Price gouging, Illegal?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LawnGuyFromTheFuture, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. LawnGuyFromTheFuture

    LawnGuyFromTheFuture LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 23

    It has come to my attention that an LCO in my area is charging a $2.00 per mow gas surcharge for residential customers. That means the customers are basically paying the entire fuel bill when the idea is to supplement the price increase at the pump. This has to be price gouging and I am quite sure it is against the law.

    The Customer can hire someone else you say??? You can also buy gas at a different gas station if you find one gouging but it's still illegal so that argument doesn't hold.

    At $2.00 a pop the LCO might even be making a small profit on some of the smaller customers. Raising prices is one thing but this is misleading and just plain greed. Imagine Mrs Jones finds out that because of the fuel surcharge you told her had to be applied due to the higher prices at the pump actually means the LCO pays nothing for gas instead of the thousands they paid last year.

    Any other opinions???
     
  2. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    Yeah....he's not charging enough...We had to add a surcharge 3 - 5% depending on which side of $2.00 the average price of gas is that month. You have to sneak into his office and look at his books. You have to find out how much his gas costs were when he set the mowing price for the year and the difference now.

    In my own case we had to offset a $681 increase in our fuel costs per month. Our fuel surplus allows each crew to remain within its acceptable margin. Our average charge to a client is $4.80 to $26.40.

    You not only use gas cutting the lawn you also use it when you drive to/from the account, go to the dumpsite, pick up parts, etc...
     
  3. BQLC

    BQLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 574

    this has been discussed before but I don't think it is illegal. If the customer is willing to pay the charge then that is between them and there LCO. I personally would not do it
     
  4. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Why is $2.00 "price gouging"? In my opinion it's not only the fuel used on site but the fuel used to get there and back, thats got to be worth more than $2.00.
     
  5. LawnGuyFromTheFuture

    LawnGuyFromTheFuture LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 23

    Unless they are misled and think the surcharge covers the higher gas price instead of paying the entire fuel bil. If the station at the corner is charging $3.00 and everyone else is charging $2.70 and they are investigated and found to be inflating the price artificially they will get a minimum huge fine. Why would the lawncare business be any different?
     
  6. LawnGuyFromTheFuture

    LawnGuyFromTheFuture LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 23

    Because if it was costing you $2.50 in fuel to mow a small residential yard (including truck gas) and now it's only costing you .50 the price increase at the pump has been far surpassed and you are putting the difference in your pocket.
     
  7. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Well I don't know what to tell ya:confused: Sounds like you either need to raise your rates or find something else to do with your time. I honestly don't see how or why some one would price each lawn including the amount of fuel it would take you to complete the job, thats wayyyyy tooooo complicated to me. I just know what I need to make per hour and I charge accordingly.
     
  8. crzymow

    crzymow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 378

    As far as what one gas station charges compared to another down the street isnt price gouging, If you drive along the thruway a lot of times the stations closest to the interstate are higher then if you drive a mile or 2 off the exit. it is up to you whether you pay the higher price, or drive a bit further for the cheaper gas.
     
  9. LawnGuyFromTheFuture

    LawnGuyFromTheFuture LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 23

    True, but if they are caught artificially inflating prices -- quote -- "Then the governor issued an executive order that any station caught price gouging would be prosecuted." they will be fined big time. The consumer has to be protected from being misled and gouged for the sake of profit.
     
  10. BQLC

    BQLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 574

    I see your point I am just not sure if in this case it makes it illegal or not. If the customer does not like it then it is up to them to drop the LCO and find another. I agree with nobagger it makes it all to complicated for me to try somthing like that. It cost me xx to cut the yard so i need xx for payment
     

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