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Logan's Landscaping
04-04-2005, 11:22 PM
I have decided to start charging my customers a gas surcharge on top of there normal bill. I have thought about charging a flat fee of $4 to 6 dollars a month or $1 to 2 dollars per visit. Any thoughts?????

WhohasHelios?
04-04-2005, 11:24 PM
I am considering the same thing, I think I will do one or two percent of the bill however.

Either that or I might up my labour rate a bit to counteract higher pump prices. That way I am just charging out at XX per hour as opposed to adding an additional charge that people may not respond well to.

-Reuben

LwnmwrMan22
04-04-2005, 11:37 PM
I am considering the same thing, I think I will do one or two percent of the bill however.

Either that or I might up my labour rate a bit to counteract higher pump prices. That way I am just charging out at XX per hour as opposed to adding an additional charge that people may not respond well to.

-Reuben


This is what I did. Just raised everyone from 10-50% this year. Explained to them that gas, steel, fertilizer, it's all taking a huge jump.

Nothing I can do about it if I want to stay in business. I gotta get the money to cover expenses.

Plus this way I work a raise in as well.

Logan's Landscaping
04-04-2005, 11:38 PM
I Already Upped My Hourly Rate This Year , So Thats Why I Wanted To Charge A Separate Charge For It. I Recently Had A Service Call From A Heating And A/c Company At My Home And They Charges Me $8 For That One Visit. Since I Use A Big Truck Pulling A Trailer And All Equipment Is Gas Powered I Think Most Customers Will Understand. I Told 4-5 Of Them That I Was Going To Be Starting To Do This And They Said They Understood.

HOOLIE
04-04-2005, 11:55 PM
This topic has been beaten to death, IMO the best solution is to just increase their prices (versus a separate line-item gas surcharge). However, if you institute a surcharge mid-season, it would probably go over better with you customers as a separate surcharge. Problem with a "surcharge" is, you get used to the extra money, most likely it covers the gas increase many times over, and if the price of gas plummets, you'll have to rescind the surcharge. But you're used to the extra dollars at that point. Better to just give yourself a raise...

TheKingNJ
04-05-2005, 12:19 AM
GASS I WANT TO SHOOT MY V10. GAS JUST SHOT UP IN MY AREA 11 CENTS ON TOP OF THE 25 IT WENT UP TOO WEEKS AGO. I'M GOING TO TOW MY 16 FOOT ENCLOSED WITH MY GIRLFRIENDS JETTA FROM NOW ON. AHHHHHHH $80 BUCKS TO FILL MY TRUCK, I'M 20 YEARS OLD I DON'T NEED TO BE PAYING THIS.

sorry for the caps, and the off topic on the forum but i need to vent.

topsites
04-05-2005, 12:32 AM
I have decided to start charging my customers a gas surcharge on top of there normal bill. I have thought about charging a flat fee of $4 to 6 dollars a month or $1 to 2 dollars per visit. Any thoughts?????

Not to say you are like this, but I did see one or two, here and there who are guilty ... These are the guys who feel they just pass the price on to the customer, and the hell with it, take it or leave it. And that is all fine and dandy with a few customers but mainstream (Average American) customers who are my main source of income simply can not (and will not) go for this arrogant attitude.

At least now I find it easier to stick to standard prices ($35/average size yard) and not have to argue and give discounts all the time because I can't do it anymore. But while they're paying slightly more, I lowered my fuel-consumption for grass-cutting to a gallon per yard which includes the truck.
Really, a gallon is now only a dollar more than last year. What's the big deal, one dollar? I can deal with that, once the price goes to 4-5 dollars/gallon, we might talk again. By the way, $3/gallon is not far away and I think we'll see $3.50/gallon before summer's end.

