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To this point in my freelancing career I have always done remote work at my hourly rate. I have been asked to be onsite just initially for my next contract. Does anyone out there charge different rates onsite vs remote. Should I charge all travel/accommodation expenses as well?

--Edit-- More Thoughts

If by specifying two rates am I effectively saying I am more valuable in person and not as valuable working remote? Possibly coming off as a less efficient remote worker.

  • You should be given extra perks if you're going to be working onsite may it be in the form of accommodation, transport, etc. And with regards to your hourly charge, I feel that it depends entirely on the agreement between the contractor and the freelancer. Some might agree to pay less since they're providing you with the perks, some might agree to pay you the same rate as your remote work rate and some might agree to pay more. It all depends on how the negotiation goes beforehand. – AndrewL64 Apr 26 '17 at 19:09
  • In response to your edit: Yes you are saying you are more valuable in person. That's because you are more valuable in person. 1) They now have a "resident expert" on-site, not just another worker. 2) They now have exclusive access to you for that part of the day. 3) They can now make instant updates to the project (possibly leading to scope creep as well), rather than having to submit requests for changes through better documented channels. 4) If they didn't think you were more valuable on-site, they wouldn't be asking for it. – Gypsy Spellweaver May 2 '17 at 3:05
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As a freelancer, I am free to work when and where I want. When onsite I am expected to be present during certain hours on certain days. I am also unable to take phone calls or deal with other customers. Because of this, I charge an onsite fee. The amount is private and varies, but say a customer wants me for a week on site, I would charge an additional 10 to 30 % onsite surcharge to my fees (depending on many other factors, like what rate they are paying, length of project, how busy I am, how much I like being at the client site, how much profit I am making anyway from them etc.). If I am to be onsite for a few hours or half a day, I waive the fee of course as this is nothing more than a long meeting. I would never commit to more than a week as it would begin to adversely affect my business.

All it really represents is that if they want to benefit from my presence, immediate input and ability to be questioned on demand, to train or enhance their team, and to be constrained to working when they want me to, then they have to compensate me for that. So onsite should be more expensive, definitely. However, not all customers will understand that and how you approach it and sell it is altogether a different matter. But being onsite is a new demand, on top of doing the project work, so they should pay more.

EDIT: I never charge travel or accommodation. I have found it much easier to explain a surcharge for being onsite rather than negotiate travel and accommodation charges. In that way I travel how I want and stay where I want, and it is nothing to do with the client.

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