Your feedback on gas prices...How far will you travel and not charge for gas?

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Calash

Coastal Music Services
Hi there,

Just wanted to weigh in on this subject. I talked to a fellow DJ in my area who said "I will travel anywhere and not charge for gas". When is it worth walking out the door. When my van is full, it eats gas very quickly. Where no one wants to pay for a DJ (IE:wants someone cheap) what do you do?????Thanks Nancy from Coastal Music Services
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
Keep very good records om mileage and how much you spend on gas, and see your CPA and maximize your deductions. Keep track of expenses related to the automobile as well.

There isn't anything else you can do, given that you've indicated that raising your price isn't a good option in your area.
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
Recent thread on the same subject.
http://start.mobilebeat.com/showthread.php?t=55894&highlight=fuel

The only time I added a fuel surcharge was when the client was circa 100 miles away.
The whole gig involved 3 trips, which equaled 600 miles round-trip;
  • Sales consultation,
  • Planning session & site check,
  • And finally the gig itself.
I charged them an extra $100 and they had no issue with it. I divided the money amongst my employees. The dancers rode with me, but their travel time was an hour over what was reasonable so they got a little extra. My DJ drove separately so I kicked him some cash for gas. I took nothing from the C-note. -Z-
 
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DJ Dr. Drax

Active Member
For me it would be about 500 miles. Honestly what does it increase cost for most DJs? $20 an event?

If you need to charge for it just raise your rates. Adding a fuel surcharge makes you look cheap.

Nobody like people that charge mileage or tripe charges onto a service. Think about when a Plumber wants to hit you for $70 an hour plus 50 cents a mile! Do any of us like that? Not I, so I will not inflict it on others. If it gets too bad, my rates would just go up.
 

NickyB

Gear and Equipment Moderator
I'll never complain about $4+/gal prices because people in Europe have been paying way above that for decades and their standard of living is nowhere near ours.
 

djstevieray

Somewhere On Hoth
I don't charge for milleage, but I also try to keep my distance to about 100 miles round trip. Which with a fully loaded truck costs me about $40. Now I do not charge, one, because I charge enough in my rates to cover my expenses. 2 because the IRS gives me back about $5/gallon at the end of the year. So it is covered.
 

DJ-JC

New Member
I try to steer clear of any extra add on pricing. For me, when the smoke clears at the end of the year, some gigs are super easy and some honestly take a toll. To me, it usually balances out near of my expetations.
If I was to travel way out of my jurisdiction, I would quote a slightly higher flat wedding price (for a little more time, distance, gas, and wear and tear). I would hate to start off quoting a sur-charge on gas, have the prices tumble (or skyrocket) and go thru the paperwork to adjust to the week of event gas price index. Is there a refund clause in the contract if the prices tumble?
When a business adds a gas sur-charge "title" it is human nature to be wary of this. When I go on cruises and they add a fuel sur-charge if the barrel of oil goes over a certain price, I can't help but wonder about this, and how the math really works out. I swear if it wasn't for all the bikinis on deck distracting my attention, I would be crunching these "extra charges" numbers the entire trip.
It is my opinion that you quote a higher price (officially for the distance involved). leave the extra fuel charges to the truckers. But then again could be wrong. If it works for you, that's great!
Hey djstevieray, where did you get that dorky quote??
Regards,
JC
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
Honestly what does it increase cost for most DJs? $20 an event?
.
so an extra 2 hours of your time, the extra wear and tear, the higher insurance, the extra fuel... All that is only worth an extra $20 in expenses?

If you need to charge for it just raise your rates.
That would make sense if it was actually $20.00

but mileage (which includes more then just being compensated for gas) is more then that, and will only keep going up..
I personally think its better to show the customer those charges, then hide them in a single price.. (but thats me)
basically it allows the DJ to be more competitive in their pricing, yet still meet the same profit margin..
 
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BBBuffalo

Active Member
Where no one wants to pay for a DJ (IE:wants someone cheap) what do you do?????Thanks Nancy from Coastal Music Services
You go to where they DO want to pay for a DJ.:)

How many miles do you need to travel and how much does it work out to per mile?