So I spent money and got high-performance 8mm Taylor wires, High-performance cap-and-rotor, double-platinum plugs, open-air filter, replaced the tailgate with an airgate, and stopped the oil leak by replacing valve cover gaskets. I serviced the transmission which was leaking, I replaced and/or packed (worn) bearings, checked tire-air pressures, replaced fuel filters, changed oil (synthetic), etc, etc ...
In addition:
- All equipment starts in 1 pull. Ok 2 (1 for choke, 1 for run), 3 maybe but not 4 or 5 or more.
- Fuel up in the morning and leave the 5-gallon cans at home (thou I do have a syphon-pump in the truckbox) and carry the mix.
- Weedeaters run dandy at between 25-75% throttle. Only time I need full-throttle is for SERIOUS weeds - One tankfull of mix should last all day. On another note - learn to skim the string along paved areas in such a way that the pavement does not consume it - One tap of the head to release more string should last the entire yard.
- Backpack blowers usually clear light grass-cut debris on idle or slightly above - One tankfull of mix should last two days.
- Mower-throttle - Turn it to FULL, then lower it slowly until the engine changes pitch, then raise it a little bit to get the pitch back but with OUT being at full throttle - This saves fuel. One 5-gallon tank on a WB should cut 10-12 yards, maybe 14.
- Plan all-same work for the whole day (i.e.: Core Aeration ONLY, Grass-cutting ONLY, etc) and carry ONLY that equipment. If you're doing mulch, what is the seed-spreader doing in the back of the truck?
- Plan your route so everything is in a row, no cross-town trips for 1 yard and no doubling-back. Do it right, everytime.
- Carry only ONE WB. Carrying two wb's in case one breaks wastes more fuel than the once/year occasion when this happens is worth. If you got 2 guys, one cuts grass while the other weed-eats and blows.
- Learn to use liquid edging - Round-Up is cheaper than weedeater-fuel if you buy the 64oz concentrate and mix with water. But be damn careful, LOL!
- When fueling, always fill everything up. For me, one fill-up lasts at least a week - Every stop at the station wastes fuel.
- Don't need it today? Leave it at home. This includes wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, and any and all utensils/tools you will not need. If per chance someone offers me work that involves a tool I do not have, I would just as soon re-schedule for the next day I'm in their area.
- Schedule jobs in areas/day. One day: southside, next day: east-end. etc
- If equipment isn't working, it shouldn't be running. Always Turn it OFF, even if 'only leaving for a sec.' This includes the truck anytime a stop should take more than 20 seconds. 20 seconds of idle = the fuel it takes to start it.
... I turn the engine off at red lights, it's a european trick. And if you don't know why Europeans turn their motors off at intersections, try paying over $5/gallon of fuel. Needless to say - train crossing = Motor OFF

Also:
- Learn to drive with-OUT using the brake pedal. Now you can't drive recklessly so you learn to control the speed while using ONLY the throttle (or not using it, so to speak). When you use the brakes, you are shaving off speed which took fuel to build. In essence, using brakes means wasted fuel. This means leaving a lot of distance in front of you and coasting a LOT, ways in advance of known slow turns and intersections. As an example, I try to coast all the way down to 25mph before applying brakes in a 45mph zone. If you do it right, the light turns green and traffic starts moving before you have to touch the brakes.
In neighborhoods, when pulling up to a customer's house, I usually put gear in neutral and turn the motor off, then coast the rest of the way and hopefully eek to a standstill right in front of the house without the use of brakes.

I do fill up once/week even if there's plenty of fuel left, today I filled up 42 dollars for last week after grossing almost 1000. Once I start cutting grass 5/6 days/week, I do expect the fuel bill to go up towards 80, which is max. budget for peak.

For those who wonder why my prices haven't gone up - The math is simple.
lalala

greeneakers04
04-05-2005, 12:36 AM
I will be charging a $1 separate line item as long as the gas is over $1.75. If it goes back down :laugh: below that, I will stop charging it. It's only fair to the customer. I'm sure not gonna pay for the gas out of my pocket, and my biz ain't paying for it either. It's only fair to me. :)

greeneakers04
04-05-2005, 12:41 AM
Topsites: Let's ask JustMowIt if "just a dollar" is hurting him at all.....

$1 x 2100 accounts per week.

Loss of $2100 per week.

$8400 per month.

$75,600 per season.

Should he have to pay for that? I think it is fair to MAYBE split the cost with the customer.

Even at only 60 accounts, your bottom line just got about $2200 lower for the season.

Popsicle
04-05-2005, 12:44 AM
If your costs go up, prices go up whether it's mid-year or whenever.

If it's a justified increase, who can argue?

It's not arrogance, it's business.

