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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Travel fees
Mike Dean, Photographer
Groveland | MA | USA | Posted: 1:08 PM on 01.09.12
->> I just had a client that I have shot for before, ask for a quote to shoot something in Washington DC (I'm in Boston) and she was surprised when I included a travel fee and expenses for spending 2 nights there. She is expecting me to fly there in the morning and fly back at night. Has anybody else had this experience? Is that normal? It's less than a 2 hour flight but it would still be a crazy long day with about 4.5 hours spent in flight or at the airport. I'm thinking of just eliminating the hotel expense, part of the car rental/gas expense and keep the travel fee (which is half of my full day rate.) Does that sound reasonable?
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Bruce Twitchell, Photographer
Coeur d'Alene | ID | USA | Posted: 1:28 PM on 01.09.12
->> "I'm thinking of just eliminating the hotel expense, part of the car rental/gas expense"

...if you are staying in a hotel and renting a car for this assignment, why would you not charge for it?
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Michael Chansley, Photographer, Assistant
Tucson | AZ | USA | Posted: 1:30 PM on 01.09.12
->> I have a handfull of clients I shoot for where they travel to a new destination for their event every year. If they continue to use me, I usually wave or discount some of my expense fees depending on the size of the project. Some have tight budgets and what's keeping them from just hiring a local photographer that wont have those fees? You client may have another event across country next year and might not even consider you if there is too many fees. Just be flexible as long as everything works out for you in the end.
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Mike Dean, Photographer
Groveland | MA | USA | Posted: 1:49 PM on 01.09.12
->> ->> "if you are staying in a hotel and renting a car for this assignment, why would you not charge for it?"

No, I'm considering doing it all in one day (thus eliminating the hotel fees and reducing the car rental fee.) I was just wondering if this is common -clients asking you to fly somewhere, shoot most of the day, and fly back the same day? And if so, do you still charge a half-day travel fee?
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 1:56 PM on 01.09.12
->> Mike-
Whenever a client gets that way with me, I correct them and if they push more, I fire them. They are not there to micromanage me or my expenses. I refuse to overwork/overtravel myself to make them happy. It's not worth it.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 1:58 PM on 01.09.12
->> FWIW, I've never heard anyone say they don't have a tight budget. A budget is what you make it.
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Colin Lenton, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | United States | Posted: 3:14 PM on 01.09.12
->> For a trip that short, I would urge you to consider flying in late the night before and staying in a hotel, then fly out immediately after the shoot the next day.

For something like this, I would first propose the travel fee, and then remove if it necessary to make things work.

I do 90% of my work out of state, being flexible with my travel fees allows me to get more high paying work in other states.

Don't skimp on the hotels though, its not good for you or your client to have you trying to shoot a job exhausted.

Also, for what its worth, a few of my corporate suit friends make Philly>Boston>Philly trips for their companies once a month and do not spend the night unless they have two days worth of meetings.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 6:43 PM on 01.09.12
->> Two nights in a hotel for a Boston to DC gig does sound a bit much unless you're going to spend a long day shooting in DC.

If it's a quick (four hours or less) shoot then it's not unreasonable for them to ask for a one day turn around. If it's an early morning start or a 6-8 hour gig then flying in the night before, charging for a hotel and flying back to Boston in the evening is reasonable.

It's a cruel world out there. Companies are trying to cut back and there are lots of good photographers in DC that are your real competition in this case.
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Mike Dean, Photographer
Groveland | MA | USA | Posted: 8:11 PM on 01.09.12
->> I've done 3 jobs for them before and they were each all-day (9-5) events and 2 of them I had to fly and I stayed overnight before and after so I guess that was my reasoning. But I think flying in the day before and leaving the next day seems the most reasonable. Thanks for the help!
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Troy Thomas, Photographer
Kansas City | MO | USA | Posted: 7:39 PM on 01.10.12
->> I have had a corporate client ask me to fly in same day. When I explain to them that there might be a possiblity of missing or being late to the event due a flight delay they usually realize that one night of hotel is a good investment.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:53 AM on 01.11.12
->> Try to spend their money like it was yours. You can save a bundle and still have a good hotel if you use Priceline. Websites like betterbidding.com and biddingfortravel.com post winning and losing bids and have tutorials that teach you how to bid smart. I have stayed in 3 and 4 star hotels for less than a lot of people pay for a 2 star.
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Patrick Fallon, Photographer, Assistant
Dallas | Texas | USA | Posted: 3:10 AM on 01.11.12
->> From Brian's list:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2601
"" Cheap hotels won't kill you, but they will send a message to your client that their budget is important to you."

As an intern I was prepared to camp in a field with a tent and sleeping bag in November near College Station, TX rather than spend the $180 for a hotel, luckily my editors were kind, but that kind of expenditure did not weigh lightly on me.

Be aware that saving money may mean other expenditures might be possible later in the year because of budgets kept.
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Colin Lenton, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | United States | Posted: 3:56 PM on 01.11.12
->> Saving money in a shoot doesn't always mean that it can save more money for a shoot later in the year. In fact, for more than one of my corporate clients, we have to try and spend as much money as possible so that the budget stays where it is at, year after year. If we don't spend it, the budget gets cut because they assume we can always do it cheaper.

Also, Brian's list is awesome, but if you're keeping your luggage in the bathroom to avoid bed bugs (as he suggests) I would caution that your frugality is probably bordering on cheap, if not insanity.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 3:23 PM on 01.13.12
->> I have my rules about travel and hotel that are not negotiable and have served me well.

I do not fly in and fly out on the same day as the shoot. I fly in the day before and in all probability will be flying out the day following the shoot.

I fly in and out of my local airport, more expensive or not. I am not driving 70 miles or more to save $100 or whatever on airfare.

I stay in business class hotels with full services that are most convenient according to my needs. And I do not share rooms. I do not go searching around on discount shopping for rooms or airfare.

I book all my own hotels and flights. Do not depend on the client, they will put you in the most inconvenient useless dump every time as well as the most ridiculous flight schedules.

Estimated travel expenses are paid in advance.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 3:32 PM on 01.13.12
->> Let me just follow up by saying that your client should be hiring you because of what you do and not because you can save them $43 on your hotel room.

If that is the case, you are going about things all wrong and will be out of business soon when the next cheaper guy comes along.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 12:47 AM on 01.14.12
->> I just want to make a little tangential comment about what Colin said. Bedbugs make no distinction between one and five star hotels. They are amazing travelers and dirty/clean, cheap/expensive makes no difference. After suffering through an infestation (made worse by the fact that one of my kids turned out to be allergic to them), I can assure you I do what the exterminator said he does every time he stays in a hotel: put luggage in the bathroom (bedbugs don't like tile) or at least up on the luggage rack and pull back the sheets and mattress pad to check for little black spots on the bead of the mattress. Since then I have found them in hotels twice, once a cheap mom and pop and once in a $100+ "name" brand hotel.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Thread Title: Travel fees
Thread Started By: Mike Dean
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