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When working on development projects (like an iPhone app for a client), how detailed should your reports be when providing an invoice? In other words, how specific should you be regarding the particular development tasks you were working on at a given time?

Just as helpful would be a short example of what one of your invoices looks like, with sample times and tasks that you would typically include.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by gbjbaanb, Jim G., gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, MichaelT Nov 6 '13 at 15:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers 2

I think a lot of this depends on how you sold the scope of the project to them before. If you are truly on an hourly basis all I would do is give them a "general overview" of what you were working on accomplishing for the day and leave it at that, anything more and you might get too technical, or could back yourself into a corner.

For example, below would be something that I might put out to a customer.

9/1/2010 - Initial project setup, architecture, and source control configuration - 4 hours
9/2/2010 - User Interface definition and prototype creation - 5 hours
9/3/2010 - Database work - 4 hours

I personally try to not get too far into the weeds as I find it confuses more than anything. Then they can ask you for more detail if they really want it.

However, I should note that in general, I simply would do a weekly invoice of "Worked 34 hours on __ project" unless they wanted the extra detail. (Now I have a bit more freedom typically with the way I work, but they don't typically need to know the start/end times and other things.

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After billing for the high-level overview (worked X hours on project Y during time period Z), if requested to itemize every detail, would you bill for the time spent preparing that detail? –  ErikE Aug 20 '14 at 16:27

I would keep the invoice detail as general as possible.

Generalize into daily or weekly activities as indicated by Mitchel

The one thing I would add is that if you client want to be more involved in project details, consider using a tool such as Trello, Jira or Pivotal Tracker. These let you work with your client on the project details themselves.

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