Yes, I have a buffer for market fluctuations but I will not accept a loss that is not in my control.

topsites
04-05-2005, 12:46 AM
There is one other thing:

When driving with a trailer, learn how not to 'break resistance.' To explain this is tricky, but resistance is defined as the point where the truck must exert a TON more force to gain only a little more speed. In most cases, the resistance point is low, meaning you can only accelerate slowly and you have to let speed build very gradually. The more loaded you are, the lower resistance is.
The way I learned is by loading a 50-lb bag on the luggage-rack of a bicycle (no I am NOT joking). Now you can pedal nice and easy like you do when the bicycle isn't loaded, and the bike will do its thing nicely and you hardly can tell the difference -other than you can only pedal nice and easy. You see, there is a point where you push just a little harder and suddenly you feel that 50lbs as a strong resistance while there is little actual change. Push even harder, and still there is little change except for your exertion. That's 'resistance.' Pedaling nice and easy while allowing the machine to do its thing is called working below resistance, pedaling harder (and noticeably so) is breaking resistance. The same holds true with a truck.
Yes, there are exceptions such as steep hills!
As for me, I like to build speed on downhills and release speed on uphills, all the while attempting to stay right below said resistance point.
Is it a challenge? You bet!
Does it save gas? Try it!
Have fun :-)

Runner
04-05-2005, 04:31 AM
It's getting scary. Our fuel was at 2.15 to 2.25 for the last few weeks. Today, it was at 2.45. This got me doing alot of thinking. To survive, we are going to have to make alot of changes. For the mowing for instance, I've done an analysis (close to another members, but mine varies a bit). Here is what I come up with. For some of my residentials, it comes out to just over a 10% increase if fuel reaches a $3.00 mark like it looks like it's going to.

Fuel Surcharge Analysis
(Solo Operation)

Fuel Usage
From $1.75 to $2.25

Truck(s) 50 gal. per week $25.00
2 Stroke Equip. 5 gal. per week $2.50
Mowers 20 gal. per week $10.00

Total Difference $37.50

Divided among (approx.) 20 accounts each … $2.00




Fuel Usage
From $1.75 to $2.50

Truck(s) 50 gal. per week $37.50
2 Stroke Equip. 5 gal. per week $3.75
Mowers 20 gal. per week $15.00

Total Difference $56.25

Divided among (approx.) 20 accounts each … $2.82




Fuel Usage
From $1.75 to $2.75

Truck(s) 50 gal. per week $50.00
2 Stroke Equip. 5 gal. per week $5.00
Mowers 20 gal. per week $20.00

Total Difference $75.00

Divided among (approx.) 20 accounts each … $3.75




Fuel Usage
From $1.75 to $3.00

Truck(s) 50 gal. per week $62.50
2 Stroke Equip. 5 gal. per week $6.25
Mowers 20 gal. per week $25.00

Total Difference $93.75

Divided among (approx.) 20 accounts each … $4.69


I may post this on a seperate thread, as well, to get more opinions, as many on here don't even look at the surcharge threads, anymore. Like someone else said, it has been exhausted.

Jpocket
04-05-2005, 08:25 AM
It's better just to raise the price i find that a fuel surcharge just pisses people off.

Richard Martin
04-05-2005, 09:18 AM
I may post this on a seperate thread, as well, to get more opinions, as many on here don't even look at the surcharge threads, anymore. Like someone else said, it has been exhausted.

Some of us still read every thread trying to educate people. They really do need to know their numbers before they institute any "surcharges" for fuel. While my mower and trimmer fuel usage is about the same as yours my truck fuel is less than half. I spent the first 5 years building my business and the last 5 years condensing it. Right now I am only burning about 10 gallons of gas a week in the truck for a total of about 25 gallons a week total. On 30 customers a week if the price doubled ($2.25 to $4.50) I would still only realize a per customer cost increase of $1.88. My regular and new customer price increases are more then able to absorb the increased cost of fuel.

A lot of guys can do other things to make their operations more fuel efficient.

1: Don't let your truck sit and idle.
2: Tune up your truck.
3: Keep the tires inflated to the correct pressure.
4: Keep the trailer tires inflated to the correct pressure.
5: Remove anything from the truck and trailer that you don't use.
6: Don't let your mowers sit and idle for more than 2 minutes. I see a lot of grass guys around and most of them let their mowers run between jobs. Why?
7: New plugs in everything.
8: Change oil in mowers and truck as recommended.
9: Combine trips. If you need sparkplugs wait until you need something else like carwash soap before you go to the parts store. This is probably the biggest fuel waster I see around. Trip to bank. Trip to grocery store. Trip to post office. Schedule your routine so all errands can be done in 1 trip.

