Gas Surcharge......

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Logan's Landscaping, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    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 :)
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    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.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,282

    It's better just to raise the price i find that a fuel surcharge just pisses people off.
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    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.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    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.
  6. Logan's Landscaping

    Logan's Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    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.
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    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.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    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?'s not the customers fault gas is going up, how can you justify this?
  9. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :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
  10. benslandscapingny

    benslandscapingny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    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

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