How Do Consultants Charge for Travel Expenses?

Do consultants charge for the time they spend traveling to client sites? It depends on the individual consultant, but many do. If you're curious about how consultants make money, check out my article on setting consulting fees. Most consultants who travel more than me bill for travel time, either at their full hour rate or half their hourly rate. There is usually a limit of 8 to 10 hours a day, even if the trip takes longer.

If the consultant has an uncommon skill that is essential to the project, they may charge a higher fee or a higher travel time. If the resource is easily replaceable, it probably isn't. This is variable, there is no normal rate. It depends on time frames, distance, quantity, etc.

Some consultants charge for travel hours (including me) and deduct your travel expenses. Others charge travel expenses separately. Lewis sometimes said it was appropriate to detail special travel considerations, such as not charging for travel from offices to the customer's office. I have a couple of colleagues who travel for all their work, so they include travel in their usual rate or rates. On the other hand, if this person can perform their tasks both on-site and remotely, since it usually involves more aspects of management consulting, then I think the conversation about travel time is justified. When I need to travel for a customer, I usually charge a fare of 8 to 10 hours per day, at least at the front and back of the trip.

When I started my business, I didn't charge for travel time, since I met with all the new customers once for the initial consultation, hiring, letter of commitment and, of course, setting up the remote hosting program on their PC. I have rarely worked in a situation where I was charged and I don't remember being charged the full fee. Blake Lewis from APR, a PRSA intern and founder of Three Box Strategic Communications in Dallas, says that when you travel from one point to another for a customer, they are generally billed for 50 percent of the billable rate. To manage travel expenses effectively, Firm Consulting recommends considering yourself, your company, the customer and how these things intersect with cost, perception and value. If the consultant bills per day and has to travel back and forth the same day, allow them to bill for a full day (8 hours).

Then pay two hours for travel time at a rate of 50%, plus the actual cost of the trip (plane tickets or parking). He said that clients used to be comfortable with these practices as they expect consultants to offer value.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

Certified pizza specialist. Incurable food evangelist. Tv advocate. Amateur travel lover. Hardcore pizza practitioner.