Mileage Charges

I tried a search and maybe I did not use the correct words. How do you calculate what you ask for mileage when trying to negotiate fees for a shop?

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Ask for a bonus that is large enough to cover your costs and make you feel comfortable spending the time travelling. It is more of an art than a science. Don't specify that they are paying mileage, rather just state that you would be willing to do the shop for $X because it is, after all, ____ miles away from you and would require _____ drive time.
This is for one of those on site inspections. Pay is $17 which is not bad for the time spent on site; however, Mapquest calculates it will take me 65 minutes roundtrip (and that's if I can drive directly to the place and not have to hunt for it). I just did one and I think I spent about 1/2 hr. on site, 1 hr. till I did the report and pics, plus there was time spent on pre-prep, i.e. viewing instructions, video, etc.

The figure I came up with is another $30/35 plus the $17. Does that sound reasonable?
If you are comfortable doing it for that, then it is reasonable. That statement was not meant to be judgmental but rather to state that it is reasonable if you are comfortable with it.

There are so many variables that really only you can evaluate reasonableness. If your car has been doing only short hops, a road trip could help 'clean it out' and improve performance. If your tires are about shot, a road trip could leave you manhandling your jack and your spare. If your car gets great mileage it could be profitable, if your car gets miserable mileage you could be operating at a loss. If the weather is triple digits and your car AC doesn't work it could be miserable, if it is a beautiful day for a drive it could be a delight to just get out and cruise for a while.

Reasonableness aside, this sounds like the company that has PADs where you are sort of bidding for the job. I never did have them accept a PAD. I guess they either found someone who would do it cheaper or just decided not to do the job.
it is the PAD company and BTW, I've forgotten so what is PAD spelled out? I know it's additional pay but what are the actual words.
From the MSC web site:

•What is PAD?

Pre-Authorized Distance Pay. This is additional pay to the set price of a project.
I've only recently started with this side of things. I feel like they're going to laugh at me, but they seem to just say sure we'll pay that. Makes me wish I had asked for more! I had a name your own bonus offer today and all I asked for was $15.00. I got the yes reply back in about 30 seconds. I'm not good at this stuff!
I asked for $35 PAD and was told they would note that but at this point they could not do it. I just checked and the job is still hanging on the board so I guess they haven't gotten anyone to take it on yet.
jschilz Wrote:
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> I've only recently started with this side of
> things. I feel like they're going to laugh at me,
> but they seem to just say sure we'll pay that.
> Makes me wish I had asked for more! I had a name
> your own bonus offer today and all I asked for was
> $15.00. I got the yes reply back in about 30
> seconds. I'm not good at this stuff!

It is very easy to price yourself out of a job. I can only encourage you to ask what you think is fair to you and if you get it, fine, but if you don't get it that is still okay. If $15 seemed fair to you, by all means I would continue to ask $15 until circumstances changed (gas prices went up significantly from here, major roadwork has started between you and the shop so travel time is a lot longer, etc.). The scheduler has probably marked your record as, "Will do the XYZ job for +$15." So next time the job needs to be done a smart scheduler will look down the list and offer it first to those who have been willing in the past to do it for +$10 before they get to you in the +$15 category.
first rule of negotiating: never, ever, never name your price first. Ask them what they are willing to offer it at. A smart scheduler will try to get you to name your price first, but resist. You will be suprised at the offers that they offer you to do a shop.

In most cases don't take their first offer. let's say they offer you 40 extra. Say that is close to what I wanted. Say you wanted 50, but your willing to split the difference and do it for 45.


One schedulers "favorite" time of the month with me is coming up this coming week, as she lets me know what she has and we negoitate a rate to do them. She has learned over the last year how to be a better negotiator(with my help) so it keeps things interesting.

She appreciates that I gave her some tips for negoitating with shoppers to try and reign in the bonuses and not pay more then necessary.

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There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
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When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
The "right amount" is the amount at which you feel you were adequately compensated (and most people have no concept of what it costs to drive to and from a location...it's not just gas) AND the amount that the MSP was willing to pay for a job's completion. That's how you reach market price. So $15 today might be fine...if no one else came in at $10 or no bonus at all. But $30 might work for the same shop somewhere down the road if no one is willing/eligible to do it and the MSP really needs it done right now. It's all about supply/demand. I've had them turn down what seemed like a really reasonable bonus cuz one of you guys was either closer by or felt like doing it on the cheap. But other times, MSP's have convinced me to do a shop I had no plans to do if it hadn't been for their bribe...err...I mean bonus.
Here's a thought. Why not base it on the IRS' mileage allowance? Most companies don't offer the full mileage allowance when adding travel costs. However, if you can get the mileage allowance and call it a bonus rather than travel cost, you might be able to get the cash and use the mileage deduction.
bottom line is, is you should aiming to get the most possible for a shop when bonuses are offered. There is very few of us that do this type of work just to pass time and not care about the money involved. So as a contractor, you should be looking to maximize your revenue with as few shops as possible.

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
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When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
techman01 Wrote:
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> bottom line is, is you should aiming to get the
> most possible for a shop when bonuses are offered.
> There is very few of us that do this type of work
> just to pass time and not care about the money
> involved. So as a contractor, you should be
> looking to maximize your revenue with as few shops
> as possible.


