How much do YOU wanna give me? (And what can I do while I'm there?)
March 31, 2015 7:39 AM   Subscribe

A company is wanting to commission me for a project at a major sporting event. Obviously I want to make some money doing it, but I don't want to ask for too much and thereby lose my chances, as hopefully this would be something ongoing. Help me figure out how much I should ask for...and what I can do while I'm there. Deets within!

The company has some clients coming to my area for a big-time televised sporting event (this one, if it matters). Essentially I would be there as a sort of escort or guide for these clients during their attendance of this event. What the project entails in a nutshell:

* drive to city of event
* greet clients at their hotel over breakfast
* accompany them to event and help them get their tickets
* wait for event to be over (I will not have a ticket, but supposedly there is some hospitality area where I can wait, read, nap)
* accompany clients to dinner (which will be comped) and back to their hotel

I imagine I would need to arrive the day before to be fresh and ready the morning of the event, and might need to stay overnight depending on how long dinner would take. Therefore I plan to reserve a hotel room for 2 nights.

The actual work time would be rather short, as the commute to and from hotel should not be long and getting the tickets shouldn't be too difficult. I would not be driving the clients, just escorting them; they already have someone transporting them. I just am not certain whether I should factor in all that down time (approx 10 hours) into my figure, ie whether I should charge an amount for the entire day. Also not certain whether I need to bring snacks / food because though there will be a hospitality area, will they serve any food to non-ticketholders? Obviously I would need to budget for that.

Costs so far:

Transportation / mileage: $70
Hotel: $145 / night x 2 nights = $290
Food / meals?

When I talked to the company yesterday, they said that they could get a plane ticket for $450, which is unlikely -- I've done some research and found that the absolute cheapest plane ticket they could get is $550 and that would include extra stops and an undesirable schedule. It's more likely that it would cost around $1,000. Factor in around $400 for a hotel room for 2 nights and they'd likely spend $1400 if I don't go. It's apparently not a big company, definitely not any sort of multinational, just a 2-person deal.

With all that in mind....


1. Should I charge them a rate just for a couple hours of work, or for a whole day of displacement? (I regularly receive $30 / hr for assignments)
2. Knowing that they'd be likely to spend around $1400 for themselves to attend this if I were not to go, how much total should I ask for, without sounding too greedy and expensive?
3. Is there a hospitality area at such events, and would I have access to it as a non-spectator? Is it OK to eat, sleep, read, etc, just pass time while there?
4. Does anyone know if I would have any access to food as a working visitor, and how much should I budget for that?

Any other relevant details PLEASE share!
posted by ditto75 to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Response by poster: Just found my answer to #4 -- still clueless on others...
posted by ditto75 at 7:43 AM on March 31, 2015

I would say try and come up with a "fair price". You are giving up a whole day of work, so you should charge based on the whole day, but since you're not actually doing real work, maybe at a lower rate.

The federal rate for meals and incidental expenses for Augusta, Georgia is about $50/day.


If you end up asking for high price, also communicate your value. Show that you have researched augusta, that you know where the hospitality area/ticket booth/parking set-up is, etc. etc.

If you frame your quote in the right way (i.e. "Here's how I'm thinking about this - let's come up with a fair price together" vs. "This is what I'm demanding") I think that you'll be able to avoid the risk of them leaving the table immediately.
posted by The Ted at 7:57 AM on March 31, 2015

I don't work in your particular type of industry, but I do travel frequently for clients and it also necessitates plane tickets plus a day or two at a hotel. Most of what I did last year was traveling for clients.

This is a different industry, so apply a grain of salt. But I am mentioning this as to your approach for one part of the question.

This part applies to your question #2:

...When I talked to the company yesterday, they said that they could get a plane ticket for $450, which is unlikely....

I would trust them on this, and furthermore, see if you can have a clause in your contract that rather than paying you for this component, in the agreement they get the plane ticket plus hotel for number of nights needed as agreed upon between the two of you. I'm saying this because in my experience, yes, companies can get far cheaper plane tix and hotels because they negotiate and have corporate rates (assuming that they do other travel or contract with a vendor for travel). It also gives you one less thing to do admin wise, and if there is a need to cancel at the 90th hour (weather, something on their side), they have the mechanisms in place to do this.

In my experience, if I am doing work on a particular day, the client does want to minimize costs, too, so they typically pay for overnight hotel in one direction (ie, probably the night before so as you stated, you would be fresh for any work). But on the way back you can sleep on the plane, etc.

But because they offered getting the plane ticket, I would just ask them if this is a possibility. Would they cover hotel and plane ticket or is the expectation that you do this?

