Ahh the age-old question that haunts brides- and grooms-to-be; if I’m already paying $$$ for a supplier, why do I have to pay a travel fee?
The easiest way to explain this is to compare it to a standard, 9-5 job in an office.
When you accept a job at an office, you’re offered $X amount per hour for the time you spend there. You aren’t entitled to travel allowances unless your job requires you to do so ie. if you’re required to attend a training event in Melbourne, your travel costs might be covered.
Let’s use an example: Sally is an Executive Assistant, earning $30/hour at a company in Sydney CBD. She lives in Peakhurst, and travels to and from work each day by train, as it’s the easiest way to get in and out of the city. Sally accepted the job at $30/hour, knowing that she would have to take a train for 45 minutes each way, each day. No worries.
Now we compare that to a wedding supplier, let’s use a makeup artist as an example, who charges $120/face of makeup. Her name is Megan.
Megan knows that to run her business and make money, she needs to charge $120/face of makeup. 50% of her clients come to her home studio in Sutherland, meaning she has zero travel costs. The other 50% are wedding clients that she books all over Sydney and surrounds. She charges a $50-$100 travel fee for any clients who’d like their makeup done elsewhere. Why?
Because Megan doesn’t know where she’s going to work each and every day. She can’t calculate the cost of travel to and from an unknown location. So when her client's book, if they’re more than an hour’s drive away, she charges a travel fee. If she didn’t, she would be working at a loss as those travel costs would need to be deducted from her usual $120/face.
Could she just increase her total cost to include a flat travel rate?
Maybe, but then she risks pricing out all her clients who come to her home who don’t want to now pay $160 for their makeup.
Could she just take the travel fees out of the money anyway?
She could, but for how long? A business running at a loss can’t last forever, and we really like Megan’s makeup!
Can’t she just say upfront that travel is going to be $100 so we know?
She could, but it would be a risk. What if the client is only 1 hour and 5 minutes away? She might decide they don’t have to pay the fee, but they might not enquire with her at all because of it. Or what if the client wants her to travel to the Hunter Valley and start at 5am the next day? That will cost more than $100 and is worth a discussion with the client.
I hope this helps clarify why wedding suppliers charge travel fees. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any time.