Hello Everyone


#1

This seems like a daft question since we are all VAs but I’ll ask it anyway!

I work partially “in person” (as it were) as well as virtually - a prospective new client wants me to do so many hours per week/month at her home office - if you were working in this way and were required to run errands/source products for a client ie using your own vehicle to do so, would you charge them the mileage incurred for those trips? The client’s view is that a freelance administrator shouldn’t charge mileage at all and for any reason as it can be claimed as a business expense from HMRC.

Would welcome your views please.

Thank you
Francesca


#2

100% charge for mileage (unless you increase your hourly fee to reflect this).

Don’t forget also that Car Insurances can be really iffy if anything happens while you are using the car for work other than commuting to your place of work so you might have an increased premium there too.

Also, do you have Public Liability insurance? You might need it if you go there. And don’t forget Caroline’s warning that HMRC might tighten regulations on us:

Sorry to be negative, and having zero leads to date for my own business (I need to learn how to network evidently :disappointed:) , I know how difficult it is to turn down work, but I still think you might be unhappy in the long run and it’s not worth it if you then set yourself up for grief in the future.

But I may be wrong. Hope the more experienced VAs will have more intelligible answers.

Anna :four_leaf_clover:


#3

Hi Anna & Adrienne
Thanks for your replies. It’s tricky for me as really I’m a hybrid - I’m a freelance administrator who works on-site but more recently have a few clients who don’t need me “in person”, either because they don’t have a suitable office of their own or are happy that I’m remote and can do their work from my home office - hence the VA part of me. I do have insurance. My hourly fee does not reflect mileage so it’s charged separately for any errands that I run on a client’s behalf. I will read up on IR35!
Francesca


#4

Most VAs would charge travel time + expenses if doing something on site. If you are traveling then you aren’t available for other client work, so they pay for the time. And (as per other expenses like postage or specially purchased stationery) expenses incurred would be charged at cost. I don’t really get why you wouldn’t recharge the client just because mileage is an allowable business expense - you are still forking out for it, HMRC doesn’t give you the money back!

Personally if I’m running errands, I’ll usually use a courier or an Uber because it’s cheaper than me charging travel time and costs - it’s about making it cost effective for the client. Sometimes it’s unavoidable so I do have business use on my car insurance.

However other freelance contractors would usually travel on site free of charge (but may have a call out fee or charge a minimum of half a day’s work). That’s because their business model is set up to cope with on site working… VAs aren’t generally. I’m willing to bet if you made the on site working a minimum of 6 hours, the client would instantly backtrack.

Personally I’m loathe to encourage on site working for VAs - clients don’t view you as an independent subcontractor, and HMRC take a dim view too. The very fact that the client is trying to tell you how you should be charging proves my point!


#5

Do you have terms and conditions laid out, so that clients know exactly what you will charge ie. rate, additional costs etc. from the outset. You need to note that mileage is chargeable and any other costs related to the work you will perform, ie stationery, printing etc. I ensure that T&Cs are agreed before work commences.


#6

Dear Francesca,

I’ve just read your query. I am sorry if my contribution is a bit late.

I agreed with your prospective client. As a general rule, a business (in this case you as a freelancer/self-employed) shouldn’t charge mileage to its clients.

Clients/customers expect that any travel or other business related expenses (eg. Travel costs, insurance, stationery, rent) you incur, to be part of your fees.

Unless, your clients has agreed to reimburse these travel expenses (including mileage) to you. Some clients may do.

If some of your clients agreed to reimburse the mileage or any other business travel you incurred, can I suggest that you include them in your invoices in a separate line, for example:

Description Units or hours Rate Amount
Francesca fees, for week ending 15/02/19 16 £15.00 £240.00
Mileage and other travel expenses for two days 2 £10.00 £20.00
Total £260.00

Now, when it comes to your self-assessment tax return (again, I agreed with your client), the above £260 has to be declared as income and the mileage or travel costs you have incurred, to be declared as business expenses , for example:

Income:
Fees 240.00
Other business related income income 20.00
Total business income 260.00 (A)
Less Business expenses:
Telephone costs -5.00
Business travel -20.00
Total Business expenses -25.00 (B)
Net income from business activities 235.00 (A-B)

I hope the above can help.
Regards.


#7

Just to chip in- I would charge mileage! I also charge for extra costs such as printing and postage but I do use a bit of discretion. For example, I completed a postal mailout for a client for approximately 100 posters. I charged for envelopes, stamps and printing but not the mileage to take it to the post office. If it’s regular errand running I would definitely charge. I put onto my contracts and T & C’s what I charge and I ask clients to sign this before I start work for them.


#8

I tend to think it’s a bit different for virtual assistants - because traveling is not part of our services. You might expect an on site bookkeeper or a service engineer to travel to you - in which case they factor traveling into their fee structure. VAs work off site, so travel is not included.


#9

Thank you to everyone who replied to my query re charging for mileage! Apologies for my delayed response - all the comments were much appreciated including the tips re other items etc to charge for. :slightly_smiling_face: