There are a few important things you need to know in order to set up a fee schedule in Core and make sure that it works properly. In fact, first I need to back up and make sure that we have a clear understanding of how rates work and how they are applied in a project and for a particular employee.
If you don’t change anything then the employee’s hourly rate will prevail. If you don’t recall setting up a rate, you probably didn’t, and like BillQuick before, Core will default to $1. This means that on hourly jobs, any time that an employee enters—regardless of the service item used—will be billed at the employee’s standard rates.
But what if you want to charge different rates for different services within a project?
This is not a problem, but you do need to know about the setting. In Core, while you are in a project, you go to the “Rules & Contacts” area and add the rule to, “Use bill rates from Activity Items screen.” Now the item-based rates will prevail.
These settings need to be in place before any time is entered. If time was entered before you add the rule above, the rule will not apply to that time. If you didn’t know this, don’t worry. Now that you have the right settings, simply delete and re-enter the time. The new time entries will reflect the rule.
What if I am doing a project for my good friend and I want to give him a special friends discount on the rates?
That’s where fee schedules come in. I can set up a fee schedule called “Friends Rates” and set up my rates accordingly. Then I simply assign the fee schedule to the engagement, and the fee schedule rates will apply.
Once again, the fee schedule needs to be assigned to the project before any time entries are entered.
The golden rule on rates and fee schedules is that whichever prevailing rates are in place when the time is entered will stick. So the best thing to do is make sure you put establish these when you are initially setting up your project, and before entering any time.
This only matters for hourly contract types. If you are billing your client a fixed fee then there is no need to be concerned about billing rates and fee schedules. The client is billed the same, regardless of who’s doing what.