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  • Travel Expense- Etiquette?

    Hi Everyone,
    I've been reading and learning lots from everyone here on the threads...amazing talented people on here. Thank you for sharing all your "secrets"!

    Anyhow, I'm still relatively new on the business side of things, but I was curious to know what everyone charges for "Travel expenses" when photographing outside your home town?
    I've been commissioned to do a wedding 153km/95 miles south from where I live...it will be a full coverage day, which would mean I would have to stay the night in the city. What would you suggest in charging for transportaton wise, and do I get them to book me a room where they may have already set up a deal for their wedding guests...or do I go ahead and book a hotel myself and charge them that amount?

    Your input is greatly appreciated!

    Oh...I guess I should mention that I'm charging them $800 for full day coverage so far...that from the bride getting ready to the "first dance"...

    Thanks everyone!

    Ludy :-)

  • #2
    Nobody likes getting stealth bills for extras after the fact or getting charged for things they could have done for less or free.
    So -
    Ask if accommodation is available from them, if not then just add that cost to your bill. BUT TELL THEM UPFRONT
    I get annoyed when people bill per kilo traveled so tell them you rate is $800 + fixed cost of getting and staying there. But work that amount out ahead of time (fuel + vehicle wear. Should be avail from the AA)

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    • #3
      I'm thinking that since you've already been booked, that money has already been discussed. It might be too late to go back and add travel expenses if there was no mention of them in the original contract. As a client, I'd be really annoyed by an "oh, I also need to charge you for travel."
      Best,
      Jim
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      • #4
        And does 95 miles really require an overnight trip? Its a 2 hour drive and its not like the bride is gonna be getting ready from 6 am. If I were the client I wouldn't be happy paying for a hotel room and would just hire someone closer of you pushed it, especially if we had already agreed the fee.

        Next time you need to bring this up upfront. Set a limit you are confortable traveling for free, with travel costs covered and with travel + accomodation covered. You don't need to set out the price just be clear that people will be charged expenses if they are that distance away.
        Fletch

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        • #5
          This one is really simple. What does the contract say. If it does not say anything about travel expenses you are stuck sorry.
          Rex K

          The view from my "office" doesn't suck.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jim Poor View Post
            I'm thinking that since you've already been booked, that money has already been discussed. It might be too late to go back and add travel expenses if there was no mention of them in the original contract. As a client, I'd be really annoyed by an "oh, I also need to charge you for travel."
            The clients were referred to me by a photographer friend of mine (who actually lives in the city, but can't do it) and they are aware that I am out of town. It has come from the client themselves as to discussing "travel expenses". I've never photographed outside of my city, so it's that info/advice that I was looking for.

            We have not yet signed a contract, we will be meeting this coming weekend to discuss matters in further detail.

            At the same time, I'm trying to build up their view of photographer's to a positive level, as they've recently had their photographer back out on them with one month left to the wedding. I have yet, to find more details, as to if they signed a contract with them and they can dispute it and take it to small claims court or something.

            As for it being 2hrs away...I just think at the end of the reception...to have to drive two hours after a long day of shooting...it makes for a long day. Alot of the time...the first dance doesn't start 'til 10p.m....I don't know. Again...a thought/info/advice as to handle the situation as I've never photographed outside of where I live.

            Anyways, thank you for the feedback I'll keep you all posted!

            Ludy :-)

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            • #7
              If you have not signed the contracts yet then absolutely charge them for the travel expenses. As it is $800 for all day coverage is extremely cheap. Hopefully you are not giving them a CD/DVD with the high res images and can at least make some money off of print sales.
              Rex K

              The view from my "office" doesn't suck.

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              • #8
                You charge for travel time, mileage, hotel and food expenses, and gas.
                http://pa.photoshelter.com/c/jimbryant
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                • #9
                  Ok, well I'll give you an idea of what I do, now Canada money and US money are going to differ, but my contract states that I will travel up to 35 miles from my home at no additional cost, that basically covers all the small towns around mine. Then I charge $1 per mile round trip for any miles over the 35 (granted I just did a wedding that was 38 miles and waived the fee for them, don't need to be too nit picky) Anyways, I also have in there that any wedding over 90 miles away is an additional $100 as it may require an overnight stay. I figure I can usually find a motel for under that. However if someone wanted me to go out of state or something like that I may have to adjust some things, but at this time I'm not seeing that happening.
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                  • #10
                    You've gotten some great advice so far about travel payment so I won't get into that. But I will give you some advice about charging in general.

                    I totally agree that in this case charging for travel is resonable. The question here is is if it's reasonable to add another charge after telling the clients the wedding would cost $800. And the key is how concrete that $800 charge is to both you and the clients.

                    You've already said that you and the clients are meeting at a later date to go over everything. And since they brought up travel expenses themselves they seem to be expecting to pay that. So you're probably fine bringing that up. I'd say you're even more safe if they're aware of your level of experience.

                    I see this less as a travel expense etiquette question and more of a surprise charge etiquette question.
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                    • #11
                      Check with your government tax agency. In the U.S., the reimbursement rate is set by the IRS, and money collected for mileage is non-taxable.
                      JamieDePould.com + OneYearPhoto.com
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