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How Contractors and 1099 Workers Can Use Job Codes to Invoice Clients

Calling all 1099-ers, freelancers, and independent contractors: TSheets job codes can help you track more time for more accurate, streamlined invoices

No credit card required

In the early stages of establishing your business, you need two things: time and money. Chances are, you have very little of both, and that’s where TSheets job codes come in.

In the words of Jake Albers, TSheets training aficionado, “I wish I’d known about [job codes and invoicing] when I was freelancing.” Why? Both features are absurdly easy to use, and … they’re free.

You’ve got a problem, we have the solution

Say you’re a freelancer with multiple projects and clients. To save money on third-party apps and tools, you might be using the timer on your phone to track and calculate billable hours, then downloading a hope-it-doesn’t-have-a-virus invoice template off the internet to fill in the bill you send to your clients. It’s a piecemeal system, but it works. Right?

What about when you accidentally delete your timer? Or when you forget to write down which client or project you were tracking billable time for? And what’s your system for tracking tasks at different billable rates? Have you ever forgotten to write that task down separately, causing you to under-bill?

If you’re reading this article in the hopes of finding a better solution, you’ve come to the right place. TSheets by QuickBooks is the No. 1 app for tracking time, and our job code capabilities are one of our greatest strengths. Plus, since single-user (personal) accounts are free, you know you’re getting the best deal possible with the very best option out there. But enough of us tooting our own horn. Here’s how to use TSheets job codes when you work for yourself.

Increase billable time by tracking every second worked with TSheets. Open a single-user account, or start your business account free for 14 days!

First things first: Let’s set up invoicing

After you’ve filled out all your information to create a free Entrepreneur account, the first thing you’ll want to do is go to Add-ons on the left-hand side of the screen under Set Up. In the pop-up menu, scroll down to Get More. Find Invoicing and click Install. Fill in your company info. Now, Create Invoice is a new option for you, listed under Report. It’s important you complete this step first because, without the invoicing add-on, you won’t be able to track time at a billable rate.

TSheets invoicing add-on screenshot.
TSheets invoicing add-on screenshot

Now that you’ve installed all your necessary tools, let’s take a look at exactly how you’re going to track time and create invoices with TSheets. Here’s a hint: It all starts with job codes.

What are job codes and why should I use them?

Job codes are anything you want them to be. They’re merely titles for the different categories you’ll clock time for. Whether that’s a client, work order, service, task, or something else, it’s easy to assign that thing to a job code.

Most people use job codes to first create clients. Then they create subtasks or names under that client to track time against.

Manage jobs screenshot - the secret to 1099 contractor invoices.

TSheets also makes it easy to create a basic contractor, freelancer, or 1099 invoice with that tracked time — all available for free under your personal TSheets account.

It’s important to note that if your business requires more complex invoicing with taxes or discounts on certain services, you might want to explore a more comprehensive invoicing solution. QuickBooks invoices, for instance, take into account tax and other details, whereas the TSheets invoice is going to be more helpful for 1099 employees or contractors who file their own taxes after the fact.

If you do decide to invoice through QuickBooks instead, simply track time in TSheets under job codes the way we describe here, then export your approved time to your QuickBooks account. A QuickBooks Online Essentials account is $35 a month. And be warned: You cannot import TSheets timesheets into QuickBooks Self-Employed or Simple Start.

How do I set up job codes in my TSheets account?

Here’s an example. Say you’re an editor, and your main billable services are content editing, copy editing, and proofreading. When you get a new client, you can add that client’s name under Jobs (located under Manage), then add those three services under their name by clicking the little green plus symbol (in between the checkmark and the pencil).

Screenshot of how to modify jobs codes in TSheets.

You would fill in the Name field with the service name (in this case Content Editing), and check the box labeled Billable. A new field will pop up, where you can put in how much you want to charge per hour for a content edit. You would then save and create the next service by clicking the Add Job button.

Screenshot of how to enter billable time to a custom job code in TSheets.

To go back to where you can see all clients, click Top beside that client’s name.

Once you’ve created a client, you can make your job infinitely easier by duplicating that job when you want to create a new client. Say Joe Books refers Billy Blogs. Rather than clicking Add Job, you’d click on the pencil next to Joe Books. That will bring up a new box where you can select Duplicate. Under New Job Name, you’d put in Billy Blogs, then save. Now Billy Blogs has all the same services with the same prices listed under the client name.

Screenshot of how to duplicate a custom job code in TSheets. Screenshot of how to create individual custom job codes for each contractor client.

To clock time for a client, when you’re doing work for them, go to My Time Card (under Track), select which client you want to track time for, select which service you’re performing, and hit Clock In. When you’re finished doing that service or are ready to take a break, clock out.

Screenshot of clocking in to track time for a specific task.

If you’re not invoicing with TSheets, you can do even more with your job codes via Advanced Tracking. For more information, check out this page. If you are invoicing with TSheets, read on to find out how!

How do I create an invoice using my TSheets account?

At this point, we’re basically going back to the start of this blog. Remember that invoicing add-on you installed? Click that Create Invoice button that was added to the left-hand menu under Report, and then select which client you want to invoice. Check the boxes for the projects you want to bill for. When in doubt, select all of them — if you didn’t clock time for them, they won’t show up.

Fill in the dates you want to include. Again, feel free to select the whole month or week if you like — the invoice will only show the dates you actually worked, so long as they’re within the time span you’ve selected.

For invoice type, you’ll likely want to select Detailed or Grouped. For clients who want to see the work you’ve done every step of the way, select Detailed. To give your client a simpler version with each kind of service you’ve done nested together, choose Grouped.

As an independent (1099) contractor, you can create a detailed invoice showing exactly which tasks were completed.

Click Preview Invoice to see a preview below. You should see a section called Invoice to. Click Add Invoice To Info and fill in your client’s information. When your invoice looks good to go, select Finalize Invoice & Generate PDF.

Screenshot of detailed invoice preview.

Finally, click View Invoice PDF. That will open your invoice in a new tab where you can save or print the invoice for further use.

Screenshot of how to print a PDF of the client invoice.

When you’re starting your own business, you have enough to think about without battling timers and chasing down unreliable invoice templates. Why not give job codes and invoicing on TSheets a try?

TSheets by QuickBooks provides accurate-to-the-second time tracking for more accurate invoices.

Open a single-user account free, or start your business account free for 14 days!

No credit card required