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MONEY
W
hen Mick Jagger sang, “It’s a gas, gas, gas!” to some of the lowest levels in over a year.
he wasn’t referring to fluctuating fuel
prices, though his refrain might aptly apply to the Here are some ways to address the cost of
soaring cost of product deliveries and client visits. transportation that take both your business
Given the recent record high price of crude oil needs and your clients’ pocketbook into account:
and constantly shifting prices at the pump, does
it make sense for business owners to tack on a • What business are you in? If you’re in
fuel surcharge? shipping or distribution, it’s more natural
to charge a fee to cover rising fuel costs;
The short answer is: it depends. Clients that are customers understand that this cost is directly
hurting from the economic downturn aren’t tied to your ability to serve them. Airlines do it
as well: major carriers now charge a small fee
for checking a second bag.
• Trim costs elsewhere. Many businesses are
switching from SUVs and vans to hybrids or
likely to look favorably on coupes in order to economize on gas. An
another supplier cost. By the added benefit of changing over to a more
same token, fuel prices can economical vehicle: you’ll likely reduce your
be capricious: after spiking insurance costs as well.
last summer, they dropped • Follow the tide. Inform your customers that
precipitously you may need to tack on a fuel surcharge
when gas prices spike—but that you will
eliminate it when they drop again. This lets
clients know you have their best interests at
heart.
• Bake it into the product price. This may
mean a slight rise in the price of your products
overall, or a small delivery charge if you
formerly delivered for free. Cushion the
increased cost with superior quality, service,
and support.
Adapted from Should You Tack On A Fuel Surcharge? by
Melanie Lindner on www.forbes.com
 ThinkBusiness
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