Guide to contractor timesheets and invoicing your agency

Most contractors submit timesheets to their agencies to record the hours and days they spend on contract duty. We look at how time is recorded, how this is communicated to your agency, and how the payment process works.

Recording Time

Depending on the terms of your contract, you will have to record the time spent on contract – either the number of hours or days and then on a weekly or monthly timesheet.

At the end of each period or work (typically each week or month), you will need to sign the timesheet yourself, and then get the client to countersign it. Depending on your agency, this is done on paper, or via an online system.

The moment you start your contract you should always establish who will be responsible for signing your timesheets, and who will take over this duty if the main signatory is away.

Many contractors will have stories to tell about the difficulties they have had getting their timesheets signed on time.

Submit to Agency

If your agency still uses paper timesheets, once you have secured the signed timesheet, you should fax it to your dedicated agency number. The agency will then invoice the client.

More and more agencies use online timesheet systems. Once you’ve recorded the hours/days you’ve worked, your client representative will receive an email asking them to log in and validate your timesheet.

You will typically need to submit your timesheet within a fixed time window to guarantee prompt payment. If you miss the cut-off date, you’ll have to wait until the next weekly / monthly payment cycle.

If you are ill for a week, many agencies prefer you to still submit a blank timesheet.


If you are a limited company contractor, you will typically send the agency an invoice with your timesheet. If your agency uses an online self-billing system, the invoice will be generated for you.

If your limited company is VAT registered, ensure that you list the net weekly contract fees due, the VAT element payable, and the gross amount (contract fees + VAT payable).

If you work via an umbrella company, you should forward a copy of the timesheet to your umbrella company, who will then invoice the agency on your behalf.


The payment terms will be recorded in your contract. Often, agencies commit to paying weekly invoices within 7 days of receipt. If you miss a timesheet submission deadline, you’ll wait a further 7 days for payment.

If you work via a limited company, you will receive payment from the agency/client direct to your company bank account via BACS.

If you’re working via an umbrella company, the agency will pay the umbrella company the due amount. The umbrella company will then forward payment to your bank account, following any deductions.

Further Reading

  • Our guide to invoicing clients, including templates – here.

Partner Contractor Accountants

Last updated: 16th June 2019