LwnmwrMan22
04-05-2005, 09:33 AM
Last year, on a solo op's gross of just over $130k, my fuel bill was $11k.

Now, I don't have the opportunity to condense my schedule since I live a little in the sticks.

There are days when you're halfway through your route and it starts to pour, or just rain the rest of the day, so you have to double back the next day to finish, that's just life.

I was looking at my gas / diesel slips last year, and most of them were right around $1.75 - $2.00 / gallon.

The way I see it, if it does hit $3 / gallon that's another 1/3 increase in my fuel costs.

No way I'm going to just absorb another $3,500 for the year.

Instead on my 38 accounts, I raised my fees a total of $1,000 / month.

Logan's Landscaping
04-05-2005, 06:30 PM
Well just raising the prices on new customers is a good idea , but i am doing that anyway since things like insurance, license fees , taxes , and most cost rise even if it is only slightly every year. I raised some my reg. customers prices this year on everything but mowing. There is always some one out there who will under cut you to get the work but if you raise the core of your business then that i think is what makes your customers think about giving the cheaper guy a try even if your service is being done very well. I talked to 3 more of my customers today and informed them about the surcharge and all 3 said they understood completely since they are affected by the same thing. Now if i went to them and said I'm going to raise your weekly mowing charges for the same reason or just told them that i was going up on that with out a reason i don't think they would be quiet as understanding. I just go up on the other things like chemicals, mulch , bush trimming ....etc. well theres my 2 cent again today.

LwnmwrMan22
04-05-2005, 07:13 PM
Well just raising the prices on new customers is a good idea , but i am doing that anyway since things like insurance, license fees , taxes , and most cost rise even if it is only slightly every year. I raised some my reg. customers prices this year on everything but mowing. There is always some one out there who will under cut you to get the work but if you raise the core of your business then that i think is what makes your customers think about giving the cheaper guy a try even if your service is being done very well. I talked to 3 more of my customers today and informed them about the surcharge and all 3 said they understood completely since they are affected by the same thing. Now if i went to them and said I'm going to raise your weekly mowing charges for the same reason or just told them that i was going up on that with out a reason i don't think they would be quiet as understanding. I just go up on the other things like chemicals, mulch , bush trimming ....etc. well theres my 2 cent again today.

Have you ever asked your customers??

When you go to Wal-Mart and buy your favorite toothpaste, but it's gone up .30 cents, or to Best Buy and buy your favorite CD that used to be $10-$12, but is now $17-$20, do you not still buy them?

Customers understand you deserve a raise. They work, they all want / think they deserve raises.

If you're doing a good job, and raise them $5 / week or $20 / month, and they drop you, there's a better account right around the corner.

If they were so worried about the extra raise on the mowing, why wouldn't they find someone cheaper to do the mulch work, bush trimming etc.? I'm sure there are other guys in the area that would be cheaper in those areas as well.

bobbygedd
04-05-2005, 08:08 PM
i'm confused :dizzy: when i suggested a "rain surcharge" for periods of heavy rain, which cuts productivity in HALF, the overall opinion was, "it's not the customers fault it rained, you can't charge them extra." NOW, you are all voting yes to a fuel surcharge? but...it's not the customers fault gas is going up, how can you justify this?

General Grounds
04-05-2005, 08:33 PM
:blob3: a) why buy a V10, first off

b) we have in our service agreements that if reg. unleaded is over $1.80 that we will be forced to implement a fuel surcharge. this is to keep to 3 or 4 whiners at bay.

we do $5 a month, tony

benslandscapingny
04-05-2005, 08:48 PM
just give em a letter telling them :due to the inflation in gas prices I hsve no choice but to charge 5$ more on all accounts . If you have any questions call me 1800-555-5555

SodKing
04-05-2005, 08:59 PM
The commercial trucking firms that we use charge a rate of 12.8% of the total delivered value. They do this becuase if gas were to go down the end user of the products would see their prices go down. The end users wouldn't accept a regular rate price increase because that would be there for ever. A fuel surcharge is temporary. (well supposed to be anyway)

wagil
06-23-2013, 11:09 AM
So what's everyone's game plan now that we're well over $3 a gallon?
Posted via Mobile Device

205mx
06-23-2013, 11:30 AM
Not to say you are like this, but I did see one or two, here and there who are guilty ... These are the guys who feel they just pass the price on to the customer, and the hell with it, take it or leave it. And that is all fine and dandy with a few customers but mainstream (Average American) customers who are my main source of income simply can not (and will not) go for this arrogant attitude.

