Charging different rates for different services makes sense when you examine factors like early morning cleanings or late-night deliveries
Do you ever think about what your time is worth?
Let’s say you have a doctor’s appointment and you have been waiting in their office for half an hour, reading really old magazines. What did that waiting cost you? Most likely it was time you could have been at work or time with your family. You probably could have been in your office, answering tons of emails in those 30 minutes. But you really need to see that doctor, so you bite the bullet and keep waiting.
It doesn’t seem fair that the doctor’s time is more valuable than yours. Yes, he or she may be saving lives. But you provide a valuable service too. You employ many people, which enables them to feed their families. If you aren’t working and you aren’t making money, how do you pay their salaries? Your time is worth a lot.
Now apply that logic to your job sites. Most lawyers bill clients in six-minute intervals. Most trucking is billed by the hour. So how do you bill for your services?
Each service that our companies provide needs to be handled differently. For smaller orders, we charge a flat delivery fee. It is calculated by considering how many toilets fit on a truck, the service area of that truck, tolls, diesel fuel, etc. We set that price at the beginning of the season and charge it across the board. Yes, there are times when that fee doesn’t really cover delivering one toilet to a remote location. But there are other times when that fee multiplied by twenty toilets on a delivery truck is nothing but profit.
When an order needs to be delivered very early in the morning or very late at night — which is very common in New York City — I charge for that time. A delivery at 1 a.m. means that my driver most likely won’t be doing his routes in the morning. He either comes to work late the day before or he comes in just to do this one job. Either way, it can be very disruptive to your schedule, so you should be compensated for that.
If my equipment is going to a difficult location and I know that the driver will be on site for some time, I charge by the hour. I consider truck time to be our biggest expense, and when a driver gets to a site and has to wait for an hour for other equipment to be moved or for a late customer to show up, I want that time covered.
At times it can feel like you are nickeling and diming your customers. But look at the bills from your vendors. Look at your doctor’s bills, your lawyer’s bills, the grocery delivery service, etc., and you will see that everyone is covering their time. Because in the end, time is money and without that, you will never make a profit. So ask yourself, what is your time really worth?
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.