Using Rates to Manage Your Billable Projects

Nic Widhalm

Aug 5 2016 10 min read

Welcome to our sneak peek into the Cloud Coach Deep Dive Track for Delivery 2016Professional Services Automation

With Cloud Coach’s purpose built PSA tools, you can increase the profitability of your professional services team by speeding up project delivery, closely tracking project finances, and ensuring that work and rates are properly recorded.

In this session you’ll learn how to:

  • Deploy resource utilization targets and metrics
  • Use Rate Cards and User Rates so you never under-charge again
  • Manage client spend with Retainers


The Problem

Company ABC is getting ready to launch a billable project for a client. To properly report billable hours to their executive team and their client, they need to record hourly rates for all their users. They’re also worried about tracking overtime and need to be able to change user rates on the fly through the life of the project. Looking down the road, Company ABC knows that they’ll be doing a series of repeatable projects for a client who has a negotiated rate every time they launch that project, so they’ll need a tool to manage that as well.

The Solution

Cloud Coach can help Company ABC with all of these challenges. We use the Rates object to define a default rate for all of our users and adjust through the life of the project to account for overtime. Then, use Rate Cards to standardize rates for Company ABC’s repeatable projects.

Setup Your Page Layout

Before we start adjusting rates, we need to ensure we can see the fields, so let’s go to our Project Page layout set-up.

After clicking on Setup, click on Create, choose Project, and find the Page Layout section:

Once we’re in Page Layout we can add the Calculated Rate and Rate Card fields:

Now we’re ready to set some rates for our users.

Default User Rate

Now for the easy part. To set a default rate for a user, all we have to do is navigate to Setup in our org, click on Manage Users, and select the Users option.

Then click Edit, scroll down to the Rate and Utilization Information, and enter the rate for our user.

We can also edit their cost if we’d like, which would allow us to record the user’s labor cost to Company ABC, as well as their billable rate.

Test the User Rate

Now that the user rate is set-up, we can navigate to our project and test the rate.

We can see on our project that we haven’t entered any time, so our Calculated Cost and Calculated Rate fields are empty.

To test the user rate, let’s put one hour into our Quick Time Entry on the project page:

After we click create, we can check on our project and see if those fields have changed:

Sure enough, we can see that Calculated Cost and Calculated Rate both populated based on that default rate we set for our user. If we go down to our related lists and look at Rates, we can see a new record has been created:

If we click into that record not only do we see our initial rate that we set at the user level, but also an option to override said rate:

Override a Rate to Account for Overtime 

Now our user can enter time and record their default rate, but Company ABC also needs the ability to change a rate at the project level to account for things like overtime.

As we already saw, the Rates record makes it easy to handle that overtime requirement. We have a field to override the initial rate. Let’s enter a new override amount:

To test that rate before we move on, we enter another hour in our Quick Time Entry Widget and see if our override went into effect:

Sure enough, instead of pulling that default rate of $150, instead it used the override amount we set on the Rates record for our user and billed that hour at $200. If we wanted, we could set that override rate at the beginning of the project before any time is entered, and create a special user rate that we could use throughout the entire project timeline.

Create a Rate Card to Use on Repeatable Projects

We’ve solved the problem of setting rates for our users, and overriding those rates, but what if we have a repeatable project that has a special negotiated rate? Rather than having to do an override for every user for each project, we can set up a Rate Card instead.

Since most Rate Cards are based on a negotiated price set with a client, we start by navigating to the Accounts object. We select an account, and scroll down until we find the Rate Cards related list:

From there we can create a new Rate Card and set rates for work types instead of users:

The initial Hourly Skill Rates are pulled from the default skill rate set on the specific Work Type record.

Now that we’re creating a new Rate Card we have the ability to change those default skill rates to reflect the amount we’ve negotiated with our client:

Click save and our new rate card is ready to go.

Rate Cards pull their rate values from work types, so when our user enters time on a Project Task instead of pulling from their default user rate it will refer to the work type on the task and refer to the hourly rate set on the Rate Card. To test it out, all we need to do is go to a Project Task and enter in some time:

We can already see what hourly amount our Rate Card is going to apply because the work type assigned to this Project Task is the Developer. And since we set the Rate Card amount for Developer at $100, when we go back to our Project detail page we should see that reflected in the Calculated Rate field:

Now, whenever a user enters time on a Project Task where a work type is defined, instead of pulling their default rate, it will instead refer to the Rate Card.


And that’s all there is to it. When you use a combination of Rates and Rate Cards, you can manage your billable hours dynamically through the life of the project, and ensure you’re using the same rates for any repeatable projects you have coming up.

It’s just that easy.


Nic Widhalm

Nic is the Global VP, Customer Experience, at Cloud Coach

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