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travel time fees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by hoodidoo, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. hoodidoo

    hoodidoo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Just curious what the thoughts are out there about charging for travel time. I've been asked to consult on a landscape job that would involve a 4 - 5 hr drive each way, and I'm just guessing maybe 3 or 4 visits during the length of the project. I know a typical rate for mileage, based on a government rate I think, is around .38 per mile. Perhaps that should be more now with higher gas prices. I typically charge $60/hr for local consultation, but I'm thinking in this case a per day rate would make more sense. (?)
  2. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    Sounds like a sticky situation. Basically the govn't .38 cents a mile is used for tax purposes only and is copied by alot of businesses for compensation for employees driving there own vehicles for business matters. This was upped 4-5 years ago, from 33 1/2 cents, if I remember correctly. However, keep in mind, a business must charge more than what it pays an employee to recover all costs. A good rule of thumb up to a year ago is aruond $1 mile. As you can see if your driving 4-5 hours each way that is 8-10 hours per trip or each time and averaging I assume 60mph would be in the neighborhood of $480-600 per trip just for driving, May sound like alot but considering that the average cost per mile for a truck is around $.50, it is only ok at best if you have no other work to do.
  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    I'm quite positive that you can only claim what the set rate is by the government for mileage. You may charge more, but when it comes to putting it on your tax return, it can only be figured the number of miles X the current rate, which like you said, is .38 I believe.

    This job just sounds like it isn't going to work out. To try and figure an extra $500 a day for JUST travel time to and from the job-site, then the actual time you spend there. So someone is going to pay you, what, a $1000 a visit to consult a project? Sounds crazy. Unless your the best landscaper in the country. Why wouldn't they go with someone local.

    Anyways, not to get off the subject. I think your best bet for travel expense would be to just keep your gas receipts and then charge your client an hourly wage for sitting behind the wheel. If you think they'll pay you $240 to $300 just to drive one way to their job-site, good luck with it. I would definitely try a reasonable per day rate. Probably the only way you'll get the work.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,426

    No matter what you decide to do, you need to consider the lost revenue from travel time, and the toll on current production. If you don't get paid the same hourly rate you charge to produce a job, then you are cheating yourself. That has to be explained and agreed to by the client or don't take the job.
  5. hoodidoo

    hoodidoo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Thanks guys. I appreciate the input. I've given my potential customer a hefty proposal for my help on his multi-million dollar building project, as well as given him a contact for a landscape company closer to the job site. And there are LOTS of those. It's a little weird actually that he came to me, saying he heard I was the best, yet he couldn't remember who told him that. I thought I smelled a rat at first, but upon meeting him I don't actually have any reason to believe that's the case. Anyway, we'll see how it goes in a couple of months with another customer that he's building a home for only a few miles from me. And if he accepts my proposal on the faraway job for which I've asked 1/2 deposit, well, that's another story.

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