A step-by-step guide to creating projects in Harvest.

We’ll take you through setting up your projects first, since projects are the hub of all activity in Harvest. To start setting up a project, head to your Projects section, then click New Project in the top left of the page.

Create Project Form

When you create a project, you’ll first enter the Client and Name of that project. There are also a few optional pieces of information you can add:

  • Project Code to help identify your project.
  • Start and End Date, so you can track when the project started and see whether it’s approaching its deadline. This doesn’t limit the ability to track time to that date range.
  • Notes for any additional information you’d like to include, such as a statement of work or comments on the scope of the project.

Project Type

One of the useful parts of project setup is the Project Type. The project type drives how you’ll report on your projects and how you’ll bill for the work you’ve done. There are three project types in Harvest: Time & Materials, Fixed Fee, and Non-Billable.

Do you bill your clients at an hourly rate? You’ll want to set up a Time & Materials project.

Time & Materials projects bill by the hour, at specific hourly rates (e.g., $100 per hour). The more hours you work, the more you charge. You might also charge for expenses incurred to complete the project (like software, airfare, mileage, etc.).

In order for Harvest to know how to calculate the billable amount of your project, you’ll need to select a Billing Method. You can choose from several different types of hourly rates when creating a Time & Materials project:

Project hourly rate – You’ll enter just one hourly rate for the entire project. This rate gets applied to all billable hours tracked to the project, regardless of who works on it or what type of work is being done.

Project Hourly Rate

Person hourly rate – Based on the hourly rate for each member of your team. Each team member you add to the project will need to have a billable rate entered.

Team Billable Rates

Task hourly rate – Based on the hourly rate for each task added to the project. You’ll need to enter billable rates for all billable tasks.

Task Hourly Rate

After deciding how to bill for your Time & Materials project, it’s time to set up a Budget for the project. You’ll see how you’re doing against your budget in real time so you can keep your project on track (and have a chat with your client if necessary). There are two categories of budget methods: hourly and fee-based.

Hourly budgeting. Billable and non-billable hours count towards these budgets:

  • Total project hours – Just like it sounds! Set a time budget for the entire project.
  • Hours per person – Set a budget for each individual person on the project.
  • Hours per task – Set a budget for each separate task within the project.

Fee-based budgeting. Only billable hours count towards these budgets:

  • Total project fees – Choose this method if you need to include project expenses as part of the budget, not just time. You might want to use this if you’re billing your client for your expenses and need to see how they affect the budget.
  • Fees per task – Set a budget for each separate task within the project.

Do you bill your clients with retainers? Set up a Time & Materials project.

Retainers can be used for clients who pay in advance, either as a one-time payment or in regular intervals, for a certain number of hours.

Harvest projects that draw from a retainer should have Time & Materials set as their Project Type. Also, make sure that you’ve selected a Billing Method and set up hourly rates, since invoices that draw from retainers in Harvest must be based on time and expenses tracked to your project. Free-form invoices (like those used in Fixed Fee projects) can’t draw from retainers. For more information on creating retainers, take a look at this page.

Do you bill your clients with a fixed fee? This is also known as a ‘flat rate or ‘set contract’ budget. If so, you’ll want to set up a Fixed Fee project.

If you’re billing your client a fixed amount of money for the overall project, you should choose the Fixed Fee option as your Project Type. These projects bill a set price, no matter how many hours are worked (e.g., $1,000 to build a website). You might also charge for expenses incurred to complete the project. These expenses may or may not be included in the fixed fee.

If you’re creating a Fixed Fee project in Harvest, you’ll enter the total amount you plan to invoice for the project:

Fixed Fee Project Fees

Are you trying to track an internal, non-billable project? You’ll want to create a Non-Billable project.

You’ll still be able to track time to Non-Billable projects, but you can’t create invoices for time tracked to them. A common example would be an internal project used to track matters within your company.

If your project is Non-Billable, you’ll have the option to set up an hourly project Budget.

  • Total project hours – Set a budget for the entire project.
  • Hours per person – Set a budget for each individual person on the project.
  • Hours per task – Set a budget for each separate task within the project.

Permissions

When setting up your project, you can decide which members of your team will be able to view the project report on the Projects page of their Harvest profiles. By default, only administrators and project managers assigned to the project will be able to view it, but if you’d like, you can share it with everyone assigned to the project, including regular users. We’ll explain more about user permissions in Harvest in the next section of this guide.

Tasks

Tasks allow the team to track time to the specific work they’re doing for the project. There are a set of tasks on the project by default, known in Harvest as common tasks. You can add more tasks by selecting from the list or by simply typing into the Add a task field. To remove a task from the project, just click the X next to the task name.

Tasks can be managed under Manage > Tasks. There, you can designate common tasks and set up defaults for each task, like its rate and whether or not it’s billable. You can override any of these default settings for a task on individual projects.

Team

Here, you’ll want to add everyone who needs to track time or expenses to your project. Project Managers are designated here by a checked box; you can give other team members Project Manager permissions by checking the Project Manager checkbox, or you can leave them with their existing permission levels. We’ll show you how you can add your team members to your Harvest account and manage their permissions and rates in the next section.

Just like with Tasks, you can add people to a project by typing into the Add a person… field. Simply click the X next to a person’s name to remove them from the project.

Click Save Project, and you’re ready to go! If you need to make changes later, it’s not a problem—you can adjust these settings at any time.

On to the next! Show me how to add my co-workers to Harvest.