You never know how far a job could take you. Even if you try to keep your marketing local to your area, you never know when someone more long distance will reach out to you wanting your services. Also, word of mouth can take you further than you have ever dreamed! So, with that in mind what will your travel policy be? Let’s talk about it!
1. How far are you willing to travel for a job?
Think round trip here and that you might have to face traffic on the return trip. Are you willing to go 20, 30 or 40 miles, etc, before charging a fee? If you are willing to travel you can set a benchmark mile rate. For example, you will charge X amount of dollars if their location is more than 40 miles from where you live.
Here is a deeper way to look at it:
There are two primary schools of thought on the most ideal approach to be compensated for auto travel: time and/or mileage repayment. Time is money. So, if you find that you will be spending a good amount of time driving, financially account for it.
In the event that you pick the previous, you can choose to charge a “door-to-door” fee. That implies the time you charge a customer begins from when you leave your front door, to the time you stroll back into your place. On the off chance that the project is 30 minutes away and the gig is for three hours, you can charge the customer for 4 hours of time.
2. Does travel fit into your lifestyle right now?
It sounds really fancy and quite adventurous to travel for work. However, realistically that is just not what everyone will be able to do. What is your situation? With everything that your life is right now, are you really able to take on jobs that have you traveling? If not, that’s ok. Maybe in a later season of life, you will be able to do that.
Or, maybe there are only certain times in the year when you are able to travel. Perhaps, you are able to take on a project that requires travel on a case by case basis. There are ways to make traveling for jobs work, even if you feel it’s not available to you at “first glance”, it just depends on if you can make it work.
An assistant to be paid for as well? Will you need your plane ticket covered? Also, where will you stay… a hotel, Airbnb, bed, and breakfast? Discuss these options with your client and see what works best for their budget, as they should be covering where you will stay.
Furthermore, you may get some projects that require you to have your assistant be with you. In that case, will you pay your assistant out of pocket? Or, will you tack this on as an additional fee?
Will you need to have materials shipped? Or, will they be sure to have all of the materials ready and local to them?
Lastly, will any other service members of your team need to be present? If so, that might be an additional fee you need to consider.
4. How many nights in a hotel?
We kind of already touched on this a little, but discussing with your client how many nights of accommodation is needed is very important. Projects can easily extend their end dates, but in the case of traveling a distance, dates should be nailed down, as well as how many nights will need to be booked.
5. How to communicate your travel policy and make sure it’s valuable to the client to hire you and not someone local!
Utmost clarity is so important here! Have your travel policy documented on your website and on your contract. Then be sure to spell it out in person or over the phone to make sure you and your client are on the same page. The clearer you are the more assured your potential client will be.
The way you communicate your travel policy and the way you will go the extra mile should cause them to forget that they have local options!
Your travel policy is great to have nailed down even if you can’t foresee any travel in the near future. That one time you didn’t have it ready, could be the very time someone makes an inquiry that requires travel. Just have it ready and you can tweak it at any time.
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