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Expense Reimbursement Options

Expense reimbursement provisions are sometimes tied to negotiating the fee itself because some venues have a budget for their total cost to engage a speaker, and they cannot exceed their budgeted amount for fee and expenses combined.

One option that will sometimes facilitate moving forward is to provide an “all-inclusive” quote: One number that combines fee and expenses and is fixed in the agreement. The expense portion is not broken out separately, and no expense accounting is due the engaging venue. They simply agree to one “all-Inclusive” fee and the expenses, whatever they may be, are covered by the speaker.

If you wish to travel business class or first class air, it is often better to adjust your quoted fee to account for this upgrade. Many venues will not feel higher “class” air travel is appropriate, or even have policies prohibiting it, and yet they will be willing to pay a fee large enough to cover it so long as the actual expenditure comes on the speaker’s side of the transaction. Under these circumstances, an “all-inclusive” quote and written agreement is the way to go.

If you are going with a standard fee plus expenses agreement, it will generally be a good idea to quote full-fare economy class (refundable) and this will avoid a loss to you or a contract dispute if for any reason the event and/or trip must be cancelled.

Clarity Regarding Expenses

Be very clear about whether your expenses will be reimbursed in addition to your speaking fee or whether they expect you to incorporate expenses into your fee. If expenses are to be reimbursed in addition to your fee, understand exactly what will be covered (any limitations in type or amount of expenses) and what type of documentation will be required. If any of your expenses must be absorbed in your fee, establishing this before you settle on a fee will help maintain the profitability of your engagement.

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