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Charging for travel

I sometimes get requests to visit companies which are located a fair bit away from me. I'm generally happy to go out and see them the first time because it might potentially be a good client.

But one client insists on me coming to see them every time they have a new job for me which can be every couple of weeks. Apart from the time to visit (which can take a couple of hours all in) there's the travelling expense.

I didn't mention this initially as I thought once they met me we could do everything remotely, but what are your thoughts on charging travelling expenses on top of the design charge? I'm worried that they might shift to someone local and therefore cheaper.


Staff member
Include a 'travel budget' in the quote, don't necessarily state it's there if you have a breakdown as they'll try and get it removed but add an extra hour onto your work period. You can easily argue that travelling to the client is working because you can't do anything else.


Well-Known Member
Travel expense, or even any potential unforeseen travel expenses, should be taken into consideration when quoting for a job. It's not something you would declare to the client in the breakdown, it is just part of the additional 'add on' fees you privately top up your quote with for things such as travel or general length of time you predict it will take you to complete a job; eg. if you think a job will take you 6 hours to complete, you wouldn't quote them for 6 hours, you quote for say... 8 hours. The cost of these couple of extra hours would potentially cover travel expenses or going over time.

Paul Murray

Staff member
I'd be honest and speak to them about it. Just tell them that it's costing you time and money to travel to them, and either you'll need to start charging openly for travel costs, or you'd prefer to discuss the jobs remotely. They may assume you're just a few minutes away, or that you're already charging for travel in your costs. If you have a good relationship with them you should be able to discuss the matter and agree on an outcome.


Staff member
Absolutely. I charge for meetings, from the time I leave to the time I get back.

Make it clear to them though that you need to add x amount of hours to the bill for travel time as it takes x hours round trip.

Offer to work via Skype/Video calls, and/or by email.

Or offer to meet half way that suit you both.
Any decent business would understand the time cost.

A friend of mine who used to work for a law firm in Hong Kong told me recently that his boss (who charged $1,000/hour or something crazy) would literally bill clients for "thinking time".

And as ridiculous as it sounds, it makes sense. We sit around umming and arring about a solution to a problem for hours (whether a legal dispute or a logo design), and then we have an "epiphany". That epiphany doesn't just appear, it's the result of hours of thinking and therefore thinking time is a part of the job.

The same is true for travel, if not even more so, as it can definitely be proved as time spent.