Gas prices are notoriously volatile, leaving those in the portable restroom industry guessing at the whims of the market. Natural disasters, geopolitical unrest, and seasonal demand can increase fuel costs and leave you scrambling to make up the difference. Yet, many PROs cringe at the idea of a fuel surcharge. And rightly so, as your clients feel the pinch of inflation and fuel prices, too.
However, there may come a time when the choice is out of your hands, meaning it’s either add a surcharge, raise service fees, or take drastic measures to pay the bills. Don’t wait until you get to this point. Instead, learn how to assess fuel costs and make a data-based decision before you’re in a tough spot.
Fuel costs change often, and when you set your prices, you’re making assumptions about what you’ll pay at the pump. A sensitivity analysis, known as a what-if analysis, can help you understand the impact of higher costs on your bottom line. Calculate various scenarios using your historical fuel usage amounts. Determine how much of a price increase you can absorb and how long you can sustain your budget at higher rates.
Based on your forecasted outcomes, develop a plan for when to take action. A strategy helps you manage gas price increases and understand when to pass them on to customers. This is also an excellent time to review ways to compensate for higher fuel prices so you’re ready to take action before losing money.
Look at how your direct and indirect competitors are handling the situation. Are they bumping up service fees mid-year or adding a fuel surcharge? If so, check out how much they raised prices or approached the surcharge. If your rivals have increased their prices, you may be able to do the same. Gain a competitive edge by going slightly lower or reiterating to prospects and clients that it’s temporary.
In addition, consider participating in local business forums and industry-specific social media groups. A community with other portable restroom operators can provide insights into how to cope with higher gas prices. These groups are also a good place to vent with peers and discover new ways to optimize routes, increase efficiency, and communicate with clients.
Here’s the thing, you’ve likely already increased your prices due to inflation. With your costs of goods and services going up, it’s nearly impossible not to shift some of the burden to your clients. This double whammy of inflation and rising fuel costs makes it challenging. However, this won’t be the first or last time gas prices will skyrocket and your pumper truck will consume as much of your budget as it helps bring in.
Go back to your list of ways to counteract rising gas prices. Look for options that are the most effective and provide immediate relief. Consider the advantages and drawbacks of deploying various methods for your portable toilet business while also considering the situations of current customers and prospective clients.
Passing fuel costs to customers can be risky in the portable restroom industry. But if high gas prices threaten your livelihood, quick action is vital. Be transparent with your clients and look for ways to make a fuel surcharge or other price increase palatable. After all, any price increase requires a bit of marketing and public relations finesse.
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