How much to charge for travel time?
May 23, 2006 11:59 AM   Subscribe

My father is an independent consultant, and works for $900/day in the formulated food business. What rate should he charge for travel time (per day) when he travels coast-to-coast for an assignment?

I should note that these travel assignments--while still in his field--are not his primary source of income. In each case, the potential employer, makes a specific request for him to fly out for the contract job.
posted by naelyn to Work & Money (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is he still making $900/day on these remote assignments, once on-site? One would assume he could be making $900/day on the days he is in transit, so his travel rate should take that opportunity cost into account. Since flying does not constitute a full day's work, then in addition to paying for airfare, he could ask for something like 50% his daily rate for the necessary travel.
posted by pmbuko at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2006

My usual practice was to charge slightly less for travel, but not much. A sizeable fraction of $900/day would be appropriate and if he can command it for his work, he is justified in commanding it for his time travelling.

What does he actually do now? Is he running into problems with clients not wanting to pay for travel?
posted by FauxScot at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2006

Best answer: When I have hired freelance camera and sound guys, I have tended to pay travel days at anywhere from 50% to 75% of their day rate, depending on travel time, how high their rate is, and how badly I want them.

I have had people try to negotiate for a full day rate for travel days, but they have thus far not been successful.

Very different industry, though, so my information may not be wholly relevant. Just thought I'd provide it as a data point.
posted by dersins at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2006

Woah, I read "time travel" instead of "travel time" :P. To answer your question, given the fact that "time is money", I'd be pressed to go use my normal salary rate. But to be reasonable, I'd go with a fraction of the rate instead. 1/3 to a half?
posted by freakystyley at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2006

The couple of specialized contractors I hire charge their daily rate + living out + expenses for travel to my site.
posted by Mitheral at 1:39 PM on May 23, 2006

Where I work, we typically get compensatory remuneration (comp time) for actual time traveled. Your day can do the same sort of thing, I imagine, if he breaks down fee on an hourly basis.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:04 PM on May 23, 2006

I charge my daily rate plus expenses. I also promise the client that, where possible, I'll be working on their project whilst travelling. That way it's harder for them to see it as "wasted" money.
posted by blag at 3:06 PM on May 23, 2006

Best answer: There isn't a hard and fast rule for this kind of thing -- it comes down to what the market will bear and what your competition is doing.

But to bring up a counterpoint, another school of thought for contract work is that you charge high rates for actual time worked only, because your non-billable time such as travel, management, R&D, etc is factored in.
posted by randomstriker at 4:40 PM on May 23, 2006

In law at least, travel time is typically billed out at full normal rates, though some clients do negotiate down.
posted by raf at 5:28 PM on May 23, 2006

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