Last fall I was considering a fuel surcharge type notice to my customers, or a raising of hourly rates - which we have not done to our old core group of customers for three years. I thought this would have been a good reason to now raise rates.
Not two weeks later, the bottom fell out of gas prices. I never sent the letter - but what happens when the prices fall below $XX again? Are they going to want a corresponding reduction in cost? I guess then you don't charge the fuel surcharge. $5.00 a month for 100 customers, is $500 a month or another $5,000 a year - do you really need it?
When I looked back at the relative cost last year of fuel as a percentage cost - it didn't effect the bottom line. Fuel is about 2% of our budget.
The problem is that we see it every day when we go to the pump to fill up. What used to be $60.00 to fill truck/trailer/cans, etc. is not $75 or $80.00. Find other ways to decrease costs and become more efficient. Send a letter to your customers saying that you are doing just this. Rather than raise prices like many in the industry - you'll keep their prices the same regardless of these extroadinary circumstances because you want your customers to receive the maximum value for their dollars spent. Remind them they've hired a good business person and someone who is looking out for their bottom line as well.
Lawn Lad, Inc.