Billing Auto:Time for Real Estate

Auto:Time is a powerful feature for Real Estate law firms because it helps you understand exactly how much time you are spending on your matters and in turn what is your profitability on each matter. Even though you are only charging a flat fee for the matter, it can also be helpful to send an invoice or invoice receipt that helps your client understand exactly everything you did along the way.  Smokeball Billing allows you to show all of your non-billable activity and generate an invoice for your services.

Understanding exactly how much time goes into buys or sells can help you better draft engagement agreements (example: if time spent exceeds the flat fee rate, charge hourly rate for additional time). 

How to utilize Auto:Time and Smokeball Billing for Real Estate Attorneys:

1. Set up your default billing rate and deselect "mark my time entries as billable" under the billing tab in Staff and Users

  • When calculating the annual cost, take into account all expenses including rent, salary, and other bills. If unsure, try adding 10-15% to salary as a starting point.
  • Smokeball will track all your activity in Activity Intelligence and create non-billable entries to show on an invoice in Smokeball Billing

2. When you are ready to send an invoice to your client, create a time entry for your flat fee. You can also create an invoice in Smokeball BillingNote: you can set up an Activity Code for your services based on each matter for quick entry of the flat fee. Below is an example of a Sell.

3. Once you've invoiced and received payment, under Activity Intelligence: Performance Reporting, you will be able to understand your matter profitability.

Did you know...

  • Here is what an invoice in Smokeball Billing will look like for a Real Estate matter showing non-billable entries

  • Food for thought: By understanding your profitability, you may want to change your flat fee or change your fee agreements to shift to an hourly rate after you exceed your flat rate fee.
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