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Posted:  29 Feb 2012 23:13  
I am going to add a fuel charge to this months billing.  For in town accounts I was thinking of $6.00-$8.00.  Any thoughts??
Posted:  29 Feb 2012 23:20  
If your service agreement specifies that you can add such charges, by all means do so.  But be careful about how you apply those fuel charges.  If you have three accounts in a single downtown building that requires one trip per week, you can't very well charge each one $6.00 to $8.00 a pop, can you?

And if your agreement does not specify that you can do this mid-contract, then don't do it without first consulting each client and proposing it, then getting their written agreement to it as a contract amendment.  Otherwise, you'll have to wait until contract renewal time to put it into the new agreements.

I know fuel costs are rising fast, but you will risk much more than the extra out-of-pocket for gasoline if you try to tack on a charge that your clients will find objectionable and outside the terms and conditions of your agreement with them.  Tread cautiously.

Clem
Posted:  29 Feb 2012 23:39  
Thank you, I will lower price where multiple accounts are located.  I certainly cannot afford to loose anything else!  Anything questionable, I think I will give them a months heads up.
Posted:  01 Mar 2012 03:17  
Don't TELL them, communicate with them, unless you already have carte blanche in your agreement with them.  The personal touch is very important in this case.

Clem
Posted:  06 Mar 2012 08:11  
Many times the only way I can get in touch with my client is via email.  I don't like to bring up dollars this way.  As I am doing my billing I will add the fuel surcharge with an asterisk beside it.  I use QuickBooks and on the bottom there is a place for notes.  Typically I would say:  "Hello Business Friend (or name).  If you notice, there has been a fuel surcharge added this month.  If this is within your budget, we'd certainly appreciate it but if not, please delete it and we will resume the normal fee.  With gas prices the way they are, I'd appreciate it. "  or something like that.  I never let dollars put a bad taste in anyones mouth.
Posted:  07 Mar 2012 01:35  
Carol,

All due respect, as they used to say on "The Sopranos"...but one of the basic salesperson's bible passages says something like, "don't hand the prospect the words with which to say 'no'!"  We serviced a small, boutique law firm for many years, and the general partner and founder was a rather acerbic older gent who always reminded me of one of my comedy idols, Groucho Marx.  Whenever we would send out our service renewal notes in October for the upcoming calendar year, he'd always call me a few days after it got to him and ask me why I felt the need to explain the reasons for requesting an increase in our service rates.  "Just tell me how much; I'll decide whether or not you're still worth it!"

So I'd avoid that bit where you dance around the issue and give the client an out.  If they don't agree, they'll let you know...but if you tell them that you're pretty much half-expecting them to object, they almost certainly will!

Clem
Posted:  08 Mar 2012 05:41  
Clem, actually it works pretty well for me.  I get on a personal level with them, especially when we are talking money, and I DO cherry pick the ones I KNOW will have a fit if the price changes.  I've had most of my accounts for so long I can get them on the phone and be honest.  The one thing I won't do is add on prices without discussing it.  Perhaps I'm being more "friendly" with the account than "professional" but whatever seems to work.  Also, I don't want to make it bad on the client if they are struggling which is why I can suggest other ways to make all budgets work.  Just my technique, I guess.
Posted:  15 Mar 2012 18:31  
Contracts are amended all the time, especially for something like rising fuel costs.  Most clients understand this and I'm sure you're not the only vendor how will need to add a fuel surcharge.

You may want to word your note "If this causes a financial burden please let us know" or something like that.  Most companies won't object to a small increase when you have a good reason.

You may want to take a look at the percentage increase in fuel costs you're experiencing and predict you'll experience this year.  You can then calculate a flat dollar amount that reflects the increase, or a percentage increase to charge your clients.  Just another way of looking at things.

Let us know how it works for you!  -Kathy
Posted:  16 Mar 2012 04:36  
One thing you risk by reopening a contract (that's right...changing the Terms and Conditions constitutes renegotiation in mid-term) is that you invite a similar ploy by the client when they feel that their circumstances merit special consideration.  And what do you do if fuel costs go up and down on a weekly basis?  How on earth do you account for those kinds of swings in price on a monthly billing basis?

I think it opens up a can of worms to do this in mid-contract...if you foresee a continuing need to adjust pricing during the term of the agreement going forward, simply negotiate a change in the contract language next time you renew, putting in a clause that covers fuel surcharges and spelling out a specific method for calculating same, based on a realistic baseline figure as of a date certain, etc.

To do otherwise invites a lot of arched eyebrows.  I'm not saying you should abandon hope of recovering your cost increases, just approach the process as you would any other change in terms of an established maintenance agreement, especially in the context of a business relationship with long-term established accounts.

Clem
Posted:  19 Mar 2012 12:33  
My fuel charge is built into the monthly price for service.  When I do increases...IF necessary, I always have a chat with the client as to why first.  Never have been let down yet, or lost a client because of it.
Posted:  20 Mar 2012 07:13  
Well, like most Americans, people do not have money in their banking account for additional small emergencies. It's hard to cope up with such increase to fuel. I guess, it is very important to have cash available to you right away. You may be attempting to help a stranded friend or just trying to get your car fixed after it broke down on the freeway. Either way, you have access to fast cash.


As most Americans d
Posted:  20 Mar 2012 16:52  
Looks like the forum has been infiltrated by spammers.

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