Charging for travel

How much does everyone charge for travel.

I received a request to do a heat loss survey on a 5500 Sq. foot home which is about a 2 hour drive each way. I told my client that my fee would be $125.00 per hour including travel time and I estimate it will take four hours on the road, two hours on site and two hours of report writing.

At first he questioned me about the $125.00 for travel time and my response was that I own three businesses and my time is what it is, if I’m out doing a IR inspection it means that I am taking time away from another business.

In the end he understood and said OK. My question is this, am I over charging for travel or not.

Thanks for the input.

Hi. Peter;

I guess one could relate this to a government employee that comes up from Massachusettes to check out a federal building up in Houlton Main.

They get paid their hourly rate as an employee and the car is free.

I get a free truck, paid gas, insurance and whateverelse, but I have to bring my butt to the jobsite on my time.

Some would charge one way with all the gas expenses.

In my opinion, if I had the knowledge to use one of those, I would charge a decent regular hourly rate with expenses and then charge the normal rate for using your expensive piece of equipment when you are really using it.

I am sure there will be a lot of opinions on this one.

Take care.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Thanks Marcel, I was thinking that maybe I should reduce my travel time but again I’m spending 4 hours of my day on the road when I could be doing something more productive. It’s like when DVD players came out, they were expensive but now that everyone has one their cheaper. ???

Peter, is it possible at that point that it becomes too expensive for the client and less equitable for your service if you charge less for the travel?

Just curious.

I can only relate this to odd jobs I do for the elderly on weekends and breaks my heart to charge them for the work I have not done yet.

This is a good conversation piece, for all parts of the Country, Urban and Rural makes a difference.

If you feel that this is what you are worth, I guess that is the way it is, and the only thing that can happen is negotiation or no deal.

Just my thoughts Peter.

Good luck to you.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

I charge what the daily rate is for me to be gone from my regular work for 8 hours. I may actually give a discount since it is one job in one place and limited liability for the energy survey. Time is time, and we deserve to be paid for our special knowledge in these arenas.
You may want to find out if his neighbors are in need of your service. Offer him a discount if he talks his friendly neighbor into a survey. That may help to get more work for such a long drive.

I should have given more info. This house is 5500 sq. feet and a second home in the mountains. They have exceeded their heating budget by 5 times so far, plus had a water pipe burst due to air infiltration. The insulation company has their opinion, so does the HVAC contractor as to what the problem is. My position was that with the IR camera the are no opinions but factual data as to the problem, combined with my years of experience in building I will be able to give him a non biased opinion.

PS, it’s two years old

In our line of work, you get paid just as much if not more for what you know as what you do. Your rate seems reasonable to me, if you want to be a real sport and give the guy a rebate it could go a long way towards future referrals from him. Everybody loves a deal, even rich people.

It seems to me that your survey is very important and should locate the source of the problem, and resolve the finger pointing between the HVAC guy and the Insulation guy. In the long run you can save them thousands of dollars.
I don’t think your over charging, I think you are itemizing drive time and nobody wants to pay for an expert to sit on his butt driving.

I agree with the previous post. Figure out a daily charge for this job, about a $1,000.00 and quote the flat fee.

Don’t under estimate the value of resolving the heat loss issue once and for all.



Do you make $125/hr at every business you run?

When you are doing the inspection (site and report) I would charge your rate. But driving, that is vehicle cost and operating expense and your time at the rate you would make doing something (or nothing)else. What are you worth when your doing nothing? :slight_smile:

Get my drift?
How much does your client make? $125/hr ($250,000/yr)?

The cheapest I’ll leave the house for is $45 + expenses. That’s $90,000 a year, with a 2 week vacation. That seems fair to me to just drive. What’s fair to you in New England?

Service businesses generally charge less for Travel than for on site service. They also only charge the distance outside their normal service area.

But, if you don’t have any competition you are worth the $125.

I tend to tack it on to the Inspection rather than Travel.

I’d say your in the right ball park…I use 100.00 per hour. Lets face it, if it takes you away from doing another inspection that you’d be making your normal fee…why would you do it for any less? I’m sure how many inspections you do would have a large factor on this as well. If your booked-up, stick too it, if work is sparse, negotiate

Hi Peter-

Your rate is fine, maybe even a little low. One approach you may try is to present the quote/bid as more about the value than about “your time”. When it comes down to it the customer does not care about you - they care about what’s in it for them. So when you discuss price discuss it in terms of the results than can expect to get for the services you provide - it helps them see the value of what you do. Your client has told you that they have exceeded their energy budget 5 times - ask him to put that into real dollars. Other contractors and service professionals have tried to solve the problem and have been unsuccessful - what is the real dollar value if this problem continues for another winter or two, three, ect. What is the aggravation worth to him to keep calling in contractors that don’t have the technology and skill to deliver?

What I am saying is that your price should be a blend of the value of what you deliver and your opportunity cost (what opportunities do you forgo to take this project) but when you discuss price with a client it is all about what’s in it for them.


OMG Steve. Now why did you have to disclose this side of business. :shock:
Thanks a lot…:frowning: :wink:
Now your going to have inspectors all across the country change their marketing plans, from following nicks marketing examples of just telling people how great they are, how they are more qualified than other inspectors due to completing online quizes, and by how many certificiations they bought online,

To simply telling the customer the value of what you can offer, and what you can do for them.


Thanks Steve, this is pretty much what we discussed and my estimate of almost $900.00 for the inspection is nothing compared to what he is spending on oil.

The point I made that sealed the deal was when I use the camera it won’t be an opinion but scientific fact and I have no interest in the outcome other than fulfilling my clients needs.

Whens your next webinar? I missed the last one and am looking forward to participating.

Thanks again, Pete

My rates are $150.00 per hour and my clients have no problem paying that rate.

ALL of the experienced inspectors / consultants that I know charge for their travel time and their clients pay them without hesitation.

I think that you should raise your prices.

Good Luck!:stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Frank, Thanks, I’ve received a couple of PMs that said the same thing but I’m OK with what I charge, for now anyway.

Originally Posted by fcarrio
My rates are $150.00 per hour and my clients have no problem paying that rate.

ALL of the experienced inspectors / consultants that I know charge for their travel time and their clients pay them without hesitation.

I think that you should raise your prices.

Good Luck!:razz:

I know you and I know some of your background as a builder, and as an inspector.
From what I know IMO you could charge $225.00 per hour and YOUR customers would be getting their moneys worth.

Bye the way… I have been charging $150.00 per hour since 1994… It is time for me to raise my rates.