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Simple Project Budget Template for Agencies & Freelancers

Sean Collins Sean Collins Last Updated:

Are you a project manager looking to download a project budget template?

Creating a project budget is relatively straightforward. But not everyone can manage the budget of a project successfully.

Use this free project budget spreadsheet to track the financial details of your next client project.

Download the free project budgeting template

This project budgeting template focuses on tracking hours for specific tasks within a project.

Click the image below to make a copy.

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If you want to learn more about creating and managing a project budget, check out this article ‘How to Create and Manage a Project Budget‘ — the project budget template can also be accessed in that article.

Project budget template elements

Let’s look at the different elements of this project budget template.

Hourly rate

Pretty self-explanatory. Enter your hourly rate. This will calculate the project costs and show you how profitable the project was once you’ve delivered the project.

Task ID and name

Task IDs and names are based on using our Work Breakdown Structure template to create an accurate estimate of a project.

If you don’t use the WBS template, simply enter the names of each task that needs to be completed to deliver the project.

Estimates and actuals

Estimated hours are based on the number of hours you and your team estimated for each task during the project scoping phase.

The estimated cost will be automatically calculated based on the hourly rate you enter.

Actual hours and costs are automatically generated once you start tracking time on the project.

Note: Click here to learn how to track hours spent on a project using this spreadsheet.

Profit

The profitability for each task will be automatically calculated based on actual hours minus estimated hours.

Totals

The total for all columns will be displayed at the bottom of the spreadsheet. The cell on the right-hand side will show you how the project is making or costing you as you track hours against each task.

How to track a project budget with this template

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This template works best if you follow the project estimation process in our ‘Project Cost Estimating: A Simple Guide for Agencies‘ post.

The first step is to enter the project tasks and their estimates inside the ‘Budget’ tab.

This will then calculate their estimated cost based on the hourly rate you enter.

Once you’ve done this, you can start tracking time for each project task via the ‘Tracker’ tab inside the project budget template.

Enter it here whenever you or your team spend time on a specific project task.

This will automatically update the ‘Actual hours’ and ‘Actual cost’ columns in the ‘Budget’ tab within the template.

Note: The task dropdown inside the ‘Tracker’ tab automatically pulls in the tasks you entered in the ‘Budget’ tab.

Once you’ve completed the project and tracked time against all tasks, the total project cost and profit will be displayed at the bottom of the template.

Project budgeting software — the better alternative

Are spreadsheets your best option for tracking the budget of a project?

Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong — our project budget tracker spreadsheet is solid.

But I’ve chatted with a few agencies and freelancers that use spreadsheets to track their time – and they always say how chaotic they are.

  • Files get copied.
  • Some go “missing.”
  • Formulas are unintentionally edited.
  • People don’t tend to fill them in all that much.
  • You’re unable to quickly get insights you can leverage (more on this later).

Thanks to time tracking software, tracking project budgets have never been easier.

Project time tracking software is the best for keeping track of hours worked — especially for teams that work on client projects and tasks all day.

Unlike spreadsheets, many of the best time tracking apps come with features that help to automate and streamline the entire project budget tracking process.

Google is your best friend here. Search for ‘time tracking software’ and you’ll find plenty of suitors.

Alternatively, using Toggl Track, you can track project performance and assess project profitability in real time.

You and your employees can quickly start tracking your time by entering a time entry description and hitting the timer button.

It takes a few seconds to switch the timer to a different task (especially if projects and tasks are already set up).

  1. Type in your “time entry description”
  2. Find your client
  3. Select what “project” you’re working on
  4. Start the timer

Once you or your team accurately tracks time against the project, you can use the Project Dashboard to track your progress against the project budget.

You will get access to several charts.

The Time Tracking Chart will show a forecast for project completion based on the project estimate and the hours clocked for that project so far.

Time Tracking Chart in Toggl Track

The Billing Amounts chart shows the progress against a fixed fee amount set for the project.

Below these forecasting charts, you will also see a bar and pie chart representing current data containing total clocked hours, billable hours, and remaining hours (based on the project estimate).

If you charge per hour for projects, you can track the total amount earned from a project inside the Insights Dashboard.

Note: this is based on labor costs — which can be set for your entire team or by individual users.

Check out our reports demo video below to learn more.

Sean Collins

Sean is a Content Marketing Manager at Toggl and has been involved in the digital marketing space since 2017. Sean is on a mission to travel the world and fund it using his SEO and Content Marketing skills.

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