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Old October 3rd, 2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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How far away does a "local" wedding have to be for you to...

Require lodging and travel expenses?

We've kinda been eye-balling it. If it's somewhere that we think we'll be too tired to safely drive home, then yeah...

I know a few wedding photographers who go by milage, but they charge a flat rate per X number of miles.

I'm sure the end-time factors into that...

But what have any of you been using as a guide or to gauge whether or not you will implement travel costs?

Thanks guys!
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM   #2
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in the Chicago area going 100 miles isn't that far. That'll actually get me to Milwaukee, Rockford and many other areas. Generally anything over 100 miles 1 way is an overnight stay but Chicagoland is a much different geographic area than Rhode Island.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:28 AM   #3
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in the Chicago area going 100 miles isn't that far. That'll actually get me to Milwaukee, Rockford and many other areas. Generally anything over 100 miles 1 way is an overnight stay but Chicagoland is a much different geographic area than Rhode Island.

Don
Yeah, I'm from Minnesota originally, so 100 miles doesn't seem all that far to me either. You've gotta go a whole lot farther than that to get to anything! But you're right, the mentality around here is a lot different. 100 miles will get me to New Haven. CT, Portsmouth New Hampshire, Wellfleet, MA on the Cape, The Islands...

Because the mentality is different (they often joke about packing an overnight bag when driving to a town over 20 miles away) I'm wondering if the client expects to accomodate imported vendors...

The theme I'm noticing on these boards is that we're selling our product. If the client wants it, everything else is in the periphery. Being the closest videographer to a venue shouldn't be the headline of our ads!
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:29 AM   #4
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I do it as 100 km from the city limits. Edmonton is pretty large in area, but a lot of the places in Alberta are pretty far apart. I don't want to have to drive more than 100 km at 11:30 pm after I've shot a wedding all day. I've never had to do it, but I don't think that it's unreasonable. I also charge $0.50/km. It doesn't work out to much as most weddings I use that for are only about 50 km out of town.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:34 AM   #5
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Do you all bring it up right away? Or just include in on your contract only? I'd feel like I'm being a little shady if I didn't mention it up front. We're not big fans of hidden fees or surprises...but if most clients getting married in the boonies may expect to have to pay for mileage and lodging.

Do they put you up, or do you find a reasonable place?

Do you mention it on your website?

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...I don't want to have to drive more than 100 km at 11:30 pm after I've shot a wedding all day...
That's the kicker, I'm thinking. Exhaustion gets to be a safety issue at a point!
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 12:20 PM   #6
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If it's over 20 miles away, I charge a $1 per mile (one way). I let the client know that their will be a small fee for travel. I have not lost a sale yet when I brought the travel expenses.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:06 PM   #7
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every geographic and demographic area is different so whether it's 20 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles or 1000miles it's really a choice you make based on the location you're in and what is considered the norm for that area.
I would and definately do tell the client about any additional fees up front-no surprises and if you tell them up front then they not only expect it but understand why you are charging it.
Basically it's what you think you need to charge to remain profitable-not gouging but a fair profit.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:17 PM   #8
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Yeah, I'm from Minnesota originally, so 100 miles doesn't seem all that far to me either.
That's where I am. I used to have a "no mileage" policy but I wouldn't take a booking more than 150 miles away. I don't have any official policy now, but would probably follow the same.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 03:39 PM   #9
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If it's over 20 miles away, I charge a $1 per mile (one way). I let the client know that their will be a small fee for travel. I have not lost a sale yet when I brought the travel expenses.
What if it's 25 miles? Do you bill them $5 or $25?

My travel policy is similar except it starts after 60 miles. If they live 65 miles, I charge them $30 for the the fist 60, then $1 per mile thereafter. Hotel & expenses over 100 miles.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 04:40 PM   #10
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I charge 55 cents a mile (round trip) for outside the county. Basically it covers gas. I think people get that you're traveling and incurring an expense you might otherwise not have. Besides, traveling 90 minutes one way (3 hours round) is a good bit of time to LOSE if you're not charging for it.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 04:51 PM   #11
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What if it's 25 miles? Do you bill them $5 or $25?