Ex: if you get 10 mpg, and you have to travel 100 miles you'll have to pay for 10 gallons of gas. @$4 per, that's $40. Can you just raise your base rate by that amount and then spin it with "I don't charge for travel"?

I've got a wedding in Asheville (about 200 miles each way) in a few weeks, and I will be charging a bit extra for gas.
 

DJ Dr. Drax

Active Member
Hippy,

In the US the mileage deduction is .52/ mile. If your already charging top rates why are you going to ask them for $20. The idea is not the cost of driving in your service area, but how far you will drive before asking for gas money.

My service radius is 250 miles. I get about 22mpg so going an extra hundred miles costs me about $20. Wear & tear, freeway miles really add almost no extra wear & tear compared to doing that 100 miles in stop & go traffic across town.

The extra 2-3 hours? I use it to rehearse. I use it to focus myself on the tasks of the day.

If your going to break out fuel charges & show that to the client, why stop there? Why not show them what it costs to operate your CD player, the wear & tear on it. How about lights? maybe we need to line item the costs to them for having lights or video.

IMO they don't need to know. People want the bottomline. I give them a price all in. No overtime, no mileage, no hotel costs no part replacements for gear, no gas price increase surcharge.

People respond favorably to it. They just want to know the price to have you.

If you have a written business plan the cost of fuel is factored in. I do it with mileage because in the USA you can't write off the gas cost, only mileage. So from an accounting standpoint, I already have it factored into my business plan. I aim high with mileage so that I don't have to really worry about it as an incremental COS.

Everyone can do as they choose, but IMO it makes you look cheap to charge premium rates, then as for gas money.

It's IMO as bad as putting out a tip jar at a wedding.
 

djstevieray

Somewhere On Hoth
I'm with Drax 100%. I gues it's an old school thing, even though I have only been in business 1 year, I have been in the business working for someone else, and never had a gas surcharge. I know Drax has been around longer. Maybe if you want to be around 20 some years from now, you should take advice from what has worked for the people who have been around that long.

Drax,
Maybe we should start a movement to put out a Gas Money jar at receptions :)

PS Speaking of tips, if a Bride and Groom offer a tip I will respectfully attempt to deccline with "You don't have too", if they insist, I will take it, and then send them some gift cards for a/some restaurant in the area with a thank you card.
 
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Bill_Goode

Mobile Beat Moderator
Staff member
It's not gas for events and the business that gets me. It's the gas for everyday living that kills me, living in such a spread-out area.

Even when I make a six-hour run each way for an event (hello Florida), the cost is not that much more.

The last time it ran up like this, I was out of the country and missed it, but my wife suffered the shortages and high cost when she could find gas.

The only time I have an issue is when my dance floor/stage/decor rental folks pass along the increased gas cost after I have let contracts with clients and needed their prices steady to keep the event costs in line. This is when booking 6-9-12 months out bites me since they "tack on" their fuel/delivery charges after negotiating a price. $20-40 extra in my gas cost does not kill me, but a $200 extra charge in their pickup and delivery makes a difference.
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
Hippy,

In the US the mileage deduction is .52/ mile. If your already charging top rates why are you going to ask them for $20. The idea is not the cost of driving in your service area, but how far you will drive before asking for gas money.
I charge based on whats required, which is variable.. and a mileage charge is definately a variable charge.
Where-as the use of my rack-mount system doesnt change, it depreciates based on time, and not how many miles it moves, etc etc

The extra 2-3 hours? I use it to rehearse. I use it to focus myself on the tasks of the day.
Thats cool, we operate different ways.. Myself I prefer the shows that are close to home, but dont want to outright say no to a potential client 200 miles away.. so I charge mileage and let them make the decision..
different strokes for different folks..
I also believe in not insulting other DJ's because they do things differently then me. Even though I've been doing this for 20 years, it doesnt mean what I do is right for someone else..


