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Better Insight into Fee-Based Projects

Screenshot of Project Progress graph in USD

The Projects section hasn’t done a great job at showing how quickly fee-based projects are being completed — until now. We’ve just released an update to Harvest that brings all the features of the time-based Project Graph over to fee-based projects:

  • Budget Spent vs. Budget: Fee-based budget lines are now graphed, and Budget Spent (in your project’s currency) is graphed below it. You can quickly see how much of your budget you’ve used, and if you’ll exceed it.
  • Forecasted Budget Spent: If your project is linked to Forecast, we’ll use your billing rate to convert future scheduled hours in Forecast to a projection of budget spent. It’s even easier to see if you’ll exceed your budget with Forecast.

You don’t need to do anything to see this change in your account — just pop over to the Projects section and take a look at a fee-based project (budgeted by Total Project Fees or Fees Per Task) to see the changes. Take it for a spin!

We hope this makes keeping your fee-based projects on budget just a little bit easier – and as always, don’t hesitate to let us know what you think in the comments below or by sending us an email at

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This was posted in Product News.
  • Steve Gosling on July 23, 2015

    The fixed fee line only appears to appear for projects that are already over budget – is this intentional?

    Also – can I ask if further support for fee based projects (eg, fee invoicing) are likely to be around the corner?


  • Steve — the fixed-fee line will appear when your project nears or surpasses its budget, which is what you should be seeing in your account. If that’s not what you’re seeing, shoot us an email at and we’ll make sure things get sorted out. :)

    We don’t typically release our plans for features (in case the plans change, as they often do) — but I can say that fee-based projects are on our minds a lot recently!

  • Is there a link between Invoice and the fixed fee tasks?

    I need to create a project, assign a fixed fee, invoice it, then run a report to see whats left. Currently, there seems to be no connection between the projects I create and my fixed fee invoicing.

  • Avi — you are correct, there is currently no connection between free-form invoices, the kind most commonly used for fixed-fee projects, and their related projects. We know that’s a pain point for fixed-fee projects specifically — and thanks for letting us know that it’s something you’re interested in.

    As always, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at with your thoughts!

  • Thanks, this is useful.

    The thing about fee based projects is that in most cases the moment the budget is reached all tasks become non-billable.

    It would be great if Harvest could incorporate this. We use the “billability” metric to track performance, but we cannot use Harvest’s figures since they do not account for formerly billable tasks that become non-billable.

  • Grant — thanks for the feedback!

    The way we think about it, the tasks are never billable — because the time tracked to a fixed-fee project is not billed out to your client. To us, fee-based projects an free-form invoices seem to go together pretty well.

    That being said, we don’t provide a great alternative other than “billability” to track your project’s performance today — and it’s something we’re well aware of and is at the front of our minds. :)

  • Thanks Andrew.

    I get what you are saying. In the example image above, though, you do 195.25 billable hours, and 44 non-billable, and doesn’t the graph only show the billable ones?

    Since the budget is fixed, the graph cannot actually go over the red line… after it is reached the only thing that is happening is a gradual reduction in the real billing rate, eating into profit, and overhead.

    The performance issue is indeed complex. Our staff may be 75% billable (according to Harvest), but since working over the budget is non-recoverable their real billable rate is lower.

  • I see it get brought up often but am desperate to have the fee based project sorted. Everything else is great and very quick to use but when invoicing this ends up adding a lot of complication, wasted time and risk of errors when forcing it to work as is.
    Very keen to have this part of Harvest resolved and then would be almost perfect.


  • Hi Andrew! While CabForward has recently started using Harvest, one of our employees has been using Harvest since 2010. We’d love to collaborate with you to write a case study on why one software development company chose Harvest.

  • We’re also using this new fee-based project feature, we’d love to tell prospects how we’re doing it.

  • Andrew — This is a good feature, and much appreciated. It would really be terrific if we could separate expenses and fees and show both on the graph. I think most professional services companies, at least those who travel, have separate fee and expense budgets. Right now we only put our fee budget into Harvest, since we can’t separate fees from expenses and the fee budget is inflated if we put thousands of dollars of travel in it. We hope you will add the ability to track expenses separately in upcoming versions. That being said, Harvest is still the best on the market.

  • The lack of fixed-fee invoicing means we currently have to use two systems (the other being WorkflowMax) which a tragic situation as WFM is truly awful.

    It’s major issue that Harvest still doesn’t have that feature.

  • Thanks for the comments, all! It’s good to hear that you’re excited about Harvest working better for fixed-fee projects — we’ll use your feedback to focus which areas we spend our time on improving.

  • Amazing post.. this will be helpful for user who are finding the fee based projects.

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