Four Hour RateCategory: General   Jul 8th 2013  06:46AM   2

I did not raise my rates. I raised one, the Houston/Dallas four hour date rate.

Two things make life worth living for me, love and art. I've already sacrificed any possibility of a romantic relationship (for the foreseeable future) due to the unique demands of this work. Life is like that, a series of choices, and I'm fine with mine (for now). What's untenable is the chiseling away of any time I might have to pursue my artistic endeavors, and, having just launched into an exciting, yet daunting and time consuming project, I'm faced with more hard choices. 

This summer I'll average 7 trips per month. Some are multi-day (24-96 hour) dates out of state, some just dinner out of town, but being based in Austin, every 4 hour date in Dallas or Houston is a 24 hour commitment. I'll pack, leave home at noon, gas up, drive 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours, check-in, unpack, shower & dress, enjoy your fabulous company, crash/wake, pack, check-out, drive home, wash car and arrive at noon. I used to arrange 2-3 dates per (2-3 day) trip but my best clients have even tighter, busier travel schedules than mine so it's become impossible lately. Instead, every month I commit to being in Houston and Dallas 2-3 times each, often on much less notice than is at all convenient (forcing me to cancel on friends and reschedule beauty, fitness and doctor appointments repeatedly).

Dallas can sometimes be a four hour drive due to constant road work, sports events, or accidents. It was recently suggested to me to fly there since planes depart Austin every half hour. This, of course means another $200 in cabs & airfare, big fun with TSA + needless extra doses of radiation, waiting on luggage and the chance of losing my luggage (or just a pair of $1000 Valentino shoes to unscrupulous baggage handlers, which, sadly, happens more than you'd think).

For the record, this helpful suggestion was from a man who also thought my rates were too high. So, even though hotels and other travel expenses have gone up, apparently I should spend even more while simultaneously earning less?

I should mention that this brilliant charmer also took issue with paying my honorarium up front, complaining that I didn't automatically trust him based on his clean cut appearance, and then, later on, twice commented that no one can spot a serial killer just by looking at him. My knee jerk reaction was to fine him a "Nonsense" tax (as in, "You owe $200 for every time you've contradicted yourself in the last 3 hours) but instead decided not to see him again, and to also raise my 4 hour rate everywhere outside of Austin.

None of my other rates have changed. All current clients can consider themselves "grandfathered in" to the old rates until October 1st. All nonsensical clients can consider themselves non-clients until forever.

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