If your going to break out fuel charges & show that to the client,
I said mileage charges, not fuel charges.. theirs a difference.

why stop there? Why not show them what it costs to operate your CD player, the wear & tear on it.
The wear and tear and depreciation of a CD player doesnt change by distance.
How about lights? maybe we need to line item the costs to them for having lights or video.
again, lights and video expenses dont change based on mileage..
but yes, I do charge extra if they want them VS the clients that don't..
So yes, my prices change based on the needs of the client..
I assume that also makes me look cheap (in your opinion)
 

DJGreyhound

Professional Wedding DJ
Travel costs are always included in my package rates. My service area covers MD, DC, NOVA, and South Central PA. If there is a wedding outside my service area, I won't charge more - I'll simply turn it down and refer them to someone in their region.

IMHO, I don't think anyone should say something in your package is "free". If you say travel, set up, 2nd system, lights, etc are all "free", then you're undervaluing your package and your service. Instead of "free", just say all these items are "included" in the price of your package. It gives the client a sense of "value" - which is key these days.
 

BUCKEYES

New Member
I never charge extra for mileage...its just figured in my price...for some reason I've noticed that people (around here , anyway) don't like it when you tell them you have to charge them more for the extra gas that you have to use for out of town jobs.

so I always ask where the job is before giving them a price...
 

Cap

Always At Your Service
Several years ago, in the Golden Age of Mobile DJism, if one was fortunate enough to be accepting engagements a couple of years in advance, and the reputation of that business exceeded normal regional operating boundaries, one needed to consider abrupt and unexpected increase in operating expenses which in itself has become an art form.

Realistically, if anyone here could anticipate and price prepare for the economic twists and turns that have occurred over the last five years (as some of the above reply tonality intimates) they belong in the Wall Street think-tank, not on a DJ forum.

Well, the Age is coming to its end, and now that the majority of requests for services is within a year out, if the venue is more than a one day get there-do it-come home time frame, an additional charge will be added to the quoted fee for what I would consider reasonable travel & lodging fees, but would NOT be presented in line item format and would NOT be broken out for discussion.

The recent change in advance booking time frames has now also negated the need for the fuel surcharge clause in my existing contract and has now be scratched. (You were right, DJ StevieRay.)

Just as an experienced suggestion, do not allow the customer to dictate where you will stay and/or eat when out-of-town. They will stay at the Ritz, then put you up at the FleaBag in order to save money.

Agreeing in principal with Buckeyes in not telling them why and how much, it's not so much what they think, as it is, opening the door to quibbling and haggling. Beyuck! Here it is. Take it or leave it and let's move on.
 

Jason Cathcart

New Member
All I know is our local gas prices went up 7.5% last night.

Thats it. I have to raise my rates. I don't usually do it until October, but with the limited availability I have left for this year, and the number of bookings I'm taking for next year, if I don't raise the rates now it'll be really hurting next summer.
 

DJ Dr. Drax

Active Member
Hippy,

I simply favor an all in approach. I use the tools I want to use, to make the event the best representation of my services matched to the style of event they seek vs let their spending proclivities determine what gear I use.

I see DJs that charge extra for a Subwoofer! Really? A Dj would provide poor bass cause the client wouldn't pay extra for it?

That is just my appraoch, it doesn't make it the only way, just what works for me. This also means I am not found working for less when somebody that wants my full performance comes along.

For me they are buying a date on the calendar, not specific items of gear.

The topic was fuel surcharges. I defined my service area. If somebody wants me to go 100 miles over it, what is my real marginal cost increase, even if I take wear & tear on my vehicle into account?

I think it makes one look cheap to have a mileage fee. To me, a better approach is if your fees are set on a near service area, & you feel the need to be compensated for mileage, simply roll it into the final price they receive.

Cap,

I agree, my option from long ago was to just developed a price that included variables such as fuel into the mix. Some events I made more profit cause it was closer, other events I earned less because it was farther away.

When you are charging top rates, it is a lot harder to add a surcharge for the event just cause gas went up.

IMO a good business plan should include preparation for the unexpected. When you expect it to happen, plan for it, you go forward without much toil.
 

DJ Dr. Drax

Active Member
Jason,

I would suggest that gas prices shouldn't have anything to do with it. You have just detailed that your booking ratio is quite high, those factors alone suggest that you should raise your rates regardless of the price of gas.
 
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