I have a client on the other side of the country who has repeatedly expressed interest in flying me to meetings and demonstrations related to our project. They have indicated they would pay all my travel expenses - airfare, room and board, etc.

However, I am concerned about loss of income during such trips. I will probably be unable to do any regular work while away from home, which amounts to losses of several hundred dollars per day, something I can't comfortably afford right now.

What is the customary approach to loss of income in a scenario like this? I can think of a few different approaches but I'm not sure which one is "correct":

  • Bill them my normal daily rate as part of travel expenses to cover loss of income
  • Bill them only for time spent actively working with them (e.g. demos, meetings) but at a higher hourly rate than normal
  • Take the hit on my income since they are already paying for the travel and board

This is something that is appropriate to negotiate with the employer if you feel it is necessary.

Personally, I would figure out a fixed amount I needed to do the job NOT including travel expenses like airfare, meals, etc.. that should all be paid for by them anyway.

If they do not offer a per diem, I WOULD include that in my fixed price estimate.

I would then take that number to the employer with a fixed price contract.

If they have a problem with the fixed price arrangement, or if they feel the rate is too high, at that point you have an entrance to negotiate the terms.

Just remember that you should choose a bottom line number and stick to it.

You don't want to go into the job resentful that your not being fairly compensated.

If they can't pay you what you need to be payed, then there are other jobs out there.

During negotiations you can explain how you came up with your figures including such things as income loss, etc...

Hope this helps a little.

Good luck.


1 You need two rates to give them. 1. We work with for out of office work on two per diem rates: 2. a) Working days at XXX per day 3. b) Travel days (all days from base to base excluding working days) at YYY per day. 4. This "b" rate above covers our costs or minimum income but also most importantly covers weekends away from base, where we have say a Thursday , Friday Monday Tuesday work days and charge non-working on outward Wednesday , the Saturday Sunday at customer's base town therefore available for work and unable to do 'normal' job) and for Wednesday return to base , so bill would have 4 working days at XXX and four non working days at YYY. This is labour only charge. All hotels , travel costs and meals etc are billed at cost to client or settled directly by them.

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