At least now I find it easier to stick to standard prices ($35/average size yard) and not have to argue and give discounts all the time because I can't do it anymore. But while they're paying slightly more, I lowered my fuel-consumption for grass-cutting to a gallon per yard which includes the truck.
Really, a gallon is now only a dollar more than last year. What's the big deal, one dollar? I can deal with that, once the price goes to 4-5 dollars/gallon, we might talk again. By the way, $3/gallon is not far away and I think we'll see $3.50/gallon before summer's end.

So I spent money and got high-performance 8mm Taylor wires, High-performance cap-and-rotor, double-platinum plugs, open-air filter, replaced the tailgate with an airgate, and stopped the oil leak by replacing valve cover gaskets. I serviced the transmission which was leaking, I replaced and/or packed (worn) bearings, checked tire-air pressures, replaced fuel filters, changed oil (synthetic), etc, etc ...
In addition:
- All equipment starts in 1 pull. Ok 2 (1 for choke, 1 for run), 3 maybe but not 4 or 5 or more.
- Fuel up in the morning and leave the 5-gallon cans at home (thou I do have a syphon-pump in the truckbox) and carry the mix.
- Weedeaters run dandy at between 25-75% throttle. Only time I need full-throttle is for SERIOUS weeds - One tankfull of mix should last all day. On another note - learn to skim the string along paved areas in such a way that the pavement does not consume it - One tap of the head to release more string should last the entire yard.
- Backpack blowers usually clear light grass-cut debris on idle or slightly above - One tankfull of mix should last two days.
- Mower-throttle - Turn it to FULL, then lower it slowly until the engine changes pitch, then raise it a little bit to get the pitch back but with OUT being at full throttle - This saves fuel. One 5-gallon tank on a WB should cut 10-12 yards, maybe 14.
- Plan all-same work for the whole day (i.e.: Core Aeration ONLY, Grass-cutting ONLY, etc) and carry ONLY that equipment. If you're doing mulch, what is the seed-spreader doing in the back of the truck?
- Plan your route so everything is in a row, no cross-town trips for 1 yard and no doubling-back. Do it right, everytime.
- Carry only ONE WB. Carrying two wb's in case one breaks wastes more fuel than the once/year occasion when this happens is worth. If you got 2 guys, one cuts grass while the other weed-eats and blows.
- Learn to use liquid edging - Round-Up is cheaper than weedeater-fuel if you buy the 64oz concentrate and mix with water. But be damn careful, LOL!
- When fueling, always fill everything up. For me, one fill-up lasts at least a week - Every stop at the station wastes fuel.
- Don't need it today? Leave it at home. This includes wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, and any and all utensils/tools you will not need. If per chance someone offers me work that involves a tool I do not have, I would just as soon re-schedule for the next day I'm in their area.
- Schedule jobs in areas/day. One day: southside, next day: east-end. etc
- If equipment isn't working, it shouldn't be running. Always Turn it OFF, even if 'only leaving for a sec.' This includes the truck anytime a stop should take more than 20 seconds. 20 seconds of idle = the fuel it takes to start it.
... I turn the engine off at red lights, it's a european trick. And if you don't know why Europeans turn their motors off at intersections, try paying over $5/gallon of fuel. Needless to say - train crossing = Motor OFF

Also:
- Learn to drive with-OUT using the brake pedal. Now you can't drive recklessly so you learn to control the speed while using ONLY the throttle (or not using it, so to speak). When you use the brakes, you are shaving off speed which took fuel to build. In essence, using brakes means wasted fuel. This means leaving a lot of distance in front of you and coasting a LOT, ways in advance of known slow turns and intersections. As an example, I try to coast all the way down to 25mph before applying brakes in a 45mph zone. If you do it right, the light turns green and traffic starts moving before you have to touch the brakes.
In neighborhoods, when pulling up to a customer's house, I usually put gear in neutral and turn the motor off, then coast the rest of the way and hopefully eek to a standstill right in front of the house without the use of brakes.

