Freelancers are only charging for two-thirds of the work that they do, according to online account software specialist FreeAgent.

The company took data from more than 40,000 companies and found that contractors worked a third of their time for free. It revealed that of the 80 per cent of the 10 million hours that was recorded by freelancers that were billable, only 31 per cent of this time was billed and that small companies only get paid for 69 per cent of their working hours.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said it was “surprising to see how many hours were being done for free.

“For many UK freelancers and micro-business owners, the typical nine-to-five just doesn't exist. They often work irregular and long hours, which they may not always get paid for, and on top of this, they also have the added pressure of staying on top of their business finances and tax obligations.

"But we believe there are also many who don't feel comfortable charging clients for important admin such as meetings and research, which they actually should be including in their bills. By doing so, they may not be working as profitably — or as efficiently — as they could be."

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