“To bill or not to bill? That is the question.”

The primary goal of the Traffic Department is to increase agency efficiency. Its Manager must effectively monitor jobs, improve communication and ensure workflow consistency.

As Sandra Claudio, former Traffic Manager at Adler Boschetto Peebles & Partners and contributor to “Careers in Advertising” by Eva Lederman summarizes, “Our job is to make sure that everyone else does their job, whether we have to plead, prod, coddle, or cajole them.”

Can a dollar value be tied to these (and other) traffic functions?

Over the past several years, I’ve heard arguments both for and against billing a Traffic Manager’s time.

For obvious reasons, not every task you accomplish can be recorded (and billed) –- two minutes opening a job, ten minutes proofreading, four minutes running between departments. You’d go insane capturing the increments and the Client would have a heart attack upon seeing the bill. You have to use your best judgment.

When I was a Traffic Manager, I opened a catchall job on the first day of each month (e.g. “November In-House Charges”). Over the course of that month, I recorded time against a non-billable Work Code (e.g. TM (Traffic Management) @ $0/hr.).

On any given day, I might have five hours of TM, along with an hour of PROOF (Proofreading @ $50/hr.), against Job Number 00-ABC123, and two hours of ADMIN @ $75/hr. (e.g. an administrative function like on-line research), against Job Number 11-DEF456. Time spent working against actual jobs was always recorded and, if possible, billed to the Client. Time spent “trafficking” was simply considered agency overhead.

Another benefit of recording my time was that management could view a report at year’s end, for example, and determine whether a second Traffic Manager was needed; a lot of proofreading hours might indicate a full-time reader was needed; and so on.

Regardless of whether the cost of traffic is passed along to the Client, you should certainly record your time throughout the day. Think of it as “justifying your existence” (as though you even need to!).

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