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Imagine quoting for two separate jobs? One job is located just 2 miles from your operating base and the other job is located 30 miles away.

For the sake of this exercise, let's say that both landscaping projects are exactly the same specification.

How do you apply the pricing formula? should the project of greater distance be priced in the same way as that of a project locally?

There's not only the lost travel time to consider but there's also the, often ignored, cost of travel. Treat the two jobs in the same way and ignore the fuel cost and you will surely be out of pocket on the job further from your operating base.

Working out the cost of travel

It is easy to convert your fuel charges into an overhead cost retrospectively and apply these costs on a day-by-day or a week-by-week basis. However on the occasion you are forced to travel outside of  a normal working zone, fuel costs should be treated as a surcharge and not as an overhead.

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  • PRO

    £7.00 a gallon x 5 = £35 in a truck @ 20 miles / gallon average (without a trailer), doing only 20 miles a day

     plus mower petrol , and 2 stroke oils ; £35.00 a week minimum before you start adding up any other fized overheads or variable overheads -

  • PRO

    One approach we are trying which has proved popular is to go to a "4 day" working week with longer hours on those 4 days;

    ie normal working week:

    - std working day 8 hrs, 5 days a week = 40 hrs

    4 day week approach:

    - std working day 10 hrs, 4 days a week = 40 hrs


    So, what's gained by this approach ?

    1 days less travelling / fuel cost per team/vehicle (multiply by multiple teams could mean substantial saving)

    Same working effort

    Ability to complete more in a day - especially in grounds maintenance

    'Spare' day for high value 'emergency jobs' or to use a contingency - possibly as overtime.

    Likely to travel more 'outside' rush hours

    and finally, but importantly a 3 day weekend - which is key point for staff

    Issues ?

    - getting staff buy-in (but 3 day weekend is very appealing.....)

    - ensure productivity remains constant and guys don't go off boil for last 2 hours

    - difficult to use for hard labour / landscaping type jobs (tiredness/weather etc ?)

    Just an idea and something we are trying.

  • PRO

    Interesting Gary.

    We did something similar (not travel related) many years ago when there was a heatwave. We started earlier for all five days and finished half day on Friday.

    Is there a temptation to work on the day that is now free if a job came in?

  • PRO

    I've started this as a trial for 1 team since the clocks went back in March and they start at 7am, which means they get to business parks early on a rota and address issues (car park hedges, tree works etc) that would otherwise mean a return visit and/or Saturday morning working (and hence more 'expense' to us...).

    They will revert to a normal working week once the clocks go back in October.

    Being commercial based, the client 'dictates' the visit frequency, we 'dictate' the schedule so we can batch our sites to suit.....

  • More generally on sales costs.

    It was not something I had considered until relatively recently, surprising since I have been a in business for a long while. In terms of time costs, the mere act of obtaining work, producing brochures, site visits, preparing quotes discussing work with customers, can be considerable, this is an addition to postage and phone costs, the total can be surprising.

    My son a production engineer, thinks that these processes should be viewed as a production issue, I have thought on these lines for sometime but hadn't articulated it in this way. I try now to avoid speculative site visits, I try to get details up front, to give an idea of cost to a customer, only following up with a site visit if they are prepared to spend the amount of money that the job may involve.

     

  • I charge €30 per day for fuel. That way I don't make a mistake or if clients talk they can't say I charged one more than the other .
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