Fuel surcharge

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by goforgreen2, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. goforgreen2

    goforgreen2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I went to Lesco yesterday and picked up about 15 bags of fert. and a jug of insecticide. When I received the bill and noticed a fuel surcharge of $2.40. When questioned, the asst. said it's a new charge automatically added as a line item for certain items. I then called one of my partners who went to another SC. and picked up roughly the same products, he wasn't charged. I have several issues with this; first, why charge us for the distribution to their outlets. They already charge for delivery, that's like going to a 7-11 to buy a coke and having it added to your bill. Secondly, why was it only at the one location. That company is really trying everything to chase away business
  2. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I totally agree with you,green.Charges like that will only p#%s people off.
  3. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    This Green Industry into turning into a bunch of scared a pathetic group of unprofessional business people. Where are the leaders?

    We (LESCO) have been charged over $710,000 (as of July 19th) in unrecovered fuel surcharges this year. This move might help us recover 30% of that.

    It doesn't seem to matter what we do to cover rising costs. If we raised prices people would cry. If we charged what every other business is charged people still cry.

    My wife laughed her butt off when I told her about it. She told me to get with the program & welcomed me to the world of business in 2004. She doesn;t have even a single vendor not charging fuel surcharges. Not even one. Every flat washer. Every magnet & dial case. Everything!

    Then she asked me why a former associate/friend is looking for a job. His employer is getting out.

    Check the headlines. Crude just hit $50 a barrel.

    Instead of griping about rising prices, get your nerve up & do what everyone else in business is doing. Raise your prices too.

    I left golf & started in Lawn Care 1983. Back then we charged $40 for a 4000 sq ft lawn.

    Here we are 21 years later. The same 4000 sf lawn is still $40. But now we're paying $2.35 gallon for gasoline & paying labor about $6.00 an hour more. My house has almost tripled in resale value in just the past 10 years.

    And in the same thread we're crying we can't raise prices!?!?!?

    Did we get into business to make friend or money?

    I had a guy tell me last week he can't raise prices to his "good customers". I told him in no uncertain terms that if they were "good customers", they would glady pay an increase so he could eat.

    Wake up guys.
  4. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    i say this with 'eyes wide open'........we deal with several vendors, yet I hear this fuel surcharge only from guys who deal with lesco??

    hers a quick and sort of related story. A couple of seasons ago we order 17 pallets fert/dimension from lesco. they truck it in from Ohio (we're in MA) When I was talking to the truck driver I asked him how many other stops he had between ohio and us. He said none...came all this way just for us. LOL
    THEN, we had to wait for another truck to come from western MA (we're in eastern MA). This truck had the spider so we could unload our order. Now it gets funnier...the truck from western MA had 16 pallets (as i remember, give or take a pallet) of...yep you guesses it, fert/dimension that he was dilivering up to the cape cod area.

    I dunno, i realize that i aint the sharpest knife in the kitchen....but does this make sence???
    Now, IF they had a fuel surcharge (which they did not at that time) on my invoice, i would have denied delivery.

    I'm wide awake

    Geeze, anyone wonder why i feel they way i do about Lesco. If you still wonder why...i got plenty of other stories.
  5. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    My fuel surcharge was only $.32 for $78 worth of material including a gallon of millennium, some round-up, and one bag of fertilizer.

    Seems like nickel & diming. I'd prefer to just see the cost including in the fertilizer itself. It seems less obtrusive there and most wouldn't notice it. When it's a separate line item, it just looks ridiculous.
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Here's was my issue. I was in LESCO the day after the surcharge was added..

    1 Nobody gave us a heads-up that the surcharge was coming

    2 Not all customers are treated equally. Lawn Dr received no surcharge (he showed me his invoice) which means I'm sure Scott;s and Trugreen aren't either......don't they get cheaper pricing than the average guy to begin with. No wonder the big guys can kill my prices.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    fantastic post! theres a bunch and I dare say the majority of guy on this site that won't be around 10 yrs from now for the very reasons you stated. Yeah I'll hear it from a bunch of you but most have not been in the business long enough to go through a bad economy. If you do not raise prices to keep up with the cost of living you will be out of biz, its that simple, you might hang on a little longer than what I said but when its all over you will be closing up shop.

  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I agree with Tremor.

    HOWEVER, I also agree with Chris Wagner.

    This is the exact reason I don't itemize my invoice.

    I simply state on my invoice "Lawn Maintenance Payment for (month), payment #* of 6 for the 2004 season".

    Granted I do only commercial, and everything is on a flat fee for the year, unless it's an added sell, say killing some moles or spraying some trees which we had tent catepillars here a couple of years ago.

    If I were Lesco, I'd just tack .10 / bag or whatever.

    I had a $.78 surcharge on a $310 invoice the other day. I don't get it, just charge me $311 and don't put the surcharge in.

    I'm not looking that closely to see if my pallet of whatever at $7.54 comes out to $285 plus 6.5% sales tax equals the total, but I do notice a line item that says $.78 fuel surcharge.

    Guess I'll have to start charging like the phone company too.????
  9. BladesAway

    BladesAway LawnSite Member
    from Ok
    Messages: 74

    I agree with adding the surcharge to the initial cost. Out of sight out of mind...
  10. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    I agree with tremor, and understand what turf hokie is saying.

    Lesco seems to be getting like a car dealership, the better negotiator you are the better prices you will get. I dont like that.

    I must be a good negotiator because IM not getting any surcharges, The day I do, I will be calling valley green.

    I went to my lesco rep this winter and asked for prices, I agreed to them and I expect them to Honor there written quote. the day they dont, I will look else where.

    I would never raise my customers prices during the season and expect them not to cancel.

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