SpeakerNet News Compilations

Listing Gratuities for Client Reimbursement

Meredith Hamilton

Here are the responses I received to my question: Do you list the tips you pay (for baggage handling, transportation, etc.) in your expense report for clients to reimburse?

— Billy Arcement

I specifically state on my Letter of Agreement that I will cover all tips and meals. That goes a long way with a client because they sense you are not trying to clip every dollar you can from them. I tip according to service and the meals I consume are both personal choices. I’m not comfortable passing them on to my clients, but that’s me.

— Bill McCurry

Never give a client a reason to distrust you or question your ethics. Price your fee so you can incorporate the little charges (tolls, short term parking, tips, etc.) that can’t be easily documented or invoiced. A Fortune 500 company gave me a consulting job over another consultant because the prior consultant had charged them 50 cents for parking meter when she went to FedEx to drop off their report. Short-sighted on the company’s part? Yes, but it’s human nature.

Remember in some cases the person hiring you thinks you jet-set around the world first class every day. Living in NJ, I take a hire car to the airport. Rarely do I bill the client for that, as many of them (especially out of the big city) see that as something that would never be done by reasonable people — they see it as movie star treatment. My fee is $5,000-$10,000 so it’s significant — but not enough to alienate people from the heartland who don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) living in major metro areas. In short, pick your battles. . .would you lose a client over this amount of money?

— Karen Wright

I absolutely include tips in my expense reports to clients. Tipping is standard practice and I do a very standard tip. No one has ever mentioned it to me at all.

— Pat Gangi

I just list lump them all together under “gratuities.” I’ve never gotten any negative feedback doing it that way.

— Jane Sanders

I list them. Considering tips constitute several dollars a day, they really add up over a year’s time.

— Meggin McIntosh

I do if there is a receipt (cabs, for example), but otherwise, I do not. I do claim these kinds of miscellaneous items for my taxes, however (carts at the airport, baggage handlers, bell personnel at hotels, etc.). I just keep a running log of that when I travel.

— Rebecca Morgan

Yes, (but I often lump them into “transportation expenses”) and put it in with cab to/from airport/hotel, air fare, etc. That way it doesn’t seem like nickel and diming.

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