[FoRK] billing for travel days?

Lucas Gonze lucas.gonze at gmail.com
Sun Nov 16 11:54:55 PST 2008

I think I'm going to offer them them the choice of a higher hourly
rate and paying for travel hours.  The client is an ad-hoc consortium
sharing bils, so I don't want to activate their internal politics.

Thanks, y'all.  Much appreciated.

On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 7:04 PM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Travel related to Federal / DoD contracts has a somewhat fuzzy rule that
> travel that takes a significant amount of a day constitutes a "travel day".
>  Usually, you do some work on that day, however most of the day when you are
> traveling is imputed to the project as normal project time.  On busier
> projects, and where it is possible, I'd be working much of that time anyway.
> For shorter travel, the rule is that normal travel to and from your regular
> place of business is personal and any other travel is accounted for as
> project work time.  One way this is handled is for people to drive to work
> and then carpool to a meeting and back.  This is very clearly work time.
>  Sometimes, although pretty limited usually, flex time can be used.
> The only quirky part is that if you perform the travel on a weekend, it is
> less appropriate to charge it to the project, hence the tendency avoid
> staying over a weekend, unless it is in a destination that holds some
> personal interest.  In that case, you can often justify getting an extra
> night or two of hotel / rental car / per diem paid for because it often is
> more than offset by the lower airfare.  There is a strange rule around
> taking a day of vacation next to a holiday or related shifting of hours you
> have to watch out for.
> When I was living in Ohio and consulting in Manhattan, I, my partner, and a
> zillion other people would fly into the City on Monday morning and fly home
> on Friday afternoon, using two half days of project time.  In those days I
> billed by the day or fraction thereof anyway and had an unlimited expense
> account.  I ate so much top-tier steak in 3 months that I didn't eat steak
> again for 2 years.
> I think that the gist of all of that is that you don't charge for "driving
> to work" time, but anything else is normal project time.  This is in what
> you might call a "class A" consultant / contractor / employee-like
> situation.  If it's more of a "class B" (vendor or maintenance service
> call), it is expected that you are doing a lot of that kind of service and
> A) can do other work on the same trip and/or B) have built in enough margin
> to deal with it.  Service rates for Cray support are a good example.  The
> confusion, especially with accounting departments, probably has to do with
> misunderstandings in this division.  Or knowledge that the former category
> even exists.
> sdw
> Ken Meltsner wrote:
>> It's a contractual issue for our professional services, but we try to
>> get the customer to pay for the first 8 hours worked per day -- if you
>> can do it in a day trip, for example.
>> If you were a roofer or plumber, you'd probably charge for travel time.
>> Ken
>> On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 6:41 PM, Lucas Gonze <lucas.gonze at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Dear forkie, any suggestions on how I should bill for a day of travel
>>> on a consulting job?
>>> This is a consulting project on an hourly rate.  The client needs me
>>> to go to a meeting from 1-4 in norcal.  By far the majority of time
>>> for that will be spent dealing with the plane.
>>> Obviously I'll bill for travel expenses, but I'm not sure how to
>>> address the hours spent not in the meeting.  Anybody have experience
>>> that would shed light on standard practice?
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