When you’re a gig worker or freelancer providing services for multiple clients, it’s all too easy to lose track of things. The more work you take on, the more difficult it can get. The key to managing efficiently is to record things as they happen. Here are our tips on how gig workers can track their hours and income.
1. Create and Keep a Schedule
The first thing gig workers need to do is to create a schedule. Whether you use a paper planner, Google calendar, spreadsheet, or an app on your smartphone, keep a running list of the service you’re providing.
You should also record who you’re providing the service for. That can be especially helpful when it comes to tax time. If you need to hunt someone down to get the information you need, you can’t afford to rely on your memory.
2. Edit Your Hours as You Work the Shift
For each shift, gig workers should record the hours you worked each day. This should include start times, breaks, and end time for each shift. Even if the company has its own system for recording hours, you should also keep your own records as a back up.
If you’re not paid on an hourly basis, it’s still a good idea to track your hours so you can evaluate an hourly rate equivalent. A lot of freelancers doing pay-per-project work find they’re earning far less per-hour than they thought. This info can help them set rates in the future.
3. Keep Track of Your Paychecks as They Come In
When you get paid, check back against your log to make sure the pay is correct. Then, record the information in a spreadsheet or financial app. This allows you to collect the information so you can see how you’re doing over time.
It’s also helpful to check trendlines. Pay in the gig economy can shift. Pay models change. Companies change rules that impact what you can earn. It’s important to regularly review to make sure you’re getting what you need.
4. Compare Your Paychecks to Your Goals
Whether you a full-time gig worker or doing a side hustle, it’s important to set goals. For Uber or Lyft drivers, it might be the number of rides per shift. For others, it might be a particular dollar amount.
Tracking it all gives you a way to ensure you’re meeting your goals. If you’re not, it will also tell you that it’s time to re-evaluate or look for new gigs.
5. Examine Your Expenses
Independent Contractors can deduct business expenses from their gross income on their taxes. Make sure you’re recording your expenses as they come up so you have accurate records. Save receipts and make a note about why an expense was necessary.
6. Find a System That Works For You and Stick To It
The number of people taking on jobs as gig workers has grown by 15% over the past decade. Experts predict the number will continue to grow. If you’re participating in the gig economy, make sure you accurately track your hours worked and your income. It will give you a tangible way to measure whether you’re meeting your financial goals and provide the information you need to report your taxes.
About the Author: Paul Dughi has an MBA in Business Administration and has held executive management positions in the media industry for the past 30 years. He is an Emmy® Award winning Producer/Writer and has authored two books on Marketing, Management, and Sales. You can find him on WriterAccess.