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Old October 5th, 2006, 11:54 PM   #1
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What is reasonable for travel fees?

Other than cost in gas, tolls, etc. (the obvious stuff), what is fair when it comes to charging for your time for travel?

Say there is a decent gig for you, totally worth your time, however you have to drive 2.5 hours each way for it. What do you charge? Your full hourly rate? Or something nominal?
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Old October 6th, 2006, 12:37 AM   #2
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Usually 1/2 rate, unless the job pays a basket full of cash.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 07:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber
Other than cost in gas, tolls, etc. (the obvious stuff), what is fair when it comes to charging for your time for travel?

Say there is a decent gig for you, totally worth your time, however you have to drive 2.5 hours each way for it. What do you charge? Your full hourly rate? Or something nominal?
Instead of actual costs for gas, tolls, etc, another option is to charge a standard per mile rate portal to portal if the distance to the gig exceeds a range that would be considered 'local', say something like anything over a 25 mile radius around your home base. Set the rate to something high enough to cover out of pocket expenses, vehicle depreciation and maintanance. Have the clock on your workday also run portal to portal. After all, if you're driving 3 hours to get to client X's shoot, that's 3 working hours you could have been shooting for closer client Y making money.

Travel costs can really eat into revenues. I have one client location I routinely go to for my day job (computer software training) that involves a 75 mile trip each way. By the time I cover gas and tolls (1+ hour on the toll road versus 2.5 hours on the regular freeway), my total daily cost just to get to and from work at that site is about $60 and it's not reimbursable so this comes right off the top of my revenue for the day.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 07:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Steve House
that involves a 75 mile trip each way. By the time I cover gas and tolls (1+ hour on the toll road versus 2.5 hours on the regular freeway), my total daily cost just to get to and from work at that site is about $60 and it's not reimbursable so this comes right off the top of my revenue for the day.
I see that you're in Canada so I don't know the policy there. But here in the US the Internal Revenue Service sets a standard mileage rate which is 44.5 cents per mile at the moment:

http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=156624,00.html

Of course you can add tolls to that, so your $60/day seems a little low. I'm not an accountant, but if you are unable to get your client to pay for your mileage, I think you can claim it as a tax deduction. But be sure to keep good records; talk to your tax accountant for more information.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
I see that you're in Canada so I don't know the policy there. But here in the US the Internal Revenue Service sets a standard mileage rate which is 44.5 cents per mile at the moment:

http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=156624,00.html

Of course you can add tolls to that, so your $60/day seems a little low. I'm not an accountant, but if you are unable to get your client to pay for your mileage, I think you can claim it as a tax deduction. But be sure to keep good records; talk to your tax accountant for more information.
That $60 a day is just immediate out-of-pocket expense. Thank the lord it is deductable! I unfortunately have a gas guzzler so it'll burn 35 litres of gas on that trip costing currently about $32 CDN. The actual RT mileage is 250km of which about 180 is toll road at $0.1625 per km so that's another $30. And that doesn't include oil, maintanance, depreciation, etc. After taxes, lunch, laundry, and all the other costs associated with going to work, some days it's hardly worth even bothering.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #6
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Well don't feel too bad... I just moved to a secluded place out in the middle of nowhere which is 50 miles from my regular job, even further on days when I work at our production center. And since it's a regular job, there's no reimbursement for travel or tax deductibility. But I think it's worth it in order to have the quality of life I want...
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Old October 8th, 2006, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber
Other than cost in gas, tolls, etc. (the obvious stuff), what is fair when it comes to charging for your time for travel?

Say there is a decent gig for you, totally worth your time, however you have to drive 2.5 hours each way for it. What do you charge? Your full hourly rate? Or something nominal?
What is time worth?

Most clients understand that they have to pay for someone's time. If I can't do other work because it takes me half a working day to get somewhere, that costs someone money. Within reason, I make sure it doesn't cost me.

If a shoot is within an hours drive, I suck it up, cost of doing business. But, in general I don't think you would do yourself any favors charging less than your full rate for extended travel.

Somewhat typical for me is to drive 5 hours in one direction to shoot something significant for 1 hour, and then either stay over night or drive back if I'm up for it. If I've gone without a rep from the client I charge out all of it, my time and my expenses (including mileage if take my own car, meals, etc.). If with someone, they pay the way, get the transport and all that. I just charge out my day rate.

I have never had a client question this rationale. They do it all the time to their clients/customers, and so should we. It becomes easier when you know they are often just passing on your costs to someone else anyway.

Lawyers really have this concept nailed!
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Old October 8th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tom Vandas
Most clients understand that they have to pay for someone's time.
...
I have never had a client question this rationale.

Damn, I'm moving to BC! Most people in Philly seem to think that working for free is a great portfolio builder. ;-p
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:25 PM   #9
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free 50 ml round trip, 44.5 cent per mile after that.
no other charges
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