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Are we talking about commuting time or time to travel when consulting to a
client at a far location?
If I travel to see a client (as in plane time) I charge my client. If it is
a drive over an hour in length, I charge my client or make some
arrangements for it. If it is a little drive, I do not charge my client.
With regard to long travel time, I look at the fact that I am basically a
billable resource. I am not going to take a day out of my billable week to
travel to a faraway place for work, unless there are special reasons for
it. I'm going to bill the client my hourly rate whether I'm sitting in a
plane or their office. I'll do their work on the plane if possible, but
they're getting the bill for my time. They wouldn't get a bill if I spent
the plane time working on another client's work.
Most consulting work I've done might be at my office, but when the client
wants a meeting, or I need to gather information at the client site, I
don't charge for the drive unless it is above and beyond a usual drive. I
use an hour as my measure.
Regarding learning time, if the tool is new to the market, the client has
no reason to expect you to work at peak capacity with the tool. I'd expect
the client to assume that my billable hours will include rampup time.
However, if the tool is something I really want to learn, I might not bill
the client for every hour I spent learning the tool, or I would use the
tutorial or other learning materials specifically on the client's job so
that my learning time was leveraged towards the clients benefit. If the
tool would make me more marketable in the long run, I'd maybe bill the
client at a reduced rate for my learning time, or spend additional time on
my own in learning the tool. You have to judge its value to you in the long
run. But if you are using the tool only because the client demands it, it
has no future value, and you are secure in your contract, I'd make the
client pick up the cost of learning.