For question #1, a few hours vs day rate, this is what I do:

For an entire day of work (ie, the day you are meeting with people) = 8 hours of my hourly rate X 2 more hours to compensate for travel. So according to your rate listed above (your 30/hour), for the day = $300. I don't charge them for going a day early, leaving a day later, etc. I feel comfortable doing this and I have never had a client blink an eye at this, even if I am sometimes only "working" 2 to 3 hours on a particular day. But mind you, this is acceptable in my industry, I do not know your industry and what is/is not acceptable. It is clearly understood that I cannot be taking on work somewhere else at this time if I am spending the day in other town doing other work.

I would also google around to see if you are charging standard industry rates. See if you can google your industry and go to other people websites to confirm that you are not underselling yourself.
posted by Wolfster at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2015

Response by poster: ...When I talked to the company yesterday, they said that they could get a plane ticket for $450, which is unlikely....

Wolfster, I mention that to give an idea as to how much they would spend if they themselves were to come out for the assignment, not me. The reason they would rather have me is since I am a (relatively) local person, they could cut back on transportation costs. Hence my mileage requirement of $70 vs more for plane ticket for them to do this themselves.

They are only a 2-person company (I looked it up, they have a website), so how likely is it that they can get a plane ticket for that cheap when the event is less than 2 weeks away?

As to hotel, again costs are tight for them; they mentioned on the phone that the optimal person would already live there or someone who had a friend they could crash with. So I am trying to see how I can keep my costs low while not cutting my own self short.
posted by ditto75 at 8:29 AM on March 31, 2015

When I worked in the entertainment industry, I would have billed two days of time for this - one for the day of hosting and two half days of travel plus costs (including wear and tear on my car if I drove, not just gas costs). Time that I spent traveling was time that I wasn't working for another client or doing things I wanted to.

In my experience (which is a few years out of date), generic personal assistants doing the sort of work you describe would get $15-25/hour. I'm guessing from your background that the guests are Chinese and part of why the company wants your services is to smooth over language/culture issues as well as play host?

What opportunities (other work) are you giving up by taking on this assignment? What opportunities for future work for the company does it open up if you do this on the cheap to help them out? Can you work on other tasks while waiting during the event? If they're hoping to find someone that can crash with a friend rather than pay for a hotel, they may trying to keep the budget small enough that this may not be worth your time and it might be better to suggest that they see if they can find someone local that they wouldn't have to pay for lodging/travel than to quote a price that while fair might make them feel that you're trying to take advantage of them.
posted by Candleman at 9:00 AM on March 31, 2015

You mentioned that you hope to turn this into an ongoing work relationship, so be sure to arrive at a rate you'll be happy with moving forward as that will be perceived as your asking price for future assignments. You can always negotiate from there, but I've seen too many people offer a deal because they are eager for or excited by a new opportunity.

1. I often have to hire local staff for similar programs and our standard day rate for non-specialized staff is $395, plus $85 in per diem. Any travel expenses are additional. Based on candleman's response, you may be offering specialized services with your language skills, which would be cause to increase your rate.

However, whenever I'm billing clients for my time, I bill my actual travel hours + actual work hours (or my best estimate for new projects). It's the opportunity cost of working for them--you can't be doing what you'd choose to be doing otherwise during that time. I also prefer the hourly vs day rate, as it's often a 16+ hour day in the events world.

Also, account for any planning/research time you may have to do, if that's a possibility.

Is there already a room for you within their room block? If not, make sure that you can find a room for the rate you mentioned and then also account for all local, occupancy, special event taxes that may apply.

3. The Masters is known for minimizing the in your face sponsorship and as a result, there's not much space on the grounds for hospitality hosting. Many large companies rent the houses in the surrounding neighborhoods and that's where the company hosts their guests for meal service before the guests enter the grounds and throughout the day when the guests want to take a break. I can't think of any area that would be accessible to you to spend the day while they are inside, unless the company has arranged for hospitality space (which doesn't seem to be the case from your question). You may be able to hang out on the mini-shuttle/bus/whatever mode of transportation they are utilizing, but that's more dependent on the driver's plan and friendliness for the day. Some of the seasoned local staff that I hire will show up with a collapsible chair, umbrella and bag with reading materials/snacks for the day, discreetly hide it on transportation, walk the attendees to the event and then find some shade or sun for the afternoon.
posted by icaicaer at 12:23 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, be aware that, for the event you linked to, tickets are no longer available from the event sponsors (they're currently selling 2016 tickets), so you/the company will have to get them from a third party, such as an online broker, or offline broker (scalper). Just sayin'....

Seems odd that you won't also be attending the event, especially if you're all going to dinner afterward and they'll be recapping the day. Maybe ask the company for a ticket for you also.
posted by at at 5:01 AM on April 1, 2015

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