truck charge

beckyinrichmondJune 26, 2009

I have gotten an estimate from a contractor for doing some work on front porch columns, fixing or replacing window screens, replacing porch screening, replacing a handrail. In the breakdown of his estimate there was a $400 charge for "truck." I asked about that and he said it was to cover his costs of getting to and from the job site, going to get the screens. Is that normal? It seems to me that would be just his general costs of doing business. He indicated it was for two weeks of the truck. I am also puzzled about why fixing the columns and screens and railing would take two weeks.

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HandyMac

Since fuel prices have risen---and the economy has dived, businesses have had to do several things to keep/get business.

Lower prices for work and add extra charges(handling, carrying charges, fuel surcharges, etc.) to make up the difference.

Best advice is to keep track of the time he actually takes. Divide that $400 by 10 working days. Pay him only the amount of days worked.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:20PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Transportation IS a cost of doing business and your contractor is simply itemizing it. I suppose he could have added a per diem for, say, insurance as well.

I'd be less worried about how he arrived at the total and be more concerned with what he proposes to do and how that price compares to other estimates you have received.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 6:29PM
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ron6519

It's an odd way to account for overhead/profit. Especially listing only one item. The usual way is to figure the cost of the job and just add a percentage to that. Since I haven't seen the job or the estimate, I can't say if this is a just accounting or another a way to get more money.
Get other estimates and compare costs that way.
Ron

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 3:46PM
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tryinbrian

I agree with Mike K, it's simply an itemization of a cost of doing business, apparently so the customer can appreciate it more. Frankly, I wouldn't care if he had a "get out of bed in the morning" charge as long as the overall price was right and I had confidence in his work.

I would focus my attention on what he says he will be doing, and perhaps how, and what materials he will use, and prior customers opinions of his work and methods. I think he probably decided to break out the truck do to all the publicity of higher gas prices, perhaps hoping customers would think "oh yeah, that's gotta be expensive, all that driving around".

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 1:25PM
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zl700

So many people think that work starts when they arrive and stops as they leave the job, while it points out there is more to doing business, with the recent spike in energy costs and insurance, many have chosen to add a surcharge to assist versus change labor rate.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:41PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Frankly, I wouldn't care if he had a "get out of bed in the morning" charge as long as the overall price was right and I had confidence in his work.

I like that one. Off to redo pricing schedule... :-)

It seems away to "explain" his costs in a way that makes sense to a people. They key point is what he's charging, what you're getting, and in the end if you think that's fair.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:09AM
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