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Thread: Jobs that involve travel

  1. #1

    Jobs that involve travel

    I have two very good customers that want me to correct issues in their Ra2 systems in their vacation homes, both of which involve plane travel, overnights etc. Has anyone else dealt with this and if so how did you bill for your time? I will be T&M but wonder about per diem and charging while on the way. I was thinking I should be able to charge for all the travel time. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I would definitely charge for the travel time. You commute to the airport, they pay all flight time and lay-overs. Per Diem for sure, based on location. And hotel/rental car/Uber-Lyft. It's time you could be making money at home and extra wear and tear on you and the family.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SDR-Mike View Post
    I would definitely charge for the travel time. You commute to the airport, they pay all flight time and lay-overs. Per Diem for sure, based on location. And hotel/rental car/Uber-Lyft. It's time you could be making money at home and extra wear and tear on you and the family.
    Thanks for confirming what I thought was fair. I'll see how they respond.

  4. #4
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    I have done it. Defiantly charge flight, car, food, lodging, ect. Keep all info for taxes and deduct.
    They are sending you there because they trust you. Betting they could get someone cheaper if they wanted but trust goes a long way.
    Was a bit odd my first time. I was also lucky and they saved a bit from me staying at the residence. Stayed between rentals and place was all mine.
    Also remember in your talks/negotiations the cost of living may be more than you expect.
    My job was in Hawaii and shipped all materials. Ra2 not available anywhere on the big Island. HomeD and Costco where still comparable to my local but eating out or grocery shopping was an eye opener. Check locally for Ra2 distributors with stock or take a few things with just in case.
    I didn't charge the second I hit land. Still charged per hour on site, per hour putting together materials, flight, working on bid. Was also able to work around some extended holiday weekends. That helped lessen the loss of work at home.

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  6. #5
    Thanks all. They have offered airfair to my family and a free weeks use of the house, butler, car, amenities, etc. as a straight up labor swap. I could never afford this normally so I said yes. So... I start the programming now that I have the plans and while the , which is Turks and Caicos (Parrot Cay) shows up in the software once I have the rooms and color chosen and click finish I get the error message RadioRa2 is not supported at that location. Tech Support said to email eatechsupport@lutron.com but I want to work on this over the weekend. Has anyone run into this before? TS also said that the connect app may not work if it sees the IP coming from an unsupported area. He also wondered if it's just a software mistake because it might think British Islands and 240V even though it s 120V.
    Anyone already dealt with this before?

  7. #6
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    Can't say that I've run into this before, can you find an island close by that is supported? Would allow you to create the file and get things going. May still have an issue with the ip address. Maybe have their LAN run back to a VPN on the mainland? Not a networking guy, but might be a way around the ip problem from the ISP.

    edit- just checked, try Puerto Rico?
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  8. #7
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    Charge for travel the way you pay your employees. If the employee is getting paid, charge travel. The rate is usually less than your standard install rate. Air fare, hotels, etc. are billable. Per-diem rate is set by IRS. You will need to track it separately.

    As SDRMIKE noted, I would select something close by then "add a custom city." This will ensure you get the proper longitude and latitude for timed events.

    I find that the IP address of islands move fairly frequently. Daily in some cases. It's going to be very difficult to get the app to work remotely.

    FWIW, this is an great example of why HC+ is needed. This owner has to pay $300 for a bridge, just to allow local connection.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  9. #8
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    I have a customer that has me take care of all of their properties.
    We charge 8 hours of travel each way, per diem for each day including travel days, hotel, and rental.
    The travel sometimes sucks, because it is 8 hours whether it's 8 or 18. There have been a few days that I lost out on hours, but it's not like I was really doing anything sitting in an airport.... :-)

  10. #9
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    Bill13
    Understand the dilemma. MY costumer sent me and my wife 1st class to their first house just to "inspect the old Lutron and see what can be done". We had the house all to our self for 4 days. Fridge stocked. It was short but well worth it. First time in 1st class. House is graphik eyes and unlabeled keypads. Horrible but they never went for the bid. Took a while to send him a bill because as I told him, How can I bill for a much needed free vacation. He insisted. I sent. It was much lower than I would have charged at home but it was only labor and not all my labor. FREE VACATION ON KAWAII OVERLOOKING COVE IN A 6000 SQ FT HOUSE.

    Year and half later they contact me to go to other house on the big island. This one we did do a ton of work on it.Was over a bit on cost. They payed. Happy with work and they trust us. That goes a long way.

    Last advice.
    Make sure family understands your there to work. Can't hop in a car for changes. My wife and kids understood I was working from sunup to beyond sundown. I did take off a day and some to be with the family out of the house. Was working hours before I left for the plane because I noticed "something odd". I Did some testing and programing from the pool

    Sounds like you got a fair trade and are good at what you do.
    Good luck and have fun.

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