Calculating Billable Hours Myth Vs. Reality
We all know there are 52 weeks in a year and 40 working hours in a week. Therefore, we can bill 2080 hours per year, right. Wrong. Too often this is trap that many new service businesses fall into.
The first step in calculating your billable hours is to define a realistic working year. If you were employed elsewhere, you would expect or want at least two weeks vacation time, one week sick time, one week personal time and paid holidays. So, where does that leave us - 52 weeks minus four weeks leaves 48 weeks minus about 10 paid holidays, or a total of approximately 46 weeks per year.
OK, you say, that means I can still bill for 46 weeks times 40 hours per week or 1840 hours per year. If I charge $25 per hour that comes to $46,000. Not bad, that is more than I was making on my previous job. Wrong.
What you have just established is a realistic working year, not number of billable hours. You still need to account for marketing time, administrative time, bookkeeping time, equipment maintenance, continuing education, etc. You also need to calculate in equivalent time for self-employment tax, local business taxes, etc. In many locales, this can add up to an additional 20% or so in time or money.