How to estimate billable hours in a year

Written by: By Forecast Team

Determining the total number of billable hours in a year involves several factors and considerations. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of calculating billable hours and provide estimates for different scenarios.

Factors Affecting Billable Hours

Before delving into calculations, it's essential to identify the factors that influence billable hours:

  1. Working Days: The number of working days in a year varies based on weekends, holidays, and company policies regarding vacations and leaves.
  2. Working Hours: Professionals may have different standard working hours per day, typically ranging from 7 to 9 hours.
  3. Utilization Rate: Utilization rate refers to the percentage of billable hours out of total working hours. It accounts for non-billable tasks such as administrative work, training, and meetings.
  4. Vacations and Leaves: Employees often take vacations, sick leaves, and other time off, which reduces their available working hours.

Calculating Billable Hours

To calculate billable hours in a year, we need to consider the following steps:

Step 1: Determine the Total Working Days in a Year

In most cases, a standard workweek consists of 5 days, excluding weekends. However, the number of public holidays varies by country and region. For this calculation, let's assume:

  • 52 weeks in a year
  • 2 days off per week (weekends)
  • 10 public holidays (variable by region)

Total Working Days = (52 weeks * 5 days/week) - 10 public holidays
Total Working Days = 260 - 10
Total Working Days = 250 days

Step 2: Calculate Annual Working Hours

To calculate annual working hours, we need to multiply the total working days by the standard working hours per day:

Assuming 8 hours per day:

Annual Working Hours = 250 days * 8 hours/day
Annual Working Hours = 2000 hours

Step 3: Determine Utilization Rate

Utilization rate represents the portion of working hours that can be billed to clients. A common utilization rate in professional services is around 60% to 80%, considering non-billable activities.

For this example, let's assume a utilization rate of 70%.

Step 4: Calculate Billable Hours

Billable Hours = Annual Working Hours * Utilization Rate
Billable Hours = 2000 hours * 0.70
Billable Hours = 1400 hours


In summary, the total number of billable hours in a year depends on various factors such as working days, working hours per day, utilization rate, and holidays.

By following the outlined calculations, we estimate that a professional with an 8-hour workday, working 250 days a year, and maintaining a 70% utilization rate would have approximately 1400 billable hours annually. However, it's essential to adapt these calculations to specific contexts and individual circumstances to achieve accurate estimates.

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