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I have a few clients 45 minutes to 2 hours outside of town. One of my clients requested an appointment (on Tuesday) for some training and technical issues.
I charge an hourly rate for on-site services, including travel time, not from the time I leave my office, but from the time I leave my hometown (only takes 10 minutes to get to the highway where I would be leaving my town) until I arrive, and the time that I am there. I'm sure I should also charge for the way back? It is still my time, but here's where my business sense needs to stay in charge ;-) That could be a $200($35 rate) to $300 ($50 rate) to $450 ($75 rate) charge for 4 hours total travel time and say, 2 hours there.
Gas prices in my area right now are running about $3.00/gal. for regular. Should I charge my hourly rate for the travel time there, then only gas mileage for the way back, or the same hourly rate?
It would help to see what everyone thinks, and how you handle this type of charge.
If, like me you usually do not, you tell the client total travel time is 4 hours (or whatever) and 2 hours at the meeting. 6 hours of your time at $x per hour.
At $100 an hour that is $600 for the meeting (gas costs are really fairly periferal). Its then up to the client as to whether they want to take the cost or not.
I find that separates the sheep from the goats, and they time wasters then manage to get it done by email or phone
If on the other hand the meeting is in your interests, then you subsidise it to get it down to a lower cost. But tell the client, you should be charging $600, but you will pick up half or whatever, yourself and would charge $300.
There are no hard and fast rules, but your time has to be costed one way or the other. How valuble is the meeting and the clients account to you!
one place - if more than say 1 hour charged time one way over 60 minutes or so travel time.
If a "sales" meeting where you may get work - no charge
Other places I have worked cost it in through an hourly rate, again sales type meetings free.
Now have my own company I cost travel in on the clients daily rate ( minimum half day which prorata is more expensive )
If its really a long way , and I have done 4 hours travel time, it should be by arrangement as overnight stay may be needed as 8 hours travel plus 7 -8 hours on-site is over the top. Normally the client understands if they are worth having.
As training can be exhausting - never manage more than 2 hours without a small break myself and given you have to prepare normally always charge more if you can.
Tech issues normally at the clients standard rate.
I never charge for pre-sales or post-sales meetings unless it is really is a long way/different country - unless the work being proposed is a major project.