extra member of staff and overhead.

Here’s how they work, with examples of each.

Monthly retainer
This would be an agreed set monthly fee, where we are tasked to carry out specific duties throughout the duration of the month. Usually agreed over a 12 month period and reviewed annually. E.g. Marketing Activities

Set project fee
Useful when there is a specific piece of work that needs to be completed within a set timescale and the fees are estimated by us beforehand and agreed with the client. E.g. Formatting and proofing a 250 page training manual.

Daily fee
When we are required to work off site for a full (or half day) we charge a set fee for this, the actual hours may vary but on average a half day is four hours and a full day eight. E.g. To carry out our on-site ‘Blitz the Backlog’ service.

Hourly rate
When clients ask us to bill them for the actual time spent, either on a project or an ongoing basis. We use a kitchen type timer for this, but you can also use a stopwatch or your computer clock, and we then record the actual hours on a spreadsheet timesheet – which we use to create our client bills at the end of each month. You could also use a time logging app such as Toggl

One last thing to explain is the difference between billable and non-billable time.

If you are an employee, you get paid for when you are at work, and this includes the time when you are making a cup of tea or chatting to a colleague about what they are doing at the weekend.

When you are self employed and are working for clients who pay you for the work you do, you only charge them for your billable time (when you are carrying out work for them). When you go to make a cup of tea, have a comfort break or pop into the bank to pay in some money, these are all non-billable times.

We have a non-billable category on our timesheet, so that we can keep an eye on how much time we are spending not working.

I hope you found this interesting and hopefully you will be able to use some of these yourselves to become more efficient in your workplace.

Mystery Shopping

June 3, 2011

We are now offering, an official mystery shopping experience. Whether that is testing the customer experience through your website, email and contact forms or via a telephone survey or the more traditional in person options.

We have a range of people who are able to carry this out from teenagers, to students, families, professional singletons and couples to grandmas.  All are trained for each specific job and results are always confidential to each client.  We work with you to create a perfect scenario, outcomes and results.

Pricing structure

  • 30 minute website ‘shop’ and 1 page written report 
    • £30 + VAT
    • No minimum number of visits
    • Additional time on site charged at £1 per minute + VAT
  • Telephone mystery shop and report
    • £30 + VAT per hour
    • Minimum 5 telephone calls per client
    • Negotiable for larger numbers of calls
    • Telephone costs charged at cost
  • Actual mystery shop (in person) and written report
    • £50 per visit + VAT
    • All incurred expenses charged at cost
    • No minimum number of visits

As with all our services the initial consultation is free (up to 1 hour) and depending on your requirements we can adapt questionnaires to suit each individual case.

All visit results (whether in person or virtual) are kept strictly confidential.

Do get in touch if you would like more information, and don’t forget to visit our website for a full list of services.

What is it with Groupon?

May 11, 2011

I like to keep up to date with technology and social media – its part of what I do. But I also am very careful to only recommend something if I am personally 100% happy and if I genuinely think I can help you save Time and Money.

So when I started seeing Groupon popping up everywhere – I thought I would dig deeper and find out what the fuss was all about.

‘With Groupon you discover great new locations in your city for unbeatable prices’

You can either sign up to the newsletter, check out the website or  download an App for your smartphone and find out what deals are on offer in your city (or another city if you like). Offers include money off restaurants, spas, gyms, hotels etc, and the deals are genuine!

The only downside (if there is one) is that the offer will only take place if a minimum number of people buy the deal, and all deals have a limited number of spaces available.  So if you see something you want – buy it – if you wait too long the deal may have already ended or filled up.

Once you have bought the deal (by this stage you need a Groupon account) you get an email confirmation, and the next day your voucher is available to download, print and use.

So how does it work at the other end? – click here for a short video – it explains it all quite simply – basically Groupon advertises the deal, the supplier gets paid, Groupon takes a % cut and the supplier of the deal gets new customers.

And one last thing, if you recommend Groupon deals to others – and they buy the deal – then you get £6 credited to your Groupon account to spend on another deal.

I hope this post gives you the confidence to go ahead and try something – I did and later I will be visiting the gym with my friends to use my voucher.

Let me know if you tried Groupon and what your experience was like.

Its a mystery….

December 16, 2010

New for 2011, am:pm:pa will be offering a ‘Virtual Mystery Shopper‘ service.

Just like the traditional ‘mystery shopper’ where some-one visits a shop/restaurant etc and provides feedback on their overall experience, we will be providing the same service, but in a virtual capacity, through the medium of telephone, email and the website experience.

For example, you may be a company which sells stationery supplies, how easy is it for your customers to find your website, then search for items, get a response to email and telephone enquiries, place an order and actually get the items delivered. And once the sale is complete,  what is the after sales service like?

You may have the best product or service in the marketplace, but if you are not able to deliver (sometimes literally), then you are more than likely wasting a lot of time and money. You can even use this as competitor analysis, to find out how well your competitors are doing on not only price, but customer service.

Contact us today by emailing for a no obligation quotation.

A card is not just for Christmas…..

December 16, 2010

Always keep a stock of cards

Ever since I worked in the greeting card industry (over 20 years ago) I have always had a stock of cards in my desk.  I regularly send cards out, not just for birthdays and Christmas, but to clients, customers, suppliers, sometimes just to say ‘Thanks’.

Why would you go to this extra effort? – it is the personal touch. Receiving a card in the post from your dentist, for example, which says ‘thank you for recommending us to your friend’ – actually says ‘we really do thank you for doing our marketing for us, and please do recommend us again’!

This means more than a cheap Christmas card that is sent out en masse, and in these times of emails, texts, tweets etc, think yourself how nice it is to receive a real, handwritten card in the post.

Now back to the drawing board, I like this idea so much, I am off to design my own range of ‘stock’ greetings cards – watch this space!

The cost of a cup of coffee….

November 11, 2010

The cost of a cup of coffee

Until the end of November 2010, I am offering a coffee break special.  Buy me a virtual cup of coffee (large black Americano, and a muffin would be my perfect coffee break combo) and I will spend 15 minutes visiting your website and will provide feedback on what it is like to be a visitor to your site. (Lots of businesses forget this important aspect of web-site design).

I have done this quite a few times before and found simple things can make a huge difference. One site I visited could not be viewed on my smart phone, another did not have a phone number visible on anything other than the contact us page – in small font at the bottom.

As I said – all it will cost you is a cup of virtual coffee – paid into my PayPal account once you receive the feedback – I will even let you decide how much the cup of coffee cost you.

Yet another ‘save time and money’ service we offer – drop us an email and quote the code ‘coffeeweb‘.

%d bloggers like this: