It has been almost 5 years since I began working with Tom, another freelancer working from home who needed my assistance from time to time. Apart from being a good client, at this point, we have become very good friends.
Tom is one of those clients that you enjoy working with. We understood each other well from the beginning; he really is someone who I find easy to communicate with and reach an agreement.
Normally, I would go to his house, we’d talk about the projects he needed to work on and we’d settle on all the terms. The majority of times the projects would last between 30 to 45 days.
We used to live in the same neighborhood until a couple of years ago when he decided to move to California. When Tom told me he was moving because his wife was being relocated, he didn’t seem that worried about his job. Although he had some hesitation when thinking how successful his business would be there, deep down inside he trusted it would go well. He already had some clients and was confident that through word of mouth and by using his site and portfolio everything would run smoothly.
It turned out that we not only kept in touch as friends, but we also figured out a great way to keep working together. After all, when you decide to freelance you could work with people located anywhere, that’s one of the beauties of freelancing. So we used Skype on a regular basis to communicate and talk about details on each new project and this worked out perfectly well. One day Tom told me he had a new project and explained it was for a big company and he needed this to be immaculate. If things went well, they’d hire him for all the following projects. He contacted me and said he wanted to work with me exclusively but due to the size of the project and the company we’d be working for, it implied travelling every two months and attending meetings with the CEO of the company.
I realized I had to manage expenses differently. I normally work with clients that live close by, in which there is either no need to commute, or if so, the distance is so close it doesn’t really represent a significant amount to pass on as billable expenses. But with this new project, there are other fees to consider: plane tickets, hotel fees, transportation within the city…
At first I went crazy. I had to scan each receipt and email them to the company for them to begin processing the reimbursement. This took, at times, 2 months and I was lucky if that was the case because that was quick, normally it took 4 months. I was really having a headache trying to find a quick and easy way to manage expenses because by the time I received the figure that applied for January’s trip, for example, several months passed by and I had already travelled 3 more times.
Some months later I discovered Cloudlance. They help you process your expense management through a very user friendly mobile app. After I started using it the entire process has become so easy that travelling isn’t a problem anymore.
How do you normally manage your expenses? Is it difficult to track all your billable expenses and do you always get your money reimbursed?