Totally agree with Techman on not working too cheap. See that happening all the time. Stick to your guns. If people stop doing it at "wholesale" rates, the pay would be forced upward. I'm shocked at how little some shops offer. Two dollars for a phone shop? I literally can't afford to even read the proposal for a $2 shop, much less perform it and then report on it. Don't care if the whole thing takes ten minutes. I am more likely to be missing out on a higher paying shop while reading about, performing and reporting on the $2 one.
I live in the metro area with the worst traffic delays in the nation. When it is not rush hour, it is "close a lane or two for roadwork" time. Schedulers like to compute distance from my home, north of the city, to a point way south of the city, in a straight line, dead through the city, on city streets. It would take 2 hours to get to the shop using that route. To actually do the shop, I need to use the Beltway around the city to get there. So, I need to educate my schedulers that it is the TIME, not the straight line distance, that they need to account for in any bonus.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
and would you have offered to do it for less sunny? Always a win when you can get the scheduler to make the first offer.


I hate traveling through the d.c.area.

@wales, I do nyc at least once a month and schedulers always say these stores are only total of 35 miles. 35 miles in NYC traffic is hours and hours, and that's on a good day.

If they are all in Manhattan, i usually just walk/take the subway to them. But when they are in the outerbrough's you have to drive and it's a nightmare. If only schedulers were required to take geography lessons.

Many shoppers don't account for traffic either. Especially when they go to areas they dont know. It can be the difference between a profitable route and one you end up losing money on. If im going to an area I dont usually shop, I always look online for their local news stations website, and during the rush hours I look to see where the traffic is and compare to where I need to go.

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
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When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
It is a learning process. I live in Canada (please don't anyone get crazy) so I'm not certain this will work for you. I have traveled to sites 10 hours away round trip. My general charge is $20 an hour plus cost of job and expenses, such as ferries. I feel to be out of town for 10 hours prevents me from working jobs in town. If the fee is accepted, I begin to look for other jobs I could pick up along the way. I have also contacted schedulers and ask if they have work in that area. I have found it easier not to mention the hourly fee and state the bonus I require. More often then not it is accepted. jschilz Wrote:
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> I've only recently started with this side of
> things. I feel like they're going to laugh at me,
> but they seem to just say sure we'll pay that.
> Makes me wish I had asked for more! I had a name
> your own bonus offer today and all I asked for was
> $15.00. I got the yes reply back in about 30
> seconds. I'm not good at this stuff!
Certainly 'not getting crazy', but the basic premise of asking what you are comfortable with doing the job for still applies. And while you can certainly seek other work along the way, the bottom line is that the bonus pay covers you doing the original job in a manner which you find is fair to you.
flash makes a good point. When I price a job, I always price it assuming I wont pickup any other jobs doing it. Never price a job thinking you will pick up other shops along the way, and then you end up not getting any and lose money doing just that one.

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
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When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
I charge $0.55 per km. This figure comes from the Canada Revenue website and is the amount I can claim. I've rarely had jobs turned down. Gas hovers around $1.30/L ($5.20/G) so I feel this is a fair rate for gas, wear & tear of the car and my time on the road. So far, so good. smiling smiley
I did get the job and in speaking w/the Scheduler, I asked if there was anyway they could increase it because of the location so he threw in another $5, total $40.

Techman - I think I could have gotten more so I learned a lesson on negotiating with this one.

I always say when I quit learning, I'll be dead!
@plmccut, the closer the client deadline the more they will pay. If you can figure out when the deadlines are it can work to your advantage in a big way.

Sometimes they borderline crazy bonuses to get the job done because if they get 100% completition they get a huge bonus. So them paying you a $100+ on a job that usually pays 10, you many ask why they offering so much but it's because the completition bonus is in the many thousands...

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==
When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
Avitoots - Using the IRS mileage figure won't get you enough money. That only covers some of the car expenses You also need to consider the fact that you have drive time involved. The shop I'm talking about is about 65 miles from my home so that's over 2 hrs. drive time.
plmccut Wrote:
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> Avitoots - Using the IRS mileage figure won't get
> you enough money. That only covers some of the
> car expenses You also need to consider the fact
> that you have drive time involved. The shop I'm
> talking about is about 65 miles from my home so
> that's over 2 hrs. drive time.

i don't believe that one can deduct drive time from their taxes, if one is not paid hourly. the assignment fee ought incorporate drive time.
I have only "made an offer" one time. It was three shops in a rural location that weren't too terribly far from each other. It went like this:

These shops are XX miles from my home and a round trip will cost me about $XX in gas. I anticipate travel time to be XX and my time reporting and shopping to be XX. If you are willing to pay me $XX per hour for my travel, reporting, and shopping time, as well as the cost of the gas, I will give up my day to do these.

I figured if I told them how I got that figure that maybe they'd decide it was reasonable... and they did smiling smiley
I compute at $.40 per mile + $15 an hr. road time and NEVER reduce that sum. As Techman mentioned, I Always assume there won't be an additional work along the route.
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