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There are a lot of great points raised on How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for? including points about location affecting the salary you ask for. Similarly, Does my geographic location matter when requesting a salary? also discusses specific points related to your location and the salary you should expect.

However, I feel these questions and answers are operating on the assumption that you are living and working in the same geographic area.

If a position requires 100% travel (i.e. you travel to client sites throughout the country 4/5 days a week), does your home location still affect your salary expectations? In general, should the 100% travel requirement adjust your expectations up or down (or not really change)? Assume the employer is covering all travel-related expenses.

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Comments cleaned up. The pros/cons for taking such a position are a perfect topic for The Water Cooler (Workplace Chat), but question comments are meant for clarification of the question. –  NickC Apr 1 at 20:36
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Great question FGreg, and welcome to The Workplace! Hope to see more good questions and answers from you in the future. –  jmac Apr 2 at 1:45
    
If anyone can find data showing travel affects salary one way or the other (or doesn't at all), I would be interested to see it. –  FGreg Apr 3 at 17:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Home location is independent of a travel requirement.

Geographic location affects salary due to differences in cost of living (primarily housing costs). So, a location based adjustment would be determined by where you live. Even if you're travelling 4 or 5 days/week, you still need to pay rent or a mortgage (and taxes!) somewhere.

The travel requirement may or may not affect the pay rate.

I've been a software developer for nearly 20 years and my experience is that most developers would not be willing to take job that required so much travel. I worked for one company that had a fairly high attrition rate because they had a tendency to have the developers travel a lot.

So, given two equivalent positions where one required travel and one did not, I would expect that most devs would pick the one with no travel. This means that companies who require devs to travel a lot may have to offer more money to entice someone to take the job. I have no data on this, it's just a theory based on my experiences working in the industry

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You need to get more specifics. Are you going to be flying first class, taking limos, staying in suites, and have a generous expense account? Or are you going to be flying coach, taking a bus, staying in roach motels, with a limited per diem that wont cover crackers from the vending machine?

Also what are you going to be doing? Do you enjoy doing that and are you good at it? Do you enjoy travel and don't mind being away from home more often than not? If this job hits you right in the sweet spot for your ideal job then you do not need to ask for more. For every sacrifice the job will require from you the more money I would ask for.

Another consideration is what are your actual expenses that will increase since you are not home during the week. Do you need to pay for someone to come in and take care of your fish? If you have a spouse and now since you are gone there will be more expenses at home to provide for them or for childcare? It is important to think about everything you will need if you are going to take this job and what the costs will be.

But be careful asking for more than what you are willing to take. You could lose out on a job that would have been yours had you stated your actual salary requirements. But do not cut your throat either. You will not be home to take care of things and there will be expenses you are not counting on. If you take to little because you think the job will be worth it, you may end up broke and unable to take care of your responsibilities.

The TL;DR; is there is no one set formula. This is something you need to think about. If you can get the company to give you the offer you can figure out whether that will cover your needs. If not figure out what you would need if it is more that 25% above the offer, based on my experience, it is highly unlikely that your counter would be accepted. If you do counter being able to explain why you need more might give you some leverage, assuming the needs are reasonable.

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I think in a negotiation to not ask for somewhat more than you're willing to take might not be the best strategy. If they counter offer even a bit less, you have to decline. The "cards on the table" negotiating strategy can work with some people, but others are hard-wired to haggle. You might also leave "money on the table". –  Spehro Pefhany Apr 1 at 22:19
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@SpehroPefhany - I dont worry about leaving money on the table I worry about taking care of my needs and wants. If I am happy and the company is happy then so what if I could have gotten 10% more. When it comes time to lay people off they look at who is giving the least bang for the buck. Being a better value is often good there. And I also did not say dont ask for any more just to becareful how much you ask for over and above. If you come in too high companies will walk away because given enough time you will find that number and then you will leave. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Apr 1 at 23:45
    
Thank you for your perspective. You bring up good questions that need to be asked when considering a 100% travel position. I think you cover the personal points that should be examined quite well. However, I am also interested in the objective opinion about how a 100% travel requirement should/should not affect an employee's salary. –  FGreg Apr 2 at 13:35
    
@FGreg - There is no amount of money that would make me take a position that had me away from home on a regular basis. I understand a few nights every so often but regular travel is not something I am interested in at this point in my life. There was a time when I did not have a home, wife, and small farm where I would have. However there is no set formula for figuring it out. I figure out my needs, add some cushion so that I do not have to worry about being strapped, and then add in premium for anything that does not excite me about the job. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Apr 2 at 13:54
    
Though I will say if the company expects me to be on the road overnight 4-5 nights a week, I want to be put up in a nice suite at a hotel close to my worksite not just mid grade hotel. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Apr 2 at 13:57

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