My travel policy is similar except it starts after 60 miles. If they live 65 miles, I charge them $30 for the the fist 60, then $1 per mile thereafter. Hotel & expenses over 100 miles.
why? Do you want to book me? haha.. just kidding. If it's under $20 it's free. If it's 20 or over, then the milage starts from my office, if it's 25 miles away then it would be $25. However, I actually don't charge unless it's more like 30 miles and beyond.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 06:21 PM   #12
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Something I've considered implementing is the following:

Say you charge $2,000 for a local wedding.

An idea is to charge $2,500 for a non-local wedding that is over x miles away and you have to stay overnight.

That way the client doesn't have to worry about per mile charges and accommodation costs. If you're booking the accommodation yourself then you can get something that is suitable for you and avoid a situation in which the client wants to book you into the 'Fleabag Inn' because it's $50 cheaper. Or maybe their uncle has a spare room you can crash in for the night :)

The $500 I mention here is just a made up figure. Basically make it enough money that you can comfortably travel and stay somewhere and keep it under that amount. That way if you want to stay at the 'Fleabag Inn' you can ... but if you want to stay somewhere nicer then you can as well.

Just an idea.

What about charging for your travel time as well? Charging $1 per mile or km is ok - but what about the time taken getting there? Surely that is worth something as well. A wedding you have to travel to is surely more work than a local wedding. You'd have to pack differently, maybe take some extra gear. Plus, it takes longer to get there which is time you could have spent making money elsewhere, you're away from your family, it's more dangerous traveling long distances etc ...

Maybe some of those factors need to be included in the nominal '$500' mentioned above.

A mistake I see many photographers and videographers making is not factoring these 'hidden' costs into their pricing, not just for non-local weddings but any job. As a result, their bottom line and their lifestyles are not benefiting as much as they should be.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 07:03 PM   #13
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I agree 100% about putting the trqavel charge and accomadations into the package price in most cases but there are times when the couple might booka room in the same place as the bridal party-fine, just payme the travel fees and per diem and we're good to go. I forgot to add the per diem in my previous post. Hey you gotta eat and when your on the road you have to eat in a resturant so...
Of course you also have to use your best judgement as well. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 09:35 PM   #14
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We charge 2 fees; one for hotel and one for "travel". Travel is based on mileage an is designed to help compensate for gas and our time. It covers gas, but doesn't actually fully compensate us for our time (something I may update down the road .. pun intended).

Currently we only charge "travel" if we're going far enough to have to spend the night (generally anything over an hour away). However, last weekend I had a wedding where the bridal prep was 10 miles in one direction, the ceremony was 20 miles in the other direction, and then the reception was 45 miles back the other way (and then another 40 miles back to the office). That adds up to over 100 miles of driving on the wedding day, even though we didn't have to spend the night anywhere. So I'm contemplating adding a "travel" charge if we are expected to drive more than 20-25 miles on the wedding day.

The trouble is that I try to keep things simple and this just complicates things. On the other hand, gas is too spendy to be driving all over and not get compensated.

I don't like the "flat fee" idea because not all locations are alike. If you set up your flat fee to cover a potential destination that is 4 hours away, that amount might seem pretty absurd to a couple that is getting married only an hour away. I think most couples are very comfortable with the idea of paying by mileage, because then it feels very reasonable to them. If it's a flat fee, it could easily begin to feel arbitrary.
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Old October 4th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #15
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However, last weekend I had a wedding where the bridal prep was 10 miles in one direction, the ceremony was 20 miles in the other direction, and then the reception was 45 miles back the other way (and then another 40 miles back to the office). That adds up to over 100 miles of driving on the wedding day, even though we didn't have to spend the night anywhere. So I'm contemplating adding a "travel" charge if we are expected to drive more than 20-25 miles on the wedding day.
We actually charge $1 per mile one way for the whole route. Of course we only implement it in a scenario like you listed above.

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I don't like the "flat fee" idea because not all locations are alike. If you set up your flat fee to cover a potential destination that is 4 hours away, that amount might seem pretty absurd to a couple that is getting married only an hour away. I think most couples are very comfortable with the idea of paying by mileage, because then it feels very reasonable to them. If it's a flat fee, it could easily begin to feel arbitrary.
This is not a terrible idea. If you don't bring up travel to the client then they probably won't even think about it with all of the other stuff in a wedding booking. If you work it so it all comes out a wash in the end, it might be nice for the client not to have any extras fees. In California, we already have to charge sales tax right off the bat. All those fees add up (in the mind of the client).
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