To keep the lights on and to ensure that your business remains viable, you have to make sure that you are paid for what you do, and that you are not losing money on your TVC productions. This means you need to track how much time you and your team are spending on a project, and ensure that what you are charging (the project budget) matches the amount of time and effort being put in.

Of course, keeping track of time and costs vs. what you are getting paid is fairly easy if you have a small operation with just one or two people. But the bigger your operations, the more complex it becomes. You end up having to track the time spent by in-house employees and contractors, as well as a whole bunch of other costs.

Smaller Agency

One idea is to have a single shared spreadsheet hosted on a Cloud-based tool like Google Sheets, with protected regions. This works well with smaller teams. Using a shared spreadsheet hosted on the Cloud means:

Each person can record the time they spend on a TVC project in their own time sheet. Both contractor crews and in-house staff can work on the same spreadsheet at the same time.

You can easily pull together the information from the individual timesheets to keep track of your project.

To creating a shared time logging spreadsheet:

  1. Create a spreadsheet and share it with everyone that needs to use it to log their time.
  2. Make individual sheets in the spreadsheet, which act as timesheets for each person.
  3. Protect the individual timesheets so only the person they are assigned to can edit them. You can also limit users so they can only edit specific ranges of cells on their timesheet, ensuring that they do not accidentally over-write any cells used for calculating times and rates.
  4. Create a central sheet that you can use to compile the numbers from the individual time-sheets, in order to track the hours being spent on a project Software/ready-made solutions.

Larger Agency

There are plenty of project-tracking and software available for TVC production. Some of these are stand-alone time-tracking systems, while others are integrated into bigger project management suites.

Here are just a few examples.

Toggl: A simple to use task-tracking system that is entirely browser-based. Allows tracking and organization by project and task. Breaks down your time spent on things each day. Allows both real-time tracking by clicking a start/ stop button, and manually recording of time spent on tasks. Basic functionality is free.

Harvest: Another web-based time tracking system, with reporting, invoicing and estimating capabilities built in. Includes functionality for managing teams as well as a desktop pop-up widget to quickly track your time without having to switch to the browser.

Scenios: A web-based video production collaboration suite, including features that cover script writing, project budgeting and schedules – including timesheet logging.

Streamtime: An all-in-one software for creative agencies, with integrated time tracking, quoting, purchase ordering, project management, CRM, and invoicing.

Function Point: Workflow and productivity software integrating timesheet functionality as well as business tools, project management tools, and file sharing, among other things.

Gorilla: Project management solution for video/ film production, including storyboarding and script management, cast and crew management, productions scheduling and budgeting capabilities.