I do fill up once/week even if there's plenty of fuel left, today I filled up 42 dollars for last week after grossing almost 1000. Once I start cutting grass 5/6 days/week, I do expect the fuel bill to go up towards 80, which is max. budget for peak.

For those who wonder why my prices haven't gone up - The math is simple.
lalala

One tank for a day?

Hahaha. I do 3 gal/week
Posted via Mobile Device

32vld
06-23-2013, 11:37 AM
As back then as now. Fuel is just an expense as any other expense. One's prices should cover the cost of one's expenses.

To raise one's prices and add a fuel surcharge is wrong.

As a business owner I do not want to raise prices just because I feel like it. Though if I need to raise my rates I will have no problem telling my customers that there will be a price increase.

I will not hide an increase as a fuel surcharge. I have yet to see any LCO's raise and lower their fuel surcharge as fuel prices go up and down.

A surcharge does not follow fuel prices is not a surcharge. Just a person hiding a permanent price hike.

GRPM LLC.
06-23-2013, 02:08 PM
As others did in 2005 when this thread started, I started charging a surcharge for fuel once it reached $ 2 a gal. I remember that increase went out to my customers in the June statement of that year. I simply wrote a note on their statement that due to the price of fuel, that a surcharge of $ 1 per cut would be charged. It has gone up and down along with the price of gas, I'm now at $ 2 a cut. I have never heard any backlash from my customers, and a few I did happen to speak about it face to face completely understood. Everyone has their way of running their business. The rising gas prices were and still are a cost of living increase for everyone of us. It costs more to eat, send or receive a package, and to heat your home in the winter, all due to higher fuel costs, so why should it not cost more to have your grass cut?

delphied
06-23-2013, 04:12 PM
This little blast from the past is funny. I see one guys average price for a lawn was 35 in 2001. Now with gas at 3-4 per gallon i have to compete with morons charging 25 for any lawn. Dont sweat the small stuff boys.

TLS
06-23-2013, 04:23 PM
As others did in 2005 when this thread started, I started charging a surcharge for fuel once it reached $ 2 a gal. I remember that increase went out to my customers in the June statement of that year. I simply wrote a note on their statement that due to the price of fuel, that a surcharge of $ 1 per cut would be charged. It has gone up and down along with the price of gas, I'm now at $ 2 a cut. I have never heard any backlash from my customers, and a few I did happen to speak about it face to face completely understood. Everyone has their way of running their business. The rising gas prices were and still are a cost of living increase for everyone of us. It costs more to eat, send or receive a package, and to heat your home in the winter, all due to higher fuel costs, so why should it not cost more to have your grass cut?
So, in the span of 8 years you only increased lawns $2 ???!!!
Posted via Mobile Device

Marshmallow
06-23-2013, 04:26 PM
Time to hop on the Murray and go down the street yelling out $12 any lawn!

delphied
06-23-2013, 04:41 PM
Time to hop on the Murray and go down the street yelling out $12 any lawn!

At least you wont get any competition from the 12 year olds. They arent that stupid.

wagil
06-23-2013, 07:29 PM
I think my yard man has a better cut than a Murray ha ha.
Posted via Mobile Device

GRPM LLC.
06-24-2013, 12:05 AM
So, in the span of 8 years you only increased lawns $2 ???!!!
Posted via Mobile Device

About 80% of my work is within 5 miles of my shop. You would be hard pressed to pay less annually for fuel than I do running a mowing business. So only having to ask my customers for $ 2-3 a cut ( in the span of 8 years) isn't much, and probably less than most. I've been doing this for 15 years, and have been consistent with my work and what I charge. I don't make it a habit to raise prices on my customers, but perhaps you do, to each his own.

weeze
06-25-2013, 04:44 PM
not worried about gas yet. gas is almost $1 cheaper per gallon this year as opposed to what it was last year.

delphied
06-25-2013, 05:01 PM
not worried about gas yet. gas is almost $1 cheaper per gallon this year as opposed to what it was last year